Wednesday, 30 April 2014

30th April 2014 Rodmell

Whimbrel 1
Cuckoo h
Wheatear 2

Whimbrel at Rodmell

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

29th April 2014 Rodmell

Common Sandpiper 1
Little Owl 1
Wheatear 6
Cetti's Warbler h

Common Sandpiper at Rodmell

Monday, 28 April 2014

28th April 2014 Rodmell

Short-eared Owl 1
Cuckoo h
Greenland Wheatear 1 first-summer male
Cetti's Warbler h

First-summer male Greenland Wheatear at Rodmell

Short-eared Owl at Rodmell
Just as I was beginning to wonder if it was last year's summering individual, at dusk, when between Rodmell and Southease I saw it gain height and fly off strongly east until lost to view

Sunday, 27 April 2014

27th April 2014 Birling 6.30am - 9.30am SE3 Overcast & Rodmell

Red-throated Diver 2E
Gannet 200E
Brent 5E
Eider 4E
Scoter 121E
Bonxie 5E
Arctic Skua 9E
Kittiwake 200E
Sandwich Tern 15E
Commic Tern 8E
Razorbill 2E
Auk sp. 17E
Whimbrel 1E & h
Greenland Wheatear 7
Blackcap 1
Whitethroat 5
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Chiffchaff 1

Arctic Skua passing Birling (JFC)
Common Crane 1 first-summer

First-summer Common Crane at Rodmell (all images JFC)
Whilst walking the track to the river a glance at a field to the left and there is an first-summer Common Crane feeding! It remained quite unconcerned despite others walking to and fro along the track to the river and was seen both feeding, preening, drinking and wing-stretching. A family with three dogs then entered the field from the far side (surely they could see the Crane!) that inadvertently did us a favour with it walking quickly towards us before taking flight and flying back past us to where we saw it drop distantly into Lewes Brooks RSPB where it was successfully seen by others this evening.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

26th April 2014 Birling 9am - 1pm S5 Overcast

Red-throated Diver 17E
Black-throated Diver 18E
Great Crested Grebe 1E
Gannet 140E
Manx Shearwater 4E at 11.39am
Brent 57E
Eider 1E
Scoter 122E
Hobby 1 in off at 9.59am
Bonxie 21E
Arctic Skua 23E
Common Gull c.70E
Mediterranean Gull 3E
Black-headed Gull 22E
Little Gull 1E first-winter
Sandwich Tern 105E
Commic Tern 20E
Curlew 4E
Whimbrel 31E
Bar-tailed Godwit 35E
Auk sp. 13E
Greenland Wheatear 5

Bonxie passing Birling

Male Greenland Wheatear at Cornish Farm

Friday, 25 April 2014

25th April 2014 Brighton

Cloudscape over Brighton

Thursday, 24 April 2014

24th April 2014 Rodmell

Whimbrel 1 on Lewes Brooks
Greenshank 1
Redshank 2
Common Sandpiper h
Little Ringed Plover 1
Dunlin 3
Pied Wagtail 10+
Yellow Wagtail 1
Wheatear 1
Cetti's Warbler h

Male Yellow Wagtail M. flava flavissima at Rodmell

Male Pied Wagtails at Rodmell
A small presumably migrant flock of these present this evening all of which appeared to be males

Little Ringed Plover at Rodmell

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

23rd April 2014 Rodmell

Greenshank 5
Redshank 2
Dunlin 7
Cuckoo h
Wheatear 1
Cetti's Warbler h

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

22nd April 2014 Rodmell & Spatham Lane

Oystercatcher 2
Greenshank 4
Redshank 2
Green Sandpiper 1
Snipe 2
Dunlin 2
Cetti's Warbler h
Reed Warbler h

