Sunday, 12 October 2014

Tidemills/Hope Gap and Beachy (11-12 October)

Sunday 12 October.  This date last year was my best ever for Ring Ouzels with over 400 seen in the Beachy/Crowlink area.  A repeat was VERY unlikely but a bit of east in the forecast gave me some encouragement of seeing at least one or two before the afternoon rain arrived.  I met John King at Birling at 07:15 and we covered most of the areas on Beachy Head.  We did see two Ring Ouzels, one in Shooter's Bottom and one in the Hotel Garden.  They were my first of the year, but an impressive passage of Goldfinches (c900E) was probably the day's highlight.  We also saw 2 Golden Plover, 41 Stock Doves, 39 Sky Larks, 80 Swallows, 26 House Martins, 21 Pied Wagtails, 17 Stonechats, Wheatear, 3 Blackcap, 38 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, 4 Jay, a flock of 17 Magpies, 6 Ravens, 110 Linnets, 7 Reed Buntings and 3 Yellowhammers.  On my way home, with last year in mind, I had a quick look around Crowlink, seeing 12 Stock Doves, 10 Swallows, 2 house martins and 8 Chiffchaffs before it started raining.  Also at Crowlink a 'flying away' view of the radio tagged, jessed, escaped large falcon that had been seen in late September.

Wheatear at Beachy
I don't envy it the journey it faces
hope it makes it back next spring
Saturday 11 October.  Heavy showers forecast from mid morning made looking for the Tawny Pipit near Newhaven Tidemills first thing seem like a good option.  It was still present and I also saw 50 Swallows, a Whinchat, 3 Wheatears, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs and a Raven.  I left at 10:00 when the pipit flew out of sight over the warehouses with black clouds rapidly approaching from the southwest.  With a reasonable selection of migrants around I headed for Seaford Head barn, being a closer option than Birling, and after a short wait for a heavy shower to pass over I walked the Hope Gap/Harry's Bush circuit.  This was disappointing with 15 Swallows, 5 House Martins, 9 Blackcaps, 35 Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldcrests and 8 Long-tailed Tits.  Little was seen on an afternoon walk by the Adur with Megan - the tide was only just dropping with a Curlew by the houseboats, 58 Turnstones roosting on boats by Norfolk Bridge and a brief view of a Kingfisher.

Tawny Pipit at Newhaven Tidemills
a quick runner and not the easiest bird to digiscope

storm approaching Tidemills, sufficient to split the east Pier in two!

Friday 10 October.  2 Peregrines on Southwick Power Station chimney.

Thursday 9 October.  Drove to work and called in at the Adur on my way home.  The tide was still falling and few gulls were seen, only 15 Ringed Plover but 31 Dunlin.

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