A week of mild temperatures and southerly winds gave hope of an early Wheatear which in the end didn’t materialise. As a rule Beachy Head doesn’t play host to any wintering passerines that could masquerade as spring migrants so the Black Redstart at Birling on the 22nd I take to be our first bonafide migrant. Stonechat, although present in very small numbers throughout winter, were beginning to slowly creep up in numbers & prominence with 3/4 singing males in the Birling/Belle Tout area.
A Dartford Warbler lingers on above Birling and the first Red Kite I’ve seen here this year passed Belle Tout on the 26th. Note worthy this bird appeared to be an adult as opposed to the younger 2cy birds that pass through here in numbers later in spring. A migrant Curlew was on the beach on the 27th, although no concerted effort was made on the sea a couple of small eastbound Brent Geese flocks were seen throughout the week. Common Gull have been lazily passing through with groups of 20+ on the grazing pastures. Belle Tout wood played host to a Firecrest on the 26th and a single Goldcrest on the 27th.
Dartford Warblers appear around October each year with wintering birds seen up until March the following spring.
Usually Red Kites in spring tend to be 2cy birds in active wing moult and pale underparts, this bird appears to be an adult.
An extremely cold snap (by British standards) occurred early on in the month, providing beautiful scenes but little in the way of interesting bird movements. A freezing hike to Birling Gap and back produced little beyond a single Fieldfare and c30 Redwing feeding inside the wood at Belle Tout.