Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock - Guyana 2017

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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 30-31/5/16

30th - Visited the Head where the only grounded migrant about was a Spotted Flycatcher in Hope Gap. A few House Martins were flying north against the strong wind. Afterwards down the Cuckmere a Common Sandpiper was along the river and a singing Reed Warbler was by the scrape. There was an obvious passage of Swifts moving north, possibly 75-100 birds involved.

31st - Went down the Cuckmere hoping the appalling conditions had dropped a Terek or something similar. A few Waders were scattered but nothing mega. The surprise was seeing the same Spoonbill again on the scrape, this time being very flighty when on occasions it flew up and out to sea before returning again several times. Maybe the Cuckmere isn't its' favourite destination and understandably so.

Totals for today:
Spoonbill - 1 immature again
Sanderling - 7
Ringed Plover - 7
Dunlin - 2
Reed Warbler - 1 singing male still

 summer-plumaged Sanderling in the Cuckmere
 Ringed Plover in the Cuckmere
 surprised to find this Spoonbill after its 3-day absence
 Common Sandpiper in the Cuckmere - no reduced wingbar there!!
male Linnet in Hope Gap

Monday, 30 May 2016

Cevennes NP - Birds and other wildlife

A very good mix of birds were seen from the Camargue area in the south, and in the Cevennes itself plus a couple of sites in between. The poorer weather in the mountains did not bode well with finding a few bits that we had hoped for (Black-eared Wheatear being one of them), but on the last day with the superb weather there was a good variety seen.

The non-avian highlight without doubt was nearly treading on a Western Whip Snake on the steep slopes of the Gorge du Tarn.

Birds highlights include:

Petit Camargue
European Roller - 1
European Bee Eater - 20+
Gull-billed Tern - 5
Whiskered Tern - 1
Great Reed Warbler - 4
Zitting Cisticola - 10
Greater Flamingo - 1000
Glossy Ibis - 10
Tree Sparrow - 4
Purple Heron - 2
Melodious Warbler - 6
Black Kite - 20
Sardinian Warbler - 1 male
Hoopoe - 3

Cevennes NP
Eurasian Griffon Vulture - 50
Golden Oriole - 4
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Crag Martin - 75
Montagu's Harrier - 1 2nd cal male
Rock Bunting - 3
Honey Buzzard - 7
Dipper - 1
Alpine Swift - 1
Tawny Pipit - 1
Western Subalpine Warbler - 1
Cirl Bunting - 20
Short-toed Eagle - 4
Stone-Curlew - 1
Chough - 2
Crested Tit - 6
Short-toed Treecreeper - 10

 Red-crested Pochard at Petit Camargue
 Crested Tit above Florac

 Griffon Vultures at Gorge du Tarn

 male Honey Buzzard above Pont de Montvert
 Short-toed Treecreeper above Pont de Montvert
 Greater Flamingo at the Camargue
 Bee-eaters at Petit Camargue
 Squacco Heron at Petit Camargue
 Whiskered Tern at Petit Camargue
Great White Egret at Petit Camargue
Western Whip Snake at Gorge du Tarn









Saturday, 28 May 2016

Cevennes NP - Orchids of late May

This is the second of three posts of my recent trip to South France with my Dad. Although Butterflies were the main targets, the area of the Cevennes was alive with Orchids, most of which are very rare or just don't occur in the UK. We managed to find one of two endemic Orchids of the Cevennes, and was probably my favourite of the bunch. Twenty species of Orchids were identified and photos of a few of these are below. Unfortunately we dipped on Red Helleborine despite going to a known site and also hiking down one side of the Gorge du Tarn and not seeing Lady's Slippers Orchid was a shame but bumping into a Western Whip Snake was worth the hike.

