Saturday, 31 July 2010

31st July 2010 Beachy Head WSW4 fog with heavy drizzle

Gannet 20
Fulmar 5
Peregrine h
Kittiwake 16W all juv's
Oystercatcher 10W
Swallow c.10
Stonechat 8
Whinchat 1 juv.
Meadow Pipit 10
Whitethroat 5
Willow Warbler 6
Goldfinch 35
Corn Bunting 1
Corn Bunting at Birling

Friday, 30 July 2010

30th July 2010 Beachy Head NE2 and overcast soon becoming calm and sunny

Peregrine 1
Swift 3W
Sand Martin 2W, 5E
Swallow 17
Stonechat 3
Meadow Pipit 6
Nightingale h croaking Chat Vale
Grasshopper Warbler 2 ex.
Reed Warbler 2
Lesser Whitethroat 5
Whitethroat 44
Blackcap 8
Willow Warbler 47
Corn Bunting 1h

Painted Lady 1
Red Admiral 1
Peacock 1
Dark Green Fritillary 1
Meadow Brown 20
Gatekeeper 15
Chalkhill Blue 40
Common Blue 10
Small Copper 1
Blackcap at Birling Gap

Juvenile Stonechat at Birling

Grasshopper Warbler at Chat Vale

Reed Warbler at Chat Vale

Thursday, 29 July 2010

29th July,2010. Whitbread Hollow, Beachy Head

RDME & SM spent the morning in the Hollow and recorded the following with ringing numbers in brackets:
Grasshopper Warbler (2)
Reed Warbler (4)
Blackcap 10 (7)
Chiffchaff 20 (12)
Willow Warbler 20 (12)

Grasshopper Warbler in Whitbread Hollow (Bob Edgar)
Bob notes this as a very yellow individual

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

28th July,2010 Whitbread Hollow, Beachy Head.

RDME commenced the Autumn ringing in Whitbread Hollow this morning and recorded the following summer migrants with the figures in brackets related to the migrants ringed;
Reed Warbler 6 (5).
Common Whitethroat (4)
Blackcap 12 (8)
Chiffchaff 20 (12)
Willow Warbler 12 (9).

RHC had a family party of 5 Ravens flying over Hodcombe yesterday, also 2 young Peregrines, and several Willow Warblers in the garden.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

25th July 2010 Beachy Head WNW1-2 Low cloud with some drizzle

Hobby 1 gained height and flew south out to sea
Peregrine 2
Whimbrel 1 Cow Gap Beach, 1h Chat Vale
Swift 4
Swallow 7
Sand Martin 474 moving south and west
Stonechat 6
Common Redstart 1 male
Meadow Pipit 25
Nightingale h croaking in Chat Vale
Grasshopper Warbler 1
Sedge Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Whitethroat 31
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 1
Willow Warbler 12
Long-tailed Tit 16 in a flock above Cow Gap
Starling 70
Goldfinch 5 (including 3 flying east at 30mph alongside the car)
Linnet 30
Corn Bunting 1h

Peacock 1
Red Admiral 1
Dark Green Fritillary 1
Marbled White 1
Chalkhill Blue c.35
Willow Warbler in the Beachy Head Hotel Garden

Chalkhill Blues at Birling Gap (Roger Haggar)

Fox Moth caterpillar at Birling Gap (Roger Haggar)

Ichneumon Fly (Netelia testacea) in Chat Vale (Roger Haggar)

Tachina grossa

Saturday, 24 July 2010

24th July 2010 Beachy Head Calm

Gannet 30E
Whimbrel h
Sandwich Tern h
Swallow 6W, 4
Pied Wagtail 1
Stonechat 1
Grasshopper Warbler 6 ex.
Sedge Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 4
Chiffchaff 1
Willow Warbler 8
Blackcap 2
Garden Warbler 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Whitethroat 25
Corn Bunting h

RJF also had a Nightingale

Dark Green Fritillary 4
Comma 3
Marbled White 8
Peacock 3
Red Admiral 4
Meadow Brown 20
Gatekeeper 15
Small Heath 1
Small Copper 2
Chalkhill Blue 70
Common Blue 5
Large Skipper 1
Silver-spotted Skipper 2

Hummingbird Hawk Moth 1 ex.

Migrant Hawker 1 ex.

