Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Saturday 30 November 2013

A Holland Hawky 30/11/13

Yet another venture, this time to Holland for one of Europe's most enigmatic birds. A Hawk Owl, discovered two weeks ago at Zwolle was still remaining faithful to the same line of trees in an industrial estate and showing very well.

Ewan drove myself, Ads & Paul Bowley and Kev (from Suffolk) to the site, and we also enjoyed the day covering a number of sites where there were other national scarcities.

The channel tunnel from Folkestone was simple enough to Callais at 3.30am (arriving at 4am) and four hours later we arrived at Zwolle, and soon we were enjoying superb views of the Hawk Owl.

Hawk Owl at Zwolle

After an hour of watching the Owl flying around, catch a mouse and posing superbly for scope views, we visited a forest at Hoenderloo, Strijen for some Geese and Den Bommel for a couple of other bits. A couple of White Storks were also seen on one of the many motorways.

Totals below of a great day out with great company as always, despite spending most of my time asleep. Arrived home at 11pm after leaving Peacehaven 24 hours before..........a long but worthwhile day.

Hoenderloo Forest
Short-toed Treecreeper - 2
Crossbill - 30
Brambling - 100

Lesser White-fronted Geese - 4
Eurasian White-fronted Geese - 200
Barnacle Geese - 10,000
Peregrine - 2

Den Bommel
Great White Egret - 8
Goosander - 1 drk
Merlin - 1

 Lesser White-fronted Geese at Strijen
Barnacle Geese at Strijel
3 species of Geese coming into roost at Den Bommel

Friday 29 November 2013

1995 - 2011 Past Patch Records

The last instalment for only documented records between the above years of species I haven't seen on the patch (Cuckmere Haven, Seaford Head &; Splash Point). Dates are not in order I'm afraid, and hopefully are all accurate.

Aquatic Warbler - 2001 - Cuckmere Haven
Red-rumped Swallow - 2010 - Cuckmere Haven
Pallas's Warbler - 2011 - Seaford Head
Red-breasted Flycatcher - 2009 - Seaford Head
Great Grey Shrike - 2010 - Seaford Head
Surf Scoter - 1998 - Splash Point

Pink-footed Goose - 2011 - Cuckmere Haven
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1998 - Cuckmere Haven
Hoopoe - 2011 - Cuckmere Haven (plus a couple of other records previous)
Night Heron - 1996 - Cuckmere Haven
Woodchat Shrike - 1995 - Seaford Head
Stone Curlew - 2000 & 2003 - Cuckmere/Seaford Head

Blue-winged Teal - 1999 - Splash Point
White Stork - 1994 &; 2011 - Cuckmere Haven
Leach's Petrel - 1997 & 2001 - Splash Point
Great White Egret - 2000 - Cuckmere Haven
Quail - 2000 - Seaford Head
Green-winged Teal - 2001 - Cuckmere Haven

Montagu's Harrier - 2001 - Cuckmere Haven
Dotterel - 2000 - Seaford Head
Ortolan Bunting - 2001 - Seaford Head
Bee-Eater - 2002 - Seaford Head
Ring-necked Duck - 1998 (found dead) & 2003 - Cuckmere Haven
Citrine Wagtail - 2011 - Cuckmere Haven

Olive-backed Pipit - 2003 - Seaford Head

 Lesser Yellowlegs - photo by Peter J Wilson
Night Heron - photo by Peter J Wilson

Tuesday 26 November 2013

Old Lodge Redpolls 26/11/13

An afternoon spent at Old Lodge was semi-successful. No Crossbills, but quite a few Redpolls, 4 of which were Common. They seemed to occur regularly so there must be more than this number, but edging on the side of caution I stuck with 4 definite sightings. Jon King and then Mick Davis joined me who saw 1 1st winter.
Having seen many in Shetland this autumn of all different plumages and variations, it was nice to get some straight forward birds this time. Makes a change for Sussex.
Totals are:
Brambling - 15
Lesser Redpoll - 40


 this individual first picked out in flight as it supported a superb pale rump, soon landed close to me. A pale individual with paler streaks on the mantle, white wingbar on greater coverts (half caught in the shadow above), white undertail coverts and dark ear coverts.