Spatham Lane
Tawny Owl 1
Nightingale 2h

Monday, 21 April 2014

21st April 2014 Birling Gap SE1 Hazy 6.15am - 12.30pm

Red-throated Diver 8E
Black-throated Diver 2E
Diver sp. 5E
White-billed Diver 1 first-summer briefly distantly on sea and then flew strongly east at 11.05am
Little Egret 2E
Gannet 60E
Brent 21E
Shelduck 6E
Merganser 2E
Scoter 430E
Bonxie 5E
Arctic Skua 7E
Mediterranean Gull 6E
Black-headed Gull 12E
Little Gull 37E
Sandwich Tern 56E
Commic Tern 8E
Little Tern 1E
Guillemot 1 on sea
Razorbill 4 on sea
Auk sp. 16E
Whimbrel 66E
Bar-tailed Godwit 26E
Ringed Plover 1E
Dunlin 2E
Sanderling 2E
Short-eared Owl 1 in off at 9.14am then flew west
Swallow 2 in off

Short-eared Owl arriving in off the sea at Birling

Initially picked out very distantly (these digi-shots were obtained at 3x digital zoom through a 30x scope and have then been cropped so don't convey the eye-strain involved!) to our west the light allowed the colour of its 'milky bar chocolate-coloured' bill to be fully appreciated and being held up-tilted immediately suggested only one identity. Its overall bleached pale brown appearance and pale head- and neck-sides added to the excitement. The highest part of its back is the middle whereas in Great Northern Diver the highest part of the back is typically close behind the head.

Its neck-sides and sides of head were pale save for a darker brown area on its ear-coverts. Its eye was set amidst pale. Its pale neck-sides contrasted with its darker crown and narrow dark hind-neck. You have to be of a certain vintage to remember the front cover of an early Birding World but this is pretty much how we remember it!
Having caught and been robbed of a fish by a Great Black-backed Gull it attracted the attention of a Fulmar that it completely dwarfed! The darkest area of the bird's plumage was its extensive broad dark half-collar at the base of its thick neck and JFC drew attention to it being bordered above by an extensive broad pale oval almost reminiscent of s/p rather than the typical 'white nick' shown by Great Northern Divers. Whilst not captured in the images its upperparts were seen to be scaly by virtue of pale fringes to its feathers confirming its age as a first-summer.

A very poor image enlarged below that portrays its forehead bump, thickset head and neck and its bill structure that was always held up-tilted.

First-summer White-billed Diver off Birling
PN selflessly left to phone out the news but had to climb the slope to get a signal where he realised the only phone number he had was MN who then kindly phoned other observers none of whom arrived in time to see it as PN arrived back only just in time to see it be unfortunately flushed by a yacht. On it flying off strongly east DC climbed the same slope to let RBA know it had flown off east in the hope that MCC et al. might see it pass Dungeness...

Early Spider Orchid at Beachy

Sunday, 20 April 2014

20th April 2014 Birling 3pm - 6pm ESE1-2

Gannet 20E, 3W
Merganser 5E
Scoter 9E
Bonxie 2E (5.02pm & 5.54pm)
Sandwich Tern 9E
Commic Tern 4E
Razorbill 2 on sea
Auk sp. 6E
Curlew 10 in off
Whimbrel 14E
Bar-tailed Godwit 17E
Swallow 30 in off
House Martin 1 in off

Harbour Porpoise 1+

Saturday, 19 April 2014

19th April 2014 Beachy NE4 Clear

Canada Goose 1 over Cow Gap
Whimbrel 1 on Birling lawn
Red-legged Partridge 2
Swallow 2
House Martin 2
Sand Martin 1
Wheatear 7 including 2 Greenland Wheatears
Blackcap 3
Whitethroat 9
Lesser Whitethroat h singing
Willow Warbler 2
Chiffchaff 3

Seawatch 2pm - 5pm E4

Red-throated Diver 1E
Gannet 4E
Little Egret 1E
Shag 1E
Merganser 6E
Scoter 7E
Arctic Skua 1E
Bonxie 1E at 14.40pm
Sandwich Tern 31E
Auk sp. 2E
Curlew 1E
Whimbrel 41E
Bar-tailed Godwit 18E

Male Greenland Wheatear at Cornish Farm

Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew and Whimbrel over Birling

