Saturday, 9 March 2013

9th March 2013 Beachy WNW1 Foggy

We were greeted by a striking male Stonechat but also thick fog at Birling so no early morning seawatching was possible. A walk up the lane at Birling produced a few grounded Thrushes and a Reed Bunting quickly followed by some mixed flocks of Blue and Great Tits departing high into the fog and the first two Chiffchaffs of the Spring. Walking the Belle Tout loop proved less productive although there was a steady trickle of incoming alba Wagatils and Meadow Pipits. Cornish Farm hosted small parties of Redwing and Corn Bunting and another Chiffchaff. The fog lifted at 11am allowing time for a brief seawatch from 11.25am to 11.55am but little was seen moving although a couple of vocal adult Mediterranean Gulls were found amongst a flock of Black-headed Gulls.

Red-throated Diver 6E, 18W
Brent c.10E
Red-breasted Merganser 5E
Scoter 4E
Peregrine 1
Kestrel 1-2
Mediterannean Gull 2 adults on sea with c.80 Black-headed Gulls
Stonechat 3
Robin 6
Blackbird 6
Song Thrush 4
Redwing 6
Fieldfare 2
Meadow Pipit 68N
Rock Pipit 2
Alba Wagtail 30N handful identified were all Pied
Chiffchaff 4
Starling 50
Corn Bunting 5
Reed Bunting 1
Chaffinch 6
Goldfinch 50
Linnet 7
Raven 1
Male Stonechat at Birling
A striking individual showing an extensive white belly extending to the centre of its lower breast, white flanks and large flared white neck patches all of which are considered characters of Continental Stonechat S.t. rubicola (Walker 2001). More here:

Male Chaffinch at Birling

Song Thrush at Birling
A real pea-souper greeted us at Beachy today but was presumably responsible for grounding some Thrushes

Same image as above after editing - amazing what can be salvaged in digital photography!

Fieldfare at Birling

Blue Tit and Great Tit at Birling
Three small mixed parties of Blue and Great Tits seen early in the foggy conditions today incuding this flock that departed high into the sky being lost to view into the fog.

Chiffchaff at Birling
Being the first, a welcome sight in the fog.

Redwings over Cornish Farm
As summer visitors start to arrive, winter visitors are departing.

Female Kestrel at Birling

Mediterranean Gull amongst Black-headed Gulls off Birling

Adult summer Mediterranean Gull off Birling
Two amongst c.80 Black-headed Gulls were constantly vocalising having previously been heard in the thick fog when it was impossible to see the sea from the top of the cliff!

Moulting Rock Pipit still present at Birling