Tuesday, 30 August 2011

GERMANY 23-30 August 2011

A family holiday based in scenic Saarburg, with day trips to Luxembourg and Trier, provided opportunities for birding in the local forests but none for photography.  A Pine Marten heard climbing up a tree trunk and then spotlighted high in a pine one evening was my best sighting although I also saw a Honey Buzzard, 2 Red Kites, lots of Black Redstarts, 2 Firecrests, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 3 Willow and 10 Crested Tits, 5 Short-toed Treecreepers and 2 Serins.  12 Great Skuas were seen from the Calais to Dover Ferry on 30th heading west in very calm French waters.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Shoreham, Beachy and the far west (August 2011)

Wednesday 3 August.  Six Swifts over Crown Road, Shoreham-by-Sea.

Friday 5 August.  The Black Redstart was singing again at Parker-Steel, Shoreham Harbour.  What turned out to be the last Swift was seen over Crown Road in the evening.

Saturday 6 August.  32 Sky Larks, Wheatear, Lesser Whitethroat, 35 Whitethroats, 13 Willow Warblers and 250 Linnets were seen on a three hour Mill Hill/Anchor Bottom circuit.  A North Thames rung Herring Gull (UT7T) was seen on the Adur by Shoreham Airport at evening low tide but little else.  Evidence of bait diggers suggested earlier disturbance.

UT7T was ringed at Pitsea, Essex on 19 March 2011
Sunday 7 August.  A distant Mediterranean Shearwater the only bird of note at an unexpectedly windswept Beachy Head.  Seawatching at Birling was possibly the coldest I’ve been in Sussex in August.  John King and I then covered the more sheltered areas on the Head to no avail.  A Purple Sandpiper was seen with Megan on the eastern side of Shoreham Harbour in the afternoon, my earliest returning bird by at least two weeks.

Tuesday 9 August.  A Sanderling and 18 Turnstone were seen on a brief visit to the eastern side of Shoreham Harbour after work but no sign of the Purple Sandpiper.  A juvenile Peregrine, as most days this month, was on the Power Station chimney nest-box.

Friday 12 August.  Two juvenile Peregrines on Southwick Power Station chimney and a Swift over.

Saturday 13 August.  2 Lesser Whitethroats and 16 Whitethroats at a quiet Mill Hill.  Went to Pulborough with Megan in the afternoon seeing 2 Ruff, Wood and 8 Green Sandpipers distantly (M not overly impressed!).  A evening visit to the Adur produced colour-ringed Herring Gull MAY and 2 Sandwich Terns by the airfield.

MAY was ringed in Gloucestershire in February
Sunday 14 August.  2 Redstarts, 4 Whinchats, 2 Grasshopper and 6 Reed Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 77 Whitethroats, 24 Willow Warblers, 3 Spotted Flycatchers and 3 Ravens at Beachy Head with John King.  An evening visit to the Adur was rewarded with Common Sandpiper, North Thames Herring Gull YU6T and a Kingfisher by the airfield.

Spotted Flycatcher at Beachy
juvenile Swallow, one of four still being fed, at Beachy
YU6T was ringed at Pitsea, Essex on 30 October 2010
Monday 15 August.  2 Wheatears on Southwick Beach and the juvenile Peregrine on the Power Station chimney.

Friday 19 August.  Another 2 Wheatears on Southwick Beach and the juvenile Peregrine on the Power Station chimney.

Saturday 20 August.  A day in the far west with John King.  We started at Pagham (Church Norton, Sidlesham Ferry and North Wall) where highlights were juvenile Marsh Harrier, 2 Whimbrel, leucistic Curlew, 11+39 icelandica Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, 4 distant Yellow-legged Gulls, Kingfisher and Redstart.  On to Fishbourne where the tide was coming in and lots of birds were evident although waders were a bit disappointing with 3 Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper best although at least 256 Mediterranean Gulls were brilliant.  Finally at Thorney the Cattle Egret was seen well (and then badly), the Osprey distantly in horrible heat haze and another 40+ Mediterranean Gulls didn’t quite push the day total to 300.

juvenile Marsh Harrier over Pagham Harbour
4 Yellow-legged Gulls (1 adult and 3 first-winters) at the far side of Pagham Harbour

Redstart behind the hide at Church Norton
Spotted Redshank in Whyte's Creek, Pagham

icelandica Black-taield Godwits on the Breech Pool, Pagham

Cattle Egret, Thorney Deeps
Osprey in very bad heat haze, Thorney deeps
Sunday 21 August.  A pleasant morning at Beachy with John King where birds were patchy at best.  Light wind and clound made viewing conditions perfect although the wind picked up during the morning.  Our better sightings were a brief Marsh Harrier, Quail (flushed from beside the Cliff Path), 110 House Martins, 2 Tree Pipits, 12 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Redstarts, 5 Whinchats, 8 Wheatears, 7 Reed and 2 Sedge Warblers, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 69 Whitethroats, 3 Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler.  Disappointingly only 9 Willow Warblers were seen and not a single flycatcher.  My last visit to Beachy on 21 August, in 2005, produced Wood Warbler and 12 Pied Flycatchers.  Mid afternoon Megan & I cycled up Mill Hill where 10 Swallows and a Kestrel competed with a Flying Fortress, 2 Mustangs, 2 Hurricanes, 2 ME109s, 3 Spitfires, a Swordfish (with torpedo) and a Sea Vixen.  We just caught the back end of a Lancaster and 2 more Spitfires as we arrived.

Whinchat at Birling
Redstart in Shooters Bottom
Lesser Whitethroat at Beachy
Monday 22 August.  Two Wheatears on Southwick Beach and the juvenile Peregrine on the Power Station chimney.