Lesser Florican - August 2023

Total Pageviews

Saturday 31 May 2014

Morden Bog NR, Dorset


I really thought that I would never see a Short-toed Eagle in Britain, but this morning this all became slightly possible as a bird was photographed at the above location. During the afternoon (after disappearing for most of the day) the Eagle was re-found sat in a tree. 

A couple of pager messages later and it was still sat in the same tree, which rather twitched me into action. In no more than 2.5hrs later (after picking up Chris Glanfield and his kids at Arundel) I was watching this superb beast in the same tree it was found in. Superb scope views were had of this mega bird. I have seen plenty of Short-toeds abroad, but this was the first time I had seen one settled. Amazing!!

phone scoped pictures of the Short-toed Eagle. Distant and falling light not really helping matters.

Thursday 29 May 2014

Seaford Head + Wanstead 29/5/14

By far the undoubted highlight this morning was finding a singing male Marsh Warbler just east of South Hill Barn. I initially heard it as I got out of the car at 6am, but at this point Melodious hadn't been ruled out. This was soon resolved as a 'Bee-Eater' and 'Quail' were calling from the same bush!!

The bird sang continuously and showed relatively well up until 8am, and was not seen again until 10.15am when it was re-located briefly on the western edge of Hope Gap (around 400 metres away from its original position), only to be seen again briefly in the evening.

This is certianly a bird I have been wanting to find for a long time, and even better on the patch, and even better a Sussex tick. Myself and Bob did manage to get many sound recordings of the Marsh Warbler, which can be found lower down on this post. Just remember to turn the sound up!!

 the crested appearance, along with the cold grey upperparts, uniform palish underparts and the dark alula all suggest Marsh Warbler.
 I hoped to capture a shot like this, as it really portrays the intensity of the song. The bill reminded me of an Olivaceous Warbler.
 the legs appear to be yellow/orange tinged and the flanks showing no warmish tones. 
 the nape down to the rump are concolourous, being a cold grey. However, critical detail here including the very long primary projection (much longer in length then the exposed tertials) and the longest tertial just passing the secondary bar are perfect for Marsh Warbler (ruling out Reed Warbler at the same time), as are the pale claws

When viewing the bird through Jamie Wilkinson's scope, the thin pale edges to each primary were seen. The plumage was very fresh looking, again all pro features of Marsh Warbler. Also the edges to the tertials barely contrast with the upperparts.

However, the song was really a dead give away, with many different songs/calls noted all expressed rather explosively, namely Bee-Eater, Quail, Swallow, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Song Thrush, Whitethroat and a mixture of its own notes. Most importantly, not a single note of Reed Warbler was indicated. 

Turn the sound right up!!!
(male Marsh Warbler on Seaford Head)

Wanstead, London
BLYTH'S REED WARBLER - 1 singing male seen all too briefly late on this evening. Still, this completed a nice duo of Acros for the day.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Selsey Bill 28/5/14

A bit of a gamble this morning as there had only been two sightings so far, but two days prior to today. The weather conditions were identical as yesterday so I thought there was a good chance of seeing a Storm-Petrel. 

I arrived at 5.45am, with Christian joining me 15 minutes later. It wasn't until 9.40am (Christain had left at this point) when a Storm-Petrel was picked up about a mile out moving slowly westwards, but also towards me. It was viewed for about 3 minutes before disappearing behind the wall. 

Totals between 5.45-9.45am are:

Storm-Petrel - 1 moved west at about a mile range. The white rump was just about visible.
Manx Shearwater - 1 east
Eider - 5 on sea
Great Northern Diver - 3/4 on sea and in summer plumage
Common Scoter - ca. 100

Other bits seen today were mainly Orchids, with Birds Nest, Common Spotted, Fly, Greater Butterfly Orchids, White Helleborine and Common Twayblades.

Also hundreds of Swifts everywhere today.

 Greater Butterfly Orchid at Heyshott
 Fly Orchid at Heyshott
Roe Deer at Coldwaltham

Friday 23 May 2014

Splash Point 23/5/14

After working all night, I arrived home at 4.30am where a strong southerly was blowing, so I went down Splash for a couple of hours before going to sleep. Not a great deal  moving.

Totals between 4.55-7.20am are:
Manx Shearwater - 3
Sandwich Tern - 17
Commic Tern - 20
Gannet - 105
Common Scoter - 43
Arctic Skua - 3
Hobby - 1 flew east very close
Great Skua - 1
Guillemot - 5

A brief visit up Seaford Head after produced a Hobby, and yesterday in one of my next boxes are 6 juv. Blue Tits.

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Cuckmere Haven & Seaford Head 21/5/14

I got down the Cuckmere really early hoping to take advantage of being the only person on site. Very few birds were seen however. A quick walk around the Head after was equally quiet.

Greenshank - 1 flew north
Common Sandpiper - 2

Seaford Head:
Spotted Flycatcher - 1

 Spotted Flycatcher
Greenshank over

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Splash Point & Cuckmere Haven 20/5/14

The long lasting quest for a Long-tailed Skua continues after today's failure. However, there was a nice selection of species moving this morning, including many distant Terns moving rapidly up channel. However, only small numbers of other species were noted.

Totals between 6.00-9.30 are:

Pomarine Skua - 1
Arctic Skua - 2
Common Scoter - 35
Commic Tern - 305
Common Tern - 15
Arctic Tern - 1
Black Tern - 13
Little Tern - 1
Sandwich Tern - 38
Sanderling - 22
Turnstone - 1
Diver sp. - 2
Gannet - 10
Guillemot - 4

This evening a walk down the Cuckmere produced 5 Common Sandpipers and a Ringed Plover.

