Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Thursday 30 December 2010

Pett Levels, Scotney and Dungeness RSPB 30/12/10

Visited these sites today with Dick Gilmore. Pett Levels was first and we immediately found the RED-BREASTED GOOSE amongst many White-fronted Geese. On the sea was a very impressive 100+ Red-throated Divers along with Great Crested Grebes. Moving further east along the levels we found the 55 Brent Geese of which 9 of them were Pale-bellied Brent Geese. Also 50+ Barnacle Geese. On the beach were 2 Knot, 38 Dunlin and 5 Grey Plover.

Scotney GP was dead with nothing noted on two visits despite reports of Bean and Pink-footed Geese being present. Also we dipped the Rough-legged Buzzard on the Galloways. Many thanks Martin for the phonecall.

Dungeness RSPB however was really good with a great surprise of an adult CASPIAN GULL from Makepeace hide. Also from this hide were 6 Goosanders including 4 drakes, 6 Smew, 2 Goldeneye and 2 Marsh Harriers.

Adult Caspian Gull - note the pear shaped head; small beady dark eye; longish lores; darker mantle than accompanying Herring Gulls; lack of tertial step; slim pink legs; very long wings; strong white tips on four primaries; thick chest and very long winged. When head up the long, slender bill was noted.

Goosander and Smew at Dungeness RSPB

Wednesday 29 December 2010

Wild Geese and Waxwings 29/12/10

On the west side of Cuckmere Haven this morning were 74 Eurasian White-fronted Geese, 55 Barnacle Geese and 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose. On the meanders were 4 Dunlin, 4 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler and 14 Little Grebes among hundreds of Wigeon and smaller numbers of Teal.

In Vale Close, Seaford were 13 Waxwings still feeding on the apple tree.

White-fronted Geese in Cuckmere Haven.

Tuesday 28 December 2010

PACIFIC DIVER in Cornwall 28/12/10

A great day out around Penzance, Cornwall today with Dan and Mike from Littlehampton. I left my house at 1.47am and arrived in Penzance at 7.05am.

Just after 9.00am, the PACIFIC DIVER finally came into view and satisfactory views were had, including views of the vent strap, one of the main characteristics of this species. Unfortunately after five minutes it drifted east and after half hour it was lost to view.

Also present 3 Great Northern Divers, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 2 Red-throated Divers, Goldeneye, Common Scoter, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, and lots of Shags. On the beach were Purple Sandpipers, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstones and Redshank.

News then came through of a Grey Phalarope off Newlyn, about a 5 minutes drive away, and great views were had of that aswell. 634 miles driven.

Grey Phalarope at Newlyn and Sanderling off Long Rock.

Sunday 26 December 2010

Piddinghoe, Barcombe Res & Seaford Waxwings 26/12/10

Started the day at Piddinghoe Pond where the only bird of note was a Grey Plover flying up river. The pond was completely frozen.

Next was Barcombe Reservoir where a smart fem. Goosander was present among hundreds of other wildfowl including Teal, Wigeon, Pochard and Tufted Duck. The usual flock of Barnacle Geese were present in the adjacent field.

Goosander and Common Gull at Barcombe Res.

A text from Chris Ball afterwards soon sent me 2 minutes from my house as there was a flock of ca. 30 Waxwings about. I soon arrived and enjoyed great views of these awesome birds. They were commuting between Vale Close and Blue Haze Avenue.

Saturday 25 December 2010

Cuckmere Haven 25/12/10

An extremely cold walk this morning in Cuckmere Haven. There was a huge flock of Wigeon in the meanders with a few Pochard (a scarce bird here) and a Kingfisher flew through. Along the river about 8 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plovers and 3 Redshank.

Wigeon and Dunlin in Cuckmere Haven.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Waxwings in the garden 15/12/10

A flock of 15 WAXWINGS in my garden for twenty minutes this morning. First picked up when i was out running, three flew over me and landed in my garden, so i rushed back only to find out there were 15 there.

This is now the second time Waxwings have have found my garden, and hopefully not the last.

Sunday 12 December 2010

Saturday 11th December

A bit of a mixed day. Started the day in Lindfield where i was too late for the Waxwings which had been there the day before, but the berry trees had been stripped hence there was no sign of them.

