Snow Petrel - Antarctic Ocean 2016

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Monday, 31 August 2015

Seaford Head 31/8/15

With thunderstorms through the night I was expecting too much for this morning, hence it was slightly disappointing in terms of migrant numbers.. I did two visits today, the afternoon being obviously quieter but thankfully warmer so Flycatchers were more evident, but the highlight was a Marsh Harrier over Harry's Bush. No sign of the Wryneck all day.

Totals for the day (no repetition of sightings included)

Wood Sandpiper - 1 flew west this morning
Wheatear - 11
Whinchat - 4
Firecrest - 4 together in Hope Gap
Tree Pipit - 3
Grey Wagtail - 1
Whitethroat - 30
Lesser Whitethroat - 6
Blackcap - 40
Garden Warbler - 2
Willow Warbler - 12
Chiffchaff - 4
Reed Warbler - 7
Spotted Flycatcher - 6
Redstart - 5
Yellow Wagtail - 9
Swift - 2
Marsh Harrier - 1 fem type at 5pm

 Firecrest in Hope Gap
 trio of Spotted Flycatcher by Harry's Bush

 Marsh Harrier over Harry's Bush
Swift over Harry's Bush



Sunday, 30 August 2015

Seaford Head 30/8/15

What started off to be an average morning, soon turned into one of the best mornings of the autumn so far. The highlight was finding my second Wryneck of the autumn, this time an individual with no tail. There was also a nice selection of other migrants knocking about, Throughout the morning there was a good passage of Hirundines, mainly Swallows and House Martins, and in Hope Gap the first wave of Blackcaps had arrived.

Totals are:

Wryneck - 1 in scrub between Hope Gap and coastguards
Wheatear - 10
Whinchat - 4
Yellow Wagtail - 66
Pied Flycatcher - 2
Spotted Flycatcher - 2
Redstart - 5
Whitethroat - 54
Lesser Whitethroat - 14
Blackcap - ca. 100
Garden Warbler - 3
Reed Warbler - 7
Sedge Warbler - 3
Willow Warbler - 10
Chiffchaff - 4
Firecrest - 1 in Harry's Bush
Snipe - 1
Hobby - 1 juv NE
Swift - 1
Swallow & House Martin - ca. 1000

 Firecrest in Harry's Bush
 Whinchat in Gropper Field

a short-tailed Wryneck - initially flushed from dense meadow in the Gropper field, it fortunately sat out for a couple of long distance pics.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Splash Point 26/8/15

A very productive two hour seawatch this afternoon, after finishing work and realising just how many Balearics must be up this end of the Channel. Also nice to see a couple of Tern flocks, a feature that was somewhat missing from this spring. 

Totals between 15.25-17.25 (Wind S veering SW 5)

Balearic Shearwater - 6 (4W & 2E) 
Arctic Skua - 3E (2DP & 1LP)
Black Tern - 9E
Common Tern - 90E
Gannet - small numbers lingering

Times for Balearics below:

1 West at 15.31
2 East at 16.58
3 West at 17.06

The latter two sightings were just after a long period of heavy rain and a clear spell before the next deluge. The two birds heading east plonked themselves on the sea, and were watched up to the three birds moved west. 

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Splash Point 25/8/15

With the wind veering SE around 1pm, I decided on a seawatch between 13.20-14.50 seeing the following:

Black Tern - 1
Manx Shearwater - 1
Common Tern - 18
Gannet - 25
Turnstone - 1

All birds flying East. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 24/8/15

Two visits on the Head today and once down the Cuckmere unfortunately didn't produce any surprise drift migrants, but it felt as if something was going to emerge from the bushes. The highlight of a long, wet day in the field was an Osprey flying west over the headland. Tomorrow seems to be windy from the SW so I'm not as optimistic for tomorrow like I was for today.

Totals are:

Whinchat - 1
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 14
Osprey - 1 west at 3pm
Whitethroat - 25
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Garden Warbler - 2
Willow Warbler - 6
Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 9
Swift - 20+

Cuckmere Haven:

Common Sandpiper - 12
Dunlin - 5
Kingfisher - 2
Whinchat - 2


 Osprey flying west over Seaford Head - not what I was expecting to see in heavy rain
 Spotted Flycatcher at the coastguards
Swift over Harry's Bush

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Splash Point & Seaford Head 23/8/15

With an increasing number of Balearics being seen in Devon, combined with today's SE wind, it wasn't too much of a surprise that a total of four Balearic Shearwaters passed Splash Point this morning. Although I've seen many here over seven years, my best views were certainly today, more so that the sightings were more prolonged.

