Friday, 20 March 2020

19th March, 2020 Beachy Head

On the drive over to Beachy Head we had some excellent views of a Barn Owl hunting close to the A26 at Tarring Neville, near Newhaven.

We sea-watched from 06.20-07.20  with sea-mist rolling in and virtually no movement recorded, we joined RE and checked Birling lane, and B/T wood. RE also checked Cornish farm track. RAB covered most of the sites on the Headland and RB covered some of these sites with him.
Although the area at first was quiet with just the odd migrants seen, a late arrival of Chiffchaffs was noted, and 40 Meadow Pipits arrived in off the sea. Also a male Dartford Warbler and Black Redstart were also seen.

Fulmar 7
Common Scoter 2 E
Sparrow Hawk 1 Cliff Path
Kestrel 1
Peregrine 2
Kittiwake 1 E
Tawny Owl 2
Meadow Pipit 50 (40 arrived in off the sea).
Rock Pipit 1 Birling
Black Redstart 1 female type Birling
Stonechat 12+ Headland
Wheatear 2 near B/T lighthouse
Dartford Warbler 1 male
Chiffchaff 30 (most arrived during the day)
Goldcrest 5 Headland
Firecrest 2 (1 B/T wood, 1 Cliff Path)
Raven 3
House Sparrow Flock of 15 Birling
Corn Bunting 9

On the 18th March, the large set-aside field was ploughed which attracted a large flock of gulls and LP found a 2yr Iceland Gull, but unfortunately it only spent a few minutes before departing, although some good photos were obtained. This is now our 14th record since 1960.
Also a single White Wagtail was seen in the field.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

17th March, 2020 Beachy Head Clear but cold WSW 4-5

We were joined by RAB and we sea-watched from 06.30-08.30. RAB then covered B/T wood, Shooters Bottom, Icky Ridge and the Cliff Path. RE covered Birling lane and the B/T wood area, and Whitbread Hollow LP also covered sites on the Headland.

No real sign of an arrival of night migrants although several new Firecrests were found and the sea-watch was generally quiet with small numbers of Kittiwakes and Brent Geese were moving E.
Combined totals:

Red-throated Diver 1 E
Great-crested Grebe 2 E
Gannet 1 E
Cormorant 4 W
Brent Goose 171 E
Common Scoter 5 E
Common Buzzard 1
Kestrel 2 (Birling and the Cliff Path)
Mediterranean Gull 1 E
Black-headed Gull 8 E
Common Gull 40 E
Kittiwake 120 E
Green Woodpecker 1
Meadow Pipit 4
Pied Wagtail 1 pair (probably the regular breeding pair at Birling).
Stonechat 13 (including a pair in Whitbread Hollow)
Chiffchaff 5
Goldcrest 4
Firecrest  7 (1 Birling, 3 B/T wood, 2 Icky Ridge, 1 Cliff Path)
Raven 2

Comma Butterfly 1

Brent Geese moving past Beachy Head this morning.


Due to my health problems during the last 10 years and the recent coronavirus, Doreen and myself now fall into the category of having to go into a period of 12 weeks isolation starting from this week-end, and therefore my blog will not be maintained as previously.  

Monday, 16 March 2020

16th March, 2020 Sunny and warm N1-2

What a beautiful Spring day. We only did a brief sea-watch from 07.15-07.45, but very quiet. We then covered B/T wood, Shooters Bottom, Old Trapping Area, Radio mast bushes. We then heard from LP who had just received a telephone message that 2 Common Cranes were heading W from Bexhill area and after some time, LP picked them out very high in the sky and after 10 minutes they headed off NW. RE covered Birling lane, Birling to Belle Tout loop, Cornish Farm track and part of Shooters Bottom, and LP covered Michel Dean area.

Nice arrival of Chiffchaffs, although the majority quickly moved inland along Birling lane, also our first Wheatears and Black Redstart for the year and at least 7 Firecrests.
Combined totals:

Common Crane 2 flew from Bexhill/Hastings area and soared above the eastern section of Beachy Head for 15 minutes before departing high NW @ 10.40 (LP, JFC, DRC). Our 5th record.

Shelduck 2 E
Sparrow Hawk 1 Headland
Common Buzzard 7 Headland
Kestrel 1 female,
Green Woodpecker 2
Meadow Pipit 7
Rock Pipit 1 Birling
Pied Wagtail 6
Dunnock c30 in Shooters Bottom (all were in pairs)
Black Redstart 1 female type B/T area (RE)
Stonechat 16 chiefly in pairs
Wheatear 3 (1 Birling, 2 Michel Dean)
Blackbird 10 Shooters Bottom chiefly males
Redwing 2
Song Thrush 2
Chiffchaff 90+ (70+ heading up Birling lane and then inland during early morning)
Goldcrest 3
Firecrest 7 (2 B/T wood, 1 Radio mast bushes, 4 Michel Dean area).
Long-tailed Tit 1
Raven 6 (3 pairs)
Goldfinch 2
Linnet 1
Corn Bunting 18 (7 holding territories and flock of 11)

On the drive home we saw 2 Brimstone Butterflies.



