Thursday, 26 June 2014

26 June 2014 Beachy Head Sunny periods E 4

Did a short sea-watch from Birling but no sign of any Shearwaters. We then covered Birling Lane, to Belle Tout wood and back hoping for butterflies although the wind was quite strong.

Gannet 10
Sandwich Tern 3 E
Corn Bunting 2

Meadow Brown 50
Small Tortoiseshell 3
Common Blue 2
Small Heath 6
Marbled White 50
Speckled Wood 3
Dark Green Fritillary 1

Six-spot Burnett Moth 50

Dark Green Fritillary-just 1 seen today

Marbled White - 50 seen today

An Indian Myna was present at Birling for a few days this week, last seen yesterday.

Have also started to write up this years Spring records and will post the summary onto the blog.. Have just finished the Divers and Grebes as follows:

Diver sp. Spring 2014: Between 1/1 to 19/5, a total of 30 unidentiified divers were logged with a maximum of 10 E on the 5/5. Most of these were probably Black-throated Divers.

Red-throated Diver Spring 2014: January: Recorded on six dates during the month with a total of 119 birds seen with a daily max of 67 E on the 25/1. February: Recorded on two dates with 13 E on the 1/2 and 5 E on the 23/2. Movement is more random during the winter months with probably birds moving between local feeding areas rather than migrating.
Spring sea-watches: Recorded on 32 dates from 1/3 (3 W) to 22/5 (1 E). A total of 501 were identified with the majority moving E with daily maxs: 30/3 168 E and 31/3 50 E.

Black-throated Diver :Spring 2014: Spring sea-watches: Recorded from 4/3 1 E to 6/5 1 E. A total 41 E over 6 dates with a daily max of 18 E on the 16/4 and 17 E with 1 also on the sea on the 5/5. As usual the majority were in full s/p.

Great Northern Diver :Spring 2014: One in partial s/p E on the 10/4 (JFC, DRC, RDME).

White-billed Diver :Spring 2014: 21/4 A first summer spent a few minutes on the sea off Birling and was digi-scoped before being flushed by a yacht and departed E.  (DC, JFC, BK and PN).
Our first record for Beachy Head. and the 5th record for Sussex with the last being seen in 2007.

First summer White-billed Diver off Birling Gap on the 21st April
(digi-scoped by David Cooper)

Great Crested Grebe : Spring 2014: Jan-Feb: Recorded on 7 dates with a daily max: of 9 on the 12/1 of which 6 moved E. Spring sea-watches: A total of 103 bird-days with a daily max of 45 on the 8/3 of which 22 E and 23 on the sea, and 9/3 with 16 on the sea and 9 E.
Our best Spring to date and also our maximum daily count of 45 on the 8/3. 

Red-necked Grebe: Spring 2014: (1/4 1 possible moved E, but just too far out to be certain of the i/d. JFC, DC) 

Slavonian Grebe : Spring 2014: None were identified during the Spring sea-watches.

Black-necked Grebe :Spring 2014: 29/3 8 in partial s/p on the sea off Birling (DC,JFC,BK and RDME), and 1 in full s/p off Birling on the 2/4. (RKH JFC, DRC, RDME, RHC and PN). 
This now brings our total to 40 since 1960 of which only 8 were seen between 1960-1999 and 32 have been seen since 2000. This would seem to indicate a marked increase in records in recent years in Sussex.

Slavonian / Black-necked Grebe : Spring 2014: 29/3 5 sat on the sea off Birling but just to far out for identification. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

13 June 2014 Beachy Head

Late News as follows:

7th and 8th June 1 Quail calling during the evening Cornish Farm area.

11th June 1 Hobby and 3 Hummingbird Hawk Moths Hodcombe

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

11 June 2014 Beachy Head

Pete Neatherway
May 1942 - June 2014

We heard yesterday of the sad loss of one of Beachy birding stalwarts Pete Neatherway, who after visiting Beachy during the morning with his wife Mim, returned home at lunch time for a snack and a rest. Pete then died peacefully in his sleep.

