Sunday, 31 March 2013

31st March 2013 Beachy NE2 Overcast & Cold

Red-throated Diver 2E
Gannet 10E
Common Buzzard 2
Kestrel 1
Peregrine 2
Black-headed Gull 10E & 30 on beach
Sandwich Tern 2E
Auk sp. 6E
Wood Pigeon 12 in off the sea
Meadow Pipit 12 in off the sea
Alba Wagtail 2 in off the sea
Stonechat 4
Song Thrush 4
Chiffchaff 1
Carrion Crow 3 in off the sea
Corn Bunting 1

Jackdaw at Birling

Friday, 29 March 2013

29th March 2013 Beachy & Cuckmere NE4 Overcast Cold

Red-throated Diver c.20E
Great Crested Grebe 1 on sea
Brent Goose 28E
Scoter 2E
Lesser Black-backed Gull 23 on beach including blue colour-ringed MW.AK
Black-headed Gull 15E
Auk sp. 25E
Wheatear 1

Colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull at Birling
Eric Stienen kindly supplied this bird's life history that revealed it was ringed as an adult at its colony on 04-06-2010 at Zeebrugge (Voorhaven), West-Vlaanderen, Belgium 51°21'0''N 3°11'0''E where all subsequent sightings have been until now on 14-06-2010, 15-04-2011, 27-04-2011, 17-05-2011, 26-05-2011, 07-06-2011, 16-06-2011, 04-04-2012, 18-04-2012, 02-05-2012, 10-05-2012, 17-05-2012 & 06-06-2012.
Black-necked Grebe 1 transitional
Little Ringed Plover 2 ex.
Chiffchaff 1

Little Ringed Plovers in the Cuckmere

Black-necked Grebe in the Cuckmere
Chiffchaff amongst the shells in the Cuckmere

ADW in the Cuckmere

ARK in the Cuckmere

Sunday, 24 March 2013

24th March 2013 Beachy NE4 Overcast cold

Red-throated Diver 11E
Great Crested Grebe 3 on sea
Slavonian Grebe 1 w/p on sea ex.
Gannet 90E
Canada Goose 3W
Brent Goose 15E
Shelduck 3E
Red-breasted Merganser 2E
Scoter 6E, 3W
Shoveler 10E
Pintail 8E
Teal 2E
Lesser Black-backed Gull 6E
Sandwich Tern 4W
Auk sp. 6W
Black-tailed Godwit 12E ex.
Redshank 1 in off
Fieldfare 1
Song Thrush 4
Blackbird 10
Alba Wagtail 1 in off
Pied Wagtail 1
Wheatear 5 ex.
Black Redstart 2 ex.
Chiffchaff 2

Harbour Porpoise 1

Brent Geese passing Birling

Winter-plumaged Slavonian Grebe off Birling

Black Redstart at Birling

Continental Song Thrush at Birling
Female Kestrel at Birling
Male Wheatear at Birling

Saturday, 23 March 2013

23rd March 2013 NE4 Overcast and cold

Red-throated Diver 1E, 1 on sea
Gannet 14E
White-fronted Goose 1E adult with Brents ex.
Brent Goose 270E
Scaup 1E drake ex.
Common Scoter 3E
Red-breasted Merganser 2E drakes

Grey Seal 1 off Birling with a large fish.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

17th March 2013 Birling SSW4 Overcast 6.30-8.30am

Red-throated Diver 20E
Great Crested Grebe 5E, 3W, 1 on sea
Gannet 21E
Brent Goose 205E
Merganser 4E
Scoter 12E
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1E, 4 on beach
Mediterranean Gull 7E all ad s/p
Little Gull 4E
Kittiwake c.35E
Sandwich Tern 6E
Auk sp. 15E
Curlew 1E
Song Thrush 2

Saturday, 16 March 2013

16th March 2013 Birling SW6 Overcast 2-4pm

Red-throated Diver 21E
Great Crested Grebe 1 on sea
Gannet 13E, 2W
Fulmar c.35E
Brent Goose 4E
Eider 3E (2 drakes)
Scoter 7E
Peregrine 2
Kestrel 1
Lesser Black-backed Gull 1E, 3 in fields
Kittiwake c.50E
Mediterranean Gull 4E adults s/p
Little Gull 1E adult
Sandwich Tern 3E
Auk sp. 41E, 2W
Curlew 2E
Rock Pipit 2
Meadow Pipit 2
Song Thrush 2

Snow remaining at Birling

Birling from Cornish Farm

Sunday, 10 March 2013

10th March 2013 Beachy NNE2 Overcast & cold

Red-throated Diver 47E, 68W
Great Crested Grebe 2E, 1W
Scoter 6E, 2 on sea
Wigeon 10E, 2W
Gannet 30E, 10W
Peregrine 1
Kestrel 1
Auk sp. 5E, 482W
Razorbill 22W, 1 on sea
Curlew 3W
Black-headed Gull 10E
Wood Pigeon 1 in off
Alba Wagtail 3 in off
Meadow Pipit 4
Rock Pipit 5
Stonechat 6
Chiffchaff 2
Raven 1

Robin at Belle Tout

Saturday, 9 March 2013

9th March 2013 Beachy WNW1 Foggy

Seawatched during clear spell 11.25am - 11.55am
Red-throated Diver 6E, 18W
Brent c.10E
Red-breasted Merganser 5E
Scoter 4E
Peregrine 1
Kestrel 1-2
Mediterannean Gull 2 adults on sea with c.80 Black-headed Gulls
Stonechat 3
Robin 6
Blackbird 6
Song Thrush 4
Redwing 6
Fieldfare 2
Meadow Pipit 68N
Rock Pipit 2
Alba Wagtail 30N handful identified were all Pied
Chiffchaff 3
Starling 50
Corn Bunting 5
Reed Bunting 1
Chaffinch 6
Goldfinch 50
Linnet 7
Raven 1

