Tuesday, 19 April 2016

19th April 2016 Beachy N2 Overcast over land

No frost this morning and overcast the whole way to the coast but clear skies out to sea that combined with a cold northerly breeze presumably resulted in a decent fall of passerine migrants dominated by Willow Warblers. A quick glance out to sea produced nothing more than a determined handful of Sandwich Terns moving east. We then tried Chat Vale where numbers of Willow Warblers were immediately apparent with most making vertical sallies to catch insects. It wasn't long before Laurence was texting through news of a Cuckoo and a Common Redstart in the Hollow. We moved onto the Old Trapping Area where Swallows and House Martins were arriving in off the sea along with our first Sand Martin of the year. More Willow Warblers were present, a Chiffchaff and a skulking Sedge Warbler also being our first for the year. Bob Edgar arrived having seen 25 Willow Warblers at Birling, of which 15 were moving quickly inland along the hedge running towards East Dean. Another text from Laurence brought news of a Yellow Wagtail and Siskin over. The Hotel Garden held more Willow Warblers and a few Common Whitethroats and Icky Ridge produced more Willow Warblers, a Common Whitethroat and a Blackcap. Most of the action seemed centred on the east of the headland today and as we started along the Cliff Path a Short-eared Owl arrived in off the sea and continued north through Cow Gap and was lost to view flying into the Hollow. It arrived within a few minutes of one that arrived in off the sea at Selsey - presumably they had left France at similar times to each other too. A Siskin over, two more Sand Martins arrived, more Willow Warblers, a few Chiffchaffs and then a fine male Common Redstart were all eclipsed by a female Pied Flycatcher seen dropping onto the path a few times to take prey. The hedgerow behind the Hotel was playing host to more Willow Warblers and a male and female Common Redstart so it felt like birds were still arriving. We therefore revisited the Old Trapping Area and Chat Vale but both were now quiet. A look in Belle Tout wood produced a group of 6 Blackcaps feeding in the undergrowth and two male Wheatears were in the field opposite. A work commitment then sent me home but a very enjoyable day.

Shelduck 1 pair prospecting
Sandwich Tern 5 E
Short-eared Owl 1 in off the sea and headed N Cow Gap @ 10.05
Sand Martin 3 N
Swallow 11 N
House Martin 7 N
Common Redstart 3
Wheatear 2
Song Thrush 3
Sedge Warbler 1
Common Whitethroat 5
Blackcap 7
Chiffchaff 5
Willow Warbler 45
Pied Flycatcher 1 female
Long-tailed Tit 1
Raven 2
Siskin 1

Sedge Warbler in the Old Trapping Area
Sand Martin over Cow Gap

Short-eared Owl arriving in off the sea and over a couple of observers in Cow Gap
Female Pied Flycatcher along the Cliff Path (JFC)