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Friday, 30 August 2013

Autumn Lady's-Tresses - Birling Gap 30/8/13

My 31st (and last) Orchid species of 2013 was seen today. This Autumn Lady's Tresses was one of many at Birling Gap today, though there are still many to come into flower. Of the 31 species, 5 have been new for me which are: 1- Sword-leaved Helleborine, 2- Marsh Helleborine, 3- Green-flowered Helleborine, 4- Narrow-lipped Helleborine and the 5th being the very rare Military Orchid.
 
2 new hybrids for me this year. The first was the Lady x Monkey Orchid and the second being a Common Spotted x Frog Orchid.
 
Next year I am aiming to hopefully clean up on what's left to see. 
 
Autumn Lady's Tresses at Birling Gap

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 29/8/13

The offshore fog, clear, warm conditions seemed perfect this morning for a fall of birds, though the numbers never reached record breaking totals. Totals are:

Pied Flycatcher - 3
Spotted Flycatcher - 3
Wheatear - 16
Whinchat - 13
Redstart - 5
Tree Pipit - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 28
Nightingale - 2
Whitethroat - 65
Lesser Whitethroat - 5
Blackcap - 22
Garden Warbler - 3
Willow Warbler - 5
Chiffchaff - 2
Reed Warbler - 3

An evening walked down the east side of the Cuckmere again produced the following:

Curlew Sandpiper - 3
Greenshank - 2
Green Sandpiper - 1 (finally a Wader on the scrape!!)
Whinchat - 7
Wheatear - 14
Kingfisher - 1


Pied Flycatcher on Seaford Head

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 28/8/13

A good morning on the Head this morning with plenty of other observers present. A good selection of stuff, with yet more Flycatchers present. It felt very autumnal this morning with a fresh NE wind blowing. Only half the circuit was covered with totals of:

Pied Flycatcher - 3
Spotted Flycatcher - 4
Redstart - 3
Wheatear - 6
Yellow Wagtail - 40
Whitethroat - 30
Lesser Whitethroat - 10
Garden Warbler - 2
Reed Warbler - 3
Willow Warbler - 23
Chiffchaff - 1

Cuckmere Haven - 5.30pm onwards

Curlew Sandpiper - 3 juvs
Whinchat - 8
Wheatear - 11

 3 Curlew Sandpipers with 2 Dunlin
Whinchats in the Cuckmere

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Climping - Booted Warbler 27/8/13

It turns out the Hippolais/Iduna Warbler seen yesterday was in fact a BOOTED WARBLER. My initial impression, and continued impression that the bird was a Sykes's Warbler was wrong unfortunately. Although I was leaning more towards Sykes's due to my personnel thoughts on the bill, facial pattern, overall colouration and tail length being suggestive of this species, my concerns after flicking through certain literature regarding the tertial patterning and primary projection proved to be too much in favour of Booted. However other photos have shown the features suggestive of Booted which I didn't manage to capture. An average percentage of the exposed primary projection comes in at roughly 51%, which is slightly longer than what would be expected in a Sykes's.

None the less, a cracking bird for the county only being the 5th record for Sussex, and very pleased to have been part of this very educational bird, even if I failed to id. the bird correctly. Maybe when I eventually see a Sykes's it will all be so straight forward........no chance!!

 



Booted Warbler at Climping

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Seaford Head 25/8/13

A bit more blustery today and it was still raining, but soon brightened up towards the end of the circuit. No sign of the Wryneck, but it could easily be hiding. None of the east coast goodies had made it down here yet. Totals are:

Marsh Harrier - 1 2nd summer male
Pied Flycatcher - 1 1st winter
Tree Pipit - 1
Wheatear - 6
Whinchat - 4
Nightingale - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 24
Whitethroat - 34
Lesser Whitethroat - 5
Blackcap - 2
Willow Warbler- 7
Sedge Warbler - 1
Swallow - 30
Sand Martin - 1

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Swallowtail Butterfly in Sussex 24/8/13

Twitched the nearby Swallowtail this evening on Windover Hill at Deap Dean. This continental form being much different in appearance then the Norfolk form. Unfortunately the light was bad and it was chucking it down.
 



Seaford Head 24/8/13

The heavy rain finally brought in a new wave of fresh migrants. Warbler numbers are still down apart from the ever numerous Whitethroats. The circuit was roughly covered five times over a 9 hour period with very little overlap of numbers seen, but lots of rain. As usual the star of the show decides to show itself to the non-patch workers and that bird was a Wryneck which showed well, and settled down just east of Hope Gap.

