Saturday, 31 March 2012

31st March 2012 Birling Gap Seawatch 7.10-8.10am NNE1 Overcast

Red-throated Diver 2E
Gannet 13E
Greylag Goose 6NE
Brent Goose 20E
Shelduck 4E
Common Scoter 10E
Red-breasted Merganser 1W
Sparrowhawk 3
Kestrel 1W
Peregrine 1
Whimbrel 1E
Curlew 4E
Arctic Skua 1E dark phase
Sandwich Tern c.6
Auk sp. 21E & 3W
Stonechat 6
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 8
Willow Warbler 4
Raven 2
Redpoll 1

 Six Greylags high northeast over the Old Lighthouse

March accounts for most of the Greylags seen at Beachy over the last 50 years, although no doubt some would have you believe these are not true migrants, or even migrants at all!

 Female Sparrowhawk at Icky Ridge

Being one of three Sparrowhawks seen on the headland today could this individual be a migrant bound for Fennoscandia? Afterall, they time their passage to coincide with heavy passerine migration peaking in April (Ferguson-Lees). Whilst such migrants easily pass under the radar in Sussex, they are far more easily appreciated on the northern Isles, but what's to say that experience gained there, should not be relevant here...

Singing Chiffchaff along the cliff path

Being ringed, it would seem likely that this bird has at some point found itself in the adjacent hollow, and is perhaps even a returning local breeding bird. That said, transient migrants are often in full voice, as was the case today with newly-arrived Blackcaps and Willow Warblers.