Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Friday 31 July 2015

Seaford Head 31/7/15

Again fairly routine but slightly more variety then yesterday including my first Garden and Sedge Warbler of the autumn. Nine species of Warbler today which is very nice for the last day of July. Very little moving overhead despite a light SE breeze picking up as the morning went on.

Totals are:

Nightingale - 2
Whitethroat - 45
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Grasshopper Warbler - 2 (incl. 1 same bird as yesterday)
Reed Warbler - 5
Sedge Warbler - 1
Willow Warbler - 23
Garden Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 16
Sand Martin - 20
Swallow - 2

This afternoon on a bike ride up Greenway Valley the Quail was again calling from the barley field.

 Grasshopper Warbler in Hope Gap - different bird from yesterday
 Willow Warbler in Hope Gap
the s/p Sanderling from last night down the Cuckmere

Thursday 30 July 2015

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 30/7/15

At long last a morning free from work. Despite a constant NW breeze there were a few migrants to see, best being a very early Redstart which is probably my earliest ever returner for this species.

Totals are:

Redstart - 1 juv male
Nightingale - 3
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Willow Warbler - 9
Whitethroat - 24
Lesser Whitethroat - 4
Blackcap - 6 (local birds)
Reed Warbler - 5
Sand Martin - 50+ moving NW
Swift - 180+ moving NW

This evening down the Cuckmere produced the following:

Sanderling - 1 s/p along the river - a great local record and I think is my first Sanderling in the Cuckmere itself. 
Dunlin - 11
Greenshank - 1
Common Sandpiper - 2
Yellow Wagtail - 1 still present

 Reed Warbler in Hope Gap
 Lesser Whitethroat in Hope Gap
 Grasshopper Warbler in Hope Gap
 Willow Warbler by Harry's Bush
 young Fox by Harry's Bush
a very young male Redstart at South Hill Barn

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Faro 26/7/15

Greater Flamingo - ca. 25. These birds are easily seen on the final approach to Faro airport on the small salt lagoons. 

Friday 24 July 2015

Cuckmere Haven 24/7/15

Got completely soaked this evening but as expected a few more Waders had dropped in. Totals are:

Yellow Wagtail - 1 juv was my first of the autumn and quite an early record in general. 
Dunlin - 25 - a tight flock of 19 feeding birds was great to see
Redshank - 2
Also lots of Sand Martins & Swallows feeding over the meanders brought down by the rain.

juv. Yellow Wagtail in the Cuckmere
A slight hint of yellow coming through so possibly a male

Thursday 23 July 2015

Seaford Head 23/7/15

The first morning here of the autumn and it wasn't too bad. Although grounded migrants were thin on the ground, overhead was rather productive with the highlight being four Crossbills. Totals for the morning are:

Crossbill - 4 (3 juvs included) over E
Grey Wagtail - 1W
Nightingale - 1 'croaking' and showed briefly in Hope Gap
Whitethroat - 29 (almost certainly local birds)
Lesser Whitethroat - 4
Blackcap - 5
Willow Warbler - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Swift - ca. 120W
Sand Martin - 52W

 Willow Warbler in Hope Gap
3 of the 4 Crossbills over Seaford Head

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Cuckmere Haven 21/7/15

A slight increase in Waders but the highlight was a Grasshopper Warbler in the meadow just north of the scrape, which only means its time to hit the start of the autumn migration on Seaford Head later this week.

Totals are:
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Common Sandpiper - 4
Dunlin - 7
Whimbrel - 4

 Grasshopper Warbler by the scrape
five Dunlin along the river

Monday 20 July 2015

Cyprus - 18/19th July

A little trip with Paula primarily for relaxing, water sports and a tiny bit of sight seeing without being too touristy. I chose the destination and inevitably saw a couple of new birds. We stayed at Coral Bay which just so happened to be near a good birding location....strange that.

Saturday was a beach day and in between being thrown about on a raft, paragliding, snorkelling and sun bathing, I was allowed two hours in the heat of the day to go birding around Mavrokolympus Dam seeing the following:

Sardinian Warbler - 6
Great Tit - 1
Kestrel - 1
Long-legged Buzzard - 1
Cretzschmar's Bunting - ca. 10 incl several advanced juveniles.

 Cyprus Wheatear 
 adult male Cyprus Warbler 
Cretzschmar's Bunting 
 Mavrokolympus Dam
looking towards Coral Bay from the mountains

On Sunday we drove into the mountains around Troodos to Mt Olympus, again seeing a few sites but also targeting several endemic races. Afterwards we visited some waterfalls seeing some superb Dragonflies, as well as jumping from a 30m cliff into the plunge pool below........scary stuff. A great day, especially bird wise with the highlight by far being a BONELLI'S EAGLE (details below). Other bits included:

