Sunday, 28 July 2013

28th July 2013 Beachy SW4 Clear with 3/8 cloud

After a 30 minute seawatch we covered most of the areas of the top of the headland where it was apparent that only a few migrants were present although the brisk wind made for difficult conditions at most sites. We met RK in a sheltered Belle Tout wood who had also seen little in the way of migrants just as with his previous three visits to the headland in the last week. Bob, Sarah, Martin and Paul fared better ringing in the hollow where clearly there were a few more migrants present that included quality in the form of an early Pied Flycatcher that interestingly still retained the last remnants of juvenile plumage. Birds ringed in brackets:

Scoter 35E, 10W
Buzzard 1
Mediterranean Gull 2E juveniles
Guillemot 2E
Kittiwake c.100W
Sandwich Tern 1W
Tawny Owl 1 Hollow
Swift 10
Swallow 10
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Reed Warbler 1 (1)
Blackcap 16 (6 including one ringed in 2007 and one in 2010)
Whitethroat 7 (3)
Chiffchaff 2 (1)
Willow Warbler 23 (5)
Pied Flycatcher 1 (1)
Raven 3

Common Blue 1
Chalk Hill Blue 20
Essex Skipper 2
Small Copper 1
Red Admiral 1

Pied Flycatcher retaining juvenile plumage trapped in Whitbread Hollow (Sarah McKenzie)
RDME kindly comments 'Note the dark tipped feathers on the mantle/back/scapulars and coverts that are the last remnants of juvenile plumage. According to our computerised ringing records (that go back to 1985) this is the earliest of 35 Pied Flycatchers. The only other July one was on the 29th'.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

27th July 2013 Beachy NE1 Overcast with thunderstorms

The forecast thunderstorms thankfully remained offshore during the morning and the near-calm and overcast conditions dropped the first Autumn fall of migrant Warblers dominated by Willow Warblers although one wonders if Grasshopper Warblers were in fact the more numerous? We met PN who later saw a flock of 5 Red Kites arrive from the direction of the sea before leaving high inland. With a warm front forecast to cross the English Channel from south to north being due to arrive around midday we decided to seawatch in case it pushed any Shearwaters ahead of it, and for once, the plan duly delivered two species just minutes ahead of the first downpour of the afternoon! 

Manx Shearwater 3E ex. 2 at 2.24pm & 1 at 2.28pm
Balearic Shearwater 1 E then W ex. at 2.24pm
Heron 1
Red Kite 6 including a flock of 5 that arrived from the direction of the sea at 11.45am
Sparrowhawk 1
Bonxie 1E at 3pm
Mediterranean Gull 5W adults, 1 juvenile loafing offshore
Swift 20
Sand Martin 15
Swallow 85
Black Redstart 1
Blackcap 1
Whitethroat 31
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Grasshopper Warbler 6 ex.
Reed Warbler 3
Sedge Warbler 2
Willow Warbler 35
Raven 1

Grasshopper Warbler in the Old Trapping Area

Black Redstart on cliff below Cow Gap 

Chalkhill Blue in Cow Gap
one of the many seen today

Cow Gap Field
cultivated in WWII but now home to many Chalkhill Blues and a favoured haunt of migrant Grasshopper Warblers

Friday, 26 July 2013

26th July 2013 Whitbread Hollow Cloud 7/8 to 4/8 wind v.light N1 –SW1

Another quiet day for RDME ringing in the Hollow although not without interest as the Grasshopper Warbler he caught had pale tips to most of its tail feathers(!) and a Great Tit he caught was completely grey apart from one green mantle feather. Birds ringed in brackets.
Great Spotted Woddpecker 1
Song Thrush 2
Grasshopper Warbler 1 (1)
Whitethroat 2 (2)
Garden Warbler 1 (1)
Blackcap 8 (6)
Chiffchaff 6 (4)
Willow Warbler 1 (1)
Long-tailed Tit 2
Bullfinch 1
Dark Green Fritillary 3

Grey Great Tit trapped in Whitbread Hollow (Bob Edgar)

Grasshopper Warbler tail showing pale tips trapped in Whitbread Hollow (Bob Edgar)

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

24th July 2013 Whitbread Hollow Cloud 6/8 to 4/8, N 3 gusting 4

RDME went ringing in the hollow this morning but unfortunately no obvious migrants were present although an early dispersing Pied Wagtail was seen - they are not normally recorded in the Hollow until much later in the Autumn. Birds ringed are included in brackets.
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Pied Wagtail 1
Song Thrush 2 
Blackcap 5 (1)
Chiffchaff 4 (2)
Bullfinch 1

Monday, 22 July 2013

22 July 2013 Beachy Head Very hot and humid cloud 1/8 to 4/8, E/NE 1-2

Bob went ringing in Whitbread Hollow with the highlight being a Grass-hopper Warbler and the first Willow Warbler for the Autumn. Birds ringed are included in brackets.