Grasshopper Warbler at Birling Gap

Chiffchaff at Birling Gap

Herring Gull at Birling Gap

Reed Warbler at Belle Tout

Common Blues in the Beachy Head Hotel Garden

Silver-spotted Skipper at Belle Tout

Migrant Hawker at Cow Gap

Hummingbird Hawk Moth in Whitbread Hollow

Silver-y Moth in Whitbread Hollow

Sunday, 18 July 2010

18th July 2010 Beachy Head W3-4 Clear

Cormorant 12W flock of 4 followed by high-flying flock of 8
Black-headed Gull 15 incl. 1 juv.
Mediterranean Gull 1E Ad.S. 1 Ad.W. offshore
Kittiwake 2 juv. off Birling Gap Oystercatcher 3W
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 Belle Tout
Swallow 2
Whitethroat 10
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Garden Warbler 1
Blackcap 2
Raven 2
Greenfinch 6
Chaffinch 15
Corn Bunting 1 + 1h

Marbled White 10
Gatekeeper 3

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Blast from the Past No. 3

Blast from the Past. No. 3

The Phylloscopus gems.

Beachy birders look forward in searching for these delightful warblers in late Autumn and the Beachy Head record for these gems is outstanding from a Sussex viewpoint and cannot be bettered from any other locations in Sussex or from Sussex as a whole.

Yellow-browed WarblerPhylloscopus inornatus

Our first sighting of this little gem was on the 24th October, 1965 when Tony Quinn and Roger Charlwood found one in Belle Tout wood and was seen by a number of other Beachy regulars.At the time, it proved to be the second record for Sussex, with the first being seen at Selsey Bill in 1961. The Selsey Bill record was found to be no longer acceptable and therefore our above first record also becomes the first record for Sussex (Reference Sussex Bird Report, 1994).

Since 1965, there have been 72 different birds reported from the Headland with Belle Tout wood, Hodcombe and Whitbread Hollow having the lion share although individual birds have been seen throughout the whole area. They have only been recorded in the autumn from the Headland between the 18th September and the 30th November of which 4 have occurred in September, 60 in October and 8 in November. Several have stayed more than one day.

No fewer than 11 different individuals were recorded in 2005, our best year to date, when a large influx occurred in the UK. Four different individuals were seen on the 6th October, and 3 were also seen in Hodcombe on the 9th October.

Since 1965, when we recorded our first sighting, this species has increased at a dramatic rate in the British Isles, and this has been well documented in the UK birding magazines. At Beachy Head it has been recorded as follows:

1960-1969 - 5 records, 1970-1979 - 6 records, 1980-1989 - 19 records, 1990-1999 - 15 records, & 2000 – 2009 27 records.

Yellow Browed Warbler trapped Whitbread Hollow on the 18th October, 1975.

(photograph taken by John Cooper).

Yellow Browed trapped Whitbread Hollow on the 29th September, 2007.

(photograph taken by Martin Casemore)

Yellow Browed Warbler in Shooters Bottom 6th October, 2008.

(photographed by John Cooper)

Yellow Browed Warbler in the scrub on the Eastern side of Belle Tout wood on the 11th October, 2008. (photographed by John Cooper).

Hume’s Warber Phylloscopus humei

The first identified for the United Kingdom and Sussex was found in Belle Tout wood by Peter Clement, Tony Quinn, Barry Cooper & Roger Charlwood on the 13th November, 1966 and stayed until the 17th November. During its stay it was seen by a number of birders including Bob Scott who did a full write up of this record in British Birds.

Our second record was found by John & Doreen Cooper again in Belle Tout wood on the 6th November, 2003 and stayed until the 10th November. It called frequently during its stay and the call was recorded by David Cooper & Richard Fairbank. It was also seen by Roger Haggar, Bob Smith, and Bob Edgar, and when JFC had just identified the bird, Dave Flumm an old Beachy regular from the late 60’s & early 70’s turned up in the wood for almost the first time in 20 years, and saw a life tick. Its occurrence over the week-end meant that it also attracted significant interest from within and outside the county. It was the 4th Sussex record and the 43rd in Britain. An exceptional influx occurred during the late autumn in the UK, and 22 birds were accepted by BBRC for 2003.

John also found a Pallas’s in the wood on the 7th which remained until the 9th and both the Hume’s & the Pallas's could at times be seen together in the binoculars which delighted many of the birders present.

