Thursday, 31 December 2009

Beachy Head 27th December, 2009.

Brief visit with DC & Doreen and walked the lane at Birling, looked at Belle Toute wood and then walked the pathway to under the old lighthouse before driving over the Headland. My first visit for sometime owing to being diagnosed with a form of blood cancer and not the best way to end my 50th anniversary of watching at Beachy Head. (First visit made with Tony & Barry in early March 1960, and I still have my bird log of this visit).

Needless to say not to many birds present and very few passerines seen. A Fulmar was present off Birling, the grey phased Tawny Owl was showing fairly well in its usual roosting tree in Belle Toute wood, and a pair of Stonechats were on the eastern side of the wood. On our short walk we did see 4 Song Thrushes which was an encouraging sign for this species which has gone through a drastic decline in numbers over the last 50 years at Beachy.

Well to all my many friends ( including some sadly no longer with us including a very good friend Brian Whitby), which I have enjoyed birding with over the last 50 years at Beachy I hope to see you from time to time during 2010, although with 6 months of cancer treatment ahead of me, I will have to take it a day at a time.


Friday, 30 October 2009

Beachy Head 30th October, 2009

Record shot of a Sparrow Hawk soaring over Whitbred Hollow.

Drove to Whitbred Hollow and arrived at 7.00 am to an overcast but mild misty morning with a light SE wind. Walked directly down to the Gully and beach below Cow Gap and then made my way up into the Hollow and re-located the abietinus type Chiffchaff feeding in the Sallow bush leading to the mist-net run, with 3 Chiffchaffs. RDME had ringed it yesterday. Interesting plumage appeared overall pale compared with the other Chiffs with pale creamy underparts. Returned to the Headland and did the majority of the sites and met up with RDME & GG at Belle Toute wood. No sign of yesterdays Yellow Browed Warbler.
Migrants seen: 7 Chiffchaffs, 14 Redwings W over the Hollow, 1 Fieldfare near Belle Toute wood, 400 Woodpigeons west, and the Water Rail was calling in the Hollow.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Black Redstart in the Old Trapping Area taken earlier this month.

28th October, 2009. Beachy Head
Arrived just before 7.00 am with Doreen to a beautiful calm warm morning. As we arrived at Birling, the car park was virtually full due to the arrival overnight of a film crew filming Brighton Rock. We worked all the usual sites on the Headland including the Cliff Path & RDME was ringing in the Hollow. Generally the area was very quiet, with very little moving over but the weather made up for this. Birds seen included a Brambling & 2 Redpolls in the wood, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 7 Stock Doves West and a single Dartford Warbler in the gorse above Belle Toute wood. RDME had a very successful morning catching Redpolls with 65 ringed.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Brent Goose in field opposite Belle Toute wood.

Adult Peregrine over the Hotel Garden.

Kestrel hovering over the Hotel Garden.

Kestrel in Cow Gap.

Fox at Birling.

Chiffchaff in the Hotel Garden.

October, 2009
Since returning from the Shetlands in early October, I have only visited Beachy Head on about 6 days during the month. Other than several Firecrests & Ring Ouzels little of note have been seen, although 2 Yellow Browed's have been seen with 1 at Birling found by Matt Eade, and the second trapped by RDME in the Hollow.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Beachy Head, 30th August, 2009.

Belle Toute Lighthouse with storm clouds.

View looking from Shooters Bottom to Hodcombe.

Two images of a Migrant Hawker in Shooters Bottom on the 29th taken by Roger Haggar.

Whinchat at Birling.

Arrived with DC at 06.25 to a fine calm morning, although the weather soon deteriorated as the morning progressed. After walking up the lane at Birling, we soon realised that far fewer migrants were present today. Met up with JK, RJF & MC and moved onto Shooters Bottom and the other areas on the Headland. The weather was now looking very unsettled and with a strong W. breeze. Still low numbers of birds seen and after meeting up with various other birders we decided to call it a day. RDME had a very busy morning ringing in the Hollow with 251 ringed of which 169 were Blackcaps which seems early for such a good catch although the elderberry crop in the Hollow is now ripening that much earlier these days. Bob also ringed 10 Reed Warblers, 1 Sedge & 1 Grasshopper Warblers, 20 Common & 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Garden Warblers, 10 Chiffchaffs & 14 Willow Warblers.
This will be my last blog as I am off to Shetlands for a month.
Migrants seen:

Hobby 1
Swift 2
Sand Martin 20
Swallow 30
Tree Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 10
Whinchat 1
Wheatear 4
Reed Warbler 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Common Whitethroat 10
Blackcap 4
Willow Warbler 18
Spotted Flycatcher 1

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Beachy Head, 29th August, 2009

Looking East from above Belle Toute wood.

Wheatear above Belle Toute wood taken by David Cooper.

Reed Warbler in the Hotel Garden taken by David Cooper.

Three images of the Pied Flycatcher in the Old Trapping Area.

Three images of Sedge Warblers.

Common Whitethroat in the Old Trapping Area.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker at Birling.