Returning home and just about to sit down and have lunch i received a text stating a juv. White-tailed Eagle was on Amberley Wildbrooks. Slightly struck back by this, within ten minutes i was back in the car and arrived in a record time of 40 minutes.

I got onto the WHITE-TAILED EAGLE straight away. It was perched in a tree for the majority of the time but did take flight three or four times constantly being mobbed by Corvids. An amazing bird and the first in Sussex since 1961. Today it was seen on Amberley Brooks, then over Arundel, Hayling Island, Fareham and Southsea.

Also out on the brooks was a Barnacle Goose amongst Canadas and a Ruff.

Obviously a White-tailed Eagle.

Sunday 5 December 2010

West Sussex 5/12/10

Had a great day out in West Sussex visiting Ivy Lake, Fishbourne Creek, West Dean Woods, Burton Mill Pond, Coldwaltham Brooks and The Burgh.

Ivy Lake was mostly frozen with a few pockets of open water where a few Ducks were present, but a Cetti's Warbler was the highlight there.

Unfortunately it was high tide but Fishbourne Creek still produced fine numbers of Waders respresented by Dunlin, Grey & Ringed Plover, Blk-tailed Godwits and Redshank. Out in the channel were 15 Goldeneye, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, Brent Geese and lots of Wigeon. A Kingfisher was also knocking about. A Mistle Thrush also showed well in the horse paddocks.

Goldeneye and Brent Geese at Fishbourne Creek.

West Dean Woods was very gloomy but this did not stop the birds from showing. I normally have a very good success rate with Hawfinches here and today was normal. Along Chilgrove Park Lane one flew over and between Stapleash Farm and Yew Cottage three more Hawfinches were seen affording great views, but not good enough for photos im afraid. Two Red Kites showed well and the Little Owl was in it's usual tree. Near the Sussex Wildlife Trust car park were Bullfinches, Marsh Tits, Firecrests and a small group of Redpolls and Siskins.

Red Kite, Little Owl and Coal Tit at West Dean Woods.

Burton Mill Pond was very dissapointing with a differrent crop by Crouch Farm being no good for the large Finch flocks. The only bird of note on a very short visit was a Nuthatch.

Robin at Burton Mill Pond.
Coldwaltham Sewage Farm held just 2 Chiffchaffs and a Grey Wagtail with Shoveler out on the brooks.
Final stop was at The Burgh. It was -3C but was still very productive. A long wait viewing the open hill sides finally resulted in a ringtail Hen Harrier whilst 6 Grey Partridge and 14 Corn Bunting were in the fields. Last but not least a Red Kite with a missing secondary drifted by.
Red Kite at The Burgh.
A total of 88 species were seen.

Monday 29 November 2010

Cuckmere Haven 29/11/10

I have been working non stop since my last outing hence the lack of posts. However, this morning i was free so decided to walk the east side of the Cuckmere.
The highlight was the female Red-breasted Merganser in the meanders along with hundreds of Wigeon and smaller numbers of Teal.
A Kingfisher was good to see by the saline lagoons, and Lapwings were flying in from all directions.

Red-breasted Merganser, Black-headed Gulls and view looking towards Harry's Bush.

Friday 12 November 2010

Pied-billed Grebe + American Robin 12/11/10

Started my journey at 2.30am today and drove straight up to Greater Manchester for the PIED-BILLED GREBE at Hollingworth Lake CP. I arrived at 7.10am and walked around to the most sheltered bay in the SE corner and thankfully two observers were already looking at it. I watched the Grebe for over an hour and at times it showed very well catching Perch.

Pied-billed Grebe, Hollingworth Lake and surrounding countryside.

News of the AMERICAN ROBIN came through so i made the brave decision to drive yet another 3.5hrs down to Exminster Marshes, Devon. I left the Grebe site at 9.00am and arrived at Exminster at 12.50pm. There had been no sign for a few hours, and with the constant rain falling i thought i had no chance.
However, i went to check out a nearby field, but then noticed a gathering of birders looking at one bush, so i briskly ran back to them and sure enough the Robin was perched right out in the open.
American Robin at Exminster Marshes RSPB.
I arrived home at 8pm. A total of 760 miles was covered totalling 13 hours of driving.

Saturday 6 November 2010

Red-flanked Bluetail pics taken by Martin Casemore

These fantastic pictures were taken by Martin Casemore at Dunge today. Unfortunately i was further down the road when these were taken.

