Sunday, 8 January 2012

Beachy Head 2011 Summary No.15

2011: Pairs present in Belle Tout wood, Whitbread Hollow and possibly in the Holywell area. One was found dead on the road near Belle Tout wood on the 25/7, although 2 were seen again in the wood in October. Per B.H.Log.
(Pairs have always bred in Whitbread Hollow since regular watching commenced in 1960, and a pair has been present in Belle Tout Wood since at least 2002. It was therefore depressing when I found a dead adult on the road, and therefore it was encouraging to again see 2 birds in the wood in October, although the destruction of the ivy on the trees which the owls used to roost in may still be bad news).

2011: Spring: 1 in off the sea on the 5/5. Autumn: Recorded on 8 dates from 15/9 to 13/11 probably involved 6 different birds with 2 on the 16/10 & 29/10. A dark breasted individual was present in the rough field opposite Belle Tout wood from 29/10 to 13/11. Per B.H.Log.
(A good year although we have had a number of better years in the past. In 1982 we found 11 roosting in Shooters Bottom on the 9/10 with 6 still roosting on the 10/10).

2011: Sadly no Little Owls recorded.  Per B.H.Log.
(In the 1960's there were probably a minimum of 3 pairs regularly breeding in the whole area, and in 1972 pairs were found on the cliffs below Whitbread Hollow, a pair in the barn at Bullock Down Farm, a pair in the Cattle Field area, a pair at Long Down, and a pair possibly bred in Hodcombe. Hopefully, some of these areas are very rarely visited now, and therefore an odd pair may still be present).

2011: First recorded 10/4 with 1 over Hodcombe, and last date was on the 10/9 (2). The only movement logged was 40 E on the 1/8. Per B.H.Log.
(The 10/4 is our earliest arrival date, previously was on the 12/4/98, otherwise a poor year for numbers).

2011: R.H.C. had 2 over Hodcombe on 7/6. Per B.H.Log.
(This now brings our total to 37 since regular watching began in 1960, our first was also over Hodcombe on the 5/6/69 and our largest party was of 6 which came in calling off the sea and landed briefly in Whitbread Hollow on the 28/5/89,  before departing NE and were later seen flying over East Kent).