Lammergeier at Beachy Head - October 2020

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Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Splash Point - Bank Holiday Weekend

I had been looking forward to the Bank Holiday for some time, mainly as it would surely mean I would be undertaking much seawatching. Despite the conditions not being as good as I would've wanted, there were still some noteworthy sightings, perhaps highlighted by the number of terns passing. 

Due to the wind direction and very clear conditions. most birds were mega distant, though one Pomarine Skua, which happened to have an enormous tail, was relatively close inshore, but the distance factor meant that very few terns were actually identified to species, though the ones that were close were mostly Common Terns. Other highlights involved a single flock of 18 Little Terns, some high-flying Commics with a tight group of seven Black Terns mixed in and a Balearic Shearwater, which was seen relatively well. 

Many thanks to Richard Fairbank for the company over the weekend!

Below are the totals from the entire weekend:

Brent Geese - 301
Mute Swan - 2
Shelduck - 2
Red-breasted Merganser - 1
Common Scoter - 450
Red-throated Diver - 11
Black-throated Diver - 4
Manx Shearwater - 3
Balearic Shearwater - 1
Gannet - 170
Whimbrel - 89
Bar-tailed Godwit - 35
Dunlin - 2
Little Gull - 10
Mediterranean Gull - 68
Sandwich Tern - 156
Common/Arctic Tern - 6140
Arctic Tern - 2
Little Tern - 20
Black Tern - 9
Great Skua - 18
Pomarine Skua - 5
Arctic Skua - 29
Auk sp. - 55


Sunday, 25 April 2021

Stanley & Lynchmere Commons 25/04/2021

A superb morning was had out on Stanley (and Lynchmere) Common, conducting my third Heathland Bird Survey of the season. Since moving to Hampshire, this site, which is only twenty-minutes away, has proved to be one of my favourite local sites and will hopefully reveal the presence of a Wood Warbler next month.

The previous two surveys I have completed have been very much below par, but now the summer migrants are in, this morning was very much above par. Although there was no sign of the Dartford Warbler seen on the previous two occasions, the Common revealed a number of birds in full voice. 

Probably the highlight were no fewer than 17 Firecrests spread over a relatively small area. Also, three singing Redstarts, five Tree Pipits (including a nest-building pair), a singing Woodlark (my first here), 30+ Crossbills, 8 singing Willow Warblers, a Cuckoo and a great view of a male Goshawk were seen. Lynchmere Common was, as usual, poor.

Redstart

Firecrest

Tree Pipit

Cuckoo

Stanley Common




Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Splash Point 20/04/2021

A poor seawatch this morning, yet, it feels like it will be any day now that the first Pom will cruise past. Still, a superb pair of Garganey were this morning's highlight. Heavy sea mist probably halted any passage, or birds were beyond the bank of mist to see them, hence the poor quantities this morning.

Totals: 05:45 - 08:45; Wind NE1

Mediterranean Gull - 30
Sandwich Tern - 75
Common Scoter - 124
Gannet - 50
Shelduck - 10
Whimbrel - 20
Garganey - 2
Commic Tern - 16
Arctic Skua - 1
Great Skua - 1
Bar-tailed Godwit - 2
Red-throated Diver - 4
Black-throated Diver - 1
Little Gull - 6

Garganey

Mediterranean Gulls


Monday, 19 April 2021

Seaford Head & Splash Point 19/04/2021

I started at Seaford Head this morning, and I'm glad I did, as there was a lovely mini 'fall' of Willow Warblers. Approximately 30 birds were present in Hope Gap and Harry's Bush and most, if not all, were males judging by the continuous serenading.

Afterwards, I joined Simon down Splash Point and enjoyed a short seawatch seeing 42 Little Gulls, an Arctic Skua and a couple of Black-throated Divers.

In the afternoon, I took Dad up to Castle Hill NNR, where after a short time, between us we found four flowering Early Spider Orchids, plus many more which will be out next week or the week after. 

Lastly, an evening seawatch (17:25 - 19:25) produced the following:

Little Gull - 40
Bar-tailed Godwit - 380
Arctic Skua - 2
Common Tern - 35
Common Scoter - 25
Mediterranean Gull - 20
Whimbrel - 25
Curlew - 28
Knot - 2
Red-throated Diver - 6

Willow Warbler at Hope Gap

Whitethroat at Hope Gap

Early Spider Orchid



Friday, 16 April 2021

Wilmington Ring Ouzels 16/4/2021

Last night, I received the dreaded phonecall from Dad that my dear Mum had sadly passed away. Although it was expected due to her recent month in hospital, it's still a shock to the system and deeply upsetting. Thankfully, she had her last day at home, where a few members of the family were able to spend time with her before she got sent back to hospital on Thursday evening, where a few hours later, she peacefully passed. 

So, today, I took Dad the short journey to Wilmington to see the excellent flock of Ring Ouzels, which were absolutely superb. Afterwards, a short two-hour seawatch produced 50 Sandwich Terns, 22 Mediterranean Gulls, 12 Bar-tailed Godwits and 16 Whimbrels


Ring Ouzel at Wilmington - phone-scoped



Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Arun Valley/Chantry Hill 11/04/2021

On Sunday, Sara and I parked up at Arundel and walked a lovely 16-mile route, taking in the Arun Valley and the Downs up to Chantry Hill, then down to Amberley and back downriver.

There were many highlights along the way, though sadly, and not surprisingly, there was no sign of the Pallid/Montagu's/Hen/Northern Harrier seen on Monday (12th), but we were treated to the wonderful sighting of Boxing Hares! This was a first for both of us and the boxing lasted up to half-an-hour.

Later, whilst walking the ridge between Kithurst Hill and Amberley, I somehow spotted a very high White-tailed Eagle; I later learnt, thanks to LP, that this bird had flown down from Scotland in the preceding few days, being seen in Kent, East Sussex, and my sighting, before arriving back onto the Isle of Wight. The bird stayed in view for five minutes as it got held up by an incoming snow shower.

Elsewhere, seven singing Firecrests were noted along the 16-mile route, but no grounded migrants whatsoever!






Brown Hares

White-tailed Eagle over Amberley





Thursday, 8 April 2021

Northern Mockingbird - Pulborough 08/04/2021

With no sign of the Northern Mockingbird in Devon this morning, it was somewhat nice to know the bird had finally moved on after its prolonged stay. However, who knew it would then turn up at Pulborough the very next day! 

Thankfully, a homeowner managed to release some pictures of the bird late morning, and once it had been re-found by Dave Sadler et al., it was time to get permission to leave the office/kitchen and head straight down. Rather helpfully, the bird obliged the whole time I was there and showed well on numerous occasions, much to the relief of many. It goes without saying that this is the first record for Sussex, and continues this year's American theme with the White-throated Sparrow being seen this year also... what else is lurking out there?

It was also great to see and speak to so many birders who I haven't seen for some time... happy days!

Northern Mockingbird at Pulborough