Arrived with DC at Birling at 06.25 hrs and were joined by RDME & JK. Weather was fine and clear, but cool and almost calm which was a relief after the strong winds of the last few days. Good numbers of very active Willow Warblers were seen up the lane and 2 small parties of Collared Doves flew west over Birling. After doing Birling we drove towards Shooters Bottom to find large numbers of Wheatears present on the fences and in the fields. Shooters Bottom was quiet but a single Pied Flycatcher in the Old Trapping Area and 2 in the Hotel Garden performed well for us and our cameras. Met up with various birders at the Old Trapping Area. RHC commented that he had also seen good numbers of Wheatears on his walk along the cliff edge and Liz had seen around 50 on her cycle ride around Cornish Farm. Cow Gap area produced 2 Grasshopper Warblers and another 2 Redstarts and a Common Buzzard with very large pale tail coverts was present over the top fields. We walked above Belle Toute wood and saw another 50 Wheatears here, and RDME had seen earlier 10 Whinchats in this area as well. Migrants seen as follows:

Common Buzzard 1
Collared Dove 7 W
Swift 2
Greater Spotted Woodpecker 2
Sand Martin 7
Swallow 20
Tree Pipit 4
Yellow Wagtail 8
Grey Wagtail 2
Common Redstart 3
Whinchat 11
Wheatear 120 + 40+ seen by RHC & EHC.
Grasshopper Warbler 2 Cow Gap
Sedge Warbler 8
Reed Warbler 1-2
Lesser Whitethroat 4
Common Whitethroat 25
Willow Warbler 50
Pied Flycatcher 3

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Beachy Head 25th August, 2009

Arrived at 06.15 hrs to part overcast, cool morning with a strong Westerly breeze force 3-4.
Very little seen up the lane at Birling and met up with RDME. Odd migrants seen around the whitehouse area. Shooters Bottom pretty quiet with odd Sedge & Reed Warblers and a scattering of Whitethroats.Met up with RHC who had seen yesterday a Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard and a Firecrest in Hodcombe, PN also joined us. Moved onto the Old Trapping Area where RKH was already there,more birders than birds today. After looking at Belle Toute wood, I decided to call it a day. Migrants seen:

Wheatear 4
Sedge Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Common Whitethroat 25
Willow Warbler 2

Monday, 24 August 2009

Beachy Head 24th August, 2009.

Cow Gap Beach where 2 Desert Wheatears have been found the first a male in April, 1966, the second Sussex record, and the second in November/December, 1997 was the fourth Sussex record.

Beachy Head road closed for the skateboard ramp.

Two images of the Pied Flycatcher trapped in Whitbred Hollow.

Two images of a Spotted Flycatcher in the Rides.

A Whinchat near Shooters Bottom.

Common Whitethroat in the Rides.

Arrived at 06.30 hrs to a fine calm morning with just a light Easterly breeze. As the road was still closed due to the skateboarding competition, I again drove to the Hotel Garden and Icky Ridge and then walked Cow Gap and the Hollow, before driving round to Birling. Covered virtually the whole area in almost 6 hrs and walked into Chat Vale from Belle Toute. Met up with RDME & MB who were ringing in the Hollow. They had just netted a Pied Flycatcher which I was able to photograph in the hand, although it was fairly un-cooperative. They had ringed 51 in total including the Pied Flycatcher, 1 Nightingale, only 1 Willow Warbler, 6 Whitethroats, 3 Garden & 4 Reed Warblers and 23 Blackcaps.
Migrants were pretty thin on the ground and I saw the following:

Sparrow Hawks 3-4
Sand Martin 2
Swallow 70
House Martin 9
Whinchat 4
Wheatear 1
Sedge Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 5
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Common Whitethroat 35
Blackcap 5
Willow Warbler 12
Spotted Flycatcher 2
Pied Flycatcher the trapped bird in the Hollow.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Beachy Head 22nd August, 2009

Four images of the Melodious Warbler trapped today in Whitbred Hollow.

Sparrow Hawk cooling off in a dew pond.

Autumn Ladies Tresses found in the Gully below Cow Gap.

Arrived with Doreen at 06.15hrs to a calm fine morning. Because of the skateboarding competition with the road closed over the Top, I drove straight to the Hotel Garden and then made my way down into Cow Gap, the Gully and Whitbred Hollow. Fair numbers of common migrants were present in these areas including a Cuckoo, 3 Grasshopper Warblers and 2 Redstarts. Met up with RDME with other members of the BHRG who were ringing in the Hollow. They were having another successful morning and I will list their numbers later. After returning to the car,I drove the long way around to Birling Gap and preceeded onto Belle Toute wood. Met up here with RJF & MC, and they had already covered Shooters Bottom and Birling. I have therefore included their numbers with my totals which therefore covers most of the sites other than Whitbred Hollow, which is covered more fully with RDME figures.
Whilst we were in Belle Toute wood, Bob kindly telephoned from the Hollow to say they had just netted a Melodious Warbler, and therefore we quickly dashed back to the Hollow with RJF & MC to see and photograph it in the hand. Many thanks for this Bob, it was greatly appreciated.

