Saturday, 21 June 2014

revisiting the eagle (21 June 2014)

Saturday 21 June.  Most of the day in Ashdown Forest, first Gills Lap then Old Lodge and finally the old airfield south of Long car park.  The Short-toed Eagle was on view for much of the morning at Gills Lap flying, hovering and perched, sometimes close but often up to a mile distant.  I saw it catch two small snakes but missed it with a larger one.  It circled very high and headed south quite purposefully until it was lost to view soon after mid-day. We then walked around Old Lodge seeing the expected birds and a few dragonflies and were just leaving for Long car park when we heard that the eagle had reappeared there.   Today the journey was more "Take it easy" than "Desperado" when I did the same journey on Sunday.  Following JK then "Life in the fast lane" seemed apt.  When we arrived it was slightly obscured sitting in the top of a tree about half a mile away where it remained for half an hour before giving more flight views.  A superb day, I also saw Wood Lark, 2 Tree Pipits, 2 male and 5 juvenile Redstarts, Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Stonechats, Marsh Tit, Jay, Siskin, 2 Crossbills and a male Bullfinch.  A Nightjar was heard a couple of times late morning as were several Redpolls.  Excellent company and nice to see a few old friends.

Is the eagle the best bird ever seen in Sussex?  It is certainly up there although I would probably give that accolade to the Ecclesbourne Glen Wallcreeper.  The Beachy Black & White Warbler and Cissbury Gyrfalcon (not that I saw it) are also stand-out birds while I was quite taken with the Pett King Eider and the Newhaven Pied Wheatear.  Maybe it isn't such a bad county after all!  
Short-toed Eagle on snake alert

brave Magpie
brave crow

the half grown outer-tail feathers gave the bird an unusual outline

Wren's Warren and Five Hundred Acre Wood from near Gills Lap
Monday 16-Friday 20 June.  The Black Redstart near Southwick Power Station was heard briefly on Monday & Tuesday but not for long enough to be sure from where it came although normal hearing from one ear only makes it hard for me to pin sounds down.  I did better Friday morning when it was singing more enthusiastically and I located it on a lighting gantry, a second-year bird.  It was singing briefly on my way home but not from the same place.  North Thames Herring Gull K4DT was on Southwick Beach on Monday evening, 3 Sandwich Terns offshore on Wednesday and up to 15 Swifts over our road each evening. 

1 comment:

  1. Simply fantastic! I've been trying to get better sighting of this Eagle for the past two weeks! I live locally and took some hurried photos which were too bad to determine the bird. Your photos are brilliant. Thank you for clarifying the mystery.


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