Sunday, 7 October 2012

Beachy Head (7 October 2012)

1-5 October.  Cycling to work, some days in poor weather, produced 5 Ringed Plover on Southwick Beach on 1st, a Robin in the fenced off area there on 3rd and 2 Wheatears on the beach on 4th.  Only one Peregrine was seen all week.

6 October.  With some chores to do on Saturday 6th I decided to try Cissbury Ring when the early rain stopped.  Migrants were in short supply although there was a constant trickle of Swallows moving west with 75 seen in two hours along with 7 House Martins.  Birds around the ring included 2 Sparrowhawks, Buzzard, Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a male Blackcap, 12 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests, a smart Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 5 Jays, 80 Goldfinches and best of all 2 juvenile Bullfinches.  A low tide visit to the Adur produced 1 bait-digger, 7 Ringed Plover, 12 Redshank and no gulls.

7 October.  I met John King at Birling just after 7 am on Sunday and we covered all the areas between there and the rides above Whitbread Hollow.  It was a better day than either visit on the previous weekend although again no Ring Ouzel or  Firecrest was disappointing.  The main event, at least in the first hour or so, was an easterly passage of Goldfinches although I particularly enjoyed a some flocks of Jays and a westerly movement of Blue Tits.  I saw Peregrine, 2 Stock Dove, 200+ Wood Pigeons,  Short-eared Owl, Green & 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 27 Sky Larks, 150 Swallows, 30 House Martins, 66 Pied Wagtails (all but 2 flying east), 21 Dunnocks,  Black and Common Redstarts (one of each in the old trapping area), 14 Stonechats, Wheatear, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Blackcaps, 40 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrests, Spotted Flycatcher, 90 Blue Tits (of which 71 were flying west in groups of up to 18), 15-40 Jays  (15E then 5W, 5E, 14E & 1W mostly in the Belle Tout area), 975 Goldfinches (of which 795 were flying E in flocks of up to 80), 185 Linnets, 9 Siskin (and several others heard), 6 Redpoll, 12 Corn Buntings and 3 Reed Buntings.

After finishing at Beachy we called in at Harry's Bush, Seaford Head and almost immediately I briefly saw the Yellow-browed Warbler that Matt Eade had kindly phoned JK about.  We waited another 90 minutes or so and although it called a couple of times it did not reappear in that time.  Not an easy site to work although a few Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests showed well.  A frog JK found in the field there was almost as impressive as the warbler.

2 of a flock of 14 Jays at Beachy
Jay in scrub near Belle Tout lighthouse
brilliant to see in an unusual setting
Redstart in the old trapping area
frog near Harry's Bush

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