Harpy Eagle - Guyana - March 2017

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Friday, 20 April 2018

Red Kites to Orchids 20/4/18

I was on standby this morning so I couldn't venture out. By late morning I got bored and eager to catch onto the passage of Red Kites. I walked the cliffs between Peacehaven and Newhaven seeing a lovely flock of five Red Kites flying east at 12.34, and five Wheatears were also present. A Green Hairstreak was found in one of the hollows near the fort.

I spent the majority of the day lounging in the garden writing trip reports but no other Kites were seen.

This afternoon I cycled to the back of Woodingdean where only three Early Spider Orchids were present. Nine Wheatears were at Balsdean.

Red Kites over Newhaven Heights
Green Hairstreak at Newhaven Heights
Early Spider Orchid near Woodingdean






Thursday, 19 April 2018

Seaford Head & Splash Point 19/4/18

Walked the entire headland this morning in between seawatches and found absolutely no new arriving migrants whatsoever. The only notable species for me were Lesser Whitethroats in Hope Bottom. Splash Point was quite slow as well and I didn't keep a detailed count of birds, although Little Gulls and 'Commic' Terns were the most numerous. A Merlin was the main highlight at Splash Point flying in off the sea around 6.05am.

A showy Grasshopper Warbler in Seaford
Peregrine on Seaford Head




Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Splash Point 17/4/18

Another good seawatch today. With the slightly stronger southerly wind forecast it was bound to be a Bonxie day, and so that proved with over 50 seen during the period I was down there. Not only this, there was a good variety of species and in good numbers. Plenty of highlights also today that included a very close flock of nine Eider, some close Skuas including a flock of seven Bonxies, some superb Arctic Terns and Black-throated Divers and our first Little Terns of the year. Any day now for the first Pom.

Totals between 05.45-13.45 are as follows:

'Commic' Tern - 352
Common Scoter - 508
Great Skua - 53
Gannet - 51
Sandwich Tern - 150
Arctic Skua - 34
Brent Geese - 169
Manx Shearwater - 15
Mediterranean Gull - 124
Red-throated Diver - 46
Little Gull - 60
Whimbrel - 66
Bar-tailed Godwit - 2
Eider - 9
Teal - 3
Arctic Tern - 120
Black-throated Diver - 7 (all s/p)
Red-breasted Merganser - 8
Little Tern - 2
Velvet Scoter - 3
Avocet - 1
Guillemot - 6
Auk sp. - 15
Grey Wagtail - 1 landed on the breakwater

Arctic Skuas passing Splash Point
Great Skua passing Splash Point
Brent Geese passing Splash Point
adult Mediterranean Gulls passing Splash Point
a full notebook means a good day
at the office!




Sunday, 15 April 2018

Splash Point 15/4/18

I was annoyed to have missed seawatching this morning, however I certainly made up for it this evening despite shivering constantly towards the end. After the rain, birds were in constant flow with the highlight being a good movement of Manx Shearwaters that included a flock of 11. Skuas were well represented as were Gannets and Terns.

Totals between 5pm - 7.30pm are as follows:

Common Scoter - 20
Gannet - 203
Sandwich Tern - 137
Brent Geese - 140
'Commic' Tern - 427
Red-throated Diver - 12
Great Skua - 8
Little Gull - 55
Arctic Skua - 26
Whimbrel - 1
Manx Shearwater - 19 (incl. flock of 11)
Common Gull - 186
Mediterranean Gull - 95

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Cuckmere Haven & Seaford Head 11/4/18

Almost pleased to be going back to work as the five days have come to an end and all I have to show for it is finding 5 Black Redstarts. Not what I had in mind as I cast back to the memories of seeing Hoopoes, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Woodchats, Serins etc during this time of April in Sussex. Looking at the weather today looked promising but there was very little about.

The Cuckmere held a first-summer male Black Redstart and 3 Wheatears, whilst Seaford Head was dull, not even the Black Redstarts were present. I chilled in the garden all afternoon reading through Namibian trip reports as a few Buzzards were moving north bound, but were presumably local birds. An afternoon walk along the cliffs from Peacehaven to Newhaven Fort produced just a single Wheatear.

1st summer male Black Redstart at
Cuckmere Haven



Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Cuckmere, Seaford Head & Rodmell 10/4/18

Slightly better today with a bit more variety. Down the Cuckmere first thing produced two Yellow Wagtails flying north and a Green Sandpiper on the scrape being the most notable birds. Phylloscs were at their most numerous for the first time this spring.

Next up was Seaford Head where there were now three Black Redstarts at Hope Gap and singles of Willow Warbler and Redwing. Graeme Lyons also had what was presumably the same Hawfinch in Hope Bottom.

This afternoon I took Pippa down to Rodmell Brooks where a Little Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper were of note, whilst in the car park a Firecrest was in full song. Pippa was warn out so resisted on walking the cliffs to Newhaven Heights.

