Tuesday, 24 March 2015

24 Mar 2015 Beachy Head Early rain becoming dry with rain again later. NW light

LP visited the Headland and covered most of the usual sites. Small arrival of night migrants, also a party of 7 Red Kites.

Red Kite 7 drifted in from the west and circled over Belle Tout and departed E
Common Buzzard 6
Peregrine 2+
Black Redstart 3 (1 Birling and 2 Hodcombe)
Wheatear 1 female
Blackbird 20
Redwing 2
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 30+

Red Kites over Belle Tout

Red Kites 
(All pictures taken by Lawrence Pitcher)

Monday, 23 March 2015

23 Mar 2015 Beachy Head

LP decided to sea-watch from 17.10-18.45 as the wind had swung to the SW and recorded c1,300 Brent Geese E majority in large flocks.

Also a report on the SOS web-site of a Ring Ouzel, Wheatear and Chiffchaff seen during the morning.

(taken by Lawrence Pitcher)
Brent Geese moving over Birling

Saturday, 21 March 2015

21 Mar 2015 Beachy Head Clear and sunny at first becoming overcast and cool N 3-4

With a cold brisk N wind, we didn't bother with a sea-watch and covered Birling lane, Birling to Belle Tout loop including the wood, and Shooters Bottom.

Migrants were in short supply although 2 new Black Redstarts were seen and c100 Meadow Pipits came in and a flock of 28 Chaffinches flew over high moving E.

Sparrowhawk 1
Common Buzzard 1
Kestrel 1
Curlew 2
Stock Dove 2
Meadow Pipit c100 in and then N.
Alba Wagtail 2 in
Black Redstart 2 (both 1stW males)
Stonechat 5
Blackbird 6
Song Thrush 1
Chiffchaff 2
Raven 3+
Chaffinch 28 high E

Late news from yesterday evening was a Short-eared Owl near Belle Tout.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

18 March 2015 Beachy Head Fine and sunny ENE

LP visited Belle Tout wood, Birling and Sardine Valley. Small fall of 14 Chiffchaffs with another Firecrest at Birling and c30 Meadow Pipits in off the sea.

SL also visited Belle Tout wood and had 10 Chiffchaffs, 1 Firecrest and 1 Goldcrest.

Chiffchaffs taken by Lawrence Pitcher

Monday, 16 March 2015

16th March 2015 Beachy E4

LP visited the Belle Tout area seeing 3 Firecrests and 3 Chiffchaffs in the wood and a second calendar-year Yellow-legged Gull in the field opposite and the female-type Black Redstart still in the Old Lighthouse garden.

Firecrest in Belle Tout Wood (Laurence Pitcher)

Chiffchaff in Belle Tout Wood (Laurence Pitcher)

Black Redstart in the Old Lightouse garden (Laurence Pitcher)

Sunday, 15 March 2015

15th March 2015 Beachy NE4 Overcast

With the cold northeasterly remaining overnight our hopes were pinned on some pre-dawn rain and the overcast conditions dropping any migrant braving the Channel crossing onto first landfall. However, a five minute look out to sea failed to impress and covering Birling, Belle Tout and the top fields failed to produce any migrants at all. 

Red-throated Diver 1E
Great Crested Grebe 1 on sea
Brent 20E
Sparrowhawk 1
Stonechat 8

Saturday, 14 March 2015

14th March 2015 Beachy NE3 Clear

A cold north-easterly wind combined with clear conditions rarely does us any favours in the Spring so it was no surprise that effectively no migrants were seen today. A fifteen minute sea-watch proved deadly quiet so we covered Birling, Belle Tout and the top fields. A Yellowhammer dropped into the scrub at the top of Birling Lane being a formerly favoured area for the species, a Redwing was seen on the eastern side of Belle Tout Wood and the Black Redstart was still at the Old Lighthouse but the only diurnal migration was limited to a tight flock of 12 Chaffinches flying over heading east.

