Saturday, 6 August 2011

6th August 2011 Beachy Head Calm and overcast

Shag 1 juvenile on sea off Birling then flew west
Sparrowhawk 2
Kestrel 2 juv.
Yellow-legged Gull 1 juv.
Commic Tern c.30W
Swallow 10
Pied Wagtail 2
Wheatear 1
Redwing 1 ad. female ex.
Whitethroat 20
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Garden Warbler 1
Blackcap 1
Grasshopper Warbler 1
Sedge Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 5
Melodious Warbler 1 first-winter ex.
Chiffchaff 1
Willow Warbler 14
Treecreeper 2 together in Belle Tout Wood
Bullfinch 2
Goldfinch 15

 Wheatear at Belle Tout

Bob admiring Sussex's earliest autumn Redwing

 Adult female Redwing T.i. iliacus in Whitbread Hollow courtesy of BHRG
Bob kindly telephoned us to say the Beachy Head Ringing Group had trapped a Redwing and if we could make it in 10 minutes we were welcome to take a look. Being such an early date (earliest for Sussex) it was clearly worth a look, especially as we felt there would be something to learn in trying to racially assign it. On our arrival Bob had already aged it as an adult female, and whilst its apparent yellow gape, the visible pale tips to its greater coverts and white tips to its tertials might appear to suggest it being a juvenile, adults can show those traits and its tail feathers are clearly rounded. A wing measurment of 109mm made it straightfoward to assign to the (anticipated) nominate T.i. iliacus and its whitish ground colour to its underparts supported this. Its short wing length also sexed it as a female. Thankfully Bob and Paul were able to skillfully remove a tick from just above the bird's right eye. Many thanks Bob, an education, very enjoyable too and whilst we photographed the Redwing, unbeknown to us, Paul was hooking a superb first-winter Melodious Warbler out of the mistnets...

First-winter Melodious Warbler in Whitbread Hollow courtesy of BHRG

 Adult female Bullfinch in Whitbread Hollow courtesy of BHRG 

 Reed Warbler in Cow Gap
Compared to last week's photos of a first-winter the 'cold' greyness of this individual's plumage and its darker legs presumably suggest this is an adult. 

 Chiffchaff in the Hotel Garden

Juvenile/first-winter Yellow-legged Gull at Belle Tout

This latest individual already appeared to have replaced its juvenile scapulars.