Monday, 31 October 2011

Beachy (29-30 October 2011)

Tuesday 25-Thursday 27 October 2011:  A peregrine was seen on Southwick Power Station chimney each evening on the way home from work.

Saturday 29 October 2011:  Most of the day was spent between Belle Tout and Crowlink enjoying the mild weather and expected late autumn migrants without the excitement of a hoped for wing-barred phyllosc.  Birds seen included 2 Peregrines, 6 ad & 2 juv Little Gulls (S over Birling field), 64 Greater Black-backed Gulls, 2 Tawny Owls (Belle Tout), 2 Short-eared Owls (1E & 1S over Birling), Rock Pipit, 2 Black Redstarts (Birling & Bailey’s Hill), 3 Stonechats, Wheatear, 2 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler (a very late individual in Belle Tout), 5 Goldcrests, 4 Firecrests (1 Birling, 3 Belle Tout), 21 Long-tailed Tits (Went Hill), 2 Treecreepers (Belle Tout), Raven and a Redpoll (heard).

the last Wheatear of the year?
a very late Willow Warbler in Belle Tout - not the unusual phyllosc we were hoping for

Tawny Owl in Belle Tout

Black Redstart on Bailey's Hill
Sunday 30 October 2011:  Returned to Beachy expecting similar weather but the wind had picked up.  Stayed to early afternoon seeing Tawny Owl, Black Redstart (Birling), Ring Ouzel & Redwing (ditto), Blackcap, Willow Warbler (same), 5 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Firecrests (Belle Tout), 2 Treecreepers (same), Raven, 70 Goldfinches and 10 Redpolls (8E & 2 W).  A walk around the Houseboats with Megan produced a Grey Wagtail.

Black Redstart at Birling

Ring Ouzel at Birling

Monday, 24 October 2011

Beachy and Shoreham area (18-23 October 2011)

Tuesday 18-Friday 21 October 2011:  A peregrine was seen roosting on Southwick Power Station chimney with two present on 19th.

Sunday 23 October 2011:  07.20-15.30 at Beachy Head and Crowlink, including a seawatch and an unsuccessful look for a Pallas’s Leaf Warbler at Holywell.  Birds seen included 75 Gannets, 2 Common Scoter, Great Skua, 4 Arctic Skuas, 200 Kittiwakes, 80 auks, 24 Swallows, 2 House Martins, male Dartford Warbler (in Shooter’s Bottom), 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests, Treecreeper, 2 Ravens, 80+ Goldfinches, Siskin and 5 Crossbills.  A late afternoon visit to the Adur while the tide was still low failed to produce any colour-ringed gulls amongst the 200+ Herring, 49 Greater Black-backed and 8 Lesser Black-backs on the sandbars.

Looking south east from above Birling
Habitat management or an organised bustard flush?
almost as likely as some of the speices reportedly seen at Beachy recently!
very poor photo of a male Dartford Warbler in Shooter's Bottom
Stonechat at Birling

Lesser Black-backed Gull on the River Adur

Monday, 17 October 2011

Isabelline Wheatear dip (16 October 2011)

Sunday 16 October.  Another cold, clear night so again no surprise, but some disappointment, that the Isabelline Wheatear had moved on.  All morning was spent in the Crowlink area with John King and I then did the circuit down to Birling Gap and back just in case it had moved a bit further.  Birds seen included 2 Wood Lark at Crowlink, Redstart on Went Hill, 8 Wheatears, Ring Ouzel, Raven, Brambling (heard) and 7 Redpolls.

Wood Lark at Crowlink

Wheatear at Crowlink - sadly not a drab Isabelline!

Rufous-tailed Robin dip (15 October 2011)

Saturday 15 October 2011.  The slim chance of seeing a Rufous-tailed Robin in Britain proved too irresistible for John King and I to pass up on.  I left Shoreham at 10pm and picked up John outside Burgess Hill.  We saw a Barn Owl on the way up and arrived on site at Warham Greens soon after 2am.  It was a cold night and clear sky which did not bode well - and made me wish I had a thicker blanket!  Although very disappointed that the robin had gone, it came as no great surprise. 
Rufous-tailed Robin - not in Norfolk
At Warham Greens we saw 250 Pink-footed Geese flying E, 2 Marsh Harriers & 3 Lapland Buntings, plus a lot of old birding friends I’d not seen in years.  We eventually moved on to Titchwell where we saw a Bittern which flew across the main track, 640 Pink-footed Geese flew E, 900 Golden Plover including a white headed individual, 51 Ruff, 4 brilliant Bearded Tits and a Brambling.  Final stop was Holme where 500+ Pink-footed Geeses were feeding in a field and we along with 100 others were rewarded with good views of a Red-flanked Bluetail.  I saw the bluetail in the scope several times but when it showed the best I was too engrossed in watching it to take any photos while at other times it was a bit of a scrum.  It was my first bluetail in Britain for 19 years and made the trip worthwhile despite news of an Isabelline Wheatear in Sussex.
Pink-footed Geese over high over the North Norfolk coast

