Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Tuesday 28 October 2014

Seaford Head & Beachy Head 28/10/14

I started today on Seaford Head where I was greeted to an amazing display of Woodpigeons migrating. They were moving in their hundreds and thousands straight out to sea. The movement only lasted 45 minutes so little doubt that the majority of birds had roosted in Friston Forest, and further proof as small numbers of Pigeons were seen at Beachy.

Other totals are:

Woodpigeon - ca. 8000 South
Ring Ouzel - 1
Stock Dove - 47
Wheatear - 1
Reed Bunting - 3 
Brambling - 5
Chiffchaff - 2
Blackcap - 2
Goldcrest - 8
Swallow - 1

Afterwards another trip to the Old Trapping Area produced the ever obliging Red-breasted Flycatcher, but the highlight was a very brief Little Bunting. It very frustratingly flew off west calling, and although it appeared to land, we could not re-find it. Due to the brief sighting, no photos were taken.

Little Bunting - Beachy
Whilst watching/waiting for the R-b Fly at the Old Trapping Area a number of birders were on the south side of the bushes, and I was the only person on the north side. I heard a high-pitched 'tic' and I just assumed it was one of the vocal Robins. I heard nothing else for maybe a minute or so, but as I looked into the open section I noticed a smallish bird low down in a hawthorn. Looking through the bins it was obviously a Little Bunting (having seen quite a few in the past, all of which had shown well, unlike this one!!) due to the chestnut cheeks, black flecking on the upper breast and pale breast/belly. It was facing me so I failed to see the black border to the ear coverts etc, but whilst reaching for the camera the bird took off, fortunately calling as it went west. Even in flight the chestnut cheeks were seen.  I lost it behind the bushes, however it did look like it was going to land, though there was no further sign. A couple of people on the south side did hear the bird call but no one else saw it. All very annoying, but I wonder how long it had been there before I found it. Just a shame as its a great record, but I can't do much with the record really. 

 R-b Fly - showing better today
 Ring Ouzel in Hope Gap
 probably my last Wheatear of the year
Sunrise on Seaford Head

Monday 27 October 2014

Newhaven, Seaford Head & Beachy 27/10/14

I started off at Newhaven Harbour today where a Black Redstart was found at west beach car park. Very little in the brambles and no interesting Gulls on the beach.

Harry's Bush was quiet so I moved on to Beachy where the Red-breasted Flycatcher showed reasonably. Not much else happening other then flocks of Stock Doves moving west.

Last but not least a walk from Peacehaven to Newhaven along the cliffs produced a female Merlin and nothing else. The autumn is nearly over.

 Red-breasted Flycatcher at Beachy Head
Black Redstart at Newhaven Harbour

Friday 24 October 2014

Porthgwarra, Cornwall 24/10/14

An excellent day down in Cornwall with Adam and Simon. I had booked this day off a while ago as it was my birthday, and I'm so glad I did. I left home around 01.30 and we arrived at Porthgwarra around 07.30 after a couple of stops along the way. 

It wasn't until 9am that the bird was found, and over the next couple of hours the Cuckoo performed well to the gathering crowd. It was simply a stunning bird, and also in a lovely setting.

Merlin - 1
Balearic Shearwater - 1
Chough - 2

A couple of other sites were visited afterwards where a couple more yanks were added to the day list. A trip to Lands End was very pleasent in the late afternoon sun, but what was slightly concerning was the fact that the Scillies were in view, and was probably a factor as to why there is no sign of the Cuckoo the next day.

Drift Reservoir - Ring-necked Duck 1 juv.
Hayle Estuary - Lesser Yellowlegs 1 juv.
Lands End - Chough 2

We left at 17.30 and due to an accident and then road closures, I arrived home at 00:15 absolutely exhausted, but with a birthday to remember!!

 Yellow-billed Cuckoo at Porthgwarra - a true mega!!
Chough at Lands End

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Beachy Head 22/10/14

A mad rush after work today to see the superb adult male Red-breasted Flycatcher found late morning in the Old Trapping Area. A delightful little bird and great to also hear it calling.

This now brings my Sussex Yearlist to 235 BOU, equaling my previous record set in 2009. The magic number of 245 will be just out of reach for me this year.

Monday 20 October 2014

Newhaven & Seaford Head 20/10/14

A much better day today after yesterday's dismal totals, where after covering Seaford Head, Foxhole Farm and Crowlink the best I managed was a Whitethroat. 

As I stayed in Peacehaven last night I visited Newhaven Harbour first where a Dartford Warbler was found at west beach car park foraging in the scrub. Plenty of bird activity here with lots of Finches and Chats. 

Onwards to Seaford Head where totals consisted of:
Ring Ouzel - 4
Tree Pipit - 1 - hearing this bird approaching, I got a bit excited knowing how late it is (potential for Olive-backed) and fired off a few shots, which unfortunately revealed the bird to be just a fly over Tree Pipit. 
Woodlark - 4
Brambling - 5
Wheatear - 1
Blackcap - 1
Stock Dove - 85 

Plenty of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests about, and although the conditions felt good for a Pallas's or Yellow-browed, one didn't materialise. 

Tide Mills was next where a Whinchat was present and 100 Stock Doves flew west. 

 Dartford Warbler hiding at Newhaven Harbour
 Tree Pipit over Hope Gap
 Stock Doves west over Tide Mills
Whinchat at Tide Mills

Saturday 18 October 2014

Seaford Head, Climping & Rye 18/10/14

What a day. A lot of miles on the clock but well worth it.

