Monday, 30 August 2004

30th August 2004 Spatham Lane Wood 8.00am – 9.00am

Common Buzzard 1

Sunday, 29 August 2004

29th August 2004 Beachy 6.00 – 11.00am West 5 overcast and unpleasantly cool in the windy conditions

Gannet 15
Shag 1 on rocks off Cow Gap
Scoter 5
Sparrowhawk 1
Sandwich Tern 1W
Swift 4
Swallow 5
House Martin 20
Tree Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 18
Blackcap 2
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Whitethroat 15
Sedge Warbler 1
Grasshopper Warbler 1
Willow Warbler 1
Spotted Flycatcher 1

Saturday, 28 August 2004

28th August 2004 Beachy 6.00 – 2.00pm. Overcast then sunny before clouding over. W2

Fulmar c.5
Marsh Harrier 1 juv/fem Appeared small in comparison with the Honey Buzzard. Very dark brown underwings and underparts contrasting with pale cap. Seen above ridge of Hollow.
Honey Buzzard 1 Whilst we were walking the path into the bowl of the hollow just west of the ringing hut I noticed a large raptor purposefully flying south with purposeful deep wingbeats covering a fair distance very quickly over the Hollow at 10.45am. On seeing it through binoculars I drew the others attention to it by calling it as a Buzzard sp. On seeing the combination of its small but protruding head, appearing long-necked, and long narrow tail that appeared longer than the width of the wings, I said I felt sure it was a Honey Buzzard. As we discussed it whilst watching it continuing on its way we noted the wings had the carpals of forewing held well forward whereas trailing edge was straight. It was clearly a medium morph appearing neither particularly pale or dark. Its underwings were heavily backlit against the high white cloud so the only features we were able to see were obvious black oval carpal patches and a broad dark trailing edge to the underwings. It appeared considerably larger than a nearby Marsh Harrier seen immediately the Honey Buzzard had disappeared from view.
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 3
Peregrine 1 juv.
Sandwich Tern 5
Wood Pigeon c.25
Swift 11
Sand Martin 50
Swallow 75
House Martin 1
Meadow Pipit c.15
Tree Pipit 1h
Yellow Wagtail 16
Redstart 11 including a male showing a whitish patch on the secondaries recalling samamisicus. The same individual had an obvious white band across the upper breast forming a white border below the black throat.
Wheatear 20
Whinchat 3
Blackcap 7
Lesser Whitethroat 4
Whitethroat 30
Grasshopper Warbler 2
Willow Warbler 37
Chiffchaff 2 (first Autumn migrant Chiffs)
Spotted Flycatcher 16

Sunday, 22 August 2004

22nd August 2004 Beachy 6.00 – 12.30pm. Sunny, South 3

Kestrel 3
Hobby 1
Peregrine 1 juv.
Sandwich Tern 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Swallow 10
Tree Pipit 5h
Pied Wagtail 1W
Yellow Wagtail 45
Grey Wagtail 1
Nightingale 1 ad. in the hand in the Hollow – appeared quite small in thand, rufous tail, white underparts with buff suffusion across breast
Redstart 7
Wheatear 4
Whinchat 4
Garden Warbler 3
Lesser Whitethroat 8
Whitethroat 54
Sedge Warbler 1
Grasshopper Warbler 5
Reed Warbler 1
Willow Warbler 25
Spotted Flycatcher 3

Saturday, 21 August 2004

21st August 2004 Beachy 5.45 – 2.30pm. Cloudy, cool NNW3

Little Egret 3 Cow Gap Beach
Buzzard 1 flew over Belle Toute heading east but then seen flying inland
Kestrel 3
Hobby 1
Common Tern 6
Sandwich Tern 10
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Wryneck 1 noticed by JFC in gully opposite BH Hotel. Gave close views in Elder and then good flight views lower in the gully as it moved between grassy areas and bushes in the bottom of the gully.
Sand Martin 4
Swallow 5
House Martin 25
Tree Pipit 8 + 3h
Yellow Wagtail 94
Grey Wagtail 7
Redstart 1
Wheatear 25
Whinchat 2
Garden Warbler 2
Blackcap 1 male
Lesser Whitethroat 4
Whitethroat 67
Sedge Warbler 3
Grasshopper Warbler 2
Reed Warbler 1
Willow Warbler 60
Wood Warbler 1 On arriving at the Old Trapping Area there was a Wader-like call, plaintive almost Bullfinch-like ‘puuu’. Played the tape of Wood Warbler and it approached within a couple of meters. Bright yellow supercilium and throat contrasting with silky white underparts and bright green upperparts. Long white undertail coverts and very long-winged.
Spotted Flycatcher 4
Pied Flycatcher 3

