Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Beachy and Beeding Hill (27-29 September)

Tuesday 29 September. Frank Lambert and I visited Beachy covering most of the sites between Birling and Whitbread Hollow in almost nine hours from 07:00. We saw a late Swift (hunting over the Cliff Path), 3 Sparrowhawks, 2 Buzzards, 3 Ravens, 60 Swallows, 40 House Martins, 85 Chiffchaffs, single Sedge, Reed and Grasshopper Warblers, 53 Blackcaps, 3 Goldcrests, 41 Stonechats, a single Wheatear, 80 Meadow and 2 Tree Pipits, 25 Chaffinches, 110 Goldfinches, 40 Linnets and two flocks totalling about 20 Siskins. The early promise of good numbers of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in the mist in Shooters Bottom didn't materialise for us and enjoyable as it usually is walking around Beachy we ended up a little disappointed with our haul.

Sparrowhawk in Frances Bottom, one of three seen at Beachy today

Sedge Warbler in Frances Bottom

Meadow Pipit in Frances Bottom, the two Tree Pipits we saw were calling flyovers

Wheatear near Birling

we only saw one all day

it took eight hours to find

Raven near Birling

very impressive up close

Monday 28 September. I took Cookie to Beeding Hill where we walked to Thundersbarrow, Truleigh Hill escarpment and back around Room Bottom. Stonechats were the order of the day and I counted 32 although at times it was hard to keep track of them 30-36. Also seen was a Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, 2 Buzzards, Green Woodpecker, 8 Kestrels, Raven, 14 Sky Larks, 25 Swallows, 9 Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcaps, a Whinchat, 8 Wheatears, 125 Meadow Pipits, 60 Linnets, 20 Goldfinches, a flock of 30 Siskins flying north and a Yellowhammer while a Yellow Wagtail was heard. 

Stonechat at Beeding Hill

Whinchat at Beeding Hill

Stonechat at Thundersbarrow

Wheatear at Truleigh Hill

Stonechat at Truleigh Hill

Clouded Yellow at Truleigh Hill

Sunday 27 September. Megan and I took Cookie to Rackham seeing 8 Red-legged Partridges and a Green Woodpecker on the drive in. Once there a distant barrage of shooting had Cookie dashing back to the car so we indulged her and went instead to Rewell Woods. We saw presumably the same flock of 7 Crossbills flying over twice (the second time one was seen perched briefly) and 3 Marsh Tits in between - more than we usually manage at Rackham.

Rewell Woods

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Beachy and Shoreham (23-26 September)

Saturday 26 September. I woke early and as much for a change of scenery as with any great expectations drove to Birling arriving at 07:00. The NW wind was stronger than expected which didn't bode well. I wandered around until 16:00 visiting Michell Dene, Cliff Path, Frances Bottom, Cow Gap, Whitbread Hollow, the Rides, Hotel Garden, Shooter's Bottom, Bulling Dene and Crowlink. I saw Marsh Harrier, 5 Sparrowhawks, 2 Buzzards, 4 Green Woodpeckers, Peregrine, 45 Swallows, 115 House Martins, 16 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, 56 Stonechats, 16 Wheatears, 14 Pied Wagtails, 450 Meadow Pipits and 62 Siskins.

Wheatear at Birling

Chiffchaff at Birling

Peregrine at Beachy

female Common Darter at Beachy (thanks to DB for ID)

Marsh Harrier at Beachy

Stonechat a Beachy

one of 56 seen today, my highest day count ever

Wheatear at Beachy

Wheatear at Crowlink

Friday 25 September. I took Cookie to various sites around Shoreham seeing 29 Turnstones, 3 Sandwich Terns, a juvenile Shag, 2 Kingfishers and a Rock Pipit around the Fort, Chffchaff, 12 Pied Wagtails and a heard only Siskin by Adur Rec and 34 Ringed Plovers on the river opposite the airport. Small flocks of Meadow Pipits, totalling 16 came in off the sea at the Fort and Widewater.