The day started off well when I found a Yellow-browed Warbler on Seaford Head golf course. It however soon disappeared allowing zero photos to be taken of it, which was a shame as it was a very bright individual.

News then broke of a Stone Curlew at Climping, and being a Sussex lifer I had no choice but to go. After a while, it looked as if a dip was on the cards, but out of nowhere the Stone Curlew flew up and was watched flying away and into another field. Awesome!!!

Now fully motivated and in twitching mode, I took the decision to drive all the way to Rye, where thankfully the adult White-winged Black Tern showed superbly in the evening light. Also present were 3 Little Stints and a Ruff. 

Anyway, totals for Seaford Head:
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1
Ring Ouzel - 8
Chiffchaff - 20
Goldcrest - 10
Wheatear - 1

 White-winged Black Tern at Castle Water

Stone-Curlew at Climping

Thursday 16 October 2014

Selsey 16/10/14

Yellow-browed Warbler - 1

A bit of an insurance year tick after work, just incase this is the only twitchable individual of the autumn. 
However, I'm hoping to find one (or a Radde's) this weekend as I'll be checking as many suitable habitats as I can, and I can't wait.

Yellow-browed at Selsey

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Dungeness + North Norfolk 13/14 Oct

A trip with Marc Read aiming to cover the east coast from Holy Island and down to Norfolk over the two days to find some rare birds all too soon changed as Sunday afternoon produced an Audouin's Gull at Dungeness.

All of Monday was spent at Dunge with no sign of the Gull, but looking at the weather forecast the North Norfolk coast looked quite good and would surely produce a rare or two today 

We slept in the car at Warham Green and covered the following areas with the following species. Plenty of bird activity today, mainly Thrushes but also plenty of Bramblings etc. 

Warham Green
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 heard
Woodcock - 2
Pink-footed Geese - 500
Also hundreds of birds about after a decent overnight fall, mainly Redwings. 

Stiffkey Woods
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 + 1 heard 
Redstart - 2

Wells Woods
Radde's Warbler - 1 
Yellow-browed Warbler - 4 heard
Short-eared Owl - 2 

Burnham Norton
Great Grey Shrike - 1

Holme NWT
Pallas's Warbler - 1 
Yellow-browed Warbler - 1 heard

A really good day, not just for the quality, but the quantity of birds about. Every tree seemed to hold something, and the constant sound of Yellow-browed calling was brilliant. 

 Steppe Grey Shrike at Burnham Norton - my 2nd in the UK
 Red-flanked Bluetail at Stiffkey - my 2nd in the UK
Pallas's Warbler at Holme NWT

Sunday 12 October 2014

Newhaven/Seaford 12/10/14

The majority of the day was spent covering a number of sites between Peacehaven and Seaford Head before the rain set in mid afternoon. Sites covered were Tide Mills, Seaford Head, Newhaven Harbour and the cliffs between Peacehaven and Newhaven. 

Very little about however with the main highlight being a Woodlark over Chyncton Farm. A fair scattering of Wheatears were dotted about, and a Whitethroat was along the base of the cliffs in Newhaven. 

Saturday 11 October 2014

Tawny Pipit - Newhaven Tide Mills 10/10/14

Surprised to re-find the Tawny Pipit this morning as there had been no news since Tuesday when found by Andrew. A delightful bird and at times showed extremely well.

Tawny Pipit at Tide Mills

Monday 6 October 2014

Splash Point 6/10/14

 A relatively productive sea watch this morning with Bob and Marc. Offshore were hundreds, if not thousands of Gannets. I only stayed until 8.45, where I had seen all what I wanted to see, but I think another visit today is on the cards. 

My totals are:

Sooty Shearwater - 1 west
Pomarine Skua - 1 juv East very close inshore. 
Arctic Skua - 6 
Common Scoter - 8 
Brent Goose - 13

Afterwards a look at Tide Mills produced a Whinchat

Another sea watch from 11-1pm produced the following:

Pomarine Skua - 1 juv
Great Skua - 3 
Arctic Skua - 4
Sandwich Tern - 2

Sunday 5 October 2014

Seaford Head 5/10/14

Very cool this morning with a light covering of frost, which presumably was the cause of not too much being seen this morning. A fair number of Chiffchaffs were present, but the hopes of any overhead passage were yet again smashed. Finches were moving in small numbers but nothing significant. A certain lack of enthusiasm at the moment (not helped by being in Sussex and not Shetland), but fingers crossed the autumn has something to deliver yet. 

Totals for this morning:

Stonechat - 6
Wheatear - 5
Skylark - 25 west
Song Thrush - 4
Chiffchaff - 70
Blackcap - 15
Jay - 3 NW
Pied/Alba Wagtail - 40 east
Goldcrest - 6
Reed Bunting - 6
House Martin - 400 west
Swallow - 30 west

 Reed Bunting by South Hill Barn

Wheatear in Hope Gap

Friday 3 October 2014

Barcelona 2/10/14

Monk Parakeet - 5 - a new species for me but I'm rather reluctant to add it on my World List. A trip to Argentina would soon sort this out. 

Thursday 2 October 2014

Nice 2/10/14

Osprey - 1 fishing in the harbour by the airfield was very unexpected. It caught a fish and flew East across the main runway, nearly colliding with an Airbus!! 
Yellow-legged Gull - 20