Sunday 29 September 2013

Mill Hill and Shoreham (29 September 2013)

Sunday 29th.  After the disappointment of Beachy yesterday and a similar or worse forecast I decided to try Mill Hill instead - the western aspect of the area makes it sheltered from a north-easterly.  I was there from 07:00-09:00 and birds were very similar.  I recorded 110 Swallows, 120 House Martins, 11 Pied Wagtails, 10 Meadow Pipits and 19 Linnets flying east while grounded migrants were a Wheatear, 2 Whitethroats, 19 Blackcaps, 48 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher.  A distant Cetti's Warbler was heard, two Long-tailed Tits were seen and a Jay flew over the Old Shoreham Road on my return.  A mid morning visit to the allotment produced another 20 Swallows and some heard Meadow Pipits east while 65 Lapwing and 5 Dunlin flew over the Adur at low tide.  Later I called into Shoreham Harbour and saw 3 Sandwich and an Arctic Tern and a Kingfisher.
Wheatear at Mill Hill - not very approachable
Chiffchaff on Mill Hill in poor light

Saturday 28th.  A morning walking round a fairly windswept Beachy Head.  Easterly winds from the continent in late September should be good but no sign of anything at all interesting today with most birds keeping their heads well down.  Birds seen included Buzzard, 300 House Martins, 18 Pied and a Grey Wagtail, 35 Meadow Pipits and 70 Linnets flying east while a Wheatear, 3 Whitethroats and 3 Chiffchaffs were seen on the deck.  More Chiffs where heard but not a single Blackcap.  Still a nice place to be out, especially with good company - Martyn Kenefick (regaling us with tales from the trip he'd just led to California - loads of new birds for me there), John King and John & David Cooper. 

Monday 23rd-Friday 27th.  1-2 Peregrines on Southwick Power Station each day, two Wheatears on Southwick Beach on 23rd, Herring Gull A4AH at Sussex University on 24th, a Rock Pipit on Carots Cafe on 25th and 3 Sandwich and an Arctic Tern in Shoreham Harbour on 26th.  The days are drawing in but still a month of cycling home in the light.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Kingfisher back on the Adur

Sunday 22 September.  A high tide visit to the Adur this morning produced my first Kingfisher there since January 2012.  Last winter was the first during which I'd not recorded the species there in over 20 years as a Shoreham resident.  Few gulls or waders were present, the former not helped by the presence of bait-diggers.
Kingfisher back on the Adur

Normandie (14-21 September)

An enjoyable, relaxing week in Normandie with Megan, based on the coast between La Havre and Caen at Houlgate.  It was very quiet for birds with the few highlights being 3 Spoonbills over the Orne Estuary, 150+ Yellow-legged Gulls at both Orne Estuary and Houlgate, a Black Tern on the Somme Estuary and singing Black Redstarts at Houlgate and Honfleur with two juveniles at Mont St Michael.  On our way back we stopped at a pool north of Le Crotoy  which had been good the previous year (Spotted Crake, White Stork, Black-winged Stilt, see but the water level was higher and only Coot and Mallard were present.  Nearby two Crested Tits saved the day performing well in the car park at Marquentere.  We visited Cap Griz Nez for a couple of hours on our last morning.  An interesting site although rather lacking in cover.  Here we saw Whinchat, 4 Wheatears, a drake Eider, ring-tailed Hen Harrier and a Yellow-legged Gull.  Two Peregrines were flying around Calais Harbour where there were a Little Gull, two Black and two Arctic Terns.  A Great Skua followed the ferry almost to mid channel before continuing south.

