Saturday, 9 September 2017

9th September, 2017 Beachy Head Fine sunny morning SW 1 increasing to 2-3

We covered Birling lane, Shooters Bottom, Old Trapping Area, Hotel Garden and Icky Ridge and we met up with RK and RB.

With the lack of any recent easterly winds, it wasn't to surprising that only small numbers of the common night migrants were seen today. Very surprising was the virtual lack of any hirundines or meadow pipits moving through the area.

RE was ringing in Whitbread Hollow and recorded very large numbers of Blackcaps with an estimated 750 and trapped 3 Grasshopper Warblers

Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1
Swallow 40
Robin 12
Whinchat 5
Stonechat 8
Wheatear 2
Grasshopper Warbler 3 trapped
Reed Warbler 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Common Whitethroat 35
Blackcap 3 on the headland and 750+ in Whitbread Hollow
Chiffchaff 16
Willow Warbler 3
Goldcrest 1
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Raven 1
Corn Bunting 5

Painted Lady 1
Small Copper 3

 Goldcrest at Birling

Still the odd Willow Warblers are being seen.

Small numbers of Chiffchaffs present in the Old Trapping Area.

Whinchats - Five were present today.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

7th September, 2017 Beachy Head Overcast mild SW 1

We covered Birling lane, Shooters Bottom, Old Trapping Area, Hotel Garden, Icky Ridge and Belle Tout wood. Met up with RKH at Shooters Bottom.

Generally low numbers of night migrants although from 08.15-08.45 an influx of migrants appeared in Shooters Bottom but after 30 minutes the majority had moved through. Very little in the way of diurnal migration with just the odd Yellow Wagtails and Meadow Pipits moving over.

RE was ringing in Whitbread Hollow and recorded good numbers of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and also 2 Grasshopper Warblers.

Little Egret 2 on Birling beach
Kestrel 1
Merlin 1 near Hodcombe (RHC)
Swallow 30
Tree Pipit 2 Shooters Bottom
Meadow Pipit 20
Yellow Wagtail 7 overhead
Robin 10
Common Redstart 1 male
Stonechat 8
Sedge Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Common Whitethroat 37
Blackcap 7
Chiffchaff 18
Willow Warbler 1
Starling 120
Corn Bunting 2

Sedge Warbler in Shooters Bottom

Tree Pipit in Shooters Bottom

Some of today's Chiffchaffs

Sunday, 3 September 2017

3rd September, 2017 Cuckmere

We were birding with RE on Beachy Head when Doreen received a telephone message from Andrew Whitcomb that he had just found a juvenile Baird's Sandpiper in the Cuckmere. Needless to say we wasted no time driving the few miles to the Cuckmere where we joined Kris Gillam and the juvenile
Baird's was showing on the opposite bank on the first Meander. It was showing well  with excellent telescope views.

This is just the 8th record for Sussex and the first for this century with the last being in 1996 at Sidlesham Ferry Pool. 

A superb find by Andrew and many thanks for the telephone message.






Juvenile Baird's Sandpiper in the Cuckmere

Saturday, 2 September 2017

2nd September, 2017 Beachy Head Fine and sunny cool at first becoming warm NW2-3

We had a dipping day today missing both the Melodious Warbler and 2 White Storks.
We covered Birling lane, Shooters Bottom, the Old Trapping Area and Hotel Garden, meeting up with RK, LP, RAB and SL. Spent some time searching for the Melodious Warbler and we must have missed it by just 5 minutes.

Small arrival of night migrants and diurnal migration was mainly hirundines some feeding over the top fields and others moving SE. Two White Storks appeared high over the Hollow and after several minutes disappeared going North, but annoyingly were not seen by ourselves or other birders looking for the Melodious Warbler on the headland.

Gannet c50 feeding offshore
Little Egret 3 off Birling
White Stork  2 high over Whitbread Hollow drifted off N at 10.20 (RDME, and SOS members), just 2 previous records for Beachy the last in 1986.
Canada Goose 7 over Birling heading towards the sea.
Sparrowhawk 2
Common Buzzard 5 over top fields
Kestrel 2
Hobby 1 over Shooters Bottom (LP)
Swift 1
Sand Martin 20 SE
Swallow c400 feeding over the top fields
House Martin c100 SE
Tree Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 25 (10 overhead)
Grey Wagtail 2W
Common Redstart 4
Whinchat 3
Wheatear 22
Melodious Warbler 1 briefly Hotel Garden photo (RAB) Our 2nd this year and our 37th since 1960.
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Common Whitethroat 35 Headland
Chiffchaff 17
Willow Warbler 10
Goldcrest 1
Spotted Flycatcher 2
Raven 1

RE trapped 5 Grasshopper Warblers on the 1st and 3 today (one of which was a re-trap).

Spotted Flycatcher in the Old Trapping Area

Party of Canada Geese heading towards the sea

Thursday, 31 August 2017

31st August, 2017 Beachy Head Sunny periods cool at first becoming warm NW 1 vearing SW 2-3

We met up with Tony Quinn at Birling and we covered together Birling lane, Shooters Bottom, Old Trapping area and nearby areas. RB was also birding on the headland and LP covered Hotel Garden to Shooters Bottom. RE was again ringing in Whitbread Hollow.

A reasonable fall of night migrants and RE reported good numbers of Blackcaps in the Hollow. Early morning light passage of mainly House Martins but this soon petered out.