Male Wheatear at Birling



Some of today's Chiffchaffs



Firecrest in Belle Tout wood


Common Cranes passing over Beachy Head.





Sunday, 15 March 2020

14th & 15th March, 2020 Beachy Head. Overcast with early drizzle Clear but cold wind SW 5-6

14th March, 2020. Overcast with intermittent rain with sea mist from 11.30. SSE to SSW 4.

RAB sea-watched from 09.00-10.30 and then covered Shooters Bottom, Old Trapping Area, Icky Ridge, Hotel Garden and Radio mast bushes. AR had a brief visit to the Headland and visited sites around the Hotel Garden and also Shooters Bottom and the valley opposite. LP did a short sea-watch and covered sites around the Old Trapping Area.
Small arrival of Chiffchaffs, with 4 Firecrests.

Red-throated Diver 16 E
Black-throated Diver 1 E @ 10.20 with Red-throated Divers. (RAB)
Great-crested Grebe 1 E
Brent Geese 316 E
Shelduck 5 E
Peregrine 2
Curlew 1 E
Blackcap 1 Old Trapping Area
Chiffchaff 10 Headland
Goldcrest 3 Headland
Firecrest 4 Hotel Garden area
Raven 2


15th March, 2020. Early drizzle, Overcast cold and clear. SW 5-6.
We sea-watched from 06.30-10.45. with the highlight being a party of 7 Garganey.

Red-throated Diver 21 E
Black-throated Diver 1E (adult in s/p close in superb summer plumage JFC).
Fulmar 6
Gannet 3 E
Brent Goose 2,716 E (Our 2nd largest day movement, with the largest was on the 13/3/2006 when 4,100 moved E).
Shelduck 2 E
Teal 3 E
Garganey 7 E @ 07.58 with a party of Brent Geese (JFC, DRC) (Joins our earliest date which was on the 15/3 2008 when 9 moved E).
Eider 5 E (3 drakes, 2 ducks)
Common Scoter 16 E
Red-breasted Merganser 2 E
Curlew 4 E
Common Gull c20 E
Herring Gull c600 E along the cliffs and were chiefly immatures.
Black-headed Gull 17 E
Mediterranean Gull 3 E
Kittiwake 5 E
Raven 1



Friday, 13 March 2020

13th March, 2020 Beachy Head Overcast cool and clear. W 4-5

We sea-watched from 06.55 to 07.40 but this proved to be yet another waste of time with just a single Common Scoter. We then covered Belle Tout wood with RE who already had covered Birling lane, a single Firecrest was seen at B/T also a party of tits which included at least 4 Long tailed Tits. After all this excitement, we headed for home.

On the 9th March, LP  visited Belle Tout area and had 3 Firecrests, with 2 Firecrests on the 12/3  on the 9/3 6 Long-tailed Tits and 10 Stonechats with 1 showing characters of a rubicolar type. 11th March he carried out a short sea-watch with 64 Brent Geese E.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

7th March, 2020 Beachy Head Light overcast clear cool W-SW 3-4

We sea-watched from 06.55-08.00 but again virtually no movement recorded. Has to be one of the poorest start to the Spring sea-watches which I can recall. We then covered Belle Tout wood, the Old Trapping Area and Shooters Bottom. RE covered Birling lane, Birling to Belle Tout loop, Cornish Farm track and Whitbread Hollow and LP covered the Michael Dean area.

Generally, the area was very quiet with a small increase in Stonechat numbers and a party of c25 Corn Buntings near the Birling Water treatment works.

Red-throated Diver 1 E
Fulmar 8
Gannet 6
Common Scoter 1 E
Green Woodpecker 4 (2 Headland, 2 Hollow)
Meadow Pipit 2
Pied Wagtail 2 Birling
Stonechat 8
Song Thrush 1
Chiffchaff 1 Michael Dean
Goldcrest 1
Raven 4+ Birling area
Goldfinch 4
Corn Bunting c25 near Birling water treatment works

On the 6th March, a Firecrest was present in the scrub near Belle Tout wood.

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

3rd March, 2020 Beachy Head Part cloudy, clear, cold W 3-4

We sea-watched from 07.00-08.00 but very little seen, we then covered Birling lane, Belle Tout wood and the Old Trapping Area but other than a few Blue Tits the sites were almost birdless

Red-throated Diver 1 E
Common Scoter 2 E
Peregrine 1 pair mobbing a Raven over Birling
Curlew 2 E
Mediterranean Gull 1 E
Common Gull 25 W
Green Woodpecker 1 B/T wood
Meadow Pipit 1 flew over the road
Pied Wagtail 1 Birling
Stonechat 3
Blue Tit 8 on the Headland
Raven 3 including 1 sat in B/T wood (Can't record ever seen a Raven sat in B/T wood).
Goldfinch 8 Old Trapping Area

On the 18/2 2 Red Kites near Hodcombe departed W
29/2 3 Chiffchaffs in Hodcombe, with 4 in B/T wood on the 1/3 and 1 in B/T wood on the 2/3.
2/3 3 Common Buzzards high over the Headland.

Raven sat in Belle Tout wood