Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Monday 24 February 2014

Lesser Pecker 24/2/14

The first gust of warmth from the continent today was enough to spend my last day of unemployment in a West Sussex Forest.

Entering the wood (where I've had LSW before) just before midday I instantly heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling. I quickly got onto the bird and enjoyed the birds open wing display and also lots of drumming, which surprisingly are displays I hadn't seen/heard before.

However the Woodpecker soon departed. I did manage some photos which will be added tomorrow.

A Brimstone was also seen today.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Cuckmere Haven & Hope Gap 22/2/14

A superb walk this morning in the much wanted spring-like conditions. As it was low tide I also walked the rock pools half-way to Splash Point. Not much about as expected, but a lot of birdsong which was nice. The juv. Spoonbill and 3 White-fronted Geese were still present on the west side of the river.

Hope Gap is also looking different now down the main path.

 Dunnock in Cuckmere
Carrion Crow at Hope Gap
 Fulmars at Hope Gap
 Cottages near river mouth
 Landslide between Hope Gap and cottages
Hope Gap

Monday 17 February 2014

Cuckmere Haven 17/2/14

The usual suspects still in the Cuckmere this afternoon. These being the juv. Spoonbill and the 3 White-fronted Geese all on the west side. The Gull flock had been spooked by a Buzzard so they all deserted the area for the beach.

White-fronted Geese at Cuckmere Haven - no doubt the video quality will be poor, although on the phone it looks great.

Friday 14 February 2014

Chinese Pond Heron 14/2/14

A quick dash to Hythe this morning for what will hopefully be the first accepted Chinese Pond Heron in Britain. Standing on Turnpike Hill, the Heron quickly appeared at 7.05am where it landed in the surrounding trees giving good scope views, though was difficult to photograph due to the poor light.

The Heron flew around a lot in the forty-five minutes we were there, being flushed by a passing cyclist and no doubt by the crowd of admirers. 

Having seen hundreds of Chinese Pond Herons in Thailand in full winter plumage, it was good to see some hints of colour today, which proved it to be a very smart looking bird.

Thursday 13 February 2014

Scotney GP 13/2/14

I really should have left the house early and got to Hythe for this Pond Heron as it is certainly a morning bird where it shows frequently, and then disappearing to the gardens for the rest of the day. Well I didn't make it there, so Scotney was my call of duty today.

On arrival it was very quiet, and after chatting to Martin who arrived soon after me, the Black-necked Grebe finally showed itself and drifted ever further into Sussex. A couple of hours later I returned and the Grebe was showing well on the Sussex side. During these two periods however, I set about trying to find the Great White Egret which normally associates itself on the pit behind Scotney. Martin kindly told me the best route to take, and thankfully it paid of.

The GW Egret was immediately on show just by Scotney Farm, however I really needed it to fly west for a few hundred metres, and as luck would have it, it done just that. Looking on google earth, the Egret was probably 20 metres into Sussex, but that was good enough for me. A male Merlin was also seen, although this was the same distance from the border, but in Kent.

Later in the afternoon, a Barn Owl and Slavonian Grebe were the only birds of note at the 'Bittern' viewpoint, Rye.

 Black-necked Grebe
 Great White Egret - this shot taken at Scotney Farm
1 - where the GW Egret initially was
2 - where it re-located to (Sussex side)
3 - where I viewed the bird from

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Cuckmere Haven 12/2/14

A good walk this morning down the west side, which was where (fortunately) all the highlights were located today. The Gull flock was very impressive today, but I could only find one interesting Gull in there. Totals are:

Caspian Gull - 1 1st winter (worn individual) 10.00-10.15 then flew out to sea
White-fronted Geese - 3
Spoonbill - 1

pales edges to the medium and greater coverts and white tips to the dark-centred tertials combined with the very long dark primaries are very good indicators. Also the long slender bill, heavy streaking on the hind-neck creating a half necklace and clean white head aren't too bad either.
 lots of grey scapulars are evident in this bird

 (Caspian Gull - 2nd from left standing)
The stilt-like legs are very thin compared to the Herring Gull's shorter legs on the right of the photo.
palish underwing coverts and the clean white uppertail with an obvious thick black band to the tip are the last of the features needed. Also again clearly marked are the pale edges to the greater and medium coverts in this image.
(Caspian Gull at Cuckmere Haven this morning)

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Yellow-rumped Yank - Co. Durham 11/2/14

A twitch up north today for a superb yank that has always proved an un-twitchable bird in my (short) birding career. The bird in question being a lovely 1st winter YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER that was found on the big garden birdwatch weekend. Thankfully, negotiations took place allowing many to see this little gem, including our group of six today.

I left mine at 1.30am and met Chris (the driver), Jake, Simon, Dan & Mike Booker at Bolney, and we were quickly on our way, and at 7am we arrived on site. It didn't take too long for the bird to appear on the coconut feeders, but due to the poor light my photos were shockingly bad. Good scope views were had however, and after an hour and a half in the cold and increasingly damp conditions, we left for home. On the M1 there were very heavy snow showers, but conditions improved allowing a quick journey home.

We arrived back at Bolney around 2pm, so with plenty of the afternoon left I went and saw the Swallow at Newick.

 Yellow-rumped Warbler (just) at High Shincliffe, Co. Durham

Sunday 9 February 2014

Lively West Beach 9/2/14

Prompted by plenty of Auk casualties along the south coast, I walked the tide line along Newhaven West Beach and found singles of Razorbill and Guillemot, and a manky Fox. Alive birds were very thin on the ground.

Say cheese

Saturday 8 February 2014

Littlehampton Beach - Kumlien's Gull 8/2/14

Dashed down to Littlehampton from Steyning to hopefully connect with a possible Kumlien's Gull found by Harry Ramm.. I arrived on the east side of the river mouth (the opposite side to everyone else), but fortunately the bird was on my side and showing well.

Immediately obvious were the well marked primaries, and I set about capturing as many pictures as I could. Also present was an adult Glaucous Gull roosting on the low tide with other Gulls.

 a classic Kumlien's in my opinion. The dark grey primaries with paler edges are obvious, all black bill as well as being an extremely mottled individual.
 the darker outer webs on the outer primaries and obvious tail band is unlike Iceland Gull.
 darker-centred secondaries, all black bill and the darker primaries are again all pro-Kumlien's features.
another view of the tail band.
(juvenile Kumlien's Gull at Littlehampton Beach)

 adult Glaucous Gull 
Siberian Chiffchaff at Steyning

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Guiding in West Sussex 4/2/14

Today I was in charge of guiding John Bruin (from San Diego) around West Sussex to try and see as many species as possible. I picked up John in Brighton and we covered many different habitats in the west. We managed 82 species (in far from ideal conditions) of which the highlights were:

Slavonian Grebe, 100+ Mediterranean Gulls and stacks of Waders (incl. 2 yearticks being Knot and Bar-tailed Godwit) - Pagham Harbour/Lagoon
11 Bewick's Swans, 2 Ravens, Grey Partridge, Red Kite etc - North Stoke/The Burgh
Little Owl - West Dean Woods
Short-eared Owl - Beeding Brooks
5 Purple Sandpipers - Shoreham Harbour

 Little Owl at West Dean
Short-eared Owl at Beeding Brooks

Saturday 1 February 2014

Cuckmere Haven 1/2/14

Met up with Mick late morning and we walked the lower west side. The Spoonbill was showing well on the SW ditch, the pale Brent Goose was still hanging around and the large Gull flock held an adult Yellow-legged Gull.