Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Saturday 31 August 2019

Beachy Head 31/8/19

Just like this time last year, I'm starting to venture over towards Beachy a few more times, more so just to keep the enthusiasm up. 
Over a five hour period I had an enjoyable circular walk covering in order: Hotel Garden, Icky Ridge, Francis Bottom, Cow Gap, Whitbread Hollow, Rides above Hollow, path linking Beachy Road to Cornish Farm, Shooter's Bottom and the Old Trapping Area. Unfortunately there wasn't a great deal of new arrivals around, and not a great deal moving over either with the highlight here being 10 Grey Wagtails moving west. 
Other noteworthy species included two Grasshopper Warblers in the 'Gropper Field', and three Red-legged Partridge in Cow Gap. All the Wheatears were encountered inland south of the path (with the two Redstarts along this path), whilst Shooter's Bottom held most of the Reed Warblers encountered this morning, and a Spotted Flycatcher was also seen here. I didn't try for the Wryneck as I arrived quite late at Shooter's and felt it wasn't worth trying.

This afternoon I unsuccessfully completed my 18th hour of searching for the juv Montagu's Harrier north of Telscombe in the various valleys up towards Balsdean and Swamborough Hill. Being at a close vantage point the only birds I could find were five Buzzards (including a smart juv with an obvious white upper tail, and an older bird with a single white central-tail feather that from a distance looked like a white upper tail) among many other expected birds of prey. The Harrier was seen a few times today before my arrival after a few days of absence and therefore hopefully I still have a chance to see it.

Totals for the morning:

Whitethroat - 40
Willow Warbler - 5
Yellow Wagtail - 33 W
Reed Warbler - 7
Blackcap - 40
Lesser Whitethroat - 5
Grey Wagtail - 10 W
Grasshopper Warbler - 2
Tree Pipit - 2 W
Whinchat - 2
Red-legged Partridge - 3
Chiffchaff - 2
Wheatear - 9
Redstart - 2
Spotted Flycatcher - 1

Grasshopper Warbler in the 'Gropper Field'


Whinchat opposite Shooter's Bottom

Western end of Cow Gap

Looking back to Francis Bottom &
the 'Gropper Field'

Thursday 29 August 2019

Seaford Head 29/8/19

After regretfully working over one of the best periods of the autumn migration, this was my first chance in a short time to visit the patch. Annoyingly the winds were now sourcing from the west, which presumably led to just the standard migrants being seen this morning.
Warblers were much scarcer compared to last week in Hope Bottom, though its still good to see that Willow Warblers are far outnumbering Chiffchaffs, although these days seem numbered. Whinchats were scattered in more than average numbers for this site, and my first Grey Wagtails of the autumn flew over, as did a smart adult Golden Plover.

Totals for the morning:

Grey Wagtail - 4
Whinchat - 7
Willow Warbler - 17
Whitethroat - 30
Yellow Wagtail - 16
Wheatear - 8
Reed Warbler - 4
Blackcap - 35
Chiffchaff - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 5
Golden Plover - 1 adult W
Spotted Flycatcher - 4
Redstart - 2
Sedge Warbler - 1
Garden Warbler - 1

Golden Plover

Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher


Sedge Warbler


Thursday 22 August 2019

Seaford Head 22/8/19

Another calm and sunny morning followed on from a clear night meant that fewer migrants were around today. Once again some good variety was around but by the time mid-morning arrived the area was very warm and bird activity died quickly, although a large roaming flock of Blackcaps in Hope Bottom were still evident late on. Still no Flycatchers for me this autumn (although this is only my third visit), but with the east coast getting many Pieds, its hopefully only a matter of time before the drift migrants hit the south coast.

As mentioned earlier there was a large flock of Blackcaps well over the 50 mark, and mixed in were plenty of other Sylvia Warblers. Willow Warblers were well down in numbers, but once again quite a few Hirundines were noted.

Afterwards I went round Mum and Dads as a squadron of Jersey Tiger Moths had been trapped overnight. I counted 14, but 17 were present early doors.

Totals for the morning:

Garden Warbler - 4
Willow Warbler - 10
Whitethroat - 45
Reed Warbler - 7
Tree Pipit - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 9
Yellow Wagtail - 20
Blackcap - 60
Sedge Warbler - 5
Sand Martin - 35
Green Sandpiper - 1 W
Nightingale - 2
Whinchat - 2
Wheatear - 5
Redstart - 2

Garden Warblers

Lesser Whitethroat & Whinchat

Jersey Tiger Moths

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Seaford Head 21/8/19

For once a calm and bright morning has coincided with a day off, and so I made the most of the morning and completed my first circuit of the headland this month. Plenty of migrants this morning and lots of variety, though little was moving overhead bar the exception of a tight flock of four Snipe and quite a few Hirundines. The area was dominated by Common Whitethroats, though every patch of scrub seemed to hold a Reed Warbler, whilst the highlights consisted of a showy Nightingale and a Hobby.

Totals for the morning:

Wheatear - 4
Hobby - 1
Sedge Warbler - 3
Willow Warbler - 18
Whitethroat - 60
Yellow Wagtail - 19
Swift - 8
Blackcap - 25
Reed Warbler - 16
Redstart - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 7
Nightingale - 1
Tree Pipit - 1
Sand Martin - 21
Snipe - 4
Garden Warbler - 1
Whinchat - 1
Chiffchaff - 2

Reed Warbler


Willow Warbler

four Snipe

Sedge Warbler

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Ragget's Hill (Mid-Sussex) 7/8/19

After some prime investigative work by linking Lang's dotted distribution map to an OS map, I was able to pin point an area of mainly Beech and Oak woodland for Violet Helleborines in Mid-Sussex. The area was the complex of woodlands at Ragget's Hill (north of Ansty) and I was overjoyed to find ten spikes, six of which were very robust. Orchid hunting at its best!!

With the continued strong winds on my days off and working when its calm, August birding has been non-existent for me. The post below outlines the exciting Wader extravaganza in the Cuckmere from a few weeks back.

Violet Helleborines

Jasper enjoying his woodland stroll

Classic Beech woodland