Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Thursday 31 July 2014

Seaford Head 31/7/14

A very pleasant start to the day with no wind and cooler temperatures. This soon changed however as the heat drew proceedings to a halt, but there was still a nice selection of birds with the main highlight being a flyover Dotterel.

Bob Self also had a Great White Egret which I failed to see. Two patch ticks would have been great, but one will do.

Totals are:
Dotterel - 1 flew NW over the golf course calling constantly at 7.10am
Whitethroat - 19
Lesser Whitethroat - 8
Reed Warbler - 10
Sedge Warbler - 3
Willow Warbler - 27
Chiffchaff - 6 (all young and local)
Garden Warbler - 3
Blackcap - 3
Sand Martin - 5

 Reed Warbler on the golf course
 Sedge Warbler on the golf course

Dotterel over Seaford Head

being the earliest autumn Sussex record by 10 days (previous being at Rye Harbour on 10th Aug. 1978), I was slightly hesitant on releasing the news until I had listened to some sound recordings on xeno-canto (mainly to re-assure myself), even though I knew it could only have been a Dotterel, and I had already written it down in the note pad. Unfortunately the views were poor as I was looking into the sun, hence no features were seen. 

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 30/7/14

The northerly breeze was still evident this morning but numbers are certainly on the up. A good scattering of Willow Warblers kept me moderately entertained.

Afterwards, a trip down the Cuckmere obviously didn't produce any Pratincoles, but a Wood Sandpiper was a nice find. Also stumbled across 4 Small Red-eyed Damselflies which I never knew existed down here.

Seaford Head totals:
Nightingale - 1 'croaking' in Hope Gap
Wheatear - 2
Whitethroat - 35
Willow Warbler - 41
Blackcap - 3
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 2
Reed Warbler - 1
Swallow - 60
Sand Martin - 10

Cuckmere totals:
Wood Sandpiper - 1 - only my second ever in the Cuckmere
Greenshank - 1
Green Sandpiper - 1
Common Sandpiper - 3
Black-tailed Godwit - 1 with the Curlew flock

 Willow Warblers in Hope Gap

 Gropper in the 'Gropper' field - primaries looking very fresh so I suspect it to be a young bird.
  Wood Sandpiper in the Cuckmere
Small Red-eyed Damselfly in the Cuckmere - note how the tip of the abdomen curves upwards and the 7th segment is blue.

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Cuckmere Haven 29/7/14

A nice selection of species this morning for a change. Also nice to be walking in sensible temperatures. Totals are:

Yellow-legged Gull - 1 juv.
Common Gull - 1 juv.
Black-tailed Godwit - 1
Dunlin - 34
Redshank - 8
Whimbrel - 3

A Clouded Yellow also showed nicely.

 juvenile Yellow-legged Gull along the river
 Black-tailed Godwit flying off high to the west after being flushed by a kayak.
Clouded Yellow

Friday 25 July 2014

Seaford Head 25/7/14

Still the north easterly breeze was evident this morning which no doubt kept a few birds down. The highlight was a Marsh Harrier hunting over the sheep field briefly early on. Other than this, only small numbers of migrants seen.

Marsh Harrier - 1
Nightingale - 1 'croaking' in Hope Gap
Whitethroat - 18
Lesser Whitethroat - 4
Willow Warbler - 8
Sedge Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Swallow - 50 east
Swift - 50 east

Afterwards, myself and Mick kayaked from Splash Point to the Cuckmere, and at approx. a mile out to sea, we came across a couple of Jellyfish, the one below around one metre long.

 distant Marsh Harrier over the sheep field
Willow Warbler on the golf course
 Hope Gap
some sort of Jellyfish

Thursday 24 July 2014

West Rise Marsh 24/7/14

After walking the Cuckmere this morning (see post below) I went over to West Rise to see the Red-veined Darters. They were very easy to find, and being very territorial, they were always in view. 2 males were seen and possibly a female.

 male Red-veined Darter at West Rise

Cuckmere Haven 24/7/14

With a north easterly breeze blowing, I ventured down the Cuckmere instead of Seaford Head. Pretty much the same as last night with the addition of a Green Sandpiper.

Totals are:
Green Sandpiper - 1 juv.
Dunlin - 14
Whimbrel - 2
Common Sandpiper - 4

 juv. Green Sandpiper by the scrape
 juv. Willow Warbler by the scrape
Dunlin along the river

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Greenway Bank & Cuckmere Haven 23/7/14

Finally a day off, so I headed up to Greenway to hopefully hear, and see the Quail my Dad found yesterday. I heard one calling straight away, and after half hour I had three singing birds around me. One was seen in flight, no doubt trying to fend off the other two. Always brilliant to hear this ever declining species, but this site has had them annually for six years at least.

Cuckmere Haven this evening produced:

Common Sandpiper - 2
Whimbrel - 3
Dunlin - 13
Yellow Wagtail - 1

singing Quail (turn the sound up)
Always brilliant to hear this ever declining species, but this site has had them annually for six years at least. 
Greenway Bank - TQ 494,032

Friday 18 July 2014

Garden Moth Trap 18/7/14

As I was on standby this morning I decided to do a moth trap to mainly pass the time. Overnight thunderstorms probably didn't help, but still good numbers of common species. Whilst sorting through these this morning, a Common Sandpiper flew over the house.