Kingfisher on the inner jetty at Shoreham Harbour

juvenile Sandwich Tern in Shoreham Harbour, 2 adults were present nearby

juvenile Shag in Shoreham Harbour

Thursday 24 September. After a miserable day a low tide visit to the Adur was all I managed. It produced 17 Ringed Plover and 200 Herring Gulls including G2JT.

North Thames Herring Gull G2JT roosting on the Adur opposite Ricardos

It was ringed in its first calendar year at Pitsea Tip in Essex in November 2014. In 2015 it was recorded at Shoreham Harbour in January, Pitsea again and then Beddingham SF in Surrey in October and on the Adur then Beddingham in November. In 2016 it was seen again at Beddingham in January and Pitsea in February. It was at the Thames Barrier Park in August 2017 and on the Adur in December 2019 and January 2020

Wednesday 23 September. Megan and I took Cookie to Lancing Ring and walked around Steepdown. We saw 30 Sky Larks, 6 Long-tailed Tits, 17 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, 3 Swallows, 2 male Stonechats, 19 Meadow Pipits and 45 Corn Buntings.

Corn Bunting at Steepdown

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Still local (19-22 September)

Tuesday 22 September. I took Cookie up to Mill Hill and spent 07:30-08:10 looking for yesterday's Spotted Flycatchers without success. I saw 20 House Martins, 8 Chiffchaffs, 30 Blackcaps, 3 Whitethoats, 20+ Blackbirds, 5 Song Thrushes and 2 Bullfinches and heard Siskin. We drove on to Beeding Hill and walked the triangle around it from 08:20-11:50, visiting the escarpment behind Truleigh Hill. This produced Great Spotted Woodpecker, 7 Kestrels, 2 Jays, 2 Ravens, 21 Sky Larks, 3 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Whitethoats, Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whinchats, 17 Stonechats, 14 Wheatears, 14 alba Wagtails (several White contenders) , 105 Meadow Pipits, 115 Linnets and a Yellowhammer. I also heard Siskin

one of several Wheatears on Beeding Hill

Sky Lark on Beeding Hill, the first time this autumn I've seen any number (21) on this circuit

Stonechat on Beeding Hill, my highest count (17) on this circuit 

Whinchat near Truleigh Hill

most have gone through by now so nice to see three today

potential White Wagtail on Truleigh Hill

Spotted Flycatcher on Truleigh Hill escarpment

Monday 21 September. Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill. We were a little later than usual and were astounded to see hundreds of Common Blue butterflies resting on grass stems to catch the sun. We estimated at least 400 were west of the path between the lower car park and the steps. Returning an hour later many fewer were present (50, if that). There were at least 150 along the lower path and 50 around the top. We also crossed paths with 9-10 Clouded Yellows. Birds seen included Sparrowhawk, Jay, 30 Swallows, 50 House Martins, 4 ChiffchaffsReed Warbler, 4 Blackcaps, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher (6 were seen soon after), a very distant Whinchat, 3 Stonechats and 10 Meadow Pipits while Siskins were heard. I didn't find time to return to look for the Spotted Flycatchers, cycling into Hove for a dental appointment.

Common Blue on Mill Hill, one of at least 600 seen

Clouded Yellow on Mill Hill

Reed Warbler on Mill Hill

Spotted Flycatcher on Mill Hill

at the time I was pleased with one, until I learnt that I'd missed another five

Sunday 20 September
. Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands. It was busy and predictably few birds were seen - just 2 Buzzards, Green Woodpecker, 6 Swallows and a Chiffchaff with 2 Cetti's Warblers heard.

Saturday 19 September. I took Cookie up for a quick look around Mill Hill where we saw Jay, Swallow, 13 Chiffchaffs, 7 Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, 5 Mistle Thrushes and 45 Siskins (flying east in two flocks). Late morning with Megan we met my sister Anna and her husband Ian in Pycombe and walked up to Wolstenbury. We saw Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20 Swallows, 2 Blackcaps, a Yellow Wagtail and 7 Siskins. We finished the day with a short walk along Shoeham beach boardwalk seeing nothing of note.

Chiffchaff on Mill Hill

Megan and Anna at Wolstenbury with Truleigh Hill and Chanctonbury in the distance

Newtimber Hill from Wolstenbury

Jack and Jill from Wolsenbury