Saturday, 8 December 2012

8 Dec 2012 Beachy Head Overcast becoming fine and sunny mild NW 0-1

With a good weather forecast we decided to visit the Headland. We sea-watched for 50 minutes and with very light winds we walked right through the rough field returning back to Birling. We then checked Belle Tout wood and stopped briefly at the Old Trapping Area.

Red-throated Diver 19 W
Great-crested Grebe 8 W including a milky-tea coloured leucistic individual.
Fulmar 1
Grey Heron 1
Wigeon 6 W
Teal 19 W
Mallard 7 W
Common Scoter 1 female on the sea
Kestrel 1
Oystercatcher 4
Common Gull 50 
Auk Sp. 27 W
Tawny Owl 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Skylark 100
Song Thrush 4
Raven 2
Goldfinch 30
Siskin 1 heard

Grey Seal 1 off Birling

Goldfinches feeding in the rough field.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

1 Dec 2012 Beachy Head Cold clear and frosty.

David and Brenda visited the Headland in the hope of finding some Waxwings. They covered virtually all the Headland including the Cliff Path and looked down into the Hollow.

Fulmar 12 had returned to Birling
Gannet 4
Teal 5 E
Red-breasted Merganser 1 W
Auk Sp. 20 E
Black Redstart 1 at Birling
Song Thrush 2
Goldcrest 1
Goldfinch 10
Siskin 3 N
Redpoll 1 heard
Corn Bunting 1

A very wintry Belle Tout - autumn is over!

Black Redstart at Birling Gap

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

18 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Fine sunny but cool. Wind very light

DC and BK visited the Headland and covered virtually all the usual sites including B/T field. Unfortunately they were unable to park at Holywell and therefore could not have a look for the Siberian Chiffchaff.
Generally very little in the area and no sign of any diurnal migration:

Sparrowhawk 2
Goldcrest 5
Firecrest 1 (Hotel Garden)
Corn Bunting 1

If anyone is interested I have added a trip report on our recent trip for Eastern migrants to Hegura-jima, Japan on the following blog site:

Friday, 16 November 2012

16 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Overcast mild and misty with fog mid-morning ESE 2

Covered Birling, Belle Tout wood and Holywell before the fog came down. Little of interest seen other than 1 Black Redstart and no sign of any Chiffchaffs at Holywell.

Peregrine 1
Tawny Owl 2
Black Redstart 1
Song Thrush 3
Goldcrest 8

Thursday, 15 November 2012

15 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Overcast but mild NE 1

With Pallas's at both Dungeness and Portland yesterday, we decided to visit this morning to check out a number of the Headland sites including Holywell. We met up with RES at the Old Trapping Area.
Very little seen apart for a Siberian/Eastern type Chiffchaff in Holywell feeding with a normal Chiffchaff. Compared with the normal Chiffchaff, it lacked any yellow in the plumage as far as I could tell and appeared overall with a cold greyish cast . Also appeared no yellow in the supercillium. Unfortunately, most of the time I was looking up at it against the sky and after several minutes both Chiffchaffs moved across Holywell and out of sight.

Sparrowhawk 3
Kestrel 1
Tawny Owl 2 in B/T wood. (both were greyish morphs)
Fieldfare 2
Redwing 1
Song Thrush 4
Chiffchaff 1
Siberian/Eastern Chiffchaff 1 Holywell
Goldcrest 10
Raven 2

Tawny Owl in Belle Tout wood

Siberian/Eastern type Chiffchaff at Holywell

Monday, 12 November 2012

12 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Overcast and mild but rain late morning W-SW 0-2

A calm mild morning and we covered most of the sites on the Headland including the Cliff Path. Virtually no diurnal migration and although we were hoping for a few late summer migrants in the calm conditions, none were seen.

Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1
Tawny Owl 2 showing in Belle Tout wood.
Robin 15
Stonechat 1
Song Thrush 7
Goldcrest 4
Raven 2
Goldfinch 40 mainly E
Corn Bunting 1

Kestrel posing for the camera at Belle Tout.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

6 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Fine sunny with a frost NNE light

Bob, Pete and Ron were all on the Headland this morning and covered a number of the sites. Little diurnal migration seen apart for some Woodpigeons.

Marsh Harrier 1
Common Buzzard 5
Kestrel 1
Merlin 1
Peregrine 1
Woodpigeon c600
Collared Dove 2
Tawny Owl 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Black Redstart 2
Stonechat 2
Song Thrush 2
Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 4

Monday, 5 November 2012

5 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Misty cool becoming fine sunny and warm N 1-2

We started off at Birling and walked the lane and then checked the gorse area behind Belle Tout wood for Dartfords and then Belle Tout gully and over to the wood. No sign of the Hume's Leaf Warbler during our stay and we met up with PN, RB RHC and a few other birders. We then went to Hodcombe and covered the garden. Small passage of Woodpigeons also Ring Ouzel and a female type Marsh Harrier.

