Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Thursday 31 March 2016

Seaford Head 31/3/16

What started off to be a cold and birdless morning, thankfully became a slightly warmer and birdy morning with the undoubted highlight being a Yellow Wagtail that showed characteristics of a Channel Wagtail (Blue-headed x Yellow Wagtail). Details below......
Other then this, routine migrants were seen plus a couple of large raptors that made the most of the northerly wind.

Totals are:
Yellow Wagtail - 1 flew past Harry's Bush and landed briefly in Lower Cuckmere
Firecrest - 2
Goldcrest - 8
Chiffchaff - 6
Red Kite - 1 N at 10am
Marsh Harrier - 1 fem N at 10.40am
Yellowhammer - 1
Wheatear - 1
Rook - 2 observed flying in off 

 Unfortunately the very poor pictures here only shows an extremely bright adult Yellow Wagtail with the hint of a cloudy blue head and distinct but flared supercilium. On the camera there is a slight hint of a pale ocular patch but is nowhere distinct, so for me difficult to determine whether its a Blue-headed Wagtail, or a Channel Wagtail.
If the bird was a Blue-headed I would've thought the head to be a darker blue, wingbars to be more distinct and the supercilium to be equal in depth, so I'm more turning towards 'Channel Wagtail' for these reasons. 
An attempt to get closer resulted in not seeing the bird again, presumably having flown off in the process of Bob and myself climbing through the barbed-wire fence.

 Red Kite north over Seaford Head
 Yellowhammer - an uncommon sighting on the headland
later in the morning, a stop round mum and dads produced another Red Kite for the morning

Wednesday 30 March 2016

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 30/3/16

Seawatching was hopeless this morning in the half hour I spent there.
Seaford Head proved to be slightly better with the first arrival of grounded migrants, though numbers were very low. The highlight here was a Hobby that flew north, my earliest record. 
The Cuckmere wasn't too bad either with a few Hirundines moving north and a Knot on the meanders. 

Splash Point - 06.25-06.55:
Common Scoter - 12

Seaford Head:
Hobby - 1
Wheatear - 2 males
Chiffchaff - 4
Goldcrest - 4
Firecrest - 4
Redwing - 1

Cuckmere Haven:
Knot - 1
Firecrest - 2
Water Rail - 2
House Martin - 1
Swallow - 3
Wheatear - 1

 at long last my first Wheatear of the spring
 House Martin over the Cuckmere
 one of two Water Rails still present on the scrape
Knot on the meanders

Monday 28 March 2016

Pulborough Brooks & Seaford Head 28/3/16

A strange day today with my flight being cancelled meaning I could nip down and see the drake American Wigeon that was found the previous evening by Gordon Beck. It showed ok but mainly at the back of the lake sheltering from the hurricane.

 After this I rested having been up for most of the night thanks to Katie, thankfully Katie also woke Paula so I don't have to explain that one!

In the afternoon I tried another Firecrest count, this time on Seaford Head. Several were found around Harry's Bush and Hope Gap with all birds feeding very low down and showing incredibly well, though too quick for the camera.

American Wigeon - 1 drk - County tick
Swallow - 1
Sand Martin - 2

Seaford Head:
Firecrest - 9
Goldcrest - 2
Corn Bunting - 1
Chiffchaff - 1

poor shots of the American Wigeon at Pulborough
This bird represents the 2nd county record of this species, the last being in 1996 at Pagham Harbour.

Sunday 27 March 2016

Cuckmere Haven 27/3/16

After work and a bit of a rest up I visited the Cuckmere. Very little about other then the 13 Firecrest that were dotted about between the scrape and Foxhole Farm. Just wish I had more time to visit the Head.

Firecrest - 13
Chiffchaff - 1
Greenshank - 1

 Firecrest at Foxhole
summer-plumaged Black-headed Gull 

Saturday 26 March 2016

Splash Point 26/3/16

Despite the promising southerly wind set all week for today that materialised into a wind that was slightly west of south, there wasn't a great deal moving. The highlight was the first Arctic Skua of the Spring, but other then this the passage was poor. Annoyingly I had to go to work so missed what appeared to be a Firecrest bonanza along the south coast. 

Totals between 05.40-06.40:

Arctic Skua - 1 dark phase
Mediterranean Gull - 1
Sandwich Tern - 2
Brent Geese - 52
Common Scoter - 52
Fulmar - 22 (distant birds only recorded)
Gannet - 2
Red-throated Diver - 1
Black-headed Gull - 27
Common Gull - 15

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Seaford Head & Cuckmere 23/3/16

I looked out at sea for a few minutes and figured out it was a waste of time, though an incoming migrant caught my attention and revealed itself to be a Firecrest that then landed in the gardens. If that wasn't good enough, a second Firecrest flew in off and landed in the same set of gardens. I covered all of the headland with the most interest being high up where Chaffinches were heading east, though I think I caught the tail end of the movement as I hadn't realised until mid-morning, indicating how high they were.