Sunday, 15 August 2004

15th August 2004 Beachy 6.00am – 11.45am. Overcast but warm. Calm

Fulmar c.2
Gannet 2W
Cormorant 1E over hollow
Little Egret (7 flying from roost down the Cuckmere) 1 hunting on beach at Birling and what was possibly the same 1 again stood preening in field at Birling with flock of Gulls. 2 on pool near Piddinghoe.
Sparrowhawk 2
Kestrel 1
Sandwich Tern 8W
Common Tern 2W
Swift 19
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 flew South along Cliff Path
Sand Martin 12
Swallow 12
Tree Pipit 12 grounded opposite Beachy Head Hotel. Somw with buffy wash across underparts another with a well marked pale spot at the rear of the ear coverts.
Yellow Wagtail 3
Redstart 1
Wheatear 1 Ditchling Beacon, 2 Beachy
Song Thrush 2
Garden Warbler 1
Blackcap 3
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Whitethroat 32
Grasshopper Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 13
Willow Warbler 21
Raven 2 pair of adults

Saturday, 14 August 2004

14th August 2004 Beachy 6.00am – 12.15pm. Overcast at first becoming warm and sunny. Light westerly wind becoming almost calm

Cormorant 12W
Little Egret 1 stood preening in field at Birling with flock of Gulls. 2 on pool near Piddinghoe.
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 4
Peregrine 2 calling
Greenshank h
Curlew 1
Swift 10
Yellow Wagtail 12 (+ others h)
Wheatear 12
Whinchat 1
Blackcap 1
Lesser Whitethroat 4
Whitethroat 44
Sedge Warbler 3
Reed Warbler 2
Willow Warbler 27
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Pied Flycatcher 1 Hotel Garden
Jay 2

Sunday, 8 August 2004

8th August 2004 Scillonian Pelagic 5am – 7.30pm. Force 6 SW moderating to SW3-4 with rain in first three hours becoming warm and sunny. The remnants of Hurricane Alex.

