Thursday, 30 July 2020

Forays into East Sussex (29-30 July)

Thursday 30 July. I took Frank Lambert over to Beachy, arriving at 06:15. We spent an enjoyable six hours there, mostly at the eastern end of the head but also walking from Birling around Belle Tout. By then it was very hot and quite busy, and seeing little we called it a day. We saw a pair of Red-legged Partridges with 6 young, 4 Swifts, juvenile Yellow-legged Gull (flying west below Icky ridge), 2 Buzzards, 2 Peregrines (one carrying a feral pigeon), 20+ Sand Martins, 2 Swallows, Chiffchaff, 11 Willow Warblers, 3 Grasshopper Warblers (all seen well in Frances Bottom), 2 Reed Warblers, Blackcap, 2 Lesser and 30 Common Whitethroats, 2 Redstarts (Belle Tout and Frances Bottom), 11 Stonechats and a Corn Bunting. Lots of Chalkhill Blues, several Walls and a Silver-spotted Skipper were the main butterflies seen. At home the 2 young Herring Gulls were seen.
Grasshopper Warbler in Frances Bottom
too slow with the camera again
the same bird in the next bush

Redstart in Frances Bottom
Peregrine carrying off unfortunate feral pigeon

Stonechat at Beachy

Wednesday 29 July. I saw 2 Oystercatchers, 3 Dunlin and 3 Little Egrets on the Adur and 15 distant House Martins over Lancing College before David Buckingham took me over to the Cuckmere. We walked down to the sea and were very surprised to see the river didn't reach it. It was rather quiet although we eventually saw 19 Dunlin, Common and Green Sandpipers, Redshank, 25+ Little Egrets, Buzzard, Peregrine, Green Woodpecker, 2 Ravens, 55 Sand Martins, 2 Swallows, Reed Warbler, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Stonechats and 6 Rock Pipit. Walking back to the car David found a Southern Migrant Hawker at a small pool. We went on to Windover Hill and Deep Dean, stopping to look unsuccessfully for Cattle Egrets on the way. Views fro Windover Hill were superb and at Deep Dean we saw about 10 Graylings (the day's target), a smart Silver-spotted Skipper and hundreds of Chalkhill Blues. Also 2 Swifts, Green Woodpecker, 6 Kestrels, 3 Ravens, 2 Willow Warblers and a Wheatear. Back home the 2 young and 2 juvenile Herring Gulls were seen as were 2 Swifts.
Little Egret showing off in the Cuckmere

Cuckmere Haven, tide about half way out
the River Cuckmere
where the River Cuckmere ends
Stonechat at Cuckmere Haven
Whitethroat in Cuckmere
Ruddy Darter
Common Darter
Emerald Damselfly
Southern Migrant Hawker
a new dragonfly for David (most we saw were new for me, a complete novice)

Deep Dean

a bit of colour as one flew out of shot

Silver-spotted Skipper at Deep Dean

looking N from Windover Hill

Chalkhill Blues on Windover Hill

Tuesday 28 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Lancing Ring and Steepdown. For the first visit in ages we neither saw nor heard a Sky Lark. A flock of at least 40 Corn Buntings included many juveniles and we also saw 65 Swifts flying west, 3 Buzzards, 3 Willow Warblers and 2 Whitethroats. At home the 2 young Herring Gulls and 3 Swifts were seen.
part of the Corn Bunting flock with a Starling
Corn Bunting

Wall at Steepdown
rounding up sheep

one of the young Herring Gulls

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