Shag passing Birling

Drake Mergansers passing Birling

Friday, 18 April 2014

18th April 2014 Beachy N4-5 & Rodmell

Kestrel 1
Swallow 1
Whitethroat 3
Chiffchaff 5
Willow Warbler 10

Wall Brown 2

Sedge Warbler h

Thursday, 17 April 2014

17th April 2014 Arlington

Little Tern 1
Greenshank 1
Swallow c.80
House Martin 3
Sand Martin 5+

Little Tern at Arlington
Whilst scanning the Hirundines for Red-rumped Swallows a Little Tern was almost more of a surprise - I can't recall ever seeing one inland before. At times it appeared to be catching flies.

Videograbs of the Little Tern at Arlington

'Someone' pinched my parking place!!!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

16th April 2014 Birling Gap 6.45pm-7.45pm ESE1 & Spatham Lane

JFC was convinced that all looked set for an evening flight of Little Gulls so on contacting Matt at 5.30pm it was something of a surprise that he had seen little moving in the previous 2 hours. As we approached Lewes, Matt then kindly text to say he'd just seen a flock of 25 Little Gulls pass Splash Point so we headed for Birling. Long traffic queues along the A27 were frustrating but we still arrived in time to see the tail-end of the spectacle albeit most flocks were rather distant.

Red-throated Diver 4E
Great Crested Grebe 1W
Arctic Skua 1E
Black-headed Gull 4E
Little Gull 96E
Sandwich Tern 7E
Commic Tern 14E
Swallow 1 in off

Spatham Lane
Nightingale 2 h singing

Nightingale singing along Spatham Lane

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

15th April 2014 Birling ESE4 6.30pm-8pm Cold! & Spatham Lane

Scoter 12E
Peregrine 1
Sandwich Tern 12E
Whimbrel 9E

Spatham Lane
Tawny Owl 1
Nightingale h

Sunday, 13 April 2014

13th April 2014 Beachy W1 Overcast soon clearing

Tawny Owl h
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 drumming
Swallow 10
White Wagtail 1 female
Wheatear 3
Redstart 2 males
Blackcap 5
Lesser Whitethroat 2h singing
Willow Warbler 45
Chiffchaff 5
Raven 1

Brimstone 4
Peacock 5
Small Tortoiseshell c.15
Speckled Wood 3
Large White 2
Small White 2
Small Copper 3
Willow Warbler in Chat Vale
the initial overcast conditions were presumably responsible for grounding a small fall and many were in song as they quickly made their way inland

Female White Wagtail at Birling
what now feels like quite a prolonged spell of grounded alba although not in the numbers being experienced in the northwest where in excess of 100 were counted on a single beach on the Wirral late last week

Male Wheatear at Birling
Small Copper at Chat Vale

Saturday, 12 April 2014

12th April 2014 Beachy

Buzzard 1 along cliff edge
Swallow 8 in off
Redstart 1 female
Whitethroat 1
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 5
Willow Warbler 8
Raven 2

Red Admiral 1

Friday, 11 April 2014

11th April 2014 Rodmell & Ditchling Common

Glossy Ibis 1 ex.
Marsh Harrier 1 female
Little Ringed Plover 5

Ditching Common
Nightingale h singing

Glossy Ibis at Rodmell
On our arrival at Rodmell this evening, ADW was leaving having found (and left) the Glossy Ibis feeding in a flooded field. Unfortunately all too soon after we arrived on the scene it was flushed by a female Marsh Harrier that caused it to fly off very high towards Lewes, where it clearly suddenly saw ADW again, as it acrobatically dropped from the air to land in front of him whilst now looking at Lewes Brooks RSPB! Despite some purplish gloss to its wings the white flecking to its head and pale bill presumably reveal it to be a first-winter so hopefully it will linger a while yet...
Little Ringed Plovers at Rodmell
Four of the five birds seen this evening

Thursday, 10 April 2014

10th April 2014 Rodmell

Little Ringed Plover 2
White Wagtail 1 male
Cetti's Warbler h


Male White Wagtail at Rodmell

Pair of Little Ringed Plovers at Rodmell