Red-throated Diver 1E, 2W, 6 on sea
Grey Heron 1W
Buzzard 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Auk sp. 1W
Redwing 1
Stonechat 14
Black Redstart 1
Meadow Pipit 2N, 15
Chaffinch 14E
Yellowhammer 1
Reed Bunting 3

Male Reed Bunting at Belle Tout

Carrion Crow over the Old Belle Tout Lighthouse
Carrion Crows with predominantly white flight feathers were once a feature of birding at Beachy but have been encountered far less frequently in recent years.

Friday, 13 March 2015

13th March 2015 Beachy ENE3-4

LP made another afternoon visit again seeing a Firecrest in Belle Tout Wood but also a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull in the Top Fields and another rubicola-type Continental Stonechat in Michel Dean Valley.

First-winter Yellow-legged Gull in the top fields (Laurence Pitcher)

Thursday, 12 March 2015

12th March 2015 Birling Gap 6am - 7.30am SE2 Clear

An early morning 90 minute sea-watch in a light south-easterly breeze produced just a trickle of passage. LP made an afternoon visit to Belle Tout Wood seeing a Chiffchaff, Firecrest and Goldcrest there.

Red-throated Diver 8E
Gannet 12E,1W
Brent 150E
Canada Goose 2E then W
Greylag 1W
Scoter 6E
Gadwall 4E
Shoveler 8E
Curlew 5E
Common Gull c.400
Black-headed Gull c.200
Meadow Pipit 1N
alba Wagtail sp. 1N
Chiffchaff 1
Firecrest 1
Goldcrest 1
Raven 1

Canada Geese passing Birling
Brent passing Birling

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

11th March 2015 Beachy ESE2-3 Sunny

Bob & Sarah had a brief walk at Beachy today covering the Birling and Belle Tout loop seeing a Black Redstart just below the old lighthouse, hearing a Corn Bunting singing but seeing just a single Stonechat on the east side of the wood.

LP also visited the headland seeing a few Redwings in the bushes below the old lighthouse, hearing Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks in song and seeing a male Continental Stonechat S.t. rubicola - type the appearance of which he considered having more in common with Continental Stonechats he was watching in Majorca a week ago.

Male Continental Stonechat S.t. rubicola - type near Belle Tout (Laurence Pitcher)

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

10th March 2015 Beachy NW2

LP made a late afternoon visit seeing a Short-eared Owl hunting at Birling Gap at 17.40 and hearing a Dartford Warbler.

Monday, 9 March 2015

9th March 2015 Beachy W3 Overcast and cold

LP made an afternoon visit to Belle Tout seeing at least 2 Firecrests and a Chiffchaff there.

Firecrest in Belle Tout Wood (Laurence Pitcher)

Sunday, 8 March 2015

8th March 2015 Beachy WSW3

We spent 15 minutes seawatching but saw very little so decided to cover Birling, Belle Tout, the rough field, Chat Vale, the Old Trapping Area and the Hotel Garden that produced the first flush of passerine migrants with 20 Stonechats providing the numbers but there was also an increase in Meadow Pipits, a few Chaffinches moving over, a couple of alba Wagtails arriving in off the sea and best of all a Firecrest at Birling.

Red-throated Diver 1E
Great Crested Grebe 1 on sea
Buzzard 1 originally sat in Belle Tout wood
Red-legged Partridge 2
Mediterranean Gull 1E ad
Razorbill 1E
Auk sp. 1E
Stock Dove c.20
Woodpigeon c.250
Skylark c.50
Meadow Pipit c.20
alba sp. 2 in off
Stonechat 20 including 2 males seen to fly off high north from near the Old Belle Toute lighthouse
Firecrest 1
Raven 4+
Chaffinch c.10
Yellowhammer 2
Corn Bunting c.20

Firecrest at Birling
An early Spring migrant whose passage peaks in March.

Female Stonechat in the Hotel Garden
Another early Spring migrant. There was a good arrival of this species today this being the 20th we saw between Birling Gap and the Beachy Head Hotel - exceeded in Spring only by 24 seen on the 4th March 2002. How many went unseen today in Whitbread Hollow and Cow Gap?