Masked Shrike - 5
Red-backed Shrike - 1
Eleonora's Falcon - 2
Cyprus Wheatear - ca. 20
Pallid Swift - 3 around Troodos village
Red-rumped Swallow - 4
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler - 3
Hoopoe - 1

 immature Bonelli's Eagle near Paphos - before I went I had heard this species was a possibility, but I was never expecting to see one, especially after dipping in three countries beforehand. Whilst driving along the motorway east of Paphos, I noticed this large raptor so I pulled over and was amazed to see it was a Bonelli's Eagle, despite staring directly into the strong sunlight. There are no obvious closely related species on the island but the HB like head, Booted Eagle like tail, bulging secondaries but the most reliable feature is the dark diagonal line seperating the coverts from the primaries and secondaries. Adults would show a solid black line.
 Masked Shrike
 Long-tailed Blue
 Short-toed (Dorothy's) Treecreeper
Masked Shrike

Endemic races seen around Troodos were: 
Jay - 20
Coal Tit - 1
Short-toed (Dorothy's) Treecreeper - 5
Crossbill - 1 juv 

Plenty of Butterflies over the two days which included:
Long-tailed Blue
Brown Argus

Also a Large Whip Snake was flushed on a hillside just after seeing my only Chukar of the trip.

paragliding in Coral Bay :-)

Thursday 16 July 2015

Cuckmere Haven 16/7/15

Was tempted to visit Seaford Head this morning but the easterly wind was a bit too strong for my liking, especially at this time of year when migrants are difficult to find in calm conditions. A touch more variety this morning but yet again nothing to get the heart racing. Totals are:

Greenshank - 2
Hobby - 2 adults
Dunlin - 1
Sand Martin - 16 flew east in separate flocks
Common Sandpiper - 1
Common Scoter - 2 flew east

 one of the Greenshanks along the river, the other bird being in the small channels just north of the scrape

Skylark - the same showy bird as last time

Wednesday 15 July 2015

Cuckmere Haven 15/7/15

Heavy fog with a waves of drizzle spreading east across the Cuckmere this morning produced only two new Waders, both these being Little Ringed Plovers that flew up from Foxhole Pool and landed on the west side calling as they went. Totals are:

Little Ringed Plover - 2
Corn Bunting - 1 still singing near the scrape
Whimbrel - 1
Little Egret - ca. 35

This afternoon, the Quail is still singing at Greenway Valley TQ.492,033

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Cuckmere Haven & Greenway Valley 14/7/15

This morning in the Cuckmere was again average other than a singing Corn Bunting which is my first down here for years. Totals are:

Corn Bunting - 1 singing male near scrape
Common Sandpiper - 2
Whimbrel - 1
Sandwich Tern - 1 (not the hoped for Gull-billed)

Again this evening the Quail was wetting his lips north of Seaford along Greenway Valley - TQ 492,033.

Corn Bunting in the Cuckmere

Monday 13 July 2015

Greenway Bank, Seaford 13/7/15

Quail - 1 singing sporadically in very grim conditions late this evening whilst I was out cycling. 

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Cuckmere Haven 8/7/15

A bit of rain and a slight increase in Waders. Five Black-tailed Godwits on the meanders were the highlight, and being a decent July record.

Totals are:
Black-tailed Godwit (presumed islandica) - 5
Common Sandpiper - 2
Whimbrel - 1 flew downriver.......silvery underwing!!

3 of 5  Black-tailed Godwits - the shorter bill, deep orange breast, contrasting grey coverts etc assumes these are of the race islandica
 Little Egret
a highly abraded Skylark

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Cuckmere Haven & Brighton Pavilion 7/7/15

An early walk down the Cuckmere finally produced some Waders in the form of six Common Sandpipers initially found along the river. Very little else about however.

Then this afternoon news broke of a Monarch Butterfly at Brighton Pavilion. Having not seen one in Britain before, and knowing one was seen flying along the Brighton coastline yesterday (presumably having flown in off at some point), it was worth the short trip and although the beast was very mobile, it settled every now and then on the many tropical plants in the grounds, very much reminding me of when I saw them in Fuerteventura last November. A White-letter Hairstreak was also seen.

 Monarch Butterfly in Brighton - a bit tatty on the hindwing and slightly fading towards the wingtip, on top of being seen flying along the coast yesterday is surely good enough reasons to suspect that this individual could indeed be wild, but those who haven't seen it will think the opposite.

White-letter Hairstreak

 Common Sandpiper in the Cuckmere
Black-headed Gull in the Cuckmere - from around three weeks ago, BhG numbers here were in single figures, but over the past two weeks, numbers have reached up to 80 birds.

Friday 3 July 2015

SQUACCO HERON - Southease 3/7/15

As I had just laid down the towel and put on the sun cream down Seaford beach, my phone went off, and luckily I glanced at it as a Sqaucco Heron had been found at Southease by Chris Barfield. My two minute sunbathing session was over and I was first on site where the Heron showed nicely in a ditch, and then all afternoon and evening along the river and a couple of times in flight.

What is not a truly rare bird anywhere, in Sussex it is a a fantastic record, being only the 6th since 1950 and the first twitchable bird since 2000 (Pett Levels) where one was present for an afternoon only. A great bird and great to catch up with so many people.

Sqaucco Heron at Southease - another county tick this spring ;-)