05.06.21 Rosy Starling!

A clear morning with a light westerly wind.

Rosy Starling

A time of year when you’re out hoping for that one bird to make a difference. In light of the recent influx, I’d been hoping to run into one of these and after several friends had been successful and somewhat prematurely, I’d begun to feel my luck was out. That was until I had to bring the car to a screeching halt as I (to my disbelief) saw this in the pub carpark. After hastily abandoning the car on the verge I rushed back to confirm it wasn’t an apparition, there really was a pristine Rosy Starling walking around in there! Unfortunately my time with this beauty was brief as someone opened the door of their camper van flushing the bird which headed north, not to be seen again. A long over due “self find” and a much desired bird for the site. It was the first spring adult I’ve seen and it didn’t disappoint. It constitutes the 6th record for the site.

Below, John Cooper kindly provides a modern historical context for Rosy Starlings on Beach Head.

1984: An adult accompanied Starlings at Birling Gap on 24th to 26th Aug. (TWP, CAW)

1994: An adult in immaculate condition was found in a set aside field immediately to the north of Birling Gap or on the adjoining pumping station wall from 11th to 15th June (D. Cooper, J.F. Cooper et al.)

2001: A juvenile in Cow Gap from 3rd to 7th Oct (Mrs. D. R. Cooper, J.F. Cooper et al.).

2008: A fine adult male came in over the cliffs at Whitbred Hollow on the 30th May. (J.F.Cooper).

2020: 20th June an adult male was present above Belle Tout wood which then flew towards the old lighthouse but could not be re-located (C. Ball)

The preceding days had mostly been spent wandering the site in the mornings thinking about the above, the only bird of note was a lone Crossbill feeding in the pines at Birling on the 3rd of June.

Crossbill at Birling


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