Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Friday 30 September 2016

Seaford Head 30/9/16

A week of westerlies and with no scarcities hitting the south coast the optimism has been very low, but this morning the area felt good, though alas just the expected migrants were seen. The Finches are starting to get going though still in small numbers, and Hirundines made the most of the calm conditions. Very little else to say other then I'm glad I resisted the Eastern Kingbird on Barra (I was checking up flight and ferry timetables last night) as my arrival would have coincided with the bird flying into the clouds and buggering off not to be seen again, so whether I would've seen the bird or not I'm not too sure? October tomorrow...........bring it on!!!

Totals are:

Grey Wagtail - 2
Wheatear - 4
Yellow Wagtail - 15
'alba' Wagtail - 12 E
Chiffchaff - 65
Willow Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 35
Reed Bunting - 3 W
Goldcrest - 2
Skylark - 2 high E
Goldfinch - 18 E (one tight flock)
Linnet - 30 E
Redstart - 1
Redpoll - 1 E
Siskin - 3 E
Whitethroat - 5
Swallow - 300 E
House Martin - 300 E
Whinchat - 1

 Whinchat in Hope Gap
 Reed Bunting in Hope Gap
Chiffchaff by the crater

Saturday 24 September 2016

Splash Point & Seaford Head 24/9/16

With a moderate SE wind blowing, me and Bob started off down Splash Point for a fruitless twenty minute seawatch, with the only notable highlight being a juv/fem Marsh Harrier flying straight out to sea at a considerable height. The Head was generally quiet, though in sheltered areas there were small flocks of Chiffchaffs, but the most notable arrival was a Firecrest on the western edge of Hope Gap. The sheep field also held a small group of Golden Plover, and a Mistle Thrush flying north at Harry's Bush ended a fairly good circuit.

Totals are:
Marsh Harrier - 1 S at 07.15 (Splash Point)   
Tree Pipit - 1 E
Wheatear - 2
Golden Plover - 5
Meadow Pipit - 20 E
Goldcrest - 3
Chiffchaff - 40
Blackcap - 19
Grey Wagtail - 3 W
Whitethroat - 5
Firecrest - 1 (first of the autumn)
Yellow Wagtail - 6
Mistle Thrush - 1 N

Firecrest in Hope Gap

Friday 23 September 2016

Seaford Head & Tide Mills 23/9/16

A very calm and slightly cooler morning today. Not too many migrants about, with the wealth of birds mainly flying over, with the highlight here being the first Siskin of the autumn. When the area had warmed up a bit, House Martins were moving in vast quantities. I popped into Tide Mills on the way home and saw the very obliging Shrike again.

Totals are:

Chiffchaff - 50
'alba' Wagtail - 6 W
Wheatear - 3
Willow Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - 7
Reed Warbler  - 1
Blackcap - 27
Meadow Pipit - 50 E
Reed Bunting - 4 E
Tree Pipit - 1 E
Long-tailed Tit - 4 (first this autumn)
Goldcrest - 1
Siskin - 1 E
Yellow Wagtail - 3
House Martin - ca. 2000 W
Swallow - ca. 500 E then moved west later on
Sparrowhawk - 3 circling together causing the Martins a bit of bother

 Wheatear in Hope Gap
 hard to capture the vast movement of House Martins moving over the head, this is all I could manage

Red-backed Shrike still showing very well at Tide Mills

Thursday 22 September 2016

Convolvulus Hawkmoth 22/9/16

Convolvulus Hawkmoth in the parent's garden caught in the overnight moth trap. Thanks Dad for the text.......again.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Red-backed Shrike - Tide Mills 21/9/16

Crazy views of this juv Red-backed Shrike at Tide Mills this afternoon, found by someone from London searching for Long-tailed Blues. A stunning bird!! Thanks Dad for the text.

juv Red-backed Shrike at Tide Mills

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 20/9/16

An afternoon vigil was predictably quiet, though a few nice bits were encountered. Whilst having a kip on the Head, news came through of a Wryneck by the scrape, but despite a lengthy search in murky conditions, I couldn't re-locate it. 