 Privet Hawkmoth
Buff Arches

Thursday 17 July 2014

Cuckmere Haven 17/7/14

Again not very much to report this evening, though an adult summer Common Gull was new.

Early this morning a walk around the downs north of Falmer and round to Ashcombe Bottom failed to find the Quail, but it was nice to see Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers.

Totals for the Cuckmere are:

Yellow Wagtail - 1
Common Gull - 1
Dunlin - 7
Whimbrel - 4

 Corn Bunting nr Ashcombe Bottom
perhaps a reason why there were so few birds in the Cuckmere this evening

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Seaford Head 16/7/14

The first session of the autumn for me today. As expected, not very much activity but the area looks very promising with plenty of growth along all the rides and the 'Gropper' field looking dense. Totals for the morning are:

Yellow Wagtail - 1
Whitethroat - 21
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Blackcap - 2
Willow Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 3
Swift - 1
Cormorant - 24 - not that I've counted before, but this is probably the largest flock I've had fly over.

Reed Warbler in Hope Gap - a particularly rufous individual

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Breydon Water, Norfolk 15/7/14

I left Gatwick at midnight after finishing my 4-sector day (Barcelona and Geneva), picked up Ian and Harry and we made our way to NE Norfolk in the hope of connecting with the Great Knot at Breydon. We arrived just as it was getting light, but it wasn't until 5.30am when the bird was spotted feeding with some Redshank.

It was always distant when feeding, but on two occasions it gave very good flight views as it headed to either end of the large expanse of water. A very good looking bird, and well worth a night without sleep.

Totals for the morning:

GREAT KNOT - 1 adult
Spotted Redshank - 2
Greenshank - 3

An Otter was also seen early on swimming down channel.

Great Knot at Breydon Water - taken by Chris Bromley

Saturday 12 July 2014

Cuckmere Haven 12/7/14

Despite plenty of Waders making there way down south, the Cuckmere unsurprisingly isn't seeing much of the action. Totals this evening are:

Little Ringed Plover - 1 juv.
Lapwing - 1 flew north supporting very heavy wing moult
Dunlin - 4

Nothing in Corfu this morning.

 LRP on the meanders
 Herring Gull with dinner
Dunlin on the meanders

Friday 11 July 2014

Cuckmere Haven x2 11/7/14

Got completely drenched for the following:

Dunlin - 8
Common Sandpiper - 1
Whimbrel - 2
Ringed Plover - 1

The only additional sighting this evening were of 4 Sandwich Terns roosting on the river bank.

Sandwich Terns

Monday 7 July 2014

Madrid 7/7/14

Hoopoe - 1
Serin - 1
Pallid Swift - 3

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Lancs/Cumbria (Orchids & Butterflies) 30/6-2/7/14

I left home at 6.30am on Monday and endured the non-stop journey north to Gait Barrows on the Lancs/Cumbria border. I arrived at 12.30 and it was fair to say I was quite excited as a new Orchid species was waiting for me. It wasn't difficult to find as there were numerous signs leading up to the area. The Orchid in question is the Lady's Slipper, one of the rarest Orchids in Britain. There was only one left in flower, but it looked awesome. Also about were a couple of Northern Brown Argus, and several Grayling.

Lady's Slipper at Gait Barrows

Next stop was Arnside Knott where after several hours of wandering around I managed a quick view of a High Brown Fritillary, stacks of Dark Green Fritillaries, several Northern Brown Argus, Grayling, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries and a White Admiral. However the highlight was seen when leaving the car park when I just happened to glace to my right and notice a Dark Red Helleborine. Closer inspection resulted in finding another four there.

 Northern Brown Argus at Arnside Knott

Dark Red Helleborine at Arnside Knott

Last stop of the day was Meathop Moss for the Large Heath butterfly. Due to getting here quite late on, they weren't that active, which helped out with the photos. Also there were Black Darters about, all in different stages of ageing. A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling as well, and was seen briefly.

 Large Heath at Meathop Moss
Black Darter at Meathop Moss

I checked myself in at the rather posh 'Cumbria Grand Hotel', but for £40 it was the cheapest around, and also put me in a good position venture into the Lakes the next day. However I was slightly nervous to enter such a posh hotel in the fear of being turned away, mainly due to my ragged look.

Day 2 - 1/7/14
Another great day weather wise, which meant an extremely tiring hike (in trainers) up to Red Tarn. It was really tough going, but a Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Ring Ouzels kept the pain away. Up at the Tarn, the views were brilliant, and after two hours, I finally saw the target, a Mountain Ringlet. A further two were seen, but I only managed a record shot. 

 Mountain Ringlet at Red Tarn
 the start
the finish - Red Tarn

Now exceptionally tired, I decided another wander around Arnside was in order, but no luck with the High Browns despite people claiming them, but were presumably Dark Greens. I did find another two Dark Red Helleborines which were nice. As I had booked in at the Grand Hotel again, I visited Foulshaw Moss, but other than Black Darters and Emerald Damselflies there wasn't a great deal. 

 Emerald Damselfly at Foulshaw
Black Darter at Foulshaw

On the last morning I nipped into Foulshaw and saw the family of Ospreys, and a brief visit to Warton Craggs produced a couple of Northern Brown Argus. Despite recent sightings, I didn't see any Fritillaries.  I left at midday (aiming to miss any rush hour traffic) and arrived home around 5pm. A very successful trip, and even better the weather was perfect.