Saturday, 5 May 2012

Southwick, Seaford and Beachy (04-06 May 2012)

Friday 4 May:  32 Common and 22 Sandwich Terns east in a brief look at the sea before work, coming home was much better with a Reed and a washed out northern Willow Warbler in the tamarisks and 13 Wheatears, a female Common Redstart and an probably Chiffchaff on Southwick Beach.  Pity I'd had to go to work in between.

Saturday 5 May:  44 Common Terns and 6 Common Scoter flew east in a wet 90 minutes at Splash Point, Seaford.  Martyn Kenefick, John King and I  went on to Beachy where we saw a Hobby, 3 Swifts, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Tawny Owls, a Black Redstart, 14 Wheatears, 5 Garden Warblers, 20 Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat.  It was hard to find any sheltered areas in a strong NE wind and there was probably a lot more present but keeping out of site.  An evening visit to the Adur produced few gulls, just one Redshank and a low flying Swift heading north.

Sunday 6 May.  Another damp north-easterly.  I picked up Martyn Kenefick and we met John King at Seaford.  With just a Great Crested Grebe, 3 Sanderling and a pack of 17 Commic Terns east between 6-7 am it was no surprise that we were the only seawatchers present.   We relocated to Beachy where a good selection of migrants were seen including 4 Hobbies, a Turtle Dove (hopefully not the only one I see this year), 5 Swifts, 44 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Whinchats, 18 Wheatears, a Garden Warbler and 25 Whitethroats (of which 8 were feeding on the grassy cliff edge).  Also seen was a peregrine and the two Tawny Owls.  An evening visit to the Adur produced 1 bait-digger, 1 little egret, no waders and a few gulls.

Hobby on the cliff edge near Belle Tout
The pale nape and orange rather than red vent suggest that this is a 2CY bird returning to Britain for the first time.  Welcome back, although I'm sure you'd prefer it to be warmer!

Tawny Owls at Beachy

nowhere seemed to give a clear view
Whinchat at Birling.  Very nice to see in the spring, I usually have to wait until autumn
Yellow Wagtail at Birling.  Very nice to see males in the spring, I often have to wait until autumn for a perched view of this species
typical female Yellow Wagtail
a greyer, paler female flava
easy to imagine this one being a female Blue-headed but can one be sure?
the very pale ear-coverts give this bird a quite distinctive look
no mistaking a White-tailed Wagtail though!

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