Great-spotted Woodpecker 1
Song Thrush 1 (1)
Grass-hopper Warbler (1)
Common Whitethroat 7 (3)
Garden Warbler (1)
Blackcap 4 (3)
Chiffchaff 7 (5)
Willow Warbler 1
Bullfinch 2 (1)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

21 July 2013 Beachy Head Sunny periods warm N 2

Another visit to Beachy and although not as windy as yesterday still a fairly stiff breeze prevailing which ruled out any hope for the first fall of Willow Warblers this Autumn. In fact, the only warblers seen on the Headland were a few local Whitethroats. Migrants were few and far between with just small numbers of Swifts and Sand Martins going SE and a juvenile Wheatear our first for this Autumn.

Kestrel 1
Peregrine 1 Juv.
Mediterranean Gull 1 E
Common Gull 2 adults
Swift 19 SE
Great-spotted Woodpecker 1
Sand Martin 10 SE
Stonechat The pair of Continental rubicola were showing well in Shooters Bottom with at least 1 young. A further male Continental type was found, appearing to be holding breeding territory, in the scrub leading up from Shooters Bottom to above Beachy Head lighthouse.
Wheatear 1 juv.
Common Whitethroat 10 
Raven 1

Good numbers of Downland butterflies were seen today which included:
Chalk Hill Blue 10 (Our first for the year)
Small Copper 1
Marbled White c70
Dark-green Fritillary 25
Comma 1

 Female type Continental Stonechat in Shooters Bottom
note the broad extensive white collar on the sides of the neck.

Our first Chalk Hill Blues for the year - 10 were seen today

Dark-green Fritillary showing the under-side of its wings.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

20 July 2013 Beachy Head Fine becoming cloudy NE 5

We visited Beachy today, but the NE wind was much stronger than expected which made looking for any new migrants difficult with only a Grey Wagtail E was logged. We sea-watched from 06.20-07.20, but no sign of any Balearic Shearwaters.

Fulmar 6+
Gannet 160 (with a feeding flock of 100 off Birling).
Little Egret 1 E
Tufted Duck 1 E (Our first July record).
Common Scoter 33 E
Peregrine 5 (including 2 juveniles hunting over the sea).
Oystercatcher 4 W
Sanderling 4 W
Curlew 1 W
Mediterranean Gull 9 chiefly W (No juveniles seen)
Sandwich Tern 3
Swift 5
Sand Martin 11
Swallow 15
Grey Wagtail 1 E
Corn Bunting 2 singing

The latest large cliff fall at Birling.(You can just make out
a visitor stood at the start of the waters edge).

Comma at Belle Tout

Gatekeepers much in evidence.

Marbled White showing its under-wings.

Common Darter at Belle Tout

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

17 July 2013 Beachy Head Hot and Sunny Wind variable 1

We visited the Headland and covered all the usual sites. Just the odd early returning summer migrants seen today and the breeding male Continental type rubicola Stonechat was again showing well. 

Common Buzzard 2 soaring over the Top Fields.
Swift 1 S
Sand Martin 12 E
Swallow 15
Stonechat 6 (Including the male continental type rubicola in Shooters Bottom).
Sedge Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 3 (Our first sightings since the 27/5)
Common Whitethroat 16
Chiffchaff 2
Raven 3 (Family party)

Meadow Brown c70
Common Blue 3
Small Heath 2
Marbled White c70
Large Skipper 1
Small Skipper 1
Dark Green Fritillary 6

Two dark phase Common Buzzards soaring over the Top Fields.

One of the Buzzards was in heavy molt.


Male Continental type Stonechat still present in Shooters Bottom

Showing its extensive white rump whilst preening.

And still in fairly good breeding plumage.