Our third and final record was again found in Belle Tout wood on the 30th December, 2007, and stayed until the 14th January, 2008. It was initially found by Sidley Underdown who felt it was probably a Yellow Browed Warbler. On the 31st December it was re-identified by John Cooper, Bob Edgar, John King and Sidley Underdown as a Hume’s and during its stay it was seen by David Cooper, Roger & Liz Charlwood, Richard Fairbank, Roger Haggar, Ian Barnard plus many birders from within and outside the county. The night of the 14th January was very cold and by this time the bird was mainly feeding low down often on the ground and JFC looked for it on the 15th and his opinion was that it had died overnight as it was not looking very healthy on the 14th and one of its wings was drooping.

It was the 5th Sussex record and the 90th for Britain.

Hume’s Warbler in Belle Tout wood January, 2008.

(all pictures taken by David Cooper)

Pallas’s Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus

On Friday the 18th October, 1968, Barry Cooper was ringing birds during the afternoon in Whitbread Hollow. It was a bit slow going and as he was going up to the upper mist-net ride his attention was drawn to what appeared to be a Firecrest in the net. As he continued working his way along the mist-net run, he again looked at the bird and it now appeared to be a Yellow Browed Warbler. His pace quickened and was astonished to find a superb Pallas’s in the net, the first record for Sussex, and the 22nd for Britain, and it was the first bird seen of the invasion year of this species for the autumn, when 18 birds arrived during the next 13 days. The following day a number of birds were being seen in Kent, Lincolnshire Yorkshire and the Scillies etc. The Pallas’s was shown to Roger Charlwood and it was decided to release it in Belle Tout wood so it would be available for other birders to come and see it, including Howard Medhurst, Peter Colston, Tony Quinn etc. With good numbers of other birders being present on the 19th, a Yellow Browed Warbler was also found in the wood by Howard Medhurst as was a White Throated Sparrow found by Peter Colston, Tony Marr and Richard Porter which was another first for Sussex. In fact Barry mentioned that on the 18th when releasing the Pallas’s into the wood he noticed a strange looking Sparrow on the ground but after releasing the Pallas’s he was unable to re-locate the Sparrow. Two Richard's Pipits were also found in the nearby fields by Peter Colston and Bob Emmett. On the 20th the Pallas’s was still present in the wood and there were now 2 Yellow Browed Warblers present found by the late Mike Helps. One of the Richard's was also still present in the nearby fields. On the 27th & 28th October a second un-ringed Pallas's was located in Belle Tout wood by Tony Quinn, Keith Verrall and Roger Charlwood, with a third bird which arrived into Hodcombe with Goldcrests on the 30th October and was found by Roger & Liz Charlwood.

A truly purple patch for Beachy.

(At this time John Cooper with Doreen Cooper & Keith Atkin was ringing birds at Anderby in Lincolnshire and on the 19th October he trapped a Pallas’s in the same net as a Sparrow Hawk. The Pallas’s was the first for Lincolnshire but needless to say John let the Sparrow Hawk go first and when it was all clear he released the Pallas’s.)

Since 1968 there has been a total of 41 Pallas’s recorded from Beachy Head between the 1st October, 1998 an early date, in Hodcombe seen by Roger & Liz Charlwood, John Cooper & Chris Ball and the 21st November, 1974 when 2 were present in Belle Tout wood from the 17th November one of which had been trapped and ringed. The total seen for Sussex as a whole up to 2008 is 76, and therefore over half of all Sussex records have been found from Beachy Head.

On several occasions there have been 2 birds present on the same day often together. Two were found in Belle Tout Wood on the 14th November, 2000 by John & Doreen Cooper. They spent most of their time in close proximity to each other often feeding on or close to the ground and were described as being a ‘bright individual’ and a ‘very bright individual’. They remained until the 16th gave excellent views and delighted all who came to see them.

On the 21st October, 1991, a confiding Pallas’s was in Hodcombe and was being watched by Roger & Liz Charlwood Richard Fairbank and Martyn Kenefick when it flew and landed on a floating leaf in a small pond some 10 metres from the observers much to their delight.

Our best years to date were in 1995, 1996 & 2003 when four different individuals were seen in each of the three years. Pallas’s arrive generally later than Yellow Browed’s, with 26 Pallas’s seen in October and 15 in November.

Our final sighting to date was a single bird found by Matt Eade in the cliff top scrub above the main Beachy Head Lighthouse 21st October, 2007 and was seen by many observers during the day and photographed by Martin Casemore.

Pallas’s Leaf Warbler in cliff top scrub above Beachy Head Lighthouse on the 21st October, 2007. (photographed by Martin Casemore).