Male Stonechat at Birling
A striking individual showing an extensive white belly extending to the centre of its lower breast, white flanks and large flared white neck patches all of which are considered characters of Continental Stonechat S.t. rubicola (Walker 2001). More here:
Male Chaffinch at Birling
Song Thrush at Birling
A real pea-souper greeted us at Beachy today but was presumably responsible for grounding some Thrushes
Same image as above after editing - amazing what can be salvaged in digital photography!
Fieldfare at Birling
Blue Tit and Great Tit at Birling
Three small mixed parties of Blue and Great Tits seen early in the foggy conditions today incuding this flock that departed high into the sky being lost to view into the fog.
Chiffchaff at Birling
Being the first, a welcome sight in the fog.

Redwings over Cornish Farm
As summer visitors start to arrive, winter visitors are departing.
Female Kestrel at Birling
Mediterranean Gull amongst Black-headed Gulls off Birling

Adult summer Mediterranean Gull off Birling
Two amongst c.80 Black-headed Gulls were constantly vocalising having previously been heard in the thick fog when it was impossible to see the sea from the top of the cliff!

Moulting Scandinavian Rock Pipit still present at Birling
With this birds moult progressing to now include its crown further clues as to its subspecific identity are appearing. Its now clearly sporting a grey cast to its crown, nape and scapulars. Its supercilia appear both pale and strong especially when viewed head-on. It is developing peachy tones to its throat and wash across its breast. Its underparts are taking on a spotted appearance against a whitish ground colour. It has virtually lost its malar stripes. Additional support for its identification as littoralis are provided by the extensive yellow base to its lower mandible, broad white tips to its median and greater coverts and more importantly its white outer tail feathers - even the grey outer webs can be determined in the image second from top. Here is a rather similar-looking transitional individual taken from
Scandinavian Rock Pipit at Brockholes Quarry, Lancs 14/3/06 (Bill Aspin)
94K Colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gull at Newhaven Harbour
Gilles le Guillou kindly informed us that this  probably female bird hatched in an urban environment in Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, Normandie, France on 21/5/12 and was ringed as a chick on 21/6/12. The Newhaven sighting is the first subsequent sighting.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

3rd March 2013 Birling Gap NE3 Overcast 7am - 9am & Arundel

Burgess Hill
Tawny Owl 1

Great Northern Diver 1E w/p ex.
Red-throated Diver 37E, 2W
Great Crested Grebe 2E, 1 on sea
Gannet 20E
Scoter 9E
Bonxie 1E
Yellow-legged Gull 1 ad. ex.
Lesser Black-backed Gull 10 on beach
Black-headed Gull 70E, 10 on beach
Razorbill 11E
Auk sp. 92E

Adult summer Yellow-legged Gull at Birling

Yellow-legged, Common, Herring & Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Birling

Yellow-legged, Herring & Common Gulls at Birling

Adult summer Yellow-legged Gull at Birling
More extensive white on p10 is more frequent in E populations (Larsson 2004)
Arundel, Burpham SF & Amberley
Greylag Goose c.25 including 2 or 3 showing some characters of A.a. rubrirostris
Red Kite 1 ex.
Barn Owl 3
Chiffchaff 2
Greylag showing some characters of A.a. rubrirostris at Arundel
The Siberian form of Greylag Goose A.a. rubrirostris is described as being larger, pink-billed, paler grey and typically with broader pale fringes to the upperparts. However, it has yet to be added to the British List due to birds perhaps occuring from the reportedly wide intergrade zone between nominate anser and rubrirostris and further muddied by introductions of rubrirostris and interbreeding with anser on the near continent albeit described as genetically swamped (RIACT BB 99 December 2006). Whilst clearly the Arundel duo are pink-billed, paler grey and have pale fringes to the upperparts they appeared certainly no larger, if anything slightly smaller, than the accompanying Greylags. I also found the smooth grey face and very pale grey forehead of the above bird surprising - whilst watching it I considered it bore an uncanny resemblance to the head pattern of a Blue Crane!

Greylag showing some characters of A.a. rubrirostris at Arundel
Revealing the full extent of the barring to the flanks. Van Duivendijk (2010) notes A.a. rubrirostris as having stronger barred rear-flanks.

Greylag showing some characters of A.a. rubrirostris at Arundel
The second individual, whilst lacking the very pale grey forehead, in good light showed an almost horizontal narrow pale line across its face that was present on both sides of its head. It showed far less of a dark grinning patch and its bill gave the impression of showing some orange.

Greylag showing some characters of A.a. rubrirostris at Arundel
Perhaps just my perception of them, but at times, they had a peculiar look about them!

Greylag showing some characters of A.a. rubrirostris at Arundel
Some of the pale fringes to its upperparts do appear broader than on the Greylag in the background, that being further away, explains the apparent overall size difference of the birds in this image...

Greylag showing some characters of A.a. rubrirostris at Arundel
RJF raised the possibility of a third bird being present showing characters of rubrirostris in his SOS posting and it seems likely that this is the 'third' individual being difficult to reconcile with either of the above birds.

Same image enlarged showing orange and pink tones to its bill colour
A scanned slide of an Eastern Greylag A.a. rubrirostris at Bharatpur, India in December 2005