this individual was even paler than the first and also appeared slightly stockier. The gleaming white undertail coverts and axillaries and streaking on the flanks were all promising, and eventually the rump was seen well, being paler, but more streaked then the first individual. As this bird originally had 3 Lessers around it, it stood out like a sore thumb.
The other 2 Common Redpolls were seen briefly but one bird was seen 'back on' whilst preening fortunately. It showed a lovely streaked white rump and obvious pale streaks on the mantle and a clear white wingbar, and a male as well with a flash of pink on the breast looking much larger and longer than the accompanying Lesser, being paler and supporting a pale rump with no pink seen.
Sunset at Old Lodge - like being back in Ethiopia

Sunday 24 November 2013

Old Lodge 24/11/13

Hopefully more pictures of this Crossbill will materialise as it has been seen well and is strongly thought to be a Parrot Crossbill.
No sign of the Two-barred Crossbill all day at The Pines or Old Lodge, in fact very few birds seen all day. 

Saturday 23 November 2013

Spoonbill - Newhaven Tide Mills 23/11/13


juv Spoonbill showing quite well!!

Friday 22 November 2013

West Sussex 22/11/13

A good day seeing 103 species in all. Started the day where I last saw Ruddy Duck in Sussex, but unfortunately no sign of these, then visited Pagham, Selsey, West Dean, Lavington, Swanbourne Lake, The Burgh and Widewater. Highlights are:

Pagham North Wall/Church Norton
Water Rail - 1
Brambling - 2
Knot - 200
Slavonian Grebe - 5

Selsey Beach
Black-throated Diver - 2
Goldeneye - 1
Red-throated Diver - 1

West Dean Woods
Hawfinch - 2 nr Stapleash Farm
Little Owl - 1
Red Kite - 5

Lavington Common
Dartford Warbler - 1
Siskin - 1

Swanbourne Lake/Wepham/The Burgh
Mandarin - 1 drk
Bewick's Swan - 8
Grey Partridge - 20
Little Owl - 1

Widewater Lagoon
Goosander - 1 fem.

 Red Kite at West Dean
 Bewick's Swan at Wepham
Goosander at Widewater Lagoon

Monday 18 November 2013

1980-1994 Past Patch Records

A follow on from the one of the previous posts. Only documented records from Cuckmere Haven, Seaford Head &; Splash Point are included here and have not been seen by me between 2004 &; 2013.

Purple Heron - 1981 - Cuckmere Haven
Ruddy Duck -1982 - Cuckmere Haven
Little Crake - 1985 - Cuckmere Haven
Ring-billed Gull - 1987 - Cuckmere Haven
Night Heron (2) - 1987 - Cuckmere Haven
Woodchat Shrike - 1988 - Cuckmere Haven
Lesser Crested Tern - 1989 - Splash Point (seen at many locations east of here)

1991 proved to be an exceptional year with:

Surf Scoter - Splash Point
Kentish Plover - Cuckmere Haven
Laughing Gull - Splash Point
Red-throated Pipit - Cuckmere Haven
Marsh Warbler - Seaford Head

Red-rumped Swallow - 1994 - Cuckmere Haven
Aquatic Warbler - 1994 - Cuckmere Haven
White Stork - 1994 - Cuckmere Haven

 Aquatic Warbler from 1994
Little Crake by Neil Morris - www.tarsiger.co.uk  - probably one of the most twitched birds on the patch

Saturday 16 November 2013

St. Brides, Pembrokeshire 16/11/13

WESTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER - 1 feeding in apple trees at Orlandon Cottages.

