Sunday, 28 September 2014

Beachy and Seaford Head Barred Warbler 28 September

I met John and Doreen Cooper and John King at Birling.  It was another pleasant day to wander around, with a moderate NE wind, but it soon became apparent that there were fewer birds in the bushes with most of the interest provided by a steady easterly passage of alba Wagtails.  A couple looked as if they might be White Wagtails but that is certainly not something I would like to claim on a flight view!  We covered the Birling area and Shooter's Bottom and I saw 350 Swallows, 30 House Martins (late on the scene again), 400 Meadow Pipits, 93 alba Wagtails, Whinchat, 2 Wheatear, Whitethroat, 4 Blackcaps, 14 Chiffchaffs, Raven, 2 Goldcrests and 170 Linnets.

A missed call from Bob Self along with news on the pager that the Barred Warbler had been seen again at Seaford Head (after a two day absence) seemed a reasonable alternative to further sites at Beachy and JK and I headed over, as much for a change of scenery as with any real expectation of seeing it.  We arrived at Hope Gap to find some observers wandering off and the Barred Warbler not having been seen for an hour and a half.  The area was very daunting but we had only been there 20 minutes when Bob saw it again further up the track.  It had disappeared again, something it was making a habit of much to Bob's consternation.  Knowing it was likely to still be in the immediate area a bit of playback was tried and it came in to investigate giving good views by the path.  Also on Seaford Head we saw 29 Little Egrets, a Brent Goose on the sea, 2 Buzzards, 35 Swallows, Yellow Wagtail in a sheep field, Reed Warbler, 3 Blackcaps and 5 Chiffchaffs.

Barred Warbler in Hope Gap showing pale covert edges.  A very nice find for Bob Self and my first in Sussex for nine years

indistinctly barred flanks just about discernible in this image as is the pale iris
darker edges to undertail coverts evident in this image 
in Spotted Flycatcher pose

paler edges to coverts and indistinct barring on the flanks just about visible
Barred Warblers in Britain are normally expected to be disoriented juveniles but the pale eye suggests otherwise for this individual

Brent Goose on the sea off Hope Gap, Winter is coming
Comma taking advantage of an Indian summer
Birling Gap and Belle Tout from above Seaford Head cottages
cliff-fall central yet there always seems to be someone (barely visible in this image) that stands close to the edge

A high tide walk around the Adur with Megan produced 8 Little Egrets, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Greenshank and 45 Redshank on the saltings by the houseboats, 49 Turnstones roosting on boats by the Norfolk Bridge, 2 Kingfishers, 30 Swallows (flying east) and a Chiffchaff.  A nice end to an enjoyable day.

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