Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Seaford Head, Cuckmere Haven & Beachy 8/10/16

After a 600 mile drive yesterday for two Yellow-browed Warblers (dipped Eastern Crowned) it was good to hit the patch today. Conditions felt good from the off as high cloud and light winds were the order of the morning. Thrushes dominated the whole day with a combined count of 101 Ring Ouzels seen at the two headlands. Seaford Head was decent enough with the continuous sound of Ouzels, and a Short-eared Owl flew in off. A very long walk in the Cuckmere produced the Curlew Sandpiper and not much else, but finding a small sycamore copse was encouraging for future visits, although I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it before.

Totals for Seaford Head are:

Chiffchaff - 20
Grey Wagtail - 1 E
Ring Ouzel - 31 (most headed off east)
Blackcap - 10
Redwing - 16
Brambling - 2
Goldcrest - 3
Reed Bunting - 10 E
Mistle Thrush - 1 E
Short-eared Owl - 1 in off then tracked west
'alba' Wagtail - 23 E
Wheatear - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 13

Cuckmere Haven:
Curlew Sandpiper - 1
Knot - 1 on scrape

 Ring Ouzel in Hope Gap - scroll down for better pictures of Ouzels
 awful pic of Short-eared Owl over Hope Gap
 sycamore plantation on an open hillside that will surely produce something one day
 looking down towards Foxhole Farm

Curlew Sandpiper along the Cuckmere river -found yesterday by ADW - having not seen one here last year this was great to see

Nearly back at the car, I looked at my phone to see the exciting news that a Red-flanked Bluetail was at Beachy Head. Opening the message soon brought my excitement to ground level when I realised two things; one it being in Whitbread Hollow, and two; it was ringed at 8am and it was now 1.20pm. Obviously I had to give it a go but the reality of finding a small, skulking and typically shy bird in the 'bowl of bushes' that is Whitbread Hollow left me feeling very despondent (not helped by knowing the bird was under control for half an hour = gripping, and then finding out the news had been phoned out straight away to Birdline SE but somehow not filtered through to the major news services until early afternoon) and so I slowly made my way back to the car via Francis Bottom where I was treated to a spectacular display of a group of 69 (yes 69!!) Ring Ouzels. The group were feeding on numerous berries at ground level and in the hawthorns and were constantly making a racket as they flew from one side of the valley to another. Then all at once, the birds took flight (where I was able to count them) and headed east around the corner to Whitbread. Whilst watching these, a female Merlin flew by and another Short-eared Owl flew over. No Bluetail, but a good days birding.

Ring Ouzels in Francis Bottom (8 birds in the bottom picture)
 Short-eared Owl over Beachy
I could've spent all evening watching the Ouzels, but this band of rain had me scarpering

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