I left mine at the lovely hour of midnight feeling under the weather and not really in the mood to drive 5 hours to the other side of South Wales. After picking up Jake, Jon King and finally Chris Glanfield, we soon covered the M4; seeing a half squashed cat, whilst the other half remained normal; and had a lovely Mcdonalds at 3.30am just inside Wales. This would have been ok, but breakfast didn't start until 5am, so a quarter pounder and chips was soon ordered, much to my body's dislike at this untimely hour.

We arrived on site around 6am feeling pretty grim (mainly due to our unexpected breakfast), but spirits remained high and we soon entered the 'queue' and thankfully we were first into the small front garden.

It wasn't long before the Orphean Warbler showed itself to the crowd feeding low down in the apple trees, and good views were had by the group, unfortunately the light being a tad low for any respectful photographs (by me anyway).

Due to the 'queuing' system, it was only fair to let others have a look, and for us to walk away. Having seen both Eastern and Western Orphean abroad, and with satisfactory views, I retreated back to the car.

An hour after was spent not seeing any Lapland Buntings or Choughs, so we went home. I arrived home at 3.30pm, totally exhausted, even more ill then when I had set off, but was it worth it.......oh yes!! Great company and a successful day.

Western Orphean Warbler (cardboard cut-out) - although the upperparts appear pale in this image, in 'real life' the upperparts were slightly darker, as well as a darker hood, mainly down to the poor light.
The small front garden of  Orlandon Cottage

Thursday 14 November 2013

Pevensey Bay 14/11/13

A huge thanks to Al Redman for letting me view this superb Red-breasted Flycatcher from his garden this morning. A real cracker!!

1960-1979 - Past patch records

I'm currently looking back to the years at species which have been seen on my patch (Cuckmere Haven, Seaford Head incl. Splash Point), but haven't been seen by me between 2004-2013. Noticed some very interesting records.

More updated records will be added soon.

1) Aquatic Warbler - 1977 - Cuckmere Haven
2) Kentish Plover - 1968, 1971, 1978 (2) & 1979 - all Cuckmere Haven
3) Lesser Yellowlegs - 1970 - Cuckmere Haven
4) Hooded Crow - annual winter sightings
5) SNOWY OWL - 1 accepted into Cat A. First seen on Seaford Head, later being tracked flying up the Cuckmere.
6) Cirl Bunting - Local breeder with up to 14 pairs in the valley
7) Caspian Tern - 1975 on the scrape, Cuckmere Haven
8) Wilson's Phalarope - 1971 - Cuckmere Haven
9) Pectoral Sandpiper - 1977 - Cuckmere Haven
10) Richard's Pipit - 1978 - Cuckmere Haven
11) Red-breasted Flycatcher - Seaford Head - trapped and ringed in Hope Gap

Regular visitors include:

Twite - annual winter visitor
Bewick's Swan - annual winter visitor, albeit in small numbers
Long-eared Owl - an annual roost in Hope Gap
Grey Partridge - coveys of up to 80 birds around Chyncton Farm
Bluethroat - a scarce but expected migrant.

Coastguard Cottages, Seaford Head

Wednesday 13 November 2013

The Patch & Coldwaltham 13/11/13

A superb day weather wise, and also birds weren't too bad either. Spent the first few hours by Exceat Bridge for a possible Spanish Sparrow (which I now learn supports a grey crown.....nice!!!). Needless to say no foreign Sparrows present. From here a search around the whole patch with Bob produced some nice things.

Afterwards we went to Coldwaltham for a dodgy looking Grey Shrike. Soon got onto the bird but it looked original to me, and later photos revealed one side of the face with dark lores, and the other side with pale lores. Also tail appeared too long, so for me a Great Grey Shrike. Whilst watching this bird, another Great Grey Shrike flew into view and both birds consorted with each other before splitting up.

