Saturday, 26 March 2016

26th March 2016 Birling SSW6 6.45am - 9.30am Overcast

On driving onto the headland a Moorhen running along the road provided a Beachy tick for me! We were greeted by the Royal Naval Bomb Squad at Birling preparing to explode a bomb on the sandy beach. We joined Al Redman and Kris Gillam who were already seawatching. There was a steady easterly passage with numbers provided by Gannets, Brent, Scoter and Kittiwakes with a pair of Pintail and two Gadwall adding some variety, the first two Arctic Skuas of the Spring, and best of all, three Black-throated Divers quickly called by Kris that virtually flew along the tideline all showing some summer-plumage with two being exquisite - superb! The bomb was exploded causing a louder and larger explosion than anticipated. Bob Edgar arrived from Belle Tout wood where he had seen yesterday's Chiffchaffs and Firecrests but also a Blackcap and more-intriguingly a singing Coal Tit. Unfortunately there was no sign of the latter later although the eight Firecrests were still present.

Red-throated Diver 12 E
Black-throated Diver 3 E s/p (c.8.10am)
Gannet 163 E
Brent Goose 149 E
Common Scoter 140 E
Pintail 2 E
Gadwall 2 E
Moorhen 1
Arctic Skua 2 E (1 d/p 7.20am, 1 d/p 7.50am)
Common Gull 30 E
Mediterranean Gull 2 E (1 ad, 1 2s)
Black-headed Gull 25 E
Kittiwake 70 E
Auk sp. 2 E
Curlew 4 E
Chiffchaff 2
Firecrest 8

Porpoise sp. 1

Royal Naval Bomb Squad preparing for the controlled explosion