Common Sandpiper along the Cuckmere

Sunday 18 May 2014

Medmerry RSPB & Peacehaven Cliffs 18/5/14

Eventually caught up with a Black-winged Stilt in Sussex this year. The two birds at Medmerry performed well this morning, with a supporting cast of Little Ringed Plovers and plenty of Avocets. A very good looking reserve which has plenty of potential, so I'm sure it won't be my last visit. Also many thanks for those who text me this morning.

These two Stilts were only my second occurrence of this species in the county, my previous record being back in 2005 for a one day bird in the Cuckmere on the 1st of May.

This evening a walk from Peacehaven to Castle Hill along the cliffs produced a Cuckoo and a Hobby.

On Friday, the Cuckmere held just a Grey Plover, and yesterday I was a bit too late to see the Temminck's which was seen briefly, but 2 Hobbies flew north.

male Black-winged Stilt at Medmerry

Thursday 15 May 2014

Cuckmere Haven 15/5/14

A very productive late afternoon walk where for a change there were some Waders present, and even more of a change, the place was devoid of people. A flock of 8 Black-tailed Godwits were the highlight, and is a very good spring record for here.

Totals are:
Black-tailed Godwit - 8
Grey Plover - 1
Avocet - 2 on the scrape
Dunlin - 1
Whimbrel - 7
Spotted Flycatcher - 3 by Foxhole
Little Owl - 1
Gadwall - 2

 Black-tailed Godwits
 Avocet on the scrape
 Dunlin on the meanders
Grey Plover over

Turtle Dove 15/5/14

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Seaford Head 14/5/14

A day I would normally associate with a Long-tailed Skua was soon brought to a halt due to a light northerly and clear skies. However this did result in a scatter of grounded migrants on the Head. Spotted Flycatchers were again the most notable species present, but four singing Reed Warblers were a surprise. The whole area was covered, including the golf course. A steady passage of Hirundines and fewer Swifts were moving north as the morning warmed up.

Totals are:
Spotted Flycatcher - 14
Reed Warbler - 4
Whinchat - 4
Garden Warbler - 2
Willow Warbler - 1

 female Whinchat by Harry's Bush
 Spotted Flycatcher in Harry's Bush - 11 here today
Whitethroat giving it the beans.

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 13/5/14

Back to routine today after a lengthy absence. Nothing amazing today but it was just nice to be outside instead of in a metal tube. A later start today due to extreme tiredness, but this probably resulted in seeing more Flycatchers. The Cuckmere was visited in the evening.

Seaford Head
Spotted Flycatcher - 8 (incl. 5 in the wood)
Willow Warbler - 2

Whinchat - 1 by Foxhole
Spotted Flycatcher - 2 by Foxhole
Little Owl -1
Wheatear - 3
Ringed Plover - 1
Whimbrel - 4
Dunlin - 2

 Wheatear by the scrape
Whinchat by Foxhole

Monday 12 May 2014

Madrid 12/5/14

Sardinian Warbler - 1
Short-toed Treecreeper - 3
Pallid Swift - 4
Serin - 4

Friday 9 May 2014

Paphos, Cyprus 9/5/14

Alpine Swift - 1 - amazing views
Hooded Crow - 50
Green Sandpiper - 6

Not bad for half hour on the tarmac!!

Thursday 8 May 2014

Olbia, Sardinia 8/5/14

Hooded Crow - 2

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Splash Point 6/5/14

A very fresh SW wind this morning, but as predicted there were a few Poms left over from yesterdays onslaught.

Totals between 5.40-9.40 are:

Pomarine Skua - 10
Arctic Skua - 7
Great Skua - 2
Manx Shearwater - 1
Commic Tern - 350
Arctic Tern - 9
Black Tern - 3
Little Tern - 5
Sandwich Tern - 45
Common Scoter - 53
Eider - 4
Gannet - 50
Sanderling - 13
Ringed Plover - 1
Little Gull - 2
Black-throated Diver - 1
Red-throated Diver - 1

A Red Kite was seen at Arlington this afternoon and 2 Spotted Flycatchers at the back of Seaford, but despite walking miles, there were no Dotterel for me.

Spotted Flycatcher near Seaford

Monday 5 May 2014

Splash Point - POM DAY!!! 5/5/14

Due to working to the early hours this morning, I wasn't able to get down Splash from the start, hence I missed a fair proportion of Poms, though thankfully when I arrived at 10, there was a continuous movement and I ended with a personnel day record. Ewan and Richard also scored a county record of 130, so today really was a special one.
As much as I say it, Pomarine Skuas are simply amazing birds, especially when moving in flocks, so it is fair to say today was a highlight in my seawatching career. Blooming brilliant!!

As I arrived late, I didn't note down any numbers of other species, so a basic list from 10.15-8pm are:

Pomarine Skua - 86
Arctic Skua - 20+
Great Skua - 1
Black Tern - 1
Little Tern - 40+

Poms past Splash Point

Sunday 4 May 2014

Amsterdam Airport 4/5/14

White Stork - 1 over
Spoonbill - 1 over

Saturday 3 May 2014

Seaford Head 3/5/14

A good breeding bird survey on the Head this morning with plenty of common birds singing, but unfortunately migrant numbers were low.

The 'highlights' being a Garden Warbler, whilst the first Swift for me flew over. A Willow Warbler was also in Hope Gap. All very quiet, not surprising given the conditions.

Thursday 1 May 2014

More from Mallorca

 Black-winged Stilt at S'albufera
 the western area of the S'albufera reserve
 Audouin's Gull at Puerto de Pollensa
 Audouin's Beach
 juv Serin at the Boquer Valley

 Boquer Valley
 Stone Curlew at S'albufera
view from the Cap de Formentor