Hope Gap, Seaford Head and Dungeness RSPB 6/11/10

A lovely calm morning today, no birds in the bushes but a few bits flying over the patch. The best of all was a flock of 8 Bramblings that landed in Harry's Bush bringing their total for the morning to 11.
The first Bullfinch for some time flew over along with 7 Siskins, 2 Reed Buntings, ca. 180 Woodpigeons and a Grey Plover in the Cuckmere. A few Goldcrests were also scattered about.

Great Spotted Woodpecker in Hope Gap.

After this i dashed off to Dungeness RSPB for the RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL. It was on view straight away but was distant, however with a bit of patience good views were obtained along the Denge Marsh Road just beyond the entrance to Springfield Bridge. Also present was a Great White Egret and a fem. Marsh Harrier.

Great White Egret and Red-flanked Bluetail at Dungeness RSPB.

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Hope Gap, Seaford Head 3/11/10

It's quite obviously November as bird life around the patch has come to an absolute halt. However it was great to see what for sure will be my last Swallow of the year which flew east over Harry's Bush.
Other birds of note were a single Siskin, 2 Goldcrest and 2 Yellowhammers flew over.

As usual this time of year management work starts in Hope Gap. It seems they are doing a better approach then last year by actually making the area look reasonable afterwards, which wasn't the case in previous years. What will gain from this i'm none the wiser, but if a Radde's Warbler is found on one of the managed areas, all will be forgiven.

Sunday 31 October 2010

AMERICAN BITTERN - Cornwall 30/10/10

After missing a couple of megas recently, i just had to go for the American Bittern in Cornwall. First found last Tuesday, it was confidently identified on Thursday with the mega alert going out late that evening. Unfortunately i had gone to bed so was unable to drive down overnight and see it on the Friday.
It was still present on the Friday so Saturday was the day. I went down there with Garry Bagnell, John Lees and John Benham leaving at midnight on the Friday night. We arrived at Trewey Common around 07.30 with a gathering crowd of 140.
It was a pleasant wait with Fieldfares, Redwings and Siskins constantly flying over.
There was nothing up until 08.57 when the AMERICAN BITTERN suddenly flew out from it's roost site and landed out of view.
Half hour later it flew up again and showed well circling in front of everyone. It gained considerable height but then started to drop again as 2 Peregrines came in and mobbed the hell out of it. At one stage one of the Falcons clipped it's crown and the bird dropped straight down into some gardens and was not seen the rest of the time we were there. It was a great aerial display with the Bittern turning upside down and stretching out it's legs, twisting, turning and some great parachuting actions.
4 Greenland White-fronted Geese were also present.

American Bittern on Trewey Common, Cornwall.
After this we quickly visited Hayle Estuary and saw 3 Whooper Swans.
I arrived home at 8pm and collapsed in front of the tele.

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Rose-coloured Starling 19/10/10

Rose-coloured Starling - Newhaven Heights, Newhaven

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Isles of Scilly 9/10/10-18/10/10

Now back from a successful Isles of Scilly trip. Managed to get seven UK ticks but missed out on another three. Highlight for me was the Red-eyed Vireo and Black-eared Wheatear. Other new ones were Common Rosefinch, American Golden Plover, Olive-backed Pipit, Red-breasted Flycatchers and a Richard's Pipit.
Other really good scarcities included Subalpine, Icterine, Melodious and Yellow-browed Warblers, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Grey Phalarope, 2 Spoonbills and a self-found Wryneck.
Also really good numbers of common migrants with loads of Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Ring Ouzels, Lapland Buntings, Jack Snipes and singles of Snow Bunting, Dartford Warbler and Water Pipit. A really good trip and most recommended.
American Golden Plover on the airfield - St Marys
Red-breasted Flycatcher in The Parsonage - St Agnes

Pied Flycatcher on the sandbar - Gugh

Black-eared Wheatear on The Garrison - St Marys

Little Bunting at Carn Friars - St Marys

Subalpine Warbler on Bryher

American Golden Plover on Porthloo Beach - St Marys

Greenshank at Lower Moors - St Marys

Jack Snipe on Porth Hellick Pool - St Marys

Grey Seal pup on Annet

Red-eyed Vireo at The Parsonage - St Agnes