Totals between 6am-9.30am are:

Balearic Shearwater - 4E (1@7.12am, 2@7.26-7.34am, 1@7.59-8.04am) The first three seen with the Bowley family from the Selsey area (many thanks Paul for picking them up nice and early), including two birds together which frequently landed on the sea. The fourth bird was for myself and was much paler then the previous three birds, and was fishing in the bay for a couple of minutes.
Gannet - 269
Common Scoter - 8
Sandwich Tern - 3
Yellow Wagtail - ca. 20

Once the sun had emerged this afternoon I went up Seaford Head seeing the following:

Pied Flycatcher - 1
Whinchat - 1
Redstart - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 50 by Harry's Bush

 Gannets passing Splash Point
a very clear photo to demonstrate all the features on a Balearic Shearwater!!!

 Pied Flycatcher at South Hill Barn
Yellow Wagtail at Harry's Bush



Friday, 21 August 2015

Seaford Head 21/8/15

Despite promising conditions, it was dire this morning. This has been the theme of this week, not just here but all along the south coast. Fingers crossed for an improvement. A few Melodious turning up on the south coast as well will certainly keep the enthusiasm in touch.

Totals are:

Wheatear - 2
Whinchat - 2
Snipe - 1 flew SW
Whitethroat - 45
Lesser Whitethroat - 12
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 8
Willow Warbler - 8!!! Dismal total for time of year
Chiffchaff - 3
Blackcap - 5
Red-breasted Merganser - 1 female sat on sea off from coastguards



Grasshopper Warbler in Hope Gap



Monday, 17 August 2015

Seaford Head, Cuckmere Haven & Bexhill 17/8/15

Not a bad day to be out in Sussex. I started off on the regular circuit seeing not very much so thankfully a call from Bob Izzard halved my morning as he had found a stonking Red-backed Shrike in the Cuckmere. Being a patch tick I went for it and got fantastic views.
As I then felt it was my turn to search for the elusive Black Stork, I left soon after seeing the Shrike and set about the task of trying to pin down the Stork around the Bexhill on Sea area. Thankfully it didn't take too long for it to fly over me and out of sight over one of the favoured haunts. Over the next five hours I saw it twice more but always at a distance. A weird bird this one, but thankfully a national influx and it being a juvenile should lie suitable for the BBRC to accept it......time will tell.

Totals for Seaford Head are:

Ring-necked Parakeet - 1
Wheatear - 4
Whinchat - 2
Tree Pipit - 1
Wood Sandpiper - 1 over with Green Sandpiper calling as it went. Nice long toe projection beyond the tail!! My first record for Seaford Head.
Whitethroat - 20
Lesser Whitethroat - 7
Willow Warbler - 19
Reed Warbler - 3
Sedge Warbler - 1
Garden Warbler - 5
Chiffchaff - 2
Yellow Wagtail - 2

Cuckmere Haven - Red-backed Shrike - 1 male (patch tick)

Bexhill on Sea - BLACK STORK - 1 Sussex Tick



 male Red-backed Shrike in the Cuckmere

 Black Stork over Bexhill on Sea - sighting 11.34am
 Emirates A380
Black Stork over Bexhill on Sea heading west - sighting 12.54pm

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Seaford Head 16/8/15

A very nice morning being slightly cooler and feeling more autumnal but this did mean there was a minor clear out of the previous days migrants. However the Wryneck was again present but is extremely elusive. It felt more like a raptor day so it wasn't a surprise that a Short-eared Owl and Marsh Harrier were seen. Another pleasant and enjoyable morning.

Totals for the morning are:

Wryneck - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 9
Wheatear - 3
Redstart - 2
Spotted Flycatcher - 2
Tree Pipit - 3
Whitethroat - 48
Lesser Whitethroat - 8
Willow Warbler - 46
Chiffchaff - 2
Garden Warbler - 3
Blackcap - 5
Reed Warbler - 9
Sedge Warbler - 2
Short-eared Owl - 1 at 9.20 going NE
Marsh Harrier - 1 fem type at 9.45 going NW

 Garden Warbler in Hope Gap
 Wryneck in Hope Gap
 male Redstart by Harry's Bush
Short-eared Owl over the coastguards

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Seaford Head 15/8/15

No real change from yesterday really apart from fewer numbers of birds about. The Wryneck was still present but eluded me, though I didn't spend a great deal of time searching for it. Wheatears have taken their time getting down here so it was nice to see my first one of the autumn this morning.