Cuckmere Haven
Green Sandpiper - 1 on scrape
Yellow Wagtail - 2
Willow Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 10
Firecrest - 2

Seaford Head
Redwing - 1
Black Redstart - 3 incl. the singing male
Willow Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 5

Rodmell Brooks
Little Ringed Plover - 1
Green Sandpiper - 1
Firecrest - 1

Green Sandpiper at Cuckmere Haven
Wheatear at Cuckmere Haven
Willow Warbler at Hope Bottom
Little Ringed Plover at Rodmell Brooks
Brown Hare at Rodmell
Pippa on another long walk








Monday, 9 April 2018

Seaford Head 9/4/18

I started down the Cuckmere but not a single migrant was seen. Seaford Head was nearly similar but two Black Redstarts at Hope Gap were found, one of which was a male in full song. A male Wheatear was also present as were two newly arrived Chiffchaffs.

male Black Redstart at Hope Gap
Wheatear at Hope Gap


Sunday, 8 April 2018

Seaford Head, Cuckmere, West Rise etc. 8/4/18

On this date 10 years ago I found a singing Grasshopper Warbler on Seaford Head where later that morning it snowed heavily and to date is the only time I’ve had a reeling Gropper in the snow. Not that this means anything, but a different Locustella was seen today and so brought back some memories.

With rain overnight and continuing into the morning I was keen to hit the Headland and Cuckmere early on in the hope of a fall, but sadly this wasn’t to be, although a Hawfinch in Hope Bottom was only my second patch record.  I then went over to West Rise Marsh late morning where the Savi’s Warbler showed briefly on a few occasions and once showed nicely in flight as a Cetti’s Warbler chased it around the reeds. 

After this I had no choice but to wash a now very bedraggled dog and chill out for a bit whilst she dried out. I then walked the cliffs between Peacehaven and Newhaven where a Black Redstart was the highlight. 

Seaford Head
Hawfinch - 1
Firecrest - 1
Willow Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 4

West Rise Marsh
Savi’s Warbler - 1 male (my 2nd in the county)
Little Gull - 1
Common Sandpiper - 1
Greenshank - 1h

Peacehaven - Newhaven
Black Redstart - 1

Hawfinch over Hope Bottom having 
initially been found skulking in the bushes.
Black Redstart near Newhaven Heights

Kris's photo of Kris's photo, of Kris's Savi's Warbler;
if that makes sense.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Splash Point 7/4/18

A slower seawatch then most days this week, however the quality was there today. By far the highlight for me was a Long-tailed Duck which is my first here since 2005 (and only my second record). Next up was a drk Scaup alongside a few Scoters that again was only my third record of this species here. And although not as exciting, two Egyptian Geese flew west, and again was only my second record of this species here. With these as well as an early flurry of Skuas, 8 Velvet Scoters and being called back on my way to the car for a summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe, it was a very productive session. 

Totals between 6am - midday are:

Common Scoter - 775
Red-throated Diver - 101
Brent Geese - 52
Commic Tern - 39
Sandwich Tern - 129
Shelduck - 8
Arctic Skua - 21
Gannet - 32
Red-breasted Merganser - 11
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1
Black-headed Gull - 31
Black-throated Diver - 3
Canada Geese - 3W
Auk sp. - 110
Curlew - 9
Little Gull - 32
Velvet Scoter - 8
Shoveler - 40
Whimbrel - 6
Long-tailed Duck - 1 @ 9.05
Scaup - 1 drk @ 9.35 
Egyptian Geese - 2W
Wigeon - 5
Gadwall - 1
Mediterranean Gull - 3
Black-necked Grebe - 1 s/p drifting E

I had to leave at midday as I had a free ticket thanks to Paula to watch Brighton at the AMEX, and as frustrating as it was with a 1-1 draw, it was my first ever premier league game, and being sat very near to the away supporters, it was great yelling abuse at them when we scored, although that didn't last too long annoyingly. 

Friday, 6 April 2018

Splash Point 6/4/18

A long week at work where being on earlies hasn't worked out well for me with several good seawatches since it was my turn on Monday. However, finished early today and headed down for an afternoon stint alongside Richard and David who had been present since 7am. Not too much for me but a steady movement of Terns, Divers and eventually Little Gulls.

Totals between 2pm - 6pm are as follows:

Sandwich Tern - 145
Common Scoter - 223
Red-throated Diver - 32
Diver sp. - 8
Commic Tern - 75
Swallow - 3 in
Whimbrel - 3
Red-breasted Merganser - 1
Shoveler - 2
Little Gull - 47
Curlew - 1
Arctic Skua - 2

I've been to the Cuckmere a few times this week but very little to mention. A Willow Warbler and a few Chiffchaffs have been around Foxhole, whilst a group of four Wheatears were near the scrape, but that's really about it.