Migrant numbers seen by ourselves, RJF & MC as follows:
Cuckoo 1 in Cow Gap
Sand Martin 5
Swallow 15
Yellow Wagtail 1 fly over
Common Redstart 6 including 3 in Shooters Bottom.
Wheatear 7
Grasshopper Warbler 4
Reed Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 20
Common Whitethroat 78
Garden Warbler 1
Blackcap 12
Willow Warbler 70
Spotted Flycatcher 1

Numbers recorded from Whitbred Hollow by RDME: 92 birds ringed with the following numbers estimated. 1 Melodious Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 12 Reed Warblers, 10 Lesser Whitethroats,
50 Common Whitethroats, 25 Garden Warblers, 75 Blackcaps, 10 Willow Warblers & 10 Chiffchaffs.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Beachy Head 19th August, 2009.

Two views taken near the Old Trapping Area looking West.

Arrived with Doreen at 06.25 hrs to a beautiful calm & sunny morning. Spent 4 hours birding the various sites on the Headland and I didn't venture down into Cow Gap or the Hollow this morning. After yesterdays increase in migrant numbers, and with a light SE wind forcast, our hopes were high, but unfortunately fewer migrants were present on the Head this morning with the best being a single Spotted Flycatcher at Birling and a Redstart on Icky Ridge. Only 9 Willow Warblers were seen. Met up with Matt Eade and PN at Shooters Bottom. Matt had a quiet morning in Hope Gap with a noticeable decrease in the numbers of migrants from yesterday. PN had seen 1-2 Whinchats above Belle Toute wood. Also saw RHC, who said his garden was very quiet this morning. RDME was again ringing in the Hollow, and surprisingly had trapped 76 birds including a Nightingale, with a second bird being heard calling, 1 Sedge, 4 Reeds, 7 Gardens but only 4 Willow Warblers. Also ringed 7 Lesser & 22 Common Whitthroats. Also 1 male Redstart seen. At least the Hollow is having some good numbers of migrants. Interesting, he has already caught more Garden Warblers this year than last year, which was a poor year. Migrants seen on the Headland:

Sand Martin 3
Swallow 20
Common Redstart 1
Wheatear 1
Lesser Whitethroat 7
Common Whitethroat 40
Blackcap 2
Chiffchaff 2
Willow Warbler 9
Spotted Flycatcher 1

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Beachy Head 18th August 2009.

Two images of a Tree Pipit in Shooters Bottom showing the fine flank streaking.

Two images of a Reed Warbler taken in Shooters Bottom.

Male Adonis Blue in Cow Gap.

Arrived with Doreen at 06.15 hrs to a clear sunny calm morning which quickly warmed up. After our poor day on the 15th, it was nice to see a small fall of migrants. Walked virtually the whole area in 5.5 hrs. and met up with RKH, PN, & RK at the Old Trapping Area where a Firecrest (our first for the Autumn) and a Redstart were seen. A second Redstart was in the Rides. Fair numbers of common migrants were also seen and RDME was ringing in the Hollow and had a successful morning, ringing 73 birds including 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Sedge, 5 Reed & 8 Garden Warblers, 12 Blackcaps and a very juvenile Treecreeper (his second ringed & our third for the Autumn). Nice selection of Butterflies seen including 4 Clouded Yellows, 1 Adonis Blue, 1 Silver Spotted Skipper. Migrants seen in the area:

Sand Martin 4
Swallow 50
Tree Pipit 1
Common Redstart 2
Wheatear 4
Reed Warbler 6
Lesser Whitethroat 9
Common Whitethroat 71
Garden Warbler 2
Blackcap 3
Willow Warbler 34
Firecrest 1
Also 2 Ravens.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Beachy Head 15th August, 2009

Field Vole in Hodcombe taken by David Cooper.

Two pictures of Autumn Ladies Tresses at Birling.

Painted Lady in Hodcombe taken by David Cooper.

Swift over Whitbred Hollow taken by David Cooper.

Arrived with DC at 06.15 hrs to an overcast cool early morning with a force 3 west breeze. Spent an hour at Birling looking for migrants and could not find a single summer visitor. Just when you thought birding couldn't get any worse!! Moved onto Cow Gap and finally found our first migrant of the day in the gropper field. Met up with RDME in Whitbred Hollow, he had ringed 43 birds during the morning and also had a Cetti's singing (first for the year) and a Nightingale calling. On our walk to the Rides, met Martin Casemore, but who like ourselves had seen very little. After visting the usual birding sites on the Headland, we called into Hodcombe and birded the garden with RHC. We saw 2 Whinchats, (Roger's first for the year), and also saw a Field Vole, which was a new tick for DC and myself. Migrants seen:

Swift 2
Swallow 9
Whinchat 2
Reed Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 3
Common Whitethroat 15
Garden Warbler 2
Blackcap 2
Willow Warbler 2