Saturday, 31 May 2014

31st May 2014 Beachy & Rodmell

Hobby 1
Reed Warbler h singing

Hobby over Chat Vale
dark morph silhouette!!

Bee Orchid (not -eater) at Beachy
Dunlin 1


Female Dunlin of the nominate form C.a. alpina at Rodmell
Of the regularly occurring forms in the UK both schinzii and artica complete their pre-breeding moult mid-March to late April whereas it is c.1 month later in alpina. The cheeks and foreneck of alpina are often less extensively tinged buff than schinzii. In fresh breeding plumage alpina, especially females, often show broad white fringes to their belly feathers. Appearing so long-billed it invites the possibility of it being one of the seemingly unlikely forms hudsonia or sakhalina but can female alpina appear so long-billed? BWP reveals a range of measurements of 29-36 for alpina and 30-39 for sakhalina. Furthermore, sakhalina is described as having black of feather-centres more restricted than in alpina, with outer scapulars, especially, almost uniform cinnamon that seems at odds with the Rodmell individual.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

25th May 2014 Beachy S5 Clear

Manx Shearwater 2E
Gannet 156E
Little Egret 4E
Shelduck 5E
Common Scoter 222E
Sanderling 9E
Arctic Skua 8E
Bonxie 3E
Mediterranean Gull 2E adults
Black-headed Gull 14E
Kittiwake c.250E
Sandwich Tern 108E
Commic Tern 25E
Auk sp. 20E
Guillemot 1E
Raven 8

Saturday, 24 May 2014

24th May 2014 Beachy & Rodmell SE5 Overcast

Gannet 110E
Grey Heron 1
Common Scoter 61E, 13W
Common Buzzard 1 over the top fields
Sanderling 3E
Pomarine Skua 1E at 9.30am
Arctic Skua 1E
Black-headed Gull 12E
Sandwich Tern 8E
Auk sp. 3E
Guillemot 1E

Little Owl 1
Swift c.100
Swallow c.30
House Martin c.10
Cuckoo h
Cetti's Warbler h

A pale Common Buzzard at Rodmell

Friday, 23 May 2014

23rd May 2014 Rodmell

Turnstone 1
Ringed Plover 3
Cuckoo h
Cetti's Warbler h
Yellowhammer 2

Turnstone and Tundra Ringed Plover at Rodmell
As this particular Ringed Plover appeared diminutive with dark brown upperparts it would appear to tick all of the boxes of C.h. tundrae of the northerly Fenno-Scandian mountains and arctic coasts. Perhaps therefore no surprise it seemed to prefer hanging out with the northern-bound Turnstone rather than two nearby pallid-by-comparison Ringed Plover.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

22nd May 2014 Rodmell

Hobby 1
Greenshank h
Ringed Plover 2
Cuckoo h
White Wagtail 1 male
Cetti's Warbler h
Yellowhammer 2 (a pair)

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

21st May 2014 Rodmell

Greylag Goose 31
Curlew Sandpiper 1
Ringed Plover 1
Little Owl 1
White Wagtail 1 male
Cetti's Warbler h

Male White Wagtail at Rodmell

Curlew Sandpiper at Rodmell
As seen to the north of yesterday's individual it would seem likely to be the same bird. Whilst it does appear overall in more advanced summer plumage, some of the finer detail appears the same. Unfortunately I had only obtained this single image when it flew off high to the north until lost to view, so with the dangers of misinterpreting a bird's plumage based on a single image, it is difficult to be certain whether one or two individuals have been involved.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

20th May 2014 Rodmell

Curlew Sandpiper 1
Little Owl 1
Cuckoo h
Cetti's Warbler h

Curlew Sandpiper at Rodmell
Just before dusk it flew north along the River Ouse with 2 Redshank but a quick walk north along the riverbank unfortunately failed to relocate it
Sunset over Cow Parsley at Rodmell

Sunday, 18 May 2014

18th May 2014 Birling 6.30am - 11am SE2 Clear & Rodmell

Diver sp. 1E
Gannet 10E
Little Egret 3
Grey Heron 1E
Garganey 3E (including a pair that briefly settled on the sea)
Shoveler 2E
Common Scoter 447E
Knot 4E
Sanderling 9E
Bar-tailed Godwit 6E
Pomarine Skua 2E at 7.22am
Mediterranean Gull 1E 1s
Black-headed Gull 125E
Sandwich Tern 80E
Commic Tern 26E
Little Tern 1E
Black Tern 8E
Auk sp. 2E
Guillemot 1E
Swift 1
Swallow 10

Hobby 1
Greenshank 1
Little Owl 1
Turtle Dove 1 flying north

Little Owl at Rodmell

Turtle Dove at Rodmell
A gunshot emanating from a 4WD presumably aimed at Woodpigeons feeding in a field flushed a Turtle Dove that flew north at fast speed probably thinking it was still running the gauntlet of the disgraceful relentless shooting throughout the Mediterranean region of this rapidly declining species during both their Spring and Autumn migrations

Saturday, 17 May 2014

17th May 2014 Beachy Calm & Cloudy & Rodmell

Buzzard 1
Swift 1
Swallow c.10
Garden Warbler 1
Spotted Flycatcher 4

Fox cub at Beachy
Garden Warbler in Chat Vale
Hobby 1 

Friday, 16 May 2014

16th May 2014 Rodmell

Hobby 1
Ringed Plover 2
Little Owl 1
Cuckoo h
Sand Martin 1
Cetti's Warbler h
Yellowhammer 1 male

