Shoebill - Uganda June 2016

Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Seaford Head 30/8/16

A very impressive sunrise upon arrival was then interrupted by a stream of inbound Willow Warblers that totalled forty birds in just three minutes. The fog then rolled in which completely screwed things over. This lasted about an hour where only a handful of migrants were seen, one of which was a very confiding Grasshopper Warbler. Once it had cleared Willow Warblers were again the main feature (with now the odd Chiffchaff thrown in for the start of the overlap), and in one section by Harry's Bush a group consisting of Redstarts and Spotted Flycatchers rounded off an ok morning, with me feeling a little hard done by whilst everyone was finding Wrynecks on their patches.
Afterwards, I arrived at Sainsbury's for a quick supermarket sweep, when an Osprey flew over heading east, and could well have been one of the birds seen at Beachy later on.

Totals are:

Wheatear - 7
Whinchat - 5
Willow Warbler - 72
Whitethroat - 17
Blackcap - 8
Chiffchaff - 7
Grey Wagtail - 2 E
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 4
Spotted Flycatcher - 2
Redstart - 5
Yellow Wagtail - 6

Osprey - 1 E at 11.19 over Sainsbury's, Newhaven

 the best sunrise of the autumn so far

 Grasshopper Warbler in Hope Gap
 Spotted Flycatcher by Harry's Bush

 Willow Warblers adjacent to Harry's Bush
 male Redstart by South Hill Barn
Osprey over Sainsbury's - makes up for the supermarket being slightly more expensive then others!!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Seaford Head 29/8/16

A very cloudy morning and a northerly breeze wasn't enough for any fall of birds. I covered the normal sites but all too quickly I was home having seen very few migrants, with the only notable birds being a Grasshopper Warbler and three Redstarts. Hopefully tomorrow is better.

Totals are:

Wheatear - 3
Whinchat - 1
Willow Warbler - 11
Whitethroat - 26
Reed Warbler - 3
Yellow Wagtail - 11
Lesser Whitethroat - 9
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Garden Warbler - 2
Redstart - 3
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Tree Pipit - 3
Hobby - 1
Swallow - 50 E

 Garden Warbler in Hope Gap
Redstart by Harry's Bush

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Seaford Head 27/8/16

With work commitments yet again I could only spend three hours on the head, although that was long enough to note a considerable drop in migrant numbers. Whilst contemplating this and wishing I had stayed in bed, I turned around and noticed a small Dove flying low over the cliffs towards me, which turned out to be a juv Turtle Dove. It flew into Hope Gap and seemed to settle but I couldn't re-locate it. This is only my second patch record, with the first being a juvenile last autumn. Other than this, a small flurry of Willow Warblers first thing and small groups of House Martins moving east were the only notable migrants. 

Totals are:

Willow Warbler - 30
Wheatear - 3
Yellow Wagtail - 34
Whinchat - 2
Whitethroat - 28
Reed Warbler - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Grey Wagtail - 2 E
Chiffchaff - 2
Garden Warbler - 1
Tree Pipit - 2
Turtle Dove - 1 N at 7.55
Sedge Warbler - 1
Red-legged Partridge - 4
Raven - 7 W
House Martin - 150
Swallow - 75

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Seaford Head 25/8/16

Yet again another morning with plenty of birds to see in yet more lovely conditions. No scarcity today but it was great to see my first Pied Flycatcher and Grasshopper Warbler of the autumn, two species that in theory should have been seen already. There were lots of House Martins today but going in no purposeful direction, with some going east whilst hugging the cliff edge, and other groups heading west a little bit inland. The sheep field by South Hill Barn now has plenty of Yellow Wagtails in, with a group of at least 70 birds.
Conditions felt perfect for a Honey Buzzard but work had me scuppering off earlier then I wanted, putting the raptor watch on hold 

Totals are:

Yellow Wagtail - 90
Tree Pipit - 7
Lesser Whitethroat - 9
Willow Warbler - 36
Whitethroat - 55
Wheatear - 12
Corn Bunting - 1
Whinchat - 3
Reed Warbler - 4
Blackcap - 7
Nightingale - 2
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Hobby - 1 adult
Sedge Warbler - 3
Redstart - 1
Pied Flycatcher - 1
House Martin - ca. 600
Swallow - ca. 150
Swift - 2

Clouded Yellow - 5
Silver Spotted Skipper - 3

 Corn Bunting at the Dung Heap - not the Bunting I was hoping to encounter at first light
 A skulky Grasshopper Warbler in Hope Gap - just visible is the streaked crown and spotted undertail coverts
Wheatear at the Dung Heap

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Seaford Head 24/8/16

The conditions felt very promising as I arrived on the headland today, and with a small wave of activity in the 'quarry', I was optimistic. Yet again a good selection of common migrants seen, and at long last and about time, a scarcity was found in the form of an Ortolan Bunting, that was first picked up by its very distinctive call as it flew low north and out of sight (details below). Unfortunately no raptors today but overhead were plenty of Swallows heading east, as well as plenty of Yellow Wagtails. A productive morning, and with the autumn still early, here's hoping for a few more goodies before its over.