Seaford Head:
Goldcrest - 1 Hope Gap (first of the Autumn)
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Chiffchaff - 10

Knot - 2
Bar-tailed Godwit - 2
Merlin - 1 fem
Sedge Warbler - 1
Wheatear - 4
Yellow Wagtail - 10

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Cuckmere Haven 14/9/16

With the same weather pattern and feeling 'not all that,' I opted for the Cuckmere this morning that produced the expected migrants. Standing on Haven Brow for half hour was brilliant with hundreds of Hirundines flying straight past me continuously, whilst having fun trying to photograph individuals. A Grasshopper Warbler was flushed twice on the long grass bank by Foxhole, but best was saved until last when an adult Hobby swooped past and caught a Wheatear. A bit of sea mist rolled in halting any further Hirundine movement.

Totals are:

Bar-tailed Godwit - 1
Whinchat - 7
House Martin - ca. 500 E
Swallow - ca. 600 E
Sand Martin - 10 E
Grey Wagtail - 6 E
Tree Pipit - 2 E
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Hobby - 1
Wigeon - 11
Teal - 5

 Bar-tailed Godwit along the river
 Yellow Wagtail over Haven Brow
 Swallow over Haven Brow
 House Martins over Haven Brow
 Grey Wagtail over Haven Brow
bye bye Wheatear!!
adult Hobby successfully catching a Wheatear

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Seaford Head 13/9/16

A very warm morning with a moderate E/NE breeze from first light that kicked off a superb movement of firstly Swallows, and then House Martins moved east throughout, at times House Martins were counted at 100/min. Very little else about however with just the usual bits about, though an interesting calling Reed Warbler provided some interest, and despite my best efforts, it wouldn't turn into a Marsh Warbler.

Totals are:

Willow Warbler - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 50
Chiffchaff - 24
Meadow Pipit - 31
Wheatear - 3
Tree Pipit - 2
Whitethroat - 23
Grey Wagtail - 2
Whinchat - 8
Reed Warbler - 5
Blackcap - 50
Sedge Warbler - 1
Hobby - 1 E successfully caught a Swallow
Spotted Flycatcher - 3
Redstart - 1 male
Swallow - ca. 750 E
House Martin - ca. 2000 E

 Spotted Flycatcher by Harry's Bush
Whinchat between Hope Gap and Coastguards
 when zoomed up, the primary projection is very long with thin pale edges to the primaries that appear evenly spaced apart, but just about visible is the tertial tip falling within the same length of the secondary bar.
 the yellow feet were very encouraging, though the flanks do have a warm wash to them, and the obvious eye-ring is very obvious here.
distinct pale edges to the tertials look promising here, but the bill is far too long and pointed then what I would've liked on a Marsh.
(Reed Warbler in Hope Gap)

Monday 12 September 2016

Seaford Head & Cuckmere Haven 12/9/16

This morning I should've docked in Lerwick Harbour and been transferred up to Unst for a week stay with Dave Cooper, but with dodgy weather up there I felt the prospects of eastern vagrants were low, and so opted to stay down here. Hopefully I've made the right choice.

This morning was very enjoyable with plenty of birds on and moving over the headland during the six hours I was present. Yellow Wagtails were very conspicuous all morning and well over 100 were seen, including some stunning adult males still retaining their plumage. Meadow Pipits are now starting to get going, and the first Reed Bunting of the autumn went through. A total of three Marsh Harriers migrated south straight out to sea, but the hoped for HB didn't materialise despite a lengthy raptor watch. Blackcaps are well and truly in with a single flock of 73 counted moving from one bush to the next over a period of ten minutes in Hope Gap.