In the afternoon I visited the Cuckmere seeing a lovely group of Spoonbills and a couple of other bits and pieces. 

Seaford Head
Firecrest - 4
Goldcrest - 7
Chaffinch - 115 E

Spoonbill - 4 
Water Rail - 1
Brent Geese - 2 on scrape
Scandinavian Rock Pipit - 2
Greenshank - 1

 Fulmar on Seaford Head

a combination of photos showing all four birds. Although all four birds were not that close to me as I was on the opposite side of the river, there was one immature and three adults/near-adults

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Splash Point, Seaford Head & Cuckmere 22/3/16

A day of slim pickings where yet again migrants were very thin on the ground, though there was a slight improvement. Seawatching was dire but the main highlight was a Red Kite in off early on. Most of the day was spent around the patch but nothing to really show for the effort.

Splash Point 05.45-07.15 & 12.15-13.45:
Red Kite - 1 1s at 06.45 in off 
Brent Geese - 127
Common Scoter - 33
Gannet - 2
Mediterranean Gull - 3
Wigeon - 5
Shelduck - 3
Red-throated Diver - 5
Shoveler - 2

Seaford Head:
Siskin - 2 over
Goldcrest - 1 in gardens by Splash
Firecrest - 1h in Hope Gap

Redwing - 2W
Mediterranean Gull - 2E

 first-summer Red Kite at Splash Point
 Med. Gulls over the Cuckmere
 Brents passing Splash Point
Sunset at Splash reminding me of the numerous stunning sunsets in California, just wish the birding today was of the same quality

Monday 21 March 2016

Splash Point & Seaford Head 21/3/16

The best easterly passage of the spring so far but still the range of species are limited.
On the Head afterwards was pointless with no grounded migrants recorded, though a couple of flyover Pipits and Wagtails were noted.

Splash Point 06.25-07.55:

Common Scoter - 322
Brent Geese - 530
Red-throated Diver - 12
Gannet - 12
Wigeon - 4
Mallard - 1
Red-breasted Merganser - 1

Brent Geese moving east

Thursday 17 March 2016

Splash Point, Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 17/3/16

A quieter seawatch this morning probably wasn't helped by a stronger NE wind. A light passage of Divers was noted but very few other species recorded. 

Seaford Head was dead other then a few Meadow Pipits heading north, so a break at home to thaw out was had before an afternoon trek down the Cuckmere that once again lacked any migrants, although the scrape held a few bits. 

Splash Point 06.30-07.30:
Red-throated Diver - 15
Common Scoter - 11
Gannet - 2
Grey Wagtail - 1N
Brent Geese - 58

Cuckmere Haven:
Water Rail - 2
Mediterranean Gull - 1 adult
Scandinavian Rock Pipit - 2 (1 of which was supporting a very pinky throat)
Dunlin - 3
Ringed Plover - 3
Greenshank - 1
Brent Geese - 80E + 29 landed on west side

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Splash Point & Seaford Head 16/3/16

A very small easterly passage of birds past Splash Point early on but with the wind picking up it went quiet.

My first time on the Head of the spring was uneventful other then an unexpected trio of Continental Coal Tits in Hope Gap that quickly flew off high NW. A few sheltered spots were searched but no sign of anything interesting.

Totals for Splash Point 06.55-07.25 are:

Red-throated Diver - 8
Common Scoter - 2
Shoveler - 4
Teal - 3
Shelduck - 1
Great Crested Grebe - 1

Seaford Head
Continental Coal Tit - 3
Goldcrest - 1

 yesterday's Avocet
yesterday's trio of Dunlin

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Cuckmere Haven 15/3/16

Very cold in the Cuckmere this afternoon. Not too much about and surprisingly, but thankfully, no Pipits were seen at all. 

Totals are:
Avocet - 1 on scrape
Dunlin - 3 on scrape
Mediterranean Gull - 1 adult sat on sea
Brent Geese - 10 west side
Kingfisher - 1

Thursday 10 March 2016

Cuckmere Haven 10/3/16

A morning with Josh down the patch wasn't too bad. Very few Gulls today which was disappointing however there was some compensation, but I'm afraid mostly from the Pipit family. A newly arrived female type Black Redstart was encouraging.