Pete and Mim returned from South Africa some 27 years ago after a period of working 11 years out there, and chose to live in Eastbourne, becoming very frequent visitors to nearby Beachy Head. We first met Pete and Mim on almost their first visit to Beachy when they were keen to see a Ring Ouzel, and we pointed them in the right direction to see one, and became good friends from then on. Pete was a birder who enjoyed walking the Downs between the Old Trapping Area to Birling Gap revelling in looking for and finding passerine migrants that over the years included both Subalpine and Pallas's Leaf Warblers. He never really took up sea-watching from Birling as he spent some of his time in South Africa doing sea-bird pelagic trips watching and even catching Albatrosses for ringing purposes. That said, he had a wonderful uncanny knack of turning up just at the right time at Birling, and this year alone, despite probably only spending just a couple of hours sea-watching all Spring at Birling, he saw the Red-breasted Goose which passed along the Sussex coast, just happened to appear when the White-billed Diver spent a few minutes on the sea, using my scope to view this, a lifer for him, and also turned up on our best day ever for Poms moving past seeing a number of packs.

Whenever Doreen and myself  met up with Pete and Mim, Pete always had a wonderful smile, a hug for Doreen and a fierce handshake with me which usually left me flinching. After his retirement in 2007, we spent many mornings birding the area with Pete who was superb company. Pete always welcomed and spent time talking to new birders on the headland and never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was a loyal supporter of Arsenal Football Club, and in recent years had to take many jibes from ourselves at their recent form, but this always ended in a laugh. His many birding friends at Beachy will miss him greatly.

Our thoughts now are with his wife Mim, who herself has been through some difficult health hurdles this year with a spell in hospital in February and has just finished a course of hospital visits only last Thursday. 

Doreen, John, David and Terry Cooper.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

7 June 2014 Beachy Head Overcast with sunny periods and thunderstorm SE 1

Managed to cover all the usual sites on the Headland between the thunderstorm. No night migrants seen although a W passage of 50 Swifts in 5 minutes directly after the thunderstorm.

Gannet 35 W and 3 E
Common Scoter 10 W
Sparrowhawk 1 female
Peregrine 1 pair
Arctic Skua 2 (1E and 1 lingering)
Sandwich Tern 12 E
Swift 50 W in 5 minutes directly after the thunderstorm
House Martin 1 W
Corn Bunting 5

Painted Lady 2

Third summer pale morph Arctic Skua lingering off Birling
(all pictures taken by David Cooper)

Friday, 6 June 2014

6 June 2014 Beachy Head Fine sunny and warm SE 2

Met up with Bob at Birling and we covered all the usual sites on the Headland including the Cliff Path. We also called in to Hodcombe to see Roger and Liz and birded the garden with Roger.
No sign of any new night migrants but a nice selection of butterflies and some fine bee orchids.

Peregrine 2
Collared Dove 1
Swallow 12
Stonechat 1 rubicola male with female and 4 juvs in Hodcombe.
Song Thrush 1
Blackcap 1 singing
Raven 3
Corn Bunting 3

Small Tortoiseshell 5
Common Blue 10 including 1 female blue variety
Small Blue 4
Large Skipper 3
Cream spotted Tiger Moth 1
Broad-bodied Chaser 2
Pyramidal Orchid Several showing
Bee Orchid A number seen in 3 different sites.

Late news for the 1st June was a Bee-eater over Hodcombe



Stonechat rubicola male in slightly faded plumage


Large Skipper

Small Blue

Cream-spotted Tiger Moth

Bee Orchid normal variety

Bee Orchid pale variety

Sunday, 1 June 2014

1 June 2014 Beachy Head Fine sunny and warm Wind light and variable

We covered all the usual sites on the Headland including the Cornish Farm track. Met up with PN and MN who were covering the Birling and Belle Tout area. Just a few new migrants seen with a singing 1stS male Black Redstart being the highlight.

Little Egret 2 E
Peregrine 1 small ad. male
Mediterranean Gull 2 ad's E
Black Redstart 1S male occasionally singing
Reed Warbler 1 singing Shooters Bottom
Common Whitethroat c30
Spotted Flycatcher 2
Corn Bunting 5

Small Tortoiseshell 1
Small Heath 3
Speckled Wood 6
Dingy Skipper 2
Painted Lady 1 - Our first for this year
Red Admiral 1
Common Blue Damselfly 1
Bee Orchid 6 normal variety and 8 pale variety

(Taken by DC)


1st S male Black Redstart at Birling

Spotted Flycatcher in Shooters Bottom

Corn Bunting - c5 pairs breeding



Skylark - good numbers singing over the top fields

Painted Lady - our first for this year

Cardinal Beetle in Shooters Bottom

Bee Orchid - normal variety

 Common Spotted Orchid

Cinnabar Moth at Birling