GREATER BLACK BACK GULL
2011: 22/1 100 on the beach at Birling, 15/4 50 in the fields, 22/9 50 chiefly adults,
8/10 200 (160 chiefly adults loafing in the fields & 40 W along the cliffs). 24/10 60 E chiefly adults. Per B.H.Log.
(No real large numbers recorded this year, although in past years some large numbers have been recorded ie in 2000 600 chiefly adults were loafing in the Top Fields on the 8/10).
2011: 27/2 1,000 + drifted W including many 1st W’s., 2/7 250 in field, 10/7 150 in field including the first juvenile of the year. 24/7 45 juvenile plumage birds, but no adults, moved W during the early morning. Per B.H.Log.
(Always interesting to record the first juveniles of the year as juvenile Yellow Legged Gulls can occur from early July in the UK, before our juveniles birds are flying and this helps to pick them out).
YELLOW LEGGED GULL
2011: We made a concentrated effort to identify the juvenile birds and a total of 14 birds were identified on 10 dates. Most birds were seen in the rough field with Herring Gulls opposite Belle Tout wood. Although difficult to be certain, most of these birds were considered to be probably different birds:
9 July 4 juv’s in rough field DC
13 July 1 Juv with Herring Gulls in rough field JFC & DRC
23 July 1 Juv flew S out to sea and lost to sight still going out. DC& JFC.
24 July 1 Juv in rough field
31 July 1 Juv/1stW in rough field DC, JFC, RJF, JK.
6 Aug 1 juv in rough field. DC,JFC, JK.
12 Aug 1 juv in rough field JFC
13 Aug 1 juv in field by Sewage Farm. DC & JFC
1 Sep 1 Juv E off Birling JFC, RDME & MK.
6 Nov 1 1stW in rough field. DC, JFC, PN, JK. Per B.H.Log.
(This now bring our totals to 17, with only 3 prior to this years sightings. with the first for Beachy being recorded in Aug 2007).
2011: Jan. Feb.& Mar.: 400 were present in the Top Fields from the 1/1 – 4/1. On the 19/1 & 22/1 800+ were on the sea off Birling. 400 were again present in the Top Fields on the 27/1 & 29/1. 600 in the Birling area on the 6/2 with 400 on the 9/2 & 300 on the 14/2 & 500 in the area on the 20/2, with 600 again in the Birling area on the 27/2. Numbers then generally fell away with 250 in the Birling area on the 13/3, but by the 29/3 only 30 were seen, with just 40 in the Birling area on the 6/4.
On the 2/7 an immature was present, and the largest number logged during the latter part of the year was 40 in the Birling area on the 8/11 & 200 on the 10/12. Per B.H.Log
( No count was made off Whitbread Hollow/Holywell during the early part of the year, which is also another site which holds good numers during the early Spring)
2011: Winter: 3/1 1 ad in fields, 9/2 2 in the Birling area, 24/2 1 ad in summer plumage E, 27/2 1 in the Birling area.
Spring sea-watches: Recorded on 18 dates from 7/3 to 29/5.
A total of 81 birds recorded mostly moving E. Daily Maximum 7/4 26 E.
Summer: Recorded on 8 dates during June & July with a total of 24 birds were seen, with 12 E on the on the 18/6 on most of the other dates birds were seen moving West.
Autumn: Recorded on 5 dates from the 6/8 to 11/10 when a total of 9 birds were recorded. In Dec. 2 (1E & 1W) on the 28/12. Per B.H.Log
(Our first record for Beachy occurred in 1965, and it was then logged in very small numbers almost annually until this Century when numbers increased markedly which coincided with breeding expansion in Sussex and Southern England. Numbers would appear still to be on the increase with this current year being our best to date).
2011: Spring Sea-watches: Recorded on 9 dates from 2/4 (11 E) and 4/5 (3E). In total 407 birds moved E with daily maximum of 249 E on the 19/4 of which 239 were seen during an evening sea-watch.
Autumn: On the 29/10, 8 flew over the field opposite Belle Tout wood and then out to sea over Birling. Per B.H.Log
(Another excellent Spring, although not quite a record Spring which was in 2007, when 517 birds were logged moving East with 400 being logged in 8.75 hrs watching on the 21/4. The Autumn record was of interest being seen flying over the fields and not out to sea, and although Autumn records are far scarcer than Spring records, in 1972 good numbers were recorded on several dates when around 200 were logged from mid-Sept, to early Oct).
BLACK HEADED GULL
2011: Jan-Feb: Upto 70 recorded on 7 dates, with 200 off Birling on the 27/2. Spring sea-watches: On the 14/3 120+ were seen in the Birling area and E. movement logged on 8 dates during March & April with a daily maximum of c200 E on the 17/4.
On the 10/8 80 were feeding in the surf off Birling & on 8/11 70 were in the Birling area. Per B.H.Log
2011: Spring sea-watch: With a breeding colony situated at Seaford Head, with around 800 pairs, this species is often seen during our sea-watches. A good E movement was recorded on the 2/4 when an estimated 800 were seen, with 200 E on the 9/4.
On the 7/8 approx. 100 juveniles were feeding of Birling, and on the 23/10 100 moved E. On the 28/12 22 E. Per B.H.Log.
2011: On the 12/9 a juvenile was seen feeding close in with Black Headed Gulls in the surf off Birling Gap for around 45 minutes,before departing E. (R.H. & M.E Charlwood) Our first Beachy Head Record. Per B.H.Log
(An excellent addition to the Beachy list although perhaps not before time. This individual occurred at the same time as a bird was present in the Newhaven area and odd juveniles were reported from nearby Seaford Head and all these records may relate to the same individual).