Met Office view
Low pressure is centred to the southwest of Wales, with an associated occlusion indicating banding of showers. Various troughs around the UK indicate areas of enhanced shower activity. A number of weather fronts across Mediterranean Europe indicate unsettled conditions.

Marsh Harrier 1 female type
Kestrel 1
Peregrine 1
Stock Dove 20
Woodpigeon 1,300 S
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Swallow 12
Black Redstart 1 Birling
Ring Ouzel 1 male
Blackbird 15
Song Thrush 3
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 3
Raven 2
Starling 480 (80 W)
Brambling 1
Corn Bunting 2

Raven on the cliff edge in Belle Tout gully


Female type Marsh Harrier drifting high E over Belle Tout.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

3 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Early heavy showers becoing sunny. W 2-4

We met up with Richard and John at Birling and covered most of the sites on the Headland but concentrated in Belle Tout wood where the Hume's Yellow-browed was showing well although still very active. RDME was in Whitbread Hollow. Good numbers of other birders present wit the attraction of the Hume's. Only a few other migrants were seen although another c3,000 Woodpigeons moved out to sea.

 Met Office view
A complex area of low pressure, with three separate centres, lies to the north of the UK, with an assortment of fronts associated with it. Further west, an elongated area of high pressure lies over Greenland. Tightly packed isobars between the two indicate northerly strong winds over and around Iceland.

Little Egret 1
Common Scoter 10 on the sea
Sparrowhawk 1
Merlin 1
Peregrine 1
Stock Dove 15
Woodpigeon c3,000 S out to sea
Swallow 20
Redwing 6
Blackcap 1
Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler 1
Goldcrest 6
Jay 2
Raven 2
Goldfinch 35

Channel ferry in a rainbow off Birling

 My efforts with the Hume's

David's effort with the Hume's
Sound-recording of the Hume's
Sonogram of the Beachy Hume's

Sonogram of a Hume's in Sweden October 2011

Friday, 2 November 2012

2 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Sunny periods with heavy showers W 2-3 to 5 when raining

Fairly blustery conditions with some very heavy showers allowed  for only limited coverage. We birded the lane and then spent the rest of our time in Belle Tout wood looking for the Hume's Leaf Warbler. After a couple of very brief sightings by other birders we finally connected with excellent views from 5 yards feeding in the centre of the wood just below the pathway for several minutes. It was only approx. 2 feet above the ground but it was very active but never remained long in one place.
Also 1 Merlin over the field and 1 Brambling in the bushes at the top of the lane.

Met Office view
Low pressure is situated over and to the north of the UK, with a number of fronts associated with it. Those over the UK indicate areas of more frequent showers. Closely- packed isobars around Iceland, on the northwest flank of the low, indicate strong winds here. High pressure prevails further west in the Atlantic and over Greenland.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

1 Nov 2012 Beachy Head Sunny periods but heavy showers

The Hume's Leaf Warbler was again present on the Western side of Belle Tout wood.

John Stanton has kindly sent me the following pictures taken on Beachy Head during October.

Hume's Leaf Warbler taken on the 31st Oct in Belle Tout wood

Yellow-browed Warbler taken on the 10th Oct in The Old Trapping Area

Firecrest taken on the 10th Oct

Siberian Stonechat taken on the 22 Oct near Birling Gap
All pictures taken by John Stanton

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

31 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Overcast with heavy showers W 4

The Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler in Belle Tout wood attracted some attention today and 2 Chiffchaffs and 10 Goldcrests were also present. Mick Davis managed to obtain some good pictures of the Hume's

Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler in Belle Tout wood (taken by Mick Davis)

Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler taken by John Stanton

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

30 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Fine and Sunny N/NNW 2-3

PN & RK covered the sites on the Headland and RDME & SM were ringing in Whitbread Hollow. John Marchant was also birding the Headland yesterday and today. Birds ringed today are included in brackets.

Just a scattering of migrants although JM discovered a Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler ( our 4th record and all in Belle Tout wood)  around mid-day and although elusive it was also seen by a number of other observers during the afternoon. Yesterday a Firecrest and a Woodcock were also seen by JM.

Met Office view
A complex area of low pressure to the north of the UK has a number of fronts and troughs associated with it, some of which are affecting the UK. Low pressure is also situated over Portugal and Spain, while an area of high pressure sits over the northwest Atlantic, centred near Newfoundland.