Totals are:

Scandinavian Rock Pipit - 8 (minimum number of birds, others warranted better views)
Black Redstart - 1 fem. type
Greenshank - 1
Water Rail - 1
Great Crested Grebe - 1

Most of the Pipits were seen from the east bank around the 'saltmarsh' just south of the pub, and at a couple of stretches along the river itself. As the fields are very saturated coinciding with a very high tide, some birds were easy to see, while others remained flighty and un-identifiable, which may be just as well, and no doubt saved a headache. There were a couple of Pipits that weren't photographed, and two of these were pinky, whilst the others showed off their subtle features relatively well to clinch.

 an obvious individual that is somewhat reminiscent of a Water Pipit, though the supercilium is very weak but still evident; heavy, blotchy spots on the breast and spotting on flanks are 'messy', whilst the tertials edges are olive toned.

 another obvious bird with lovely pink underparts, though missing its wingbars!!
 not entirely sure on this bird but the tail is in heavy moult, and the longest tertial appears fresh, two semi-obvious wingbars and a hint of a supercilium, so no reason to say it isn't one other than that it looks just like a petrosus Rock Pipit!!

 a bog standard bird showing white outer tail feathers, two clear wingbars, a depleting malar stripe, pale legs, obvious supercilium, yellow/orange base to lower mandible, fresh looking tertials and faint streaking on the mantle.
 and yet another obvious bird on the left, whilst the bird on the right isn't as obvious, showing two clear white wingbars, white throat and a supercilium and a slight pink suffusion to the upper breast, at least it was through the scrape.
 Black Redstart by the scrape
Great Crested Grebe on the river - a scarce bird in the valley itself

Wednesday 9 March 2016

Splash Point & Lower Cuckmere 9/3/16

I started off at Splash Point where a reasonable passage of Fulmars was going on. Was really hoping for a 'Blue' form but it wasn't to be, so was slightly disappointed to see Dunge had a fair few. Not much else so I headed down the Lower Cuckmere where a large Gull flock held a first-winter Caspian Gull

In the sheep field between Chyncton Farm and the Cuckmere produced a different Scandinavian Rock Pipit feeding with the newly arrived Meadow Pipits.

Totals for Splash Point  between 8.10-9.10am are:

Great Skua - 1 at 9.08
Little Gull - 1 adult
Mediterranean Gull - 1 adult
Fulmar - 77
Common Scoter - 14
Shelduck - 9
Gannet - 8
Brent Geese - 15
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1
Great Crested Grebe - 6
Red-throated Diver - 1

first-winter Caspian Gull in Lower Cuckmere

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Cuckmere Haven 8/3/16

An afternoon walk down the patch produced a nice variety of birds including another fine Scandinavian Rock Pipit. Totals below:

Scandinavian Rock Pipit - 1
Greenshank - 1
Black-tailed Godwit - 1
Shoveler - 1
Common Snipe - 15

The last two evenings down at Newhaven West Beach have failed to produce the Iceland Gull.

 Scandinavian Rock Pipit on the AGP Pool
 Shoveler on the scrape - not as common as one would think in the Cuckmere
 the over-wintering Greenshank 
the Black-tailed Godwit continues it's stay

Sunday 6 March 2016

Ashdown Forest & Newhaven West Beach 6/3/16

After a night in Copenhagen (Hooded Crow being the only highlight) and finishing work early afternoon I nipped into Ashdown Forest and after a bit of searching I found the Great Grey Shrike. However it was very mobile and I soon lost it.

On the way home driving across the Newhaven swing bridge I noticed the tide was out, and after pondering for a few seconds I went to check the Gulls again at West Beach. Whilst scanning the Gulls, I thought how nice it would be to find an Iceland Gull, and seconds later........bingo!! A first-winter Iceland Gull sat on the beach among the other Gulls. A very scarce bird this winter in the south, so a pleasing find.

 all dark eye
first-winter Iceland Gull at West Beach

Thursday 3 March 2016

Cuckmere Haven 3/3/16

A nice morning down the Cuckmere today produced an unexpected Black-tailed Godwit on the scrape. Also noted here was a very showy Scandinavian Rock Pipit that allowed very close approach.

A quick check at Hawk's Brow produced no hoped for Wheatears.

March is the optimum time to spot 'Scandys' and the Cuckmere has always been a prime site to see them. There were lots of Rock Pipits about today but as it was low tide most birds were in the 'saltmarsh' and were only seen in flight, except this one individual captured below.

Totals are:
Black-tailed Godwit - 1
Scandinavian Rock Pipit - 1
Greenshank - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 5
Snipe - 1

 Black-tailed Godwit on the scrape

 showing an orangey/pinky haze to the throat and belly
Scandinavian Rock Pipit by the scrape