On the 3rd I did another seawatch in the afternoon from 1pm - 3.30pm with the following seen:

Red-throated Diver - 50
Common Scoter - 152
Mediterranean Gull - 10
Sandwich Tern - 32
Brent Geese - 82
Black-headed Gull - 313
Little Gull - 5
Red-breasted Merganser - 2

Thankfully I've now got five days off and with promising winds throughout for seawatching and arriving migrants it should be a good spell.

Willow Warbler at Foxhole Farm
Wheatear in the Cuckmere
Stonechat in the Cuckmere
Idiots







Monday, 2 April 2018

Splash Point 2/4/18

I was on standby with work this morning and was therefore reluctant to tempt fate and go down Splash Point, but with a reasonable forecast I was keen to get down there, and just after first light I was on Splash Point with my umbrella at the ready for a superb seawatch with a constant flow of birds for most of the time I was present, including some good quality species. I was the only person on the Point (Briefly joined by Nick & Liam) and therefore worked hard to keep the umbrella erect, writing the numbers and trying not to miss anything going by.

By far the highlight for me were a pair of  Garganey with a group of Common Scoter, however the latter species went into four figures for the first time this season. Other good bits included Eider, Little Gulls, an Avocet, Arctic Skuas and plenty of Terns.

Liam stayed on and collated totals from when I left to 3pm and recorded another 97 Little Gulls, plus lots of variety and good numbers

Anyway, totals between 06.35 - 12.05 are a follows:

Brent Geese - 248
Common Scoter - 1469
Red-breasted Merganser - 6
Gannet - 43
Sandwich Tern - 353
Shoveler - 8
Shelduck - 17
Red-throated Diver - 105
Arctic Skua - 7 (all dark phase)
Teal - 4
Common Tern - 28
Razorbill - 1
Auk sp. - 4
Avocet - 1
Tufted Duck - 3
Grey Plover - 13
Little Gull - 86
Garganey - 2
Eider - 4 (ad drk, fem, 2 2nd cy drk)
Pintail - 9

Yesterday morning I walked the headland where only two Wheatears were in Hope Gap with no other migrants found at all. Afterwards I joined Paula and Leo up High and Over for some Easter 'fun' and lucked into an Osprey slowly heading north up the Cuckmere valley, though regrettably the camera had been left in the car.

my view for the morning

1st summer male Wheatear in Hope Gap


Saturday, 31 March 2018

Seaford Head 31/3/18

A walk on the head from mid morning to midday produced a few migrants but still nothing like it should be this time of year. However, a minimum of five Firecrests were scattered about, mainly on the golf course while there were singles of Wheatear and Chiffhcaff also about.

Firecrests on Seaford Head
Wheatear in Hope Gap




Friday, 30 March 2018

Splash Point 30/3/18

Despite the promising wind directions, yet again the passage wasn't that great and over four hours the species tally remained low. A surprising good number of Sandwich Terns and Common Scoter were passing, but frustratingly no Skuas despite Birling getting a trio this morning. With so few migrants along the south coast, I had no inspiration to venture further.

Totals between 06.20 - 10.20 are:

Common Scoter - 487
Brent Geese - 34
Red-throated Diver - 41
Sandwich Tern - 64
Common Tern - 2
Teal - 4
Dunlin - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - 3
Gannet - 8
Shoveler - 8

With dreary birding here,
its always good to look back at this time last year.
(Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo &
Harpy Eagle in Guyana 29/3/17)



Saturday, 24 March 2018

Splash Point 24/3/18

I arrived at Splash Point full of anticipation with the SE wind blowing, however one aspect I had failed to look at the night before was the NW winds dominating further west down the channel. This mixed with some rain in the channel meant from 05.50 - 06.20 I saw very little. I then decided to walk the headland where likewise no new migrants were seen. Intense hunger as well as few birds led me back down to Splash Point to join the others where thankfully over a 3.5 hour period a good range of species were passing, albeit at a slight trickle.

Inaccurate totals between 07.30 - 11.10 are:

Little Gull - 20
Avocet - 2
Teal - 4
Wigeon - 2
Pintail - 6
Brent Geese - 350 +
Common Scoter - 150 +
Mediterranean Gull - 1
Tufted Duck - 1 W
Shelduck - 10
Red-throated Diver - 15
Shoveler - 24
Gadwall - 3

Afterwards Dad took me to his beloved Wall Brown caterpillars at the back of Seaford where we found about 20 individuals.

On Thursday the Cuckmere produced a single Avocet, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Knot & a Water Rail. On Tuesday a single Firecrest was on Seaford Head, so all in all, a quiet start to the spring.

Black-tailed Godwits in the Cuckmere
Knot in the Cuckmere
Water Rail in the Cuckmere
Rook on Seaford Head
Wall Brown Caterpillar