Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Monday 29 June 2015

Breydon Water & Strumpshaw, Norfolk 29/6/15

For a few years now I haven't gone for any Pacific Golden Plovers due to them being too far away and at a time of year I tend to dissociate birding and commence photographing Dragonflies or Butterflies. Fortunately today combined the two and I was finally able to see a PGP in Britain.

It took me a while to pluck up the courage but I finally left for Breydon Water just before midday and arrived under fours hours later. Annoyingly I was the only birder there, but once I finally found the Pacific Golden Plover I was able to enjoy it on my own. Good enough views through the scope, and at one point the bird raised its wings allowing the brown underwing to be seen.

a small part of Breydon Water with an out of focus Pacific Golden Plover in the middle

Afterwards I visited Strumpshaw Fen RSPB and spent an hour watching and photographing Norfolk Hawkers which certainly made the trip up worthwhile. A few Southern Marsh Orchids were around and a Marsh Harrier was seen carrying some large half-eaten bird in its talons.

 Norfolk Hawkers at Strumpshaw Fen
Southern Marsh Orchid

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Bee-Eaters - Littledene 23/6/15

I arrived home around 2.30am from work with the news of a flock of ten Bee-Eaters only 15 minutes away from home seen yesterday evening. Arriving just before 5am, we continuously watched this superb flock of birds preening, catching bees, settling on the wires and calling constantly until 6.34am when they all flew up together into a tight bunch, gained height and drifted off to the east. An incredible spectacle that I doubt won't be repeated anytime soon in Sussex.

Phone-scoped attempt worse then ever

European Bee-Eaters at Littledene

Friday 19 June 2015

CRETZSCHMAR'S BUNTING, Bardsey Island - 18/6/15

Yet another mega seen this spring seen with Jake in what has felt like a continuous stream of successful twitches. Logistics for this twitch were more straight forward then expected with Ewan arranging a charter boat and kindly asking myself and Jake to join him. It didn't take much persuasion and on Wednesday afternoon, we were on our way to the valleys of NW Wales.

male Cretzschmar's Bunting on Bardsey

For once, we stayed overnight at a nearby hotel and were all fresh for the bumpy and quite damp boat crossing to Bardsey the next morning.

Around 90 minutes later we were on Bardsey and arriving at the lighthouse, the Bunting was immediately on show.  Not only this, the sight and sounds of Chough circling around nearby was brilliant.

Chough on Bardsey

The Bunting showed on and off over the next three hours, where we finally left allowing the next boat load to enjoy the bird.

Other bits seen on this great island were Grey Seals and a Thrift Clearwing (a very rare moth). On the way back a playful group of Bottle-nosed Dolphins joined us briefly as we cruised by, and a stop at the 'Puffin Island' was nice to see, unsurprisingly seeing a large number of Puffins.

This is the joy of twitching for me. You get to go to areas of the country you would never visit, and see such a wide range of different species of all sorts whilst there. The Bunting was superb, but the Dolphins, Choughs, Puffins as well as the dodgy sailing across made this a memorable adventure. 

The car journey back home took just under 6hrs 30mins. Many thanks again to Ewan for inviting us on the charter!!

the hill where the Bunting was originally found. 

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Turtle Dove 17/6/15

The sites at the back of Seaford, like last year have failed to produce any long-staying Turtle Doves so I went to Firle this morning and saw one there easily enough.

Been to Seaford Head three times this week but nothing of note other than what appears to have been a good breeding season for the more commoner species with several  groups of Great & Blue Tits, Wrens, Dunnocks, Whitethroats etc moving about.

Yesterday with the RSPB I went on a boat off Seaford to survey the Kittiwake colony at Splash Point, and the number of occupied nests seem to be greater than last year. An official count has yet to be done.

Last but not least, on Friday a Red Kite flew over Crawley as I was heading to work.

Turtle Dove at Firle

Friday 12 June 2015

Ashdown & Seaford Head 12/6/15

Finished work and got to Ashdown at around 1am and watched a male Nightjar churring and wing-clapping around me.

This morning I walked Seaford Head due to a few scarcities starting to hit the east coast but failed to find anything of interest. It felt very promising though.

Fox on Seaford Head

Tuesday 9 June 2015

HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL - Pagham Harbour 9/6/15

A magnificent find by George Kinnard, this first for Sussex was finally my 300th species of bird in Sussex, and what a bird it was. The subtle features when the bird was feeding were discernible especially when up against a Eurasian Whimbrel, but when seen in flight there was no doubt. A beauty........for a Whimbrel!!

Hudsonian Whimbrel at Pagham Harbour

Monday 8 June 2015

Orchids in East Sussex 8/6/15

A total of nine species of Orchids today along the South Downs. The best being two Man Orchids, but surprisingly Fly Orchids were really difficult to find and I only found one despite searching areas where I had seen plenty just a few years ago.

A couple of new sites were visited and at one I found two Bee Orchids. A Red Kite was also seen flying over Hollingbury.

 Man Orchid
 White Helleborine
 Greater Butterfly Orchid 
 Bee Orchid
 Fly Orchid
A Beech Woodland on the Sussex Downs

Friday 5 June 2015

Cuckmere Haven 1st-5th June

Four out of five days I've been down the Cuckmere with the undoubted highlight being the Osprey on Monday. Other than this though this week has been shockingly bad.

The bad weather on Tuesday only produced a Whimbrel flying south and 4 Swift over the scrape. Wednesday held minor excitement when the two Ringed Plovers were joined by a third individual, and today (Friday) was awful with none of the above or anything else seen.

On Wednesday I visited Castle Hill NNR and saw a few Early Spider Orchids and lots of Fragrant Orchids, plus a few Common Spotted Orchids, whilst there were around 50+ Adonis Blues on the wing.

Castle Hill NNR

Monday 1 June 2015

Cuckmere Haven 1/6/15

Very little about this morning but by far the highlight was an Osprey that flew south down towards the sea at 10.10. A very strange record so presumably a non-breeder. Other then this a Dunlin was on the scrape.

Osprey over the Cuckmere this morning

Barcombe - Red-footed Falcon 31/5/15

Survived my standby so that was a good enough excuse to twitch the female Red-footed Falcon just north of Barcombe Reservoir. A very smart bird closely accompanied by two Hobbies. A great weekend in Sussex.