Fulmar c.35
Cory’s Shearwater 3 pale bill seen with tip appearing dark. Very relaxed flight action on bowed wings. Darker coverts and primaries contrasted with paler secondaries on the upperwing and upperside of body giving something of a W appearance – if only one had dark underwings!! Underparts, axillaries and belly unmarked white. White underwing coverts contrasted with black borders. Underside of primaries dark.
Manx Shearwater c.3 upperparts appeared dark with slight brownish tinge. However, all seen well showed the white hook up onto the ear coverts lacked by Yelkouan Shearwater. Underparts white and contrastingly so.
Storm Petrel c.200
Wilson’s Storm-Petrel 2 – 3 Found the first at c.12.50pm. After steaming to c.25km SW of Scilly the Scillonian III decided to abort its attempt to reach the ‘Wilson’s Triangle’ being a further c.40km to the SW due to the adverse sea conditions. After c.30 minutes of chumming at that location, no Wilson’s Petrels had been seen, so it was decided to head for an area c.10km NW of the Bishop’s Rock Lighthouse where 2 Wilson’s Petrels had been sighted the previous evening from a pelagic trip from St. Mary’s. The journey was reckoned to take around c.2 hours. I had noticed that a good number of Storm Petrels had remained in the wake of the Scillonian III since leaving the chum slick c.25km SW of Scilly and I had continued to watch these for c.30 minutes whilst we were steaming N. At c.12.50pm I suddenly became aware of a slightly larger, broader-winged, white-rumped Petrel that had a noticeably different, more gliding, flight action. It was clearly less flickering than the accompanying Storm Petrels, being one of the two closest Petrels following the ship at c.50m range. Suspecting it to be a Wilson’s Petrel I nearly immediately shouted to that effect, but thought I’d better see something more critical before doing so, fully expecting, in the meantime, that someone else would draw attention to it. Fortunately the bird immediately banked and revealed almost oval pale panels across the greater coverts of the upperwings and toes clearly projecting beyond the tail. I then shouted ‘Wilson’s Petrel in the wake’ and the usual ‘Scillonian panic’ ensued with observers shouting for directions etc. In such a situation, I had that almost immediate heart-stopping moment, when I feared it would suddenly take-on the appearance of a Storm Petrel, but thankfully that didn’t happen. Observers closest to me were soon watching the bird and discussing the identification features as it criss-crossed the wake several times.  The aforementioned features could again be clearly seen along with what appeared wholly dark underwings whereas the accompanying Storm Petrel was showing the broad white band across the underwing coverts. Other observers were shouting directions and it was clear that many were by now enjoying the views. Despite checking I could see no indication of wing moult unlike some of the Wilson’s Petrels seen on previous Scillonian pelagic trips. Both birds then drifted out to the left for c.100m whereupon the Wilson’s foot-paddled on the surface of the water on several occasions taking on a very rounded-winged appearance (completely lacking the ‘ragged’ appearance of a Leach’s) and, although a cliché, an almost slow-motion butterfly-like flight action, before it again headed for the wake but by now unfortunately considerably more distant. The Ship’s tanoy had relayed the news and the boat had already slowed and started to turn. The Wilson’s Petrel was soon lost from view and despite chumming it failed to reappear. Fortunately, virtually every observer on deck had seen the bird (c.100) and a few took the trouble to congratulate me on having picked it out. After chumming for a while the ship continued on its way and after another 40 minutes or so another Wilson’s Petrel was found in the wake by another observer. This bird was a different individual as its longest primaries projected beyond the other primaries forming obvious ‘hooks’ to the wingtips. The pale panels across the upperwing coverts appeared slightly more well-marked, the flight action and wing-shape as characteristic as the first.       

Gannet c.200
Common Buzzard 1 on lamp post at Hayle
Knot 1w/p at sea
Turnstone c.2 at sea
Bonxie c.8 including a very pale almost ashy-grey adult that appeared quite small and small and thin-billed.
Arctic Skua 1 ad. Dark morph
Herring Gull c.10
Lesser Black-backed Gull c.200 incl. Many juv.s
Kittiwake c.10
Sabine’s Gull 1 ad. Losing dark head appearing pale smudgy grey so some do moult prior to their annual migration.
Common Tern c.5
Black Tern 2

Saturday, 7 August 2004

7th August 2004 Porthgwarra 1pm – 4pm, Drift Reservoir 4.30pm – 8pm

Little Grebe c.8 Drift
Fulmar c.5 west Pg
Manx Shearwater 3
Gannet c.30 west Pg
Cormorant 1 Drift
Shag c.15 Pg
Little Egret 1 Drift
Common Buzzard c.5 on drive to Cornwall
Wood Sandpiper 2 juv’s. Drift
Green Sandpiper c.5 Drift
Common Sandpiper c.6 Drift
Greenshank c.4 Drift
Curlew 2 Drift
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper 1 ad. Unfortunately only seen in flight albeit hovering(!) overhead for a while. A neat dark pectoral band appeared worryingly obvious! Appeared quite long-winged with only a hint of a narrow white wingbar across the upperwings. Short stout bill. Basically appeared brown and white. Flew around for c.5 minutes before heading off NE never to be seen again.
Kingfisher c.3 Drift
Grey Wagtail h Drift

Wednesday, 4 August 2004

4th August 2004 Ditchling Beacon 5.30am – 7.30am

Whitethroat c.4

Tuesday, 3 August 2004

3rd August 2004 Ditchling Beacon 5.30am – 7.30am

Cuckoo 1 ad.
Wheatear 3 same as on 2nd

Monday, 2 August 2004