Thursday, 15 May 2014

15th May 2014 Rodmell

Hobby 1
Cetti's Warbler h

Hobby at Rodmell
Being in the same general area as the Hobby seen two nights earlier it is tempting to think the same individual is involved but its upperparts struck me as far blacker that appears to be borne out by these images.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

14th May 2014 Rodmell

Ringed Plover 1
Dunlin 2
Little Owl 1
Cetti's Warbler h

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

13th May 2014 Rodmell

Hobby 1
Common Sandpiper 1
Dunlin 2
Cuckoo h
Cetti's Warbler 1

Hobby at Rodmell

Threatening skies at sunset at Rodmell

Monday, 12 May 2014

12th May 2014 Rodmell

Common Sandpiper 1
Swift c.20
Cuckoo h
Wheatear 1
Yellowhammer 1 male

Sunday, 11 May 2014

11th May 2014 Beachy SW7 & Rodmell

Spoonbill 1 immature E at 07.50 - departing Cuckmere bird perhaps?
Little Egret 1E with the Spoonbill
Eider 1 female on the sea
Hobby 1 in off
Arctic Skua 5E
Sandwich Tern 6E
Commic Tern 1E
Auk sp. 1E
Swift 5 (4 in off )
Swallow 5
House Martin 20 in off
Spotted Flycatcher 2
Corn Bunting 2

Dingy Skipper 1

Montagu's Harrier 1 ringtail first-summer female
Common Sandpiper 1
Wheatear 1


Ringtail first-summer female Montagu's Harrier at Rodmell
Just before 5pm, whilst approaching the riverbank a slim-line dainty buoyant ringtail Harrier appeared before flying up and over the riverbank. A dash to the top revealed no sign of it. We headed north and after c.10 minutes saw it again just north of the pumping station where it was hunting low over the adjacent field even very briefly settling on a couple of occasions. Here we soon saw the barred axillaries that we were confident identified it as a Montagu's. It then flew right past us but  headed off in a northwesterly direction and low across the Rise heading towards Lewes Brooks. We remained in the area until 7pm before checking Lewes Brooks but unfortunately didn't see it again. Others looked unsuccessfully for it from the A27 layby. I find every small Harrier I see presents its own challenges... this one appears to be a first-summer female that most importantly has renewed its axillaries that readily identifies it as a Montagu's. It can be aged based on its retained juvenile dark-tipped primaries and juvenile secondaries that appear all dark when viewed from above and sexed by virtue of its renewed upper breast feathers being pale ochre with rufous brown streaks (grey in males), its iris colour that is clearly not bright yellow and its renewed brown (slightly protruding) central tail feathers.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

10th May 2014 Rodmell & Newhaven Harbour SW8

Ringed Plover 1

Common Tern 4

Common Terns at Newhaven Harbour

Friday, 9 May 2014

9th May 2014 Lewes Brooks & Rodmell

Greenshank 1

Ringed Plover 3
Dunlin 5
Blue-headed Wagtail 1 male

Male Blue-headed Wagtail M. flava flava at Rodmell
Found just before 8pm it was watched for less than 10 minutes before it attracted some unwelcome attention from a Pied Wagtail whereupon it flew off high to the south and was lost to view in the sky still heading towards Southease. We spent the next hour walking the riverbank towards Southease checking the grassy fields but to no avail. Being viewed at some distance and against the light didn't help but it did appear to show a full suite of characters of a pure Blue-headed Wagtail. The above digiscoped images were obtained with pushed exposure due to the failing light would appear to detail the critical plumage characters showing its blue-grey crown, hind-neck and very slightly darker ear-coverts, obvious whitish supercilium, white half-crescent underlining its eye, white band on the upper throat (so probably a 1s) with an indistinct border to its yellow breast, greenish-tinged upperparts and rather prominent wingbars.

8th May 2014 Rodmell

Greenshank 1
Ringed Plover 7
Dunlin 22

Dunlin at Rodmell

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

7th May 2014 Rodmell

Greenshank 2
Ringed Plover 3
Dunlin 3

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

6th May 2014 Rodmell

Little Owl 1
Bar-tailed Godwit 1
Ringed Plover 1
Whinchat 1 male

Male Whinchat at Rodmell

Bar-tailed Godwit at Rodmell

Monday, 5 May 2014

5th May 2014 Birling 6am - 5pm SE2

Red-throated Diver 12E
Black-throated Diver 17E, 1 on sea ex.
Diver sp. 10E
Great Crested Grebe 1 on sea
Little Egret 3E
Gannet 15E
Shag 2E
Brent 8E
Shelduck 7E
Scoter 990E
Pintail 2E
Bonxie 1 at 7.31am
Pomarine Skua 115E ex.
Arctic Skua 26E
Mediterranean Gull 1E first-summer
Black-headed Gull 263E
Little Gull 5E
Sandwich Tern 276E
Commic Tern 858E
Black Tern 7E
Little Tern 39E
Guillemot 6E
Razorbill 1E
Auk sp. 49E
Curlew 1E
Whimbrel 20E
Bar-tailed Godwit 17E
Knot 1E
Common Sandpiper 1E
Sanderling 11E
Swallow 3 in off
alba Wagtail 1 in off


Pomarine Skuas off Birling Gap
A pack of Pomarine Skuas passing Birling Gap

Three Pomarine and one Arctic Skua passing Birling Gap