Sunday, 17 January 2016

17th January 2016 Newhaven Harbour

With a dusting of snow this morning it felt like Winter. We checked Newhaven Harbour but just the sad sight of a stranded Guillemot being eyed-up by a first-winter Great Black-backed Gull that was defending it from other Gulls. Lots of birds present on Lewes Brooks mainly comprising good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Lapwings, Black-headed Gulls and Starlings.

Guillemot 1

Guillemot stranded on the beach at Newhaven Harbour
Is the blackness of this individual's upperparts suggestive of the more northerly form U.a. aalge ?
Lewes Brooks
White-fronted Geese 4

Saturday, 16 January 2016

16th January 2016 Pett & Dungeness

With colder temperatures in recent days we decided to visit Pett and Dungeness. The Geese at Pett included c.20 White-fronted Geese and 5 Ruff dropped in to the roadside pools. A check of Scotney produced a flock of 7 White-fronted Geese that soon departed west. Driving the track into Dungeness RSPB a Great White Egret was seen distantly on the excavations. It was then good to bump into Martin Casemore at Dungeness who kindly filled us in with recent news. We then met Bob Eade who picked out the roosting Long-eared Owl sat tight behind the dipping pond. We relocated to the point where there weren't many Gulls in evidence although the first-winter Caspian Gull put on a good show being tempted ever closer by bread. Another quick visit to the RSPB Reserve added Tree Sparrow. Heading back west to Pett produced our surprise of the day being a Great White Egret feeding on the small pit opposite Northpoint so well within Sussex.

White-fronted Geese c.20
Brent Geese c.6
Marsh Harrier 1
Ruff 5

 Eurasian White-fronted Geese at Pett
Ruff at Pett
White-fronted Geese 7

Great White Egret 1
Marsh Harrier 1
Long-eared Owl 1
Caspian Gull 1 first-winter
Tree Sparrow 1

Long-eared Owl

First-winter Caspian Gull at Dungeness

Great White Egret 1

Adult Great White Egret at Northpoint

Friday, 1 January 2016

1st January 2016 Beachy NE1 8.10 - 8.50 Clear

The overnight forecast of a light southeasterly looked promising for our traditional New Year Day's seawatch but in fact the wind was northeasterly so there was no early morning movement at all. We walked from Birling over the top to Belle Tout wood and then back through the rough field. The highlight proved some nice views of the Dartford Warblers attempting to winter - will the weather remain mild enough for them to successfully do so... The increasing wind had switched to east southeast by 11.30 but a quick scan suggested just a very light easterly passage of Common Gulls was underway. A quick stop at Newhaven Harbour produced the female Eider whilst a stop at Swanborough Sewage Farm failed to produce any Chiffchaffs although Fieldfares and Redwings were seen that have proved scarce so far this Winter.

Red-throated Diver 3 E, 2 W
Great-crested Grebe 1 E and 2 on sea
Fulmar 5
Gannet 6
Brent Goose 4 E
Shelduck 1 E
Kestrel 1
Red-legged Partridge 9 in rough field
Common Gull 20 E
Stock Dove 2
Skylark c.100+ in rough field
Rock Pipit 1
Stonechat 3
Song Thrush 1
Dartford Warbler 4
Goldfinch c.50 in rough field
Reed Bunting 1 in rough field
Corn Bunting c.15

Sun rising on a New Year and a Dartford Warbler at Beachy

Male Dartford Warbler at Beachy

Female Stonechat at Beachy

Eider 1 female

Swanborough Sewage Farm
Fieldfare 5
Redwing 5
Goldcrest 2