Totals for the morning are:

Red-legged Partridge - 1
Wheatear - 1
Pied Flycatcher - 3
Spotted Flycatcher - 3
Nightingale - 1
Tree Pipit - 1
Whitethroat - 43
Lesser Whitethroat - 7
Reed Warbler - 9
Willow Warbler - 48
Chiffchaff - 2
Garden Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 2
Swift - 1
Swallow - 30 west

 Spotted Flycatcher in Hope Gap
 Meadow Pipit
Wheatear between Hope Gap and Coastguards


Friday, 14 August 2015

Seaford Head 14/8/15

A great morning with plenty of migrants about, and also some bits of quality mixed in, with the highlight being a Wryneck found at the top of Hope Gap around 6.20am, but was not seen subsequently. By far the best morning of the autumn so far. Fingers crossed the next few days produces the same amount of birds.

Totals for the morning are:

Wryneck - 1 certainly my earliest autumn record
Tree Pipit - 1 first of the autumn
Redstart - 1
Pied Flycatcher - 2
Whinchat - 3
Spotted Flycatcher - 2 first of the autumn
Whitethroat - 54
Lesser Whitethroat - 10
Willow Warbler - 60
Chiffchaff - 1
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 2
Garden Warbler - 4
Reed Warbler - 7
Sedge Warbler - 2
Nightingale - 2
Green Sandpiper - 12 (incl. a flock of 10 flying west)
Swift - 1

 Wryneck in Hope Gap - hopefully the first of a few. Initially found at the top of Hope Gap when flushed off the path, fortunately it came back out for a quick snap, though the fog didn't help.
 Pied Flycatcher in Hope Gap
Whinchat in Hope Gap

Monday, 10 August 2015

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Seaford Head 8/8/15

Back to a standard morning with little variety on offer other than the nine species of Warbler seen today. First thing it was obvious a small fall of Willow Warblers had dropped in, but as usual as soon as the sun broke through the mist, pretty much all the birds departed the headland. Very little moving overhead today.

Totals are:

Nightingale - 3
Whitethroat - 22
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 10
Sedge Warbler - 2
Willow Warbler - 49
Chiffchaff - 3
Blackcap - 6
Garden Warbler - 2


 Grasshopper Warbler in Hope Gap
a Willow Warbler departing the headland early on


Friday, 7 August 2015

Seaford Head 7/8/15

As predicted, the first calm morning of the week produced a good number of birds as well as some decent stuff moving overhead. Although a juvenile Crossbill going over was noteworthy, the number of Reed Warblers was particularly good. It felt like every other bird was this species. Bob also saw a Pied Flycatcher. As the morning warmed up a small number of Hirundines were seen moving eastwards. A very nice morning to be out and for the first time this autumn it felt as if stuff was finally moving.

Totals are:

Crossbill - 1 juv for 10 minutes in Hope Gap
Golden Plover - 1 adult flew west
Whitethroat - 35
Lesser Whitethroat - 9
Nightingale - 2
Reed Warbler - 22
Sedge Warbler - 2
Willow Warbler - 40
Garden Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 4
House Martin - 2 east
Swallow - ca. 75
Sand Martin - ca. 50


 Reed Warblers in Hope Gap

 a streaky juv Crossbill over Hope Gap

Willow Warblers in Hope Gap

Thursday, 6 August 2015

West Sussex - Orchids & Brown Hairstreak 6/8/15

A trip to a site near Storrington to look for an Orchid that was originally claimed as a Narrow-lipped Helleborine last week which would be the first in Sussex for decades, unfortunately proved to be a Broad-leaved Helleborine, but a variation in this species I haven't seen before, so certainly an educating Orchid.

I must admit on seeing it for real it didn't look quite the ticket with the labellum being more rounded then what I remember from the Narrow-lipped I saw in the Chilterns a few years ago. Also both perianth segments were also more rounded then long, although it appeared more Violet like then Broad-leaved, but online experts are happy with B-l Hell. Also nearby was a single Green-flowered Helleborine which was roughly 10cm tall, so presumably these are having a poor year locally.

Afterwards a trip to the Downslink produced a single Brown Hairstreak.

This evening a short seawatch down Splash Point produced the following:

Balearic/Manx Shearwater - 1 E at 6.30pm - too distant to be sure but it felt more Balearic like.
Sandwich Tern - 1
Gannet - ca. 25


 Brown Hairstreak along Downslink north of Henfield
 Comma

Broad-leaved Helleborine - so much variation in this species doesn't make things any easier