Owing to the side effects of my cancer treatment when I  become very tired during the afternoons and the time taken to collate all the day's records from several observers for the Beachy log and my blog, regrettably I feel I must now make some changes. I will continue to record my own totals of numbers etc. in the log and the blog, but will only keep a note of the scarcer migrants which are recorded by other observers and not seen by myself, in order to maintain these scarcer species for the Beachy Head area. I have maintained the Beachy log for over 50 years and I still have the very first log for 1960 when regular watching commenced. Over 50 years of maintaining the log, perhaps it is time I retired anyway. Many thanks to all the present and past birders who have contributed during this period and especially Bob Edgar for all his records from Whitbread Hollow since 1980 when I gave up ringing. This may now give me time to analyse some of these past records.

Gannet c50 feeding off Birling
Little Egret 2 off Birling
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 2
Peregrine 1
Short-eared Owl 1
Tawny Owl 1
Green Woodpecker 1
Great-spotted Woodpecker 1
Swallow 50
House Martin 100
Yellow Wagtail 15
Robin 10
Common Redstart 9
Whinchat 10
Wheatear 9
Song Thrush 1
Grasshopper Warbler 6 (4 Headland and 2 Hollow)
Sedge Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 12 Hollow
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Garden Warbler 2
Blackcap 260 (10 Headland & 250 Hollow)
Willow Warbler 27 (15 Headland & 12 Hollow)
Goldcrest 1
Spotted Flycatcher 9
Tree Creeper 1 Whitbread Hollow
Jay 1
Raven 3
Corn Bunting 5

Hummingbird Hawk Moth 1 Hollow

On our way home 1 Cattle Egret was showing in with the cattle north of the reed-bed at Litlington.

9 Spotted Flycatchers were seen today.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

29th August, 2017 Beachy Head Hot and humid calm

A very hot humid day from the start. We covered Shooters Bottom, Old Trapping Area, Hotel Garden, Icky Ridge, Belle Tout wood and scrub, Cornish farm track Met up with RKH, RK and RB. LP was birding from Hotel Garden to Shooters Bottom.

Considering we have had this hot sunny weather for several days, it is usual for the area to become quiet and although there were a scattering of new migrants, the area was mainly quiet with little diurnal migration seen.

Combined totals

Sparrowhawk 1
Common Buzzard 2
Merlin 1 near the Hotel Garden
Kestrel 1 adult male
Swift 4
Swallow 200 E
Tree Pipit 2
Yellow Wagtail 3 overhead with others heard calling
Grey Wagtail 1
Alba Wagtail 4 overhead
Robin 10
Common Redstart 5
Whinchat 10
Wheatear 6
Sedge Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 3
Lesser Whitethroat 4
Common Whitethroat 40
Blackcap 12
Chiffchaff 4
Willow Warbler 22
Goldcrest 1
Spotted Flycatcher 2
Yellow Hammer 1 male Cornish Farm track

Harbour Porpoise 4
Good numbers of Butterflies on the wing with a female Adonis Blue and at least 1 Chalk Hill Blue.

 Whinchat at least 10 were seen today.

Reed Warbler in Shooters Bottom


 2 Spotted Flycatchers in the Old Trapping Area

Male Kestrel at Belle Tout

Sunday, 27 August 2017

27th August, 2017 Beachy Head Sunny and hot with a light and variable breeze.

We covered Birling lane, Belle Tout wood and scrub, Cornish Farm track and around Cornish Farm,
Hotel Garden and Icky Ridge. RE was again ringing in Whitbread Hollow and LP was covering some of the sites on the Eastern side of the Headland. ASC, GG, AR with others were also birding the Headland and had covered the Old Trapping Area and Shooters Bottom and informed me of their sightings. LP visited the headland again during the evening and covered several sites including Shooters Bottom.

Both the Hollow and the Headland were quiet of night migrants with the highlight being two Pied Flycatchers in the Hotel Garden. Hirundines were again moving E. Spent some time trying to photograph the Pied Flys. and therefore didn't carry out a full count of the migrants present, although other birders gave some indication of numbers present.

Little Egret 1 off Birling
Sparrowhawk 3
Common Buzzard 6-7 over the top fields
Tawny Owl 1 Hollow
Short-eared Owl 1 flushed Shooters Bottom during the evening visit.
Ringed Plover 1 heard over the headland
Golden Plover 1 over the headland
Dunlin 3 over the headland
Green Woodpecker 1
Swift 20
Swallow 1500+ mainly E
House Martin 150 mainly E
Sand Martin 150 mainly E
Tree Pipit 15
Yellow Wagtail 30
Common Redstart 14
Whinchat 20 early morning but quickly departed inland and none could be found later. (ASC)
Wheatear 6
Grasshopper Warbler 2 Hollow
Reed Warbler 11
Lesser Whitethroat 7
Common Whitethroat 40
Garden Warbler 3
Blackcap 70 Hollow
Chiffchaff 3
Willow Warbler 55 (15 Hollow and 40 Headland)
Goldcrest 2
Pied Flycatcher 2 Hotel Garden
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Raven 1
Bullfinch 2


Some more early morning Yellow Wagtails at Birling.


Two Pied Flycatchers in the Hotel Gardens

Bank Holiday Sunday and car park at Birling packed out with emergency vehicles including 3 fire engines and with the RNLI lifeboat just offshore and a zodiac cruising around. Another incident at Beachy.

Birling Gap car park early morning.