White-headed Golden Plover at Titchwell

fast moving Ruff at Titchwell - partly out of shot before the shutter fired

Newhaven & Southwick (10-14 October 2011)

Monday 10 October.  A Sparrowhawk flew over Southwick soon after dawn, the Peregrine was on Southwick Power Station chimney and a Little Egret by the lock gates.

Tuesday 11 October.  A Kestrel was seen over Southwick Beach and the Peregrine was on the Power Station chimney.

Wednesday 12 October.  The Peregrine was on Southwick Power Station chimney.

Thursday 13 October:  A morning visit to Newhaven before work looking for the presumed Buff-bellied Pipit drew the expected blank.  6-7 Rock Pipits, a Wheatear, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Raven were seen.  As I had the car at work I visited the Adur on the way home for the low tide gull roost but little was evident but the kingfisher was seen again.

Rock Pipit at Newhaven
Raven on the cliff edge at Newhaven
Friday 14 October.  The Peregrine was on Southwick Power Station chimney.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Rackham and River Adur (09 October 2011)

A morning walk around Rackham and Parham with Megan was rather quiet despite it being quite warm and comparatively still.  Two pairs of Mandarin on Parham pond were the highlight.  A late afternoon visit to the Adur by Shoreham Airport produced 23 Ringed Plover, 18 Dunlin, 2 colour-ringed Greater Black-backs, including one of yesterday’s, an excellent Kingfisher, Rock Pipit and 64 Pied Wagtails flying to roost.

Female Greater Black-backed Gull 28J roosting at low tide on the River Adur by Shoreham Airport.  She was hatched at Paluel (CNPE), Seine-Maritime, Normandie on 23 May 2011 and was ringed there on 24 June.

Norwegian Greater Black-backed Gull JY22 roosting again at low tide on the River Adur by Shoreham Airport.

presumed male (all black bill) Kingfisher on the drainage ditch just south of Ricardo's, digiscoped from the riverbank

Beachy and the Adur (08 October 2011)

Saturday 8 October 2011:  A decent passage of finches kept us at Birling for the whole morning.  Highlights were a Short-eared Owl, 58 Sky Larks, 100 Swallows, 150 Meadow Pipits, 40 Pied Wagtails, 50 Chaffinches, 680 Goldfinches, 41 Siskin, 1010 Linnets, 6 Redpoll and 16 Reed Buntings, all moving west.  Also seen were 9 Wheatears, a Redwing, 3 Blackcaps, 23 Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, 2 Ravens and 6 Corn Buntings.

Short-eared Owl flying west over Birling Gap

Redwing at Birling Gap

juvenile Wheatear near Belle Tout Wood

A late afternoon visit to the Adur by Shoreham Airport produced 5 colour-ringed gulls including 3 of the 110 Greater Black-backs present and a Mediterranean Gull.

Greater Black-backed Gull A26, from Normandy and also seen on the Adur in February & December 2010 and September 2011

Greater Black-backed Gull C, from Jersey, was also seen on the Adur in November 2009
Norwegian Greater Black-backed Gull JY22 was also seen on the Adur in November 2010 and September 2011
Herring Gull SH5T was colour-ringed at Pitsea, North Thames in September 2009.  I saw SH1T, a very leucistic bird, at Rainham at the start of the year and it had previously been seen at Beachy.
Mediterranean Gull 36A2 roosting on a low-tide sandbar on the River Adur.  This bird was ringed as a chick in Holland in 2003, was colour-ringed in Germany in May 2010 and seen around Weymouth between July-October 2010.  It is now 8.
Wigeon on the River Adur
Lapwing roosting on a sandbar on the River Adur

3-7 October 2011:  The peregrine was seen on the Power Station chimney everyday while single Wheatears were by Hove Lagoon on 3rd and Carrot’s CafĂ© on 4th.