Harpy Eagle - Guyana - March 2017

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Sunday, 27 May 2018

Cuckmere Haven 27/5/18

Finally caught up with the Temminck's Stint along the river this morning. Surprisingly my first here despite the Cuckmere being one of the top sites for this species in Sussex, especially a couple of decades ago when small groups were often seen in the spring.

Other birds of note this morning:

Grey Plover - 3
Redshank - 18
Dunlin - 3
Ringed Plover - 10
Common Sandpiper - 2
Shoveler - 2

Temminck's Stint at Cuckmere Haven

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Cuckmere Haven & Rye Harbour NR 24/5/18

After work and a short nap I went down the Cuckmere where during the persistent rain I came across a nice number of common Waders along the river. By the time I had got to the scrape my shorts and shoes were slowly becoming saturated but I kept on having rare birds going through my imagination, and it was at this point I looked at my phone to the brilliant news that a Broad-billed Sandpiper had been found at Rye Harbour. It was at that point I felt what a typical situation this was being at the farthest point from the car when a good bird turns up (the most memorable being the Brunnich's Guillemot at Portland), and this time with light starting to fade adding to the tough decision making.

However, it wasn't long before I was jogging back to the car and I left the Cuckmere at 6.30pm. I was now in full throttle with just the rush hour traffic to contend with, and thankfully made it to Rye in just over an hour arriving at 7.45pm.

I abandoned the car at the entrance to the caravan park blocking the welcome sign and briskly walked to a full Kent crew of birders watching the Sandpiper. Over the next hour the bird showed most of the time, and with Ian joining the crowd doubling the Sussex turnout, it became more mobile though returning to the same spot and was seen feeding to near enough dusk. It was surprising the Sandpiper wasn't present the next day due to the weather, but this made the decision to go very rewarding.

This Broad-billed Sandpiper was only the third in Sussex since 1950, and the last record was when I was just three years old, way back in 1993.

Other news: local breeders in the Cuckmere are off and running with a pair of Shelducks currently raising nine young, two pairs of Stonechats raising three young each, and also a small family of Canada Geese.

Another visit this afternoon failed to produce a Temminck's Stint that was found by Ron Knight at midday.

Cuckmere Haven 5.30pm-6.30pm:

Turnstone - 1
Sanderling - 2
Common Sandpiper - 6
Dunlin - 5,
Ringed Plover - 10

Rye Harbour NR - 7.45pm-8.30pm

Wood Sandpiper - 1

Sanderling at Cuckmere Haven
Turnstone at Cuckmere Haven
Shelduck family at Cuckmere Haven
Broad-billed Sandpiper at Rye Harbour NR

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Cuckmere Haven & Seaford Head 22/5/18

My first day off today after a long week at work where foreign highlights have included a trio of Alpine Swifts at Naples Airport, and lots of Pallid Swifts at Marrakech Airport.

Last night I tried Splash Point for half hour where a Bonxie and 55 Commic Terns were seen. The Cuckmere produced a few Common Sandpipers and six Dunlin along the river. I walked the ditches in the upper Cuckmere hoping to flush a rare Bittern or similar but just a few Hairy Dragonflies and Blue-tailed Damselflies of note.

Today after a bit of a lay in I first tried Splash Point as a couple of Poms had been seen at Selsey. No Poms and the only noteworthy bird was a Spotted Flycatcher flying in off and landing on the brick compound above the point.

The Cuckmere was marginally better today with a mobile flock of six Common Sandpipers along the river, a family group of 12 Shelduck (10 fledglings) and a Wheatear by the scrape. On Seaford Head were 5 Spotted Flycatchers and a Sedge Warbler, but I was more pleased to find three Adders, including two youngsters. Also lots of Butterflies on the wing.

A walk along the cliffs between Peacehaven and Newhaven this evening was fairly quiet apart from a Whinchat that saved a nearly fruitless walk.

Redshank in the Cuckmere
Sedge Warbler at Seaford Head

Small Copper in Hope Bottom
Dingy Skipper in Hope Bottom
Brown Argus in Hope Bottom
Grizzled Skipper at Hope Gap
Adder at Hope Gap
presumed Common Lizard

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Abbot's Wood, Splash Point & Cuckmere Haven 17/5/18

After finishing my standby this morning and early afternoon I ventured over to Abbot's Wood to photograph the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. On the way over news came through of a Pom past Selsey, though having seen a few this spring I didn't think it was worth it for just one. Having seen the butterflies and a bonus flyover Cuckoo, I couldn't resist but to head to Splash as yet another Pom had passed Selsey.

Upon arrival I was surprised as to how good the wind was, and my first scan produced two Pomarine Skuas battling through the strong easterly wind. Over the course of two hours a total of 7 Poms came through in three groups, plus two spectacular flocks (17 & 16) of Manx Shearwaters. Also on the breakwater were a group of seven summer-plumaged Sanderling, two Dunlin and a stunning summer-plumaged Turnstone throughout my duration.

Very little else moving and so I wanted to end the day down the Cuckmere. Only species of note were three summer-plumaged Grey Plovers.

Splash Point 16.20 - 18.20 Wind ESE 3:

Pomarine Skua - 7 l/p (2@ 16.20, 2@ 16.40, 3@ 17.50)
Arctic Skua - 2
Manx Shearwater - 33
Sanderling - 7
Dunlin - 2
Turnstone - 1

Pearl Bordered Fritillary
at Abbot's Wood
Broad-bodied Chaser at Abbot's Wood
Grey Plovers in the Cuckmere

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Seaford Head 16/5/18

Very quiet today due to the strong northerly wind blowing. The only thing of note on the Head were a trio of Spotted Flycatchers in Harry's Bush. There was also a movement of inbound Swallows and Swifts.

Next I opted for somewhere sheltered and could only think of Castle Hill LNR. Despite being sheltered, a thorough search only produced a Painted Lady.

Spotted Flycatcher in Harry's Bush
Painted Lady at Castle Hill

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Red Kites 15/5/18

Started the day down the Cuckmere where there was little beyond a Common Sandpiper & 3 Whimbrel, and a distant Red Kite. I thought despite the clear conditions the strong northerly wind may have dropped a Wader or two, but it wasn't to be.

This afternoon a spell in the garden produced a superb loose flock of 8 Red Kites heading slowly NE, a displaying Kestrel and 2 Peregrines.

Red Kites over Peacehaven

Monday, 14 May 2018

Mt Caburn 14/5/18

Not much enthusiasm for birding at the moment, but with Shetland's trio of megas this evening I'm sure it won't take long for me to get back on track. Also well done to Dave Cooper on his mega Marmora's Warbler find, a species I've often imagined finding along the Sussex coastline.

This afternoon I went to Caburn with Dad where Burnt Orchids put on a good display, as did a showy Hairy Dragonfly, this surprisingly being the first time I've photographed this species. A Hobby was also hunting above the valley for a short period.

Burnt-Tip Orchids near Mt Caburn
Hairy Dragonfly near Mt Caburn