Monday, 11 May 2015

Seaford and Holkham (10 May)

Sunday 10 May.  My third successive morning with John King seawatching at Seaford in the vain hope of seeing some Pomarine Skuas.  Even one would have been nice.  Each day was successively worse and the first was pretty poor to start with.  Two hours was about all we could take and we decided to try Seaford Head before giving it another go.  Matt Eade had a similar idea but was an hour ahead of us and reappeared at Splash Point just as we were thinking of leaving.  We saw at least 4 of the spotted Flycatchers he had had in Harry's Bush and scoped the Spoonbill but a pager message about a mobile and elusive Citril finch in Norfolk had us heading back to Splash in the hope of more positive news.  Little was forthcoming in an even quieter hour's seawatch then it was reportedly seen again in the same area.  Matt and JK were keen to go and it didn't take much twisting of my arm to join them.  Matt drove, so we made excellent time, stopping to pick up Mick Davis at Pease Pottage.  We arrived at Lady Anne's Drive just before 3pm and then had a 25 minute route march to where the bird had been seen.   It was all I could do to keep up with Matt and was very glad he decided not to run!  We arrived and had just found a position when the bird was picked up flying towards us.  It did a big circuit showing its colours but no critical detail before dropping out of sight.  We had seen the bird but it wasn't really an acceptable view. Fortunately it was relocated about 10 minutes later when it gave good 'scope views and allowed me to get the record shots below.  We then left, calling in on a trip of Dotterel just SW of Titchwell after rather more diversions for a closed road that would have been necessary with adequate signing. The Dotterel were distant, in haze, and at the brow of a field.  There were/had been 24 but the most I could convince myself of counting in a single scan was 21 and 2 of those might have been stones - although they appeared to have moved on a later scan.  Certainly at least 19.  Matt drove us back to Seaford with a Barn Owl on the way and I was home by 22:20.  An excellent day (thanks for twisting my arm and some epic driving Matt), great company and a superb bird.  Much better than seawatching!

Citril Finch at Holkham.  It spent almost an hour feeding unobtrusively in a fairly open glade at the extreme western end of the pines allowing good scope views - better than these images suggest!  It was unringed and in immaculate plumage.

the olive green rather than a brownish mantle rules out Corsican Citril (see below)
Corsican Citril, Col de Sorba, 9 May 2013 (see

My seawatch records for 8-10 May are as follows.  My arrival on 8th being just too late to pick up 2 Avocets that were flying east while I later missed two Swifts.

08-May-15 09-May-15 10-May-15 10-May-15
06:40-14:30 06:15-10:15 06:15-08:15 10:00-11:00
diver sp. 1E
Great Crested Grebe 1E
Fulmar 40+
Gannet 7E:7W 10E:3W 18E:3W
Brent Goose 1E 2E
Shoveler 2E
Eider 1m on beach
Common Scoter 154E 38E 8E:9W 34E
Red-breasted Merg 2E:3W
Marsh Harrier 1f in
Peregrine 1
Oystercatcher 24E:1W 3E:8W
Grey Plover 3E
Knot 3E
Sanderling 2E
Whimbrel 42E 1E
Bar-tailed Godwit 29E
Great Skua 1E 2E
Arctic Skua 4E (1p3d) 1E (d)
Black-headed Gull 15E
Kittiwake 400+
Sandwich Tern 40E 18E 13E:3W
Common Tern 3E
Little Tern 1E
auk sp. 2E 1E:1o/s
Swallow 47 in 21 in 14 in
House Martin 2 in 2 in
Rock Pipit 1
Raven 1


  1. This Citril Finch is a real grip as I heard about it while in China!

  2. I'd rather have been in China:-)


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