Marbled White - around 70 were seen today.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

16 July 2013 Beachy Head Hot, humid with cloud cover 7/8 Virtually no wind.

RDME was ringing this morning in Whitbread Hollow and recorded our first passerine migrant of the Autumn. Birds ringed are shown in brackets:

Song Thrush 3 (2)
Sedge Warbler 1 juv.
Common Whitethroat 3 (2)
Garden Warbler 1
Blackcap 15 (12 with one re-trapped from 2010)
Chiffchaff 8 (6)
Bullfinch 1 re-trapped from 2011

Red Admiral 1

Sunday, 14 July 2013

14 July 2013 Beachy Head Hot and sunny 1/8 Cloud. Wind very light.

RDME commenced ringing in Whitbread Hollow and recorded the following with birds ringed in brackets. He considered that all the birds were probably local breeding birds with no sign of any migration, other than a Red Kite. PN & MN visited the Headland and also saw the Red Kite drifting over the Top fields from Shooters Bottom.

Red Kite 1 N over the Hollow and drifted off W, and also seen over the Top Fields from Shooters Bottom.
Sparrowhawk 1
Tawny Owl 1
Great-spotted Woodpecker 2
Wren 10 (4)
Song Thrush 3 (1)
Common Whitethroat 3 (1)
Garden Warbler 4 (4)
Blackcap 15 (11)
Chiffchaff 10 (6)

Small Tortoiseshell 1
Dark Green Fritillary 1 + good numbers on the Head
Marbled White Good numbers on the Head
Comma 3
Cinnabar Moth 1

Saturday, 13 July 2013

13 July 2013 Beachy Head Fine and Hot ENE 1

We covered all the usual sites on the Headland, but no sign of any passage migrants although Whitethroat numbers had increased although probably related to juvenile birds now on the wing. Increase in butterfly numbers noted, although considering the recent fine hot weather we could have hoped for more.

Little Egret 1 E
Common Scoter Flock of 60 E
Stock Dove 1 Birling
Stonechat 5 (including the male Continental bird in Shooters Bottom)
Common Whitethroat 18
Chiffchaff 1
Corn Bunting 3 singing birds

Bob had a Common Buzzard over Whitbread Hollow yesterday.

Meadow Brown c30
Small Tortoiseshell 3
Common Blue 2
Small Heath 8
Marbled White c40
Speckled Wood 4
Large Skipper 7
Small/Essex Skipper type 1
Dark-green Fritillary 3

Common Whitethroat searching for food around the picnic tables.

The problem of leaving rubbish around.

Marbled White - c40 of these impressive butterflies were seen today.

Small/Essex skipper type 

Dark-green Fritillary

Six-spotted Burnett Moth - Good numbers now present

Round-headed Rampion - 15 found today
A deep blue, almost purple wildflower that is not as it seems: 
each head, rather than being a single bloom, is actually a 
collection of smaller ones, huddled together. Close up it looks 
rather like a sea anemone about to curl around an unlucky fly.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

7 July 2013 Beachy Head Hot and sunny N 1-2

We covered Birling lane and then the loop to Belle Tout and returned to Birling and also Shooters Bottom.
Small diurnal passage of Swifts and hirundines but warbler numbers very low with just the odd Whitethroats being heard or seen. Considering the fine weather, butterfly numbers were also generally low.

Gannet c30 E
Common Scoter 25 E
Kestrel 1
Mediterranean Gull 2 ad's W
Sandwich Tern 5 E
Stock Dove 1 over Birling
Swift 84 E
Sand Martin 51 E
Swallow c50 chiefly E
Whitethroat 8
Linnet 40
Corn Bunting 1 singing

Meadow Brown 6
Small Tortoiseshell 3
Common Blue 10
Small Heath 10
Marbled White 2
Speckled Wood 4
Large Skipper 5
Green Winged Fritillary 7
Painted Lady 1
Small White 2
Red Admiral 1

Pyramidal Orchid Good numbers in flower at Birling

Adult Common Gull - unusual to see one at Beachy in early July.

Red Admiral at Birling

Dark Green Fritillary at Belle Tout

Pyramidal Orchids at Birling

Saturday, 6 July 2013

6 July 2013 Beachy Head Hot and Sunny with light winds.

DC & BK sea-watched for around 30 minutes and then covered most of the sites on the Headland. First sign of Autumn with over 300 Sand Martins moving S/E.

Scoter 20E
Little Egret 2W
Curlew 1W
Mediterranean Gull 3W adults
Swift 15E
Sand Martin 308 S/E
Swallow c.10
Continental Stonechat 1 male
Raven 1

Male Continental  Stonechat in Shooters Bottom and was photographed
also on the 29/6.

Grizzled Skipper at Birling

Dark Green Fritillary at Belle Tout