Totals are:

Meadow Pipit - 69 W
Blackcap - 90
Whitethroat - 22
Reed Bunting - 1 W
Yellow Wagtail - 100+
Wheatear - 15
Whinchat - 7
Tree Pipit - 4
Grey Wagtail - 4 W
Chiffchaff - 21
Reed Warbler - 6
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
'alba' Wagtail - 1 W
Willow Warbler - 1
Marsh Harrier - 3 S (1 juv/fem @ 9.35 & 2 males @ 11.07)

This evening down the Cuckmere very little about with the following seen:

Whinchat - 4
Teal - 3
Kingfisher - 1
Blackcap - 15
Sedge Warbler - 1

Wheatear by Dung Heap
 Chiffchaff in Hope Gap
 2nd summer male Marsh Harrier south over Seaford Head - the distinct black tips sex this bird as a male, adult female would show little contrast
 adult male Marsh Harrier flying alongside the above bird, but not close enough for a group shot

Yellow Wagtails in the sheep field

Sunday 11 September 2016

Beachy Head 11/9/16

I got home at 3am this morning and so didn't fancy Seaford Head, but being a nice day I took Paula up to Beachy Head (my first visit this autumn) after a bit of a lay in. We parked at the Hotel and spent five hours visiting the Old Trapping Area, Francis Bottom, Whitbread Hollow, Holywell and the rides above Whitbread. Straight away we found a Wryneck between the Hotel and Old Trapping Area, and then just the usual grounded migrants around the other sites, and despite a lengthy raptor watch, nothing of interest was noted.

Totals are:
Wryneck - 1
Whitethroat - 15
Chiffchaff - 4
Willow Warbler - 2
Whinchat - 1
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Redstart - 3
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Common Buzzard - 15 + (incl. close flock of 12)

 Wryneck between the Hotel and Old Trapping Area
 Francis Bottom
over 8 years ago the scrub on the left played host to a singing River Warbler, today a Whitethroat

Thursday 8 September 2016

Isles of Scilly - Cliff Swallow 7/9/16

A journey down west with Laurence Pitcher was very successful, and at times we were very lucky. We left Peacehaven at 2am and arrived at Marazion Beach at 6.45am where the juv. Buff-breasted Sandpiper and juv. Little Stint were all still present.
The Scillonian crossing was relatively smooth with the highlight being a very close Cory's Shearwater and a variety of Dolphins. Although the Cliff Swallow had been on view for around four hours this morning, it had now inevitably disappeared and was being searched for to no avail by birders already on the island.
Once docked, all birders headed for the taxis, whereas me and Laurence decided to walk to Porth Hellick hoping to bump into the Swallow along the way, and this is exactly what happened. Roughly ten minutes from Porth Hellick, Laurence briefly saw the Swallow though it had gone out of view before I could see it, but a tense five minutes later the Cliff Swallow was spotted further up the road. The bird stayed in the immediate vicinity for around forty minutes showing superbly favouring one of many pine belts, but all the other birders were ten minutes down the road. We had bumped into Phil Woollen after the initial sighting and Fred Fearn who soon joined us and together we tried to get the news out with very limited signal. Others soon arrived but the bird had gone, and wasn't seen well for the rest of the day, and some people didn't see it at all. The four of us spent the rest of the afternoon together visited Porth hellick Pool and had lunch at Old Town (Fred Fearn kindly paying for ours) before boarding the Scillonian for our crossing back to Penzance. The feeling on board was a bit tense with all other birders saying the views were 'un-tickable' and most wanted a second visit, so it's fair to say we were incredibly lucky. We didn't gloat too much!!
The crossing back was good with me finding a Grey Phalarope and Great Shearwater, and a few Dolphins were seen again.
The drive back was long and tiring, but I'm sure it wasn't as long and tiring as others.

Marazion Beach
Buff-breasted Sandpiper - 1 juv.
Little Stint - 1 juv.

Scillonian Crossing (PZE-St. Mary's)
Cory's Shearwater - 2
Balearic Shearwater - 6
Manx Shearwater - 10
Sooty Shearwater - 1
White-sided Dolphin - 2
Bottle-nosed Dolphin - 2

St. Mary's
Lesser Yellowlegs - 1
Temminck's Stint - 1

Scillonian Crossing (St. Mary's - PZE)
Great Shearwater - 1
Grey Phalarope - 1
Manx Shearwater - 2
European Storm-Petrel - 5

 Cliff Swallow

 Temminck's Stint

 Cory's Shearwater
 Porth Hellick, St. Mary's
 Hugh Town Bay(?) with Scillonian in the backround
another successful Scilly twitch over