Combined totals from Bob and myself are:

Wryneck - 1
Pied Flycatcher - 4
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Wheatear - 19
Whinchat - 18
Yellow Wagtail - 15
Redstart - 4
Whitethroat - 73
Lesser Whitethroat - 5
Blackcap - 8
Garden Warbler - 1
Willow Warbler - 21
Reed Warbler - 3
Stonechat - 1
Swallow - 50


 Wryneck in Hope Gap
Pied Flycatcher

Friday, 23 August 2013

Seaford Head 23/8/13

Not much to say about this morning really. Swallows are starting to move at last, helped on by the NE wind blowing. As the temperature started to rise, no migrants were seen at all. Totals are:

Snipe - 1
Redstart - 1
Tree Pipit - 3
Yellow Wagtail - 19
Wheatear - 9
Whinchat - 1
Whitethroat - 21
Lesser Whitethroat - 6
Garden Warbler - 3
Blackcap - 3
Reed Warbler - 3
Chiffchaff - 2
Swallow - 85
Sand Martin - 5
Common Buzzard - 1

 juv. Green Woodpecker in Hope Gap
Buzzard over Cottages

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Seaford Head 21/8/13

With the wind reverting back round to a light SW, it was to no surprise that no new 'continental' migrants were seen today, and with the clear night, all of yesterdays birds had departed, which left little in the way of any excitement. The highlight was a Hen Harrier over the cliff edge and then in the sheep field, but of a more interesting note were how few Willow Warblers there were. Totals are:

Hen Harrier - 1 (having been told of this sighting we quickly went back to the cliff edge and had good views before it flew off strongly west)
Tree Pipit - 1
Redstart - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 11
Wheatear - 5
Whinchat - 1
Nightingale - 2
Whitethroat - 42
Lesser Whitethroat - 5
Blackcap - 18
Garden Warbler - 6
Willow Warbler - 4
Chiffchaff - 1
Reed Warbler - 3
Swallow - 20
Swift - 3
Sand Martin - 5



 Hen Harrier over Hope Gap
Garden Warbler in Hope Gap

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Pied Flycatchers - Seaford Head 20/8/13

A superb evening was spent photographing the Pied Flycatchers near South Hill Barn, Seaford Head today (see post below for the days totals). The majority of the time the birds were no further then 10 metres from me and often came much closer, occasionally feeding on the ground and hovering around me. A series of shots below.







Seaford Head 20/8/13

Despite the slow start, the morning totals weren't that bad. I assume a big clear out this week will occur with the constant clear nights and very settled conditions, and no doubt the Blackcaps will arrive in force soon. Totals are:

Pied Flycatcher - 4
Redstart - 3
Wheatear - 3
Whinchat - 5
Tree Pipit - 3
Hobby - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 20
Whitethroat - 40
Lesser Whitethroat - 4
Garden Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Willow Warbler - 22
Chiffchaff - 4
Reed Warbler - 9
Sedge Warbler - 1
Swallow - 200
Sand Martin - 10

Yesterday a ringtail Hen Harrier was seen north of Seaford near to Bo-Peep.

 adult Pied Flycatcher
 juv. Pied Flycatcher
 Wheatear
 Sedge Warbler
Willow Warbler

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra, Cornwall 17/8/13

I finally took the risk and drove overnight down to Cornwall in the company of Ads & Paul Bowley and Ewan Urquhart for a seawatch. I left at 11.20pm on Friday night, picked up my crew in Worthing and arrived at Portgwrararararara at 5.30am, with an hour stop in Exeter.

We had two sessions, one was 5.45am - 12.30pm and 2.30pm - 6.30pm. It is fair to say the afternoon session was excellent, with both large Shears coming close in due to the grotty weather. During these sessions, we got saturated by rain and windblown, and the umbrella we had soon got ruined.

We left around 6.45pm and I arrived back home just before midnight. A great day.

