Monday, 22 May 2017

22nd May, 2017 Beachy Head Overcast cool SE 3-4

Met up with RE and we sea-watched from 06.05-08.05. With a SE breeze we felt there might be the possibility of an interesting late season sea-watch, but other than Common Scoters and Kittiwakes we were somewhat disappointed. We then covered Birling lane and the Old Trapping Area, and Bob covered Belle Tout wood and the Hollow area but again no sign of any late migrants.

Gannet 12 E
Common Scoter 392 E
Whimbrel 1 heard calling
Kittiwake c180 E
Sandwich Tern 4 E

Sunday, 21 May 2017

21st May, 2017 Beachy Head Fine sunny and clear Wind light and variable

We visited the headland today covering Birling lane, Belle Tout wood, Shooters Bottom, Old Trapping Area, Hotel Garden and Icky Ridge. We met up with RE and KG who were both covering the headland. Needless to say other than a few Swallows moving through no sign of any other migrants recorded. Breeding Whitethroat numbers are still on the low side although Corn Buntings numbers have increased this year.

Sparrowhawk 1
Common Buzzard 1
Collard Dove 1 over Birling
Swallow 20
Common Whitethroat 15
Corn Bunting 10+

Wall Butterfly 1
Common Blue 1
Small Copper 1

Male Stonechat of the British race hibermans
for comparison with rubicola race see previous blog
Wall Butterfly

Male Common Blue


Friday, 12 May 2017

12th May, 2017 Beachy Head Overcast cool Variable S 2 to 4

We arrived at Birling for a sea-watch and RAB was already watching and KG was also watching from the beach (05.45-08.30). We sea-watched from 05.45-09.00 and again from 11.35-12.35. We also covered Birling lane, Belle Tout wood and the Old Trapping Area. The sea-watch proved productive with a total of 12 Pomarine Skuas, a Puffin with 4 Guillemots and KG scored with a Roseate Tern at 07.17
Very few migrants seen but a superb male Stonechat which was showing many characters of the continental  rubicola race (see pictures below). Not a full count of the area was made today.

Combined totals:

Red-throated Diver 1 E
Black-throated Diver 2 E
Shag 1 E
Gannet 277 E
Little Egret 3 (1 came in over Birling and departed over the downs)
Grey Heron 2 soaring over Belle Tout calling
Brent Goose 8 E
Shelduck 3 E
Common Scoter 102 E
Velvet Scoter 4 E (133 have so far been recorded off Beachy this year)
Sanderling 5 E
Whimbrel 1 E
Curlew 1 E
Pomarine Skua 12 E (4 @06.14, 2 @06.19, 1@06.42, 1@06.57 & 4 @ 12.15)
Arctic Skua 4 E
Bonxie 1 E
Little Gull 1 1stS E (KG)
Black-headed Gull 10 E
Kittiwake c70E
Sandwich Tern 50 E
Commic Tern 25 E
Roseate Tern 1 E @ 07.17 with the Commics (KG). Went past Dungeness @ 08.00
Guillemot 4 E
Puffin 1 E leading the above Guillemots @ 07.05 (Our first record this century, although 16 records of about 30 individuals during the 1980's and 90's).
Reasonable numbers of Auk sp. but no count made.
Swallow 5 in off the sea
Stonechat 1 male showing characters of the continental race rubicola. Also the first juveniles seen.
Spotted Flycatcher 2 (1 Belle Tout wood and 1 Old Trapping Area)


Adult male Stonechat showing many characters of the
continental race rubicola.
Pure white upper and under tail coverts, extensive white
neck collar, restricted orange breast with a white belly,
very large white wing patches and in flight showed a
large white square rump.




Thursday, 11 May 2017

11th May, 2017 Beachy Head Overcast with sunny periods mild E 3

An early overcast morning, gave us some hope for more migrants and although we covered most of the main sites on the headland the area proved very disappointing with a clear-out from yesterday and no new migrants could be found. Even Whitethroat numbers were down by 50% from the last two days.
With news of a Long-tailed Skua passing Selsey Bill, RKH and RHC sea-watched from 12.00-14.05 but unfortunately no joy with this Skua.

Black-throated Diver 1 E
Little Egret 2
Common Scoter 45 E
Arctic Skua 3 E (2 d/p and 1 l/p)
Little Gull 1 1stW E
Sandwich Tern 6 E
Swallow 8
Common Whitethroat 10
Blackcap 2
Chiffchaff 3
Willow Warbler 1
Raven 3

Red Admiral 3





Ravens at Beachy

Early Purple Orchids

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

10th May, 2017 Beachy Head Clear and sunny Calm at first becoming ENE 4

Another very clear morning although cold with a touch of frost. We covered the usual headland sites but just a few new migrants were seen with the highlight being a fine adult male Black Redstart.

Swift 4 E
Peregrine 1
Red-legged Partridge 1
Swallow 12
Whinchat 1 Birling
Stonechat 8
Black Redstart 1 ad. male Hotel Garden
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Common Whitethroat 20
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 4
Willow Warbler 2
Spotted Flycatcher 2 Birling
Raven 2
Goldfinch 50
Linnet 50
Reed Bunting 1 male Birling (not what you expect to see at Beachy during early May).
Corn Bunting 8

Late news: On the 8th a Serin was seen by RHC in Hodcombe.


This striking Willow Warbler arrived in off the sea during
the early morning. I quickly checked for any wing-bars just
in case. Perhaps a northern race bird??


Two Spotted Flycatchers were present in the small plantation
at Birling keeping to the shadows.



Tuesday, 9 May 2017

9th May, 2017 Beachy Head Clear at first becoming overcast, cool. ENE 3-4

We covered Birling lane, Shooters Bottom, Old Trapping Area, Hotel Garden, and Icky Ridge. Met up with RE, RKH, NP, LP and RK. who were also working the Headland. RK had a Hobby come in over Birling but otherwise the area was pretty quiet.

Sparrowhawk 1
Hobby 1 came in over Birling @ 08.40 (RK)
Red-legged Partridge 1
Swallow 31 chiefly N
House Martin 2 E
Yellow Wagtail 1 over
Common Redstart 1 female Old Trapping Area
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Common Whitethroat 20
Garden Warbler 1
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 2
Willow Warbler 2
Corn Bunting 8

Brimstone 1
Small Tortoiseshell 1
Wall 1
Small Copper 1
Peacock 1

8th May, 2017
RE, LP, NP and KG visited a number of sites and recorded the following:

Common Buzzard 3 including one in very heavy moult
Short-eared Owl 1 over the Hollow (LP)
Swift 3
House Martin 40 in the Hollow
Black Redstart 1pair at Birling
Common Redstart 1 female Old Trapping Area
Wheatear 1
Reed Warbler 2
Willow Warbler 20
Spotted Flycatcher 4 (3 B/T wood and 1 Old Trapping Area)


Sunday, 7 May 2017

7th May, 2017 Ditchling Common

We managed to visit Ditchling Common early morning and enjoyed listening to 2 Nightingales singing, although both were seen they both kept up in the foliage.

Nightingale on Ditchling Common

Some late news from Beachy Head recorded by LP:

26th April 2 Wood Warblers  (1 in Belle Tout wood and the 2nd in the Old Trapping Area)

3rd May Siberian Chiffchaff briefly in the Old Trapping Area, also Turtle Dove, Common Redstart. Ring Ouzel and Nightingale at Belle Tout.

4th May Black Redstart in the Hotel Garden

7th May 2 Garden Warblers and 4 Willow Warblers