Ortolan Bunting find: Whilst walking along the western path of Hope Gap with Bob, I heard the very distinctive single-note call of what I believed was an Ortolan Bunting. Picking the bird up straight away confirmed my initial thoughts as it revealed uniform faintly coloured underparts, and more importantly no white in the tail. Unfortunately, Bob managed to get onto the bird quite late on but still managed to see it. The bird called three to four times and carried on in a north-westerly direction towards the dung heap until out of view. This was at 08.45, but in the distance Phillip Wells was walking pretty quickly towards us as he (completely unbeknown to us) had photographed what he thought (and correctly so) was an Ortolan Bunting at the top of Hope Gap, roughly ten minutes beforehand feeding with some Chaffinches. He showed us his very gripping picture (see below) and the rest is history. A great bird to have on the patch, even better to find/co-find and if records are correct, this is the first Ortolan Bunting on Seaford Head since 1961!!

Totals are:

Willow Warbler - 22
Blackcap - 11
Lesser Whitethroat - 10
Reed Warbler - 14
Wheatear - 9
Whitethroat - 85
Whinchat - 6
Tree Pipit - 5
Grey Wagtail - 1
Sedge Warbler - 4
Yellow Wagtail - 80
Chiffchaff - 1
Ortolan Bunting - 1 N at 8.45, originally in Hope Gap at 8.32
Swift - 3
Nightingale - 3
Redstart - 1
Swallow - 200+ E
House Martin - 2 E
Sand Martin - 50 E

This evening down the Cuckmere produced a mass of Yellow Wagtails presumably going to roost. Totals are:

Yellow Wagtail - 170
Whinchat - 2
Wheatear - 7

 Wheatear above Hope Gap
 two Whinchats by South Hill Barn
juv. Ortolan Bunting in Hope Gap - thankfully captured here by Phillip Wells.
The bold streaking on the breast ages this bird as a juvenile.
Clouded Yellow in Hope Gap

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Seaford Head 23/8/16

The first calm day for a short while was bound to produce some new arrivals, and with a fresh SE wind blowing the chance of a continental scarcity was good........but not for us today. A good range of species were seen today with one that possibly got away, when early on a Golden Plover seen in flight calling an obvious double-noted call (with more emphasis on the second syllable) flew across us heading north and quickly out of sight. Initial views revealed slightly paler underwing but with the low sun shining straight onto the underwing this could have over-exposed the colouration. No foot projection was seen but the bird wasn't close, though the call does match a Pacific Golden Plover, but with no other key features noted there's not much point going on really, though it could just have been a dodgy calling European Golden Plover. Of interest, a European Golden Plover was heard calling roughly four hours later by the coastguard cottages.
Probably the highlight of the morning was an Osprey that flew straight out to sea, though a preening Spoonbill was spotted on the scrape from the coastguard cottages, plus a good number of Reed Warblers were about although the goody still awaits.......hopefully!

Totals are:
Golden Plover sp. - 1 north at 6.35am
Willow Warbler - 25
Garden Warbler - 2
Yellow Wagtail - 36
Whitethroat - 45
Wheatear - 4
Tree Pipit - 3
Reed Warbler - 15
Nightingale - 3
Lesser Whitethroat - 5
Blackcap - 20
Redstart - 2
Spotted Flycatcher - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Swift - 7
Osprey - 1 sth at 9.24am
Hobby - 1 adult
Swallow - 50 E
Sand Martin - 75 E

Spoonbill - 1 on scrape briefly this morning

This afternoon whilst writing this blog post, an Osprey flew NW over my Peacehaven garden, all thanks to the local Gulls for the alert.

 Osprey over Seaford Head - fantastic views
 a skulky Lesser Whitethroat in Hope Gap
 Reed Warbler in Hope Gap - best total of the autumn today with at least 15 birds seen
 Willow Warbler in Hope Gap
Hobby over Hope Gap

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Splash Point 20/8/16

With a strong passage of Balearic Shearwaters in the channel today, it wasn't a surprise I saw a handful late afternoon. All birds appeared very dark in cloudy conditions, and going east they were motoring shearing with the wind. Very little else moving. 

16.30-17.30 Wind SW 6-7
Balearic Shearwater - 4E (3@ 4.42 & 1@ 4.45)

Earlier in Thessaloniki over the terminal were several Pallid Swifts and Yellow-legged Gulls