Totals are:

CORY'S SHEARWATER - 3
GREAT SHEARWATER - 10 (a couple of birds only 200 metres out, 1 even closer)
Sooty Shearwater - 3
Balearic Shearwater - 7
Manx Shearwater - ca. 600
Storm-Petrel - 15
Great Skua - 4
Chough - 2

Basking Shark - 2 (swimming very close inshore)
Ocean Sunfish - 1

 Gwennap Head
Ewan (left) & Ads


Basking Shark by Ads Bowley

Friday, 16 August 2013

Seaford Head & Cuckmere 16/8/13

Pretty bleak up on the Head today as the moderate SW wind blew. Migrants were typically thin on the ground and even in sheltered spots there was limited activity. A good variety of Waders in the Cuckmere made up for it. Totals are:

Wheatear - 5
Whinchat - 1 present for its 9th day!!
Nightingale - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 3
Whitethroat - 10
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Willow Warbler - 5

Curlew Sandpiper - 1 juv
Greenshank - 1 juv
Grey Plover - 1 adult in s/p
Green Sandpiper - 1
Ringed Plover - 5
Curlew - 56

 juv Curlew Sandpiper in the Cuckmere
Grey Plover in the Cuckmere

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Seaford Head 14/8/13

Slightly better today with a small increase of Sylvia Warblers. The weather was great, but a very clear night didn't drop that many new migrants. 3 Clouded Yellows seen today. Totals are:

Black Redstart - 1 imm. male
Redstart - 2
Tree Pipit - 4
Wheatear - 3
Snipe - 1
Nightingale - 2
Whitethroat - 38
Lesser Whitethroat - 7
Garden Warbler - 6
Blackcap - 10
Willow Warbler - 35
Chiffchaff - 3
Reed Warbler - 7
Sedge Warbler - 1
Sand Martin - 29
Swallow - 15

 Willow Warbler in Hope Gap
 Garden Warbler in Hope Gap - the very fresh tertial tips, primaries
and straw-coloured iris would indicate this bird as a juvenile.
Reed Warbler in Hope Gap

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Seaford Head 13/8/13

A cooler morning influenced by the light to moderate northerly wind blowing, which unfortunately grounded a few Willow Warblers, but very little else. On arrival a couple of Willows were already departing north. 2 Clouded Yellows were the only Butterflies of note. Totals are:

Tree Pipit - 3
Wheatear - 2
Whinchat - 1 same individual from previous days
Nightingale - 2
Whitethroat - 37
Lesser Whitethroat - 6
Willow Warbler - 45
Chiffchaff - 1
Reed Warbler - 4
Sedge Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Black-tailed Godwit - 2 flew west along cliff edge
Turnstone - 1 with the Godwits
House Martin - 2
Swallow - 30
Sand Martin - 1

 Willow Warbler by Coastguard Cottages
 Clouded Yellow
Gold-Spot caught in overnight moth trap

Monday, 12 August 2013

Seaford Head 12/8/13

Yet again perfect conditions first thing, but the windy night probably didn't send any migrants down our way, hence the small numbers of migrants recorded. Some new Chiffchaffs had arrived which is slightly concerning, surely it can't nearly be September. Totals are:

Tree Pipit - 1
Nightingale - 3
Wheatear - 1
Whitethroat - 40
Lesser Whitethroat - 6
Reed Warbler - 5
Sedge Warbler - 1
Willow Warbler - 25
Chiffchaff - 5
Blackcap - 4
Swallow - 40
Sand Martin - 19
Greenshank - 4 flew over South Hill Barn

 Willow Warbler
 Whitethroat
Greenshank over the Barn

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Seaford Head 11/8/13

A quick wander for a couple of hours up to midday just to check if anything of note was around proved to be quiet. The strong wind certainly keeping birds down. However the common migrants seen were:

Whitethroat - 20
Lesser Whitethroat - 1 + 1 immature found dead.
Willow Warbler - 4
Chiffchaff - 2
Blackcap - 3
Swallow - 50

 Willow Warbler by Harry's Bush
Stranded !!!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Seaford Head 10/8/13

Much quieter this morning despite what felt like perfect conditions. However there was an increase in Nightingale numbers, and a Clouded Yellow was seen as well. Totals are:

Wheatear - 1
Whinchat - 1 - same bird from Thursday
Nightingale - 5
Whitethroat - 49
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Willow Warbler - 24
Reed Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 3
Garden Warbler - 1

Fox by Harry's Bush

Friday, 9 August 2013

Violet Helleborines 9/8/13

One of my favourite Orchids seen today. About 33 Violet Helleborines were counted near Hastings this morning, however it will be next week when they will be at their best.

For those that aren't too keen on Orchids, I only have one more species to see this year!!!


Violet Helleborines nr Hastings