Friday, 25 March 2016

25th March 2016 Birling 9am-9.45am NW2 Clear

We arrived after the overnight rain had cleared to a few Meadow Pipits heading west and a few flocks of Brent moving east out to sea, a small flock of Curlew west and a single adult Mediterranean Gull was offshore. Bob Edgar joined us having walked the area and seeing a Firecrest in Belle Tout Wood. A walk up the lane produced a Chiffchaff and 2 Firecrests in the copse, an overflying alba Wagtail and a Pied Wagtail on one of the houses. In now sunny and warm conditions a walk of Chat Vale produced a couple of grounded Redwings. There were another two Redwings in the Old Trapping Area and a Goldcrest. A Song Thrush was singing in the Hotel Garden, but the best was saved to last, as Belle Tout Wood played host to at least 8 Firecrests and 4 Chiffchaffs. 
Red-throated Diver 3 E
Great Crested Grebe 1 W
Brent Geese 230 E
Canada Goose 1
Common Scoter 10 E
Common Buzzard 5
Kestrel 1
Mediterranean Gull 1 adult
Curlew 10 W
Pied Wagtail 1
alba Wagtail 1 N
Meadow Pipit c.6
Redwing 4
Song Thrush h
Chiffchaff 5
Firecrest 10
Goldcrest 1
Carrion Crow 1 in off
Brent Geese passing Birling Gap
Firecrest in Belle Tout Wood
The increasing numbers of Firecrests seen on passage at Beachy over the years is generally assumed to correlate to the increasing breeding population in Sussex since first being confirmed in the 1970's. However, a glance at the Migration Atlas reveals how little is known about Firecrest migration, and it is not even known whether British breeding birds leave Britain in the Winter, so some of the birds seen on passage in the southeast UK in late March might be on their way elsewhere. That's hinted at by a Firecrest ringed at Kessingland on the 26th March 2008 that was controlled 457km ENE on Heligoland just a fortnight later.