Saturday, 31 January 2015

31st January 2015 Lewes Brooks & Swanborough SF

Barnacle Goose 1
White-fronted Goose 4
Sanderling 1 Newhaven beach
Grey Wagtail 1
Siberian Chiffchaff 2
Chiffchaff 12+
Great Grey Shrike 1


Siberian Chiffchaff at Swanborough Sewage Farm (all images JFC)
with a brief appearance by a collybita in the video
Both tristis appeared eye-catchingly pale in comparison to the collybita present. Black eye, small spiky-shaped black bill and thin black legs and black feet were common to both individuals. Crown, nape and mantle milky-brown on one, being greyer on the second individual, that in all other respects appeared identical. Hence, both lacked any hint of green to their crown or mantle. Both appeared very slightly greyer on the sides of the nape producing something of a greyer shawl at certain angles. Buff supercilium completely lacking any trace of yellow. Dark pencil-line eye-stripes contrasted with their pale supercilia and crossed their lores. Ear-coverts brown, mottled and tinged slightly warmer than their crowns. Eye bordered below by a neat narrow white half-circle. Throat, breast, belly and undertail-coverts white, completely lacking any trace of yellow.  Breast-sides and flanks washed with buff again lacking any yellow. Dark alula. Tips of greater coverts very slightly paler, forming a slight pale greater covert bar. Secondaries with greenish fringes so reminiscent of a Bonelli’s Warbler especially as they contrasted with grey-brown primaries and tertials.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Sussex Caspian Gull recoveries

The Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences have kindly been in touch to say that a couple of colour-ringed Caspian Gulls that we have encountered in Sussex have been recorded subsequent to leaving Sussex as follows:

Colour-ringed adult male Caspian Gull PEAA in the Cuckmere on 16/12/2012
More images here
First ringed at a Caspian Gull breeding colony in Poland as a 3CY+ male on the 19/4/2011 it was seen in a river valley at Maasbracht in the Netherlands on three dates in August 2011. A year later it was seen at the same site on 28/8/2012 before moving c.40 miles southwest along the river valley into Belgium where it was seen at Lixhe on the 10/9/2012.
Same bird photographed in Belgium on the 10/9/2012 (Charlie Farinelle)
We saw it in the Cuckmere on the 16/12/2012 and it then made its third consecutive August appearance back at Maasbracht in the Netherlands on the 6/8/2013 before being seen back at its original colony in Poland on the 29/6/2014.

Map showing the Cuckmere, Maasbracht and the Polish colony

Showing such spatial site fidelity has it been 'missed' back in the Cuckmere in the last two Decembers, and will it be seen again there in future years...
Colour-ringed first-winter Caspian Gull PKPK at Rye Harbour NR on 23/12/2012
More images here
First ringed at a Caspian Gull colony in Poland as a nestling on the 25/5/2012 it was next seen by Kris Gillam at Newhaven Harbour on the 3/12/2012 and 4/12/2012 before we saw it at Rye Harbour NR on the 23/12/2012. It was next seen at a landfill site at Skegness, Lincolnshire on the 2/4/2013 but not again until appearing on Texel in the Netherlands on 22/7/2014.
Same bird now a second-summer photographed on Texel on the 22/7/2014 (Job Ten Horn)
Map showing Sussex, Skegness, Texel and the Polish colony

Sunday, 25 January 2015

25th January 2014 Beachy, Jevington & Cuckmere

Red-throated Diver 5E
Great-crested Grebe 4 (2E and 2 on the sea)
Fulmar 6
Gannet 1E
Brent Goose 6E
Common Buzzard 2
Peregrine 1
Kittiwake 10
Stock Dove 7
Tawny Owl 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Skylark 200
Rock Pipit 1+
Wren 5
Stonechat 4
Goldfinch 20
Reed Bunting 7
Corn Bunting 50

Wren in the field opposite Belle Tout
One of a few that are wintering amongst the Skylarks and Corn Buntings in the rough field opposite Belle Tout. Whilst ringing recoveries in the County have revealed most Wrens make only local movements others have originated from Cumbria, Gwynedd, Lancashire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, Shropshire and even a bird ringed in Baltic Russia!
Pony above Belle Tout
Rough-legged Buzzard 1 juvenile
White-fronted Goose 1
Cackling Goose 1

Cackling Goose in the Cuckmere
Appears far too dark overall for a Richardson's Cackling Goose B.h. hutchinsii and its small size, lack of a dark gular stripe, purplish bloom to its dark upper breast all seem good pointers for B.h. minima that can also show a white neck-ring at the base of the black neck-sock albeit being a feature more often associated with Aleutian Cackling Goose B.h. leucoparia.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

24th January 2015 Littlehampton, Barnham & Steyning SF

Kumlien's Gull 1 second-winter

Second-winter Kumlien's Gull at Littlehampton
Great news that this obliging and educational bird is back for its second winter at the mouth of the River Arun now sporting pink-based bill, a pale eye, a mirror on p10 and beginning to acquire a pale grey mantle. Clearly at the dark end of the spectrum as opposed to the Roedean second-winter.

Whooper Swan 2+

Adult Whooper Swan at Barnham

Ruff 2

Steyning SF
Chiffchaff c.8+
Siberian Chiffchaff 2

Grey-brown crown and mantle appearing slightly greyer on the nape giving the effect of a greyish shawl. Green on upperparts restricted to this individual's back and rump. Long pale buff supercilia lacking yellow. Dark centres to tertials.

Tiny black bill often held upturned and appearing upcurved. Thin black legs and black feet.
Buff face at some angles appearing tinged a warmer brown.
Taking on a pale and very cold grey appearance.
Nice dark alula and green fringes to its secondaries and primaries forming a rather pronounced green 'wing panel'. Pale tips to greater coverts forming a slight wing-bar. 
Buff wash to breast sides extending across upper breast. Remainder of underparts whitish lacking yellow.
Siberian Chiffchaffs at Steyning SF
Interesting to see how light and angle affect the appearance of ARK's tristis in these images through colourless, grey and white, to sporting nicotine-stained ear-coverts - unfortunately they remained silent but afforded great views in amongst what felt at times a fall of collybita!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

4th January 2015 Beachy & Horse-eye Levels

Fulmar 8
Buzzard 1
Short-eared Owl 1 in rough field
Skylark c.500 in rough field
Meadow Pipit 2
Stonechat 1
Song Thrush 1
Goldfinch 30
Corn Bunting c.50 in rough field
Reed Bunting 6 in rough field


Short-eared Owl at Birling (upper three JFC)

Horse-eye Levels

Hen Harrier 1 ringtail
Short-eared Owl 2
Richard's Pipit 1

Richard's Pipit at Horse-eye Level