Arromanches and some of the remains of the wartime Mulberry Harbour
more bits of the Mulberry Harbour off 'Gold' Beach
some were very large when close up

'Black Cows' and gulls on the beach at Houlgate
Mont St. Michael, along with the 'big knitting' (Norman the Bastard's propaganda) in Bayeux this was the best known tourist site we visited
the tide receded for miles but unfortunately the rain didn't do likewise

Tuesday 10-Friday 13 September.  1-2 Peregrines on Southwick Power Station chimney and 1-2 Wheatears on Southwick Beach.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Funnel cloud at Beachy (08 September 2013)

Sunday 8 September.  A morning at Beachy with Frank Lambert and John King with much of the time spent with John and David Cooper and Brenda Kay.  A few migrants were seen early on, mainly around Birling but most of the time Frank and I were comparing notes on recent West Papua trips, mine a private one, Frank leading Birdtour Asia's.  Birds seen were Peregrine, 20 Swallows, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Redstarts (including an excellent male), 5 Whinchats, 16 Stonechats, 2 Wheatears, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 23 Whitethroats, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 Ravens.

Funnel cloud off Beachy Head, as viewed from Belle Tout
it became more apparent as it moved towards Eastbourne

Saturday 7 September.  An hours seawatch from Widewater failed to prodice any shearwaters although two distant Fulmars had me going for a while.  Otherwise just a few Gannets and Sandwich Terns were moving and what appeared to be a very distant Bonxie.  20 Turnstones and a Wheatear were at Shoreham Fort and 4 Ringed Plover and 10 Dunlin on the Adur.   In the afternoon a walk around Cissbury Ring with Megan produced a Buzzard and Spotted Flycatcher.

Thursday 5 September.  Peregrine on Southwick chimney.
Wednesday 4 September.  Sparrowhawk over our road.
Tuesday 3 September.  Peregrine on Southwick chimney.

Monday 2 September.  Nice views of the juvenile Red-backed Shrike between Rottingdean and Balsdean.

Monday 2 September 2013

Beachy & Cuckmere (01 Sept 2013)

Sunday 1 September.  Woke at 05:15 feeling somewhat better and decided to go out.  Spent 4.5 hours at Beachy covering Birling, Chat Vale, Old Trapping Area and the Rides with John King and others.  Good numbers of common migrants with my first Whinchats and flycatchers of the year.  I recorded Hobby, 45 Yellow Wagtails, 6 Redstarts, 3 Whinchats, 15 Stonechats, 2 Wheatears, 42 Whitethroats, 2 Lessers, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 70 Willow Warblers, 3 Spotted and a Pied Flycatcher.  Called in at the Cuckmere on the way back seeing the 3 Curlew Sandpipers and 2 more Wheatears.  A Lancaster, 2 Spitfires, 2 Hurricanes and 2 ME109s over the allotment in the afternoon were part of Shoreham Airshow.  Lots of White butterlies with many caterpillars on our sprouts!  My mum called in the evening to say my dad had had another fall and had been taken to hospital.  I'd seen them at lunchtime, my dad was comfortable in bed.  My feeling better quickly turned into an illusion with back pains and coughing fits throughout the day.  Still glad to have got out though.
Dunlin and Curlew Sandpiper just south of Exceat Bridge
they were not asleep all the time

Saturday 31 August.  Still coughing and back pains so did little apart from visit my parents where my dad was sleeping peacefully.  Decided to rest tomorrow too.

Friday 30 August.  Still coughing and back pains. Visited my parents on the way home.  My dad was in a lot of pain and hadn't got up.  He's really showing his age.  Peregrine on Southwick Power Station.

Wednesday 28 August.  Back at work, coughing and back no better.  Peregrine on Southwick Power Station on the way.

Tuesday 27 August.  Got home at 9.30pm after what seemed like two days of non-stop travelling from Wamena.  My cold, which I thought I'd got rid of, seems to have come back while my bruised ribs, from slipping on a fallen tree, seem to have developed into a bad back.  Irian Jaya in 1993 was the toughest trip I've ever done.  West Papua 2013 might have been a bit easier but at 59 rather than 39 it didn't feel it. Just as well it was successful, although not for photography, as I can't see myself returning to the Arfaks or Lake Habbema.  A report will be added in sections to this blog over the next couple of weeks.