Like everyone I’d been aware of this bird which summered in the Peak District but, even as it made progress south through the UK, I didn’t seriously expect it to appear at Beachy Head although a sighting in Kent, just 50km directly north did make us locals wonder. In the end it fell to Matt Eade who had the bird fly past him at Went Hill and then went on to relocate the bird sitting in a field just north of Birling Gap.
The bird was resting happily in a grazed field just north of Birling Gap until an inquisitive farmer decided to drive his Land Rover right up to it and flushed the bird. It then circled over East Dean for quite some time before heading into the Cuckmere Valley, a few kilometres to the west.
It’s appearance is somewhat reminiscent of the Blue Rock Thrush in 2017, which was another well watched rarity which appeared at Beachy Head as it reoriented back towards the continent. It’s been confirmed this bird is a female, born wild at the nest in the French Alps in 2019.