Thursday, 5 January 2012

Beachy Head 2011 Summary No.14


2011: Recorded on seven dates during the Spring with 13 on the 7/3 (3 W & 10 E), & 12 on the 13/4. No breeding activity recorded but 1 was logged on the 23/7.
Autumn: Recorded on 10 dates from the 14/8 (5), with maximums of 206 chiefly South on the 13/11 and 49 S on the 15/11. Winter Flock of 25 on the 10/11 flying around the Head.  Per B.H.Log.
(In 2010, we had an exceptional movement of 750E on the 10/10, and in several past years movements of up to 500 on a day have been recorded. In 1972, a breeding survey on the cliffs was undertaken between Birling Gap and Cow Gap when 9 pairs were found on the cliffs. Also up to 30 were present up Long Down and local breeding may very well have take place in this area as well).

2011: Small numbers recorded throughout the year. Late Autumn passage recorded on 8 dates from 2/11 to 19/11. Maximums on 6/11 with 1400 (590 E & 810 W) & 13/11 when approx. 6,300 S. Per B.H.Log.
(A generally poor Autumn for Wood Pigeon movement this year with just one date when a reasonable passage took place).


2011: Single birds heard “purring” in Belle Tout wood on the 6/5 and in the Gully below Cow Gap on the 30/5.  Per B.H.Log.
(How depressing, when you review this species. Just 2 brief sightings this year logged, and since 2007 we have logged only 8 individuals. In the 1960's and 70's, I can personally remember walking the stubble and flushing small feeding parties on many occasions during the Autumns and in 1974, an influx of 120 occurred on the 15/9 with 70 on the 16/9). 

2011: Spring: Recorded on 8 dates from 14/3 to 4/6 but never more than 2 on a day.
Autumn: 3 on the 10/9 & 1 on the 1/10. Per B.H.Log.
(How the fortunes of this species has change on Beachy Head since regular watching commenced in 1960. Our first record was in 1962, when it was still a scarce bird in the UK, and we found 3 in the Cattle Field on the 4/11. During the remainder of the 1960's. a chicken farm was established in the Cattle Field and during the Autumns good numbers of young birds commuted from Eastbourne to feed here and the nearby stubble fields and often over 100 could be seen and counts of 200 were made. In 1968, the chicken farm folded and in 1970 our maximum count for the area was 30. Breeding during this period was never confirmed.
Since 1970, numbers have generally been poor with the occasional flock flying over, and they also seem to be a favorite prey of our local Peregrines). 

2011: Just recorded on 3 dates: 2/7 1 adult near Birling flew off high to the South,
23/7 1 possibly 2 juvs. in the Belle Tout area & 3/8 1 juvenile in Hodcombe Per B.H.Log.
(None logged at all this Spring, which in the past has been the main time for recording this species. In 1968, it was logged on no fewer than 36 dates during the Spring passage, and in 1975, 7 were logged on the 16/5 of which 4 were seen to arrive in off the sea. During our early years, 2-3 pairs usually bred using Meadow Pipits as host species).