Friday, 19 April 2019

Seaford seawatch (19 April 2019)

Friday 19 April. I arrived at Splash Point at 05:55, five minutes before JK. We'd both been undecided about visiting with more NE winds forecast and independently woke up early and gave it a go. It was a good decision with an enjoyable 4 hour watch although the last half hour was very slow. During this time I saw 17 Brent Geese, 13 Shoveler, 4 Teal, a flock of 6 Eider (4 males), 122 Common Scoter, a Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Red-throated Divers, 36 Gannets, a Red Kite (over Seaford), 4 Oystercatchers, 2 Avocets (08:06), 21 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 5 Arctic Skuas (4 dark, 1 pale), 18 Bar-tailed Godwits, 60 Black-headed, 51 Little and 35 Mediterranean Gulls, 117 Sandwich and 18 distant Common/Arctic Terns flying east. Also North Thames Herring Gull D5VT was briefly on the groyne and the Black Redstart singing from behind the car park  while 2 Wood Pigeons, a Sand Martin, 2 Swallows, a Yellow Wagtail, a probable White Wagtail and 7 pipits came in. After the seawatch JK and I went up to Hope Gap which was quite but scoping from near Harry's Bush revealed a very distant juvenile Spoonbill on the scrape on the east side of Cuckmere Haven.
moonset at Splash Point, 06:00
Stonechat in Hope Gap
Thursday 18 April. The best birds I saw during an enjoyable morning with DB on Ashdown Forest were 2 Wood Larks, 2 House Martins, 1-2 Dartford Warblers, 9+ Redstarts, 3+ Tree Pipits and 10 Redpolls although Cuckoo was only heard.
Kestrel in Ashdown Forest
male Redpoll 
male Redstart
Wednesday 17 April. My car was due to go into the garage so I couldn't go far. A look up our road showed it to be misty so I headed for Mill Hill rather than the coast. I saw 2 Swallows, a male Redstart, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 3 Blackcaps and a Yellowhammer making it my most worthwhile visit this spring although later seawatching reports suggested the coast could have been interesting with a good movement of Mediterranean Gulls.
view west from Mill Hill
male Yellowhammer on Mill Hill
Tuesday 16 April. I took Cookie down to Shoreham Fort. Visibility wasn't particularly good out to sea and little was moving although a flock of 6 Mediterranean Gulls flew E. A male Wheatear was on the beach and a Peregrine on Southwick Power Station just about visible.  

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