Species seen:

White Helleborine
Sword-leaved Helleborine
Violet Limadore - common in dark woodland
Bird's Nest Orchid
Common Twayblade
Greater Butterfly Orchid
Lesser Butterfly Orchid
Elder-flowered Orchid - rare at high elevations
Common Spotted Orchid
Man Orchid
Early Purple Orchid
Green-winged Orchid
Lady Orchid
Military Orchid - a common Orchid
Monkey Orchid
Burnt Orchid
Pyramidal Orchid
Aymonin's Orchid - endemic to Cevennes and common on Causse Mejaun
Woodcock Orchid - rare in woodland
Small Spider Orchid
Spider Orchid sp. - many!!


pale and normal Elder-flowered Orchid
 Burnt Orchid - a common Orchid
Lady Orchid - surprisingly very few of these around
 Small Spider Orchid - the 'H' formation visible on the labellum
 Military Orchid - again a very common species
 a 'yellow' Man Orchid next to a normal Man
 Violet Limadore

 Woodcock Orchid

the stunning Aymonin's Orchid or Yellow-edged Fly Orchid




Friday, 27 May 2016

Cuckmere Haven 27/5/16

A walk down the Cuckmere this evening was slightly enlivened by finding a Spoonbill on the scrape. Very little else about, not surprising given the time of year.



Thursday, 26 May 2016

Cevennes NP - Butterflies in late May

This is the first of three posts relating to my recent trip to the Cevennes NP with my Dad. The main focus originally were the Butterflies where in good springs we could have notched up around 50-60 species. But the spring as far has been cooler and therefore a reduced number of species were seen. However, a total of 32 species were identified, of which 12 were new for me. On our last day in the Cevennes, we were treated to superb conditions that allowed a good variety to be seen, and by late afternoon Dad thought to re-visit a meadow (located earlier in the day that hosted a few Fritillaries and Coppers) and found a roosting Weaver's Fritillary, and sure enough we made the most of photographing it and proved to be the highlight. Though not quite the Butterfly spectacle we had hoped for, the last day made it worth it.

Species seen are as follows:
Weaver's Fritillary                                     Chequered Blue
Queen of Spain Fritillary                           Green Underside Blue
Duke of Burgundy Fritillary                         Meadow Brown
Swallowtail                                                   Common Blue
Scarce Swallowtail                                      Brown Argus
Red Admiral                                                 Southern White Admiral
Large Tortoiseshell                                    Comma
Brimstone                                                     Wood White
Large White                                                  Painted Lady
Orange-Tip                                                   Green Hairstreak
Provencal Orange-Tip                               Sooty Copper
Red Underside Skipper                              Small Copper
Grizzled Skipper                                           Small Heath
Speckled Wood                                            Clouded Yellow
Wall Brown                                                  Dingy Skipper
Holly Blue                                                   
Black-eyed Blue - 3 possibles seen

Provencal Orange-Tip - this egg-laying female was a surprise. This species used to be Moroccan Orange-Tip but has recently been split, with the latter logically enough flying in Morocco, whist this Butterfly is spread around Spain and South France.
Red Underside Skipper on a Man Orchid (no human interference here whatsoever)
Orange-Tips mating above Pont de Montvert
Green Underside Blue
 probable Black-eyed Blue in lowlands - still not 100% with this but the underwing markings is the closest fit
 Large Tortoiseshell in Pont de Montvert
 Scarce Swallowtail in Pont de Montvert
 Chequered Blue in a low altitude meadow
 Queen of Spain Fritillary above Pont de Montvert

 Sooty Copper above Pont de Montvert
Duke of Burgundy Fritillary above Pont de Montvert
Swallowtail

the stunning Weaver's Fritillary above Pont de Montvert









Monday, 16 May 2016

Seaford Head & Peacehaven Cliffs 16/5/16

Another pleasant morning on the Head but very little in the way of new migrants. Two new Spotted Flycatchers were in Hope Gap and the Firecrest was still around the Harry's Bush area.

Afterwards I walked the cliffs between Peacehaven and Newhaven where a singing Reed Warbler was present and a very high count of at least 80 Corn Buntings.


Firecrest on Seaford Head
Corn Bunting between Peacehaven and Newhaven. This bird was on its own singing away whilst flocks containing ca. 65 and 14 were also seen.
Fox in Peacehaven