Cuckmere Haven & Seaford Head
Marsh Harrier - 1 over Exceat
Firecrest - 4
Yellow-legged Gull - 1 adult found with Greater Black-backs near cottages.
Whitethroat - 1 - my latest record!
Redpoll - 4
House Sparrow - 20

Great Grey Shrike - 2
C'ettis Warbler - 2h

Both Great Grey Shrikes in view
 the bird in question
the bird not in question
 Marsh Harrier over Exceat
adult Yellow-legged Gull in Cuckmere - just make out the yellow legs



Monday 11 November 2013

Splash Point 11/11/13

A productive seawatch with Mick for 2 hours today saw a lot of Little Gulls passing east. A few other good bits as well.


Little Gull - 230
Brent Geese - 64 west
Wigeon - 182 west
Teal - 8 west
Common Scoter - 7 & 7 west
Velvet Scoter - 1
Arctic Skua - 1
Great Skua - 1
Gannet - 28
Dunlin - 4
Razorbill - 9
Guillemot - 3

Plenty of these today

Sunday 10 November 2013

Seaford Head & Tide Mills 10/11/13

Superb weather at long last and finally the much anticipated Woodpigeon movement was underway, but unfortunately soon came to a halt. Precious little else moving overhead and low numbers as expected in the bushes, but still a great morning.

On Newhaven east pier at 2pm were 3 each of Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone.

Totals for the Head are:

Woodpigeon - 4000
Fieldfare - 1
Swallow - 1
Siskin - 2
Redpoll - 1
Firecrest - 2
Goldcrest - 1
Chiffchaff - 3
Reed Bunting - 1
Blackcap - 1

 Firecrest in Harry's Bush
 Long-tailed Tit in Harry's Bush
 Chiffchaff in Harry's Bush
First flock of Woodpigeons
Purple Sandpiper at Tide Mills

Friday 8 November 2013

Seaford Head 8/11/13

A late start today due to a late arrival from France last night (see post below). As expected quiet, but just as I was getting in the car to go, I heard a Snow Bunting calling and soon got onto it as it flew east quite high up. Totals are:

Snow Bunting - 1 east at 11.05
Firecrest - 1
Goldcrest - 5
Brambling - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldfinch - 50 east

Firecrest in Hope Gap

Foret de Compiegne & Dieppe 6th,7th November

Having only had flight views of Black Woodpecker in Norway last year, I thought I would try my luck just north of Paris at the Foret de Compiegne. Obviously not the ideal month for Woodpeckers, but it was nice to get away and bird a new area.

Tuesday/Wednesday - I got the overnight ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe and drove the 3 hours to Compiegne arriving at first light. I found the write area and spent the day here. Unfortunately no Black Woodpeckers, but plenty to keep me occupied. As the weather was meant to deteriorate, I drove back to Dieppe that evening and slept in the car overnight.

Thursday - Wandered around a superb coastal headland just west of Dieppe at Cap D'ally. Spent the rest of the time photographing Little Gulls in Dieppe harbour before getting the ferry back to Newhaven later on that evening. A couple of Chaffinches spent the whole journey flying alongside the ferry and one even tried to land on me.

Foret de Compiegne
Short-toed Treecreeper - 10
Crested Tit - 10
Brambling - 20
Crossbill - 1
Redpoll - 1

Cap D'ally & Dieppe
Firecrest - 5
Crested Tit - 2
Little Gull - 5 in Dieppe Harbour

 Crested Tit at Foret de Compiegne

 Domain national du Palais de Compiegne

Ad & 1w Little Gulls in Dieppe Harbour

Monday 4 November 2013

Seaford Head & Tide Mills 4/11/13

The Head was very quiet today with the only noteworthy sighting being the exceptional high tide. A few groups of Woodpigeons went over and 33 Little Egrets were in the Cuckmere.

Afterwards I visited Tide Mills where the showy Grey Phalarope performed well. Highlight for me was a female-type Goosander close inshore by the east pier.

 Grey Phalarope at Tide Mills
Goosander at Tide Mills
 River Cuckmere