Woodpigeon 400
Tawny Owl 4
Swallow 15
House Martin 3
Wren 4 (2)
Robin 10 (4)
Black Redstart 1 1stY.
Blackbird 30 (6)
Fieldfare 12
Song Thrush 2
Lesser Redpoll 30 (25)
Bullfinch 1
Reed Bunting 4
Corn Bunting 4

Hume's Yellow Browed Warbler taken in poor light by Matt Eade.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

28 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Fine sunny but cool at first becoming overcast W 1 increasing to 2-3

We started at Birling meeting up with JK, RJW, & MK. expecting in the clear calm conditions a good diurnal migration although it was only a trickle. We then covered most sites on the Headland meeting up with PN, GG & RK. Very few migrants recorded in the bushes although John Marchant recorded a large Woodpigeon flight on the eastern side of the Headland from the Holywell area of approx. 14,000 birds.

Late news from the 27th was a Hobby which maybe our latest date, and on the 28th a Short-eared Owl.

Met Office view
A ridge of high pressure in the south of the UK has meant fairly quiet conditions. A trough through the English Channel indicates organised showers. Weather fronts across the north of the UK have been introducing cloud and outbreaks of rain. A deep area of low pressure is bringing very unsettled weather across Italy and surrounding countries.

Pochard 4 off Birling
Common Scoter 12 off Birling
Sparrowhawk 2
Kestrel 1
Merlin 1
Peregrine 1
Stock Dove 40
Woodpigeon 1,500 (+14,000 on the Eastern side of the Headland).
Collared Dove 1
Skylark 70
Swallow 1
House Martin 11
Robin 10
Blackbird 20
Redwing 4
Mistle Thrush 3
Song Thrush 6
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 8
Raven 2
Brambling 2
Goldfinch 30
Siskin 2
Linnet 100
Redpoll 5
Bullfinch 1
Corn Bunting 9

Saturday, 27 October 2012

27 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Fine sunny but cold NNE 5-6

Very cold weather with a strong NNE wind made birding very difficult. We met up with JK at Birling and covered the lane, Belle Tout gully & wood and Shooters Bottom, also met up with PN, RK, and Patrick & Hannah Lanaway.

Another strong passage of Woodpigeons with smaller numbers of finches etc. 4 Goosanders ( 3 drakes) moved E over the cliffs and a Merlin chasing the Linnets in the rough field.

Met Office view
Closely spaced isobars across the UK indicate strong winds. Following the isobars back to their origin, shows that the air is coming form the arctic, bringing cold conditions across the UK and much of northwest Europe. A trough near northeast England indicates an organised area of heavy, wintry and sometimes thundery showers.

Red Throated Diver 1 on the sea off Birling
Common Scoter 1 female off Birling
Goosander 4 (3 drakes and 1 female) E
Sparrowhawk 2 (1 high E).
Kestrel 1
Merlin 1 chasing Linnets in the rough field.
Golden Plover 1
Stock Dove c30 moving with Woodpigeons
Woodpigeon c3,500
Skylark 8 E
Swallow 23
House Martin 14
Alba Wagtail 15 chiefly E
Black Redstart 1 1stYr.
Stonechat 4
Fieldfare 5
Mistle Thrush 3
Song Thrush 8
Chiffchaff 2
Goldcrest 6
Firecrest 1
Jay 3
Jackdaw 200 E
Starling 2,000
Chaffinch 52 E
Brambling 10
Goldfinch 130 E
Siskin 1
Redpoll 6
Corn Bunting 6

Friday, 26 October 2012

26 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Cool Overcast with drizzle NNE 5-6

Arrived at Beachy to a windy overcast day with drizzle setting in around 9.30am. We met up with RDME & MK at Birling and also covered the Lane and Belle Tout Gully and wood.
Virtually no migrants were seen on the ground but Woodpigeons were moving again in good numbers but only small numbers of finches etc. Once the drizzle set in and with a strong wind, we decided to call time.

Met Office view
A series of cold fronts are moving south across the UK, introducing much colder air of Arctic origin, as shown by the isobars to the north of the fronts. Further south, low pressure near the coast of Portugal continues to bring unsettled weather here, with further low centres east of Newfoundland and in eastern Russia. 

Kestrel 1
Peregrine 2
Stock Dove 20 moving with the Woodpigeons
Woodpigeon 3,920
Swallow 10
Rock Pipit 1
Pied Wagtail 25 chiefly E
Blackbird 15
Song Thrush 2
Goldfinch 100 E
Linnet 220 E
Corn Bunting 1

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

24 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Misty NE 2

Huge easterly diurnal migration which commenced at dawn and was still on the go when I left at mid-day. One of the largest movements I have seen in recent years.
We first visited Shooters Bottom and then returned to Birling where we met up with PN & RK and we covered the lane, Belle Tout gully and scrub, Belle Tout wood and back to Birling. Jake also visited Beachy during the afternoon.

Met Office view
Warm, moist air continues to feed across areas south of a warm front across northern England. Within this zone there is some unstable air in the southern North Sea which will continue to produce some sporadic heavier bursts of rain today. To the north of the UK, cold air is beginning to edge south behind a set of cold fronts.

Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1
Peregrine 3
Lapwing 1 E
Stock Dove c20+ moving with the Woodpigeons
Woodpigeon c5,500 E
Skylark 70 E
Meadow Pipit 250 E & 300 rough field
Swallow c350 E
House Martin 37 E
Black Redstart 1 Ad. male Birling
Blackbird 45
Ring Ouzel 1
Fieldfare 3 E
Redwing 15
Mistle Thrush 3 E
Song Thrush 20
Chiffchaff 2
Goldcrest 3
Firecrest 3 Birling area
Jay 2 Birling
Chaffinch 120 E
Goldfinch c2,500 E
Linnet c1,000 E
Reed Bunting 1
Corn Bunting 3

    Ring Ouzel (Taken by Jake Everitt)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

23 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Foggy mild NE calm

Very foggy morning, we covered most of the sites on the Headland and RDME was ringing in Whitbread Hollow. Birds ringed are included in brackets.

With the foggy conditions, no diurnal migration, but good numbers of Thrushes and Robins were present in the bushes. 

Met Office view
High pressure centred across Norway dominates the UK bringing a light but moist flow across the UK. The light winds and moist air provides the perfect recipe for extensive low cloud and fog duiring this time of year, and this is what we can expect across much of the country today.

Short-eared Owl 1 over Birling
Wren 6 (2 retraps)
Dunnock 40
Swallow 3
House Martin 2
Robin 63 (5)
Whinchat 1
Stonechat 6
Siberian Stonechat 1 still present at Birling.
Blackbird 95 (5)
Redwing 8
Song Thrush 23 (3 continentals)
Blackcap 2 (2)
Chiffchaff 12
Goldcrest 6 (1)
Firecrest 1 Birling
Jay 2
Starling 1,000 (Flock of 750 in Cornish Farm fields)
Brambling 1
Lesser Redpoll 2
Reed  Bunting 2
Corn Bunting 8


Redwing near Belle Tout

Toadstool sp. in Shooters Bottom

Monday, 22 October 2012

22 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Thick fog NE-E 2-3

RDME went birding and ringing in Whitbread Hollow but the foggy conditions made birding difficult.Influx of Thrushes including Redwings but the fog prevented identification when the Thrushes flew.  Birds ringed are shown in brackets. Jake also visited the Headland and had a nice selection of migrants.

Met Office view
High pressure over the Baltic Sea extends a weak ridge across the UK. Warm fronts move northwards across England and Wales, introducing mild and moist air from the south. A large area of low pressure dominates the pressure pattern in the central Atlantic.

The Siberian Stonechat was still present at Birling.
Hobby 1 catching Migrant Hawkers
Tawny Owl 1
Meadow Pipit 80+
Stonechat 6
Whinchat 2
Robin 45 (7)
Ring Ouzel 3
Blackbird 25 (15)
Redwing 16
Fieldfare 2
Blackcap 6 (5)
Willow Warbler 1
Chiffchaff 15 (6)
Goldcrest 6 (4)
Jay 3
Lesser Redpoll 2
Chaffinch 160+
Brambling 1

Siberian Stonechat Birling Gap (Taken by Jake Everitt)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

21 Oct 2012 Beachy Head Overcast with light drizzle, cool.NE 3-4

We met up with RJF & JK at Birling and covered most of the usual sites on the Headland. A fair number of other birders were present twitching the Siberian Stonechat which was still present on the roadside fence near the sewage farm at Birling. A good diurnal Easterly passage of Goldfinches and Linnets with smaller numbers of hirundines and still several Ring Ouzels were seen also Short Eared Owl,  Black Redstart and a late Whinchat.

Met Office view
High pressure dominates much of the UK, with light winds and clear skies leading to areas of mist and fog. Low pressure and associated fronts developing near eastern Spain are expected to bring further heavy rain and frequent thunderstorms to the Pyrenees and surrounding regions.

Little Egret 1
Grey Heron 1 over the Top Fields
Kestrel 1
Stock Dove 4
Woodpigeon 300
Short Eared Owl 1 S then W along the cliffs at Belle Tout
Swallow 120 E
House Martin 160 E
Meadow Pipit 50 E
Grey Wagtail 4 E
Alba Wagtail 84 (74 E)
Black Redstart 1 Birling
Whinchat 1 Birling
Siberian Stonechat 1 Birling
Wheatear 2
Ring Ouzel 5
Redwing 5
Song Thrush 2
Blackcap 1
Chiffchaff 6
Goldcrest 2 with others heard calling
Firecrest 1
Chaffinch 40 E
Goldfinch 1,700 E
Linnet 680 (480 E)
Lesser Redpoll 3 W
Reed Bunting 2

Short Eared Owl over Birling

Further pictures taken by DC yesterday of the Siberian Stonechat

Today's Siberian Stonechat twitch