Saturday, 7 March 2015

7th March 2015 Birling 7am - 8am SSW5-6

We sea-watched for an hour in cold and windy conditions seeing little evidence of any passage. Walking Birling and Belle Tout failed to produce any migrants.

Red-throated Diver 9E, 2W
Gannet 3E, 1W
Brent 42E
Scoter 5E
Auk sp. 5E
Mediterranean Gull 2E ad s/p
Stonechat 3
Corn Bunting 15
Raven 5+

Saturday, 28 February 2015

28 Feb 2015 Beachy Head Overcast cold S 6 gusting to 8

Cold dull day with a strong S wind. We sea-watched from 06.55-07.55 in difficult conditions with the S wind coming straight at us. We then visited Belle Tout wood but as expected virtually didn't see a bird in the wood. Still good numbers of birds in the set a-side field but far too windy to walk through it.

Red-throated Diver 14 (9 E & 5 W) (1 appeared to be in full s/p, and could easily be mistaken for a B.T Diver, with the throat appearing all black).
Great-crested Grebe 4 E
Gannet c20 E
Brent Goose 8 (5 E & 3W)
Eider 1 drake E
Common Scoter 3 E
Mediterranean Gull 2 ad's s/p E
Kittiwake c50 E
Auk Sp. 22 (11 E & 11 W)
Stonechat 2
Raven 1
Starling 200

Late News: The male Dartford Warbler has been recorded on two dates recently by LP, and a Black Redstart is wintering in the Hodcombe area.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

15 Feb 2015 Beachy Head Overcast cool ENE 1-2

We sea-watched from 07.15-08.15 but little movement recorded. We then visited Belle Tout wood and walked the set-aside field.

Red-throated Diver 12 (11 E and 1 on the sea)
Great-crested Grebe 2 (1 E and 1 on the sea)
Gannet 37 E
Shelduck 2 W
Common Scoter 1 E
Kestrel 1
Peregrine 1
Common Gull 40 in the fields
Auk Sp. 3 E
Skylark c200
Stonechat 2
Yellowhammer 1 female
Reed Bunting 7
Corn Bunting 80+

Part of the Corn Bunting flock

Saturday, 14 February 2015

14 Feb 2015 Beachy Head Overcast with light rain SSE 1

DC and BK sea-watched from 07.15-09.15.

Red-throated Diver 47E, 12W, 6 on sea
Great Crested Grebe 1E, 1 on sea
Gannet 56E, 1W
Fulmar 6E, 16W
Greylag Goose 2E
Brent Goose 45E
Scoter 1E
Kittiwake 6E, 3W
Common Gull 7
Lesser Black-backed Gull 2 in field
Auk sp. 2E

Harbour Porpoise 1

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

11 Feb 2015 Beachy Head Overcast, cool and clear ESE 1

With a ESE breeze forecast, we decided to go for a sea-watch from 07.15-09.00, but unfortunately very little sea-movement recorded. We then covered Birling Lane, Birling loop, Belle Tout wood and the rough field. Although the bushes were virtually bird-less and rough field again had good numbers of larks and buntings with hundreds of corvids and pigeons, with the highlight being a male Dartford Warbler.

Red-throated Diver 10 (6 E and 4 on the sea)
Great-crested Grebe 17 (6 E and 11 on the sea)
Fulmar 6
Sparrowhawk 1
Kestrel 1
Peregrine 2
Red-legged Partridge 2
Curlew 1
Stock Dove 35
Woodpigeon 250+
Tawny Owl 2
Skylark c250
Rock Pipit 1
Stonechat 3
Dartford Warbler 1 male
Raven 3
Reed Bunting 2
Corn Bunting 30+

Great-crested Grebes on the sea off Birling

Rock Pipit in the car park at Birling

Male Dartford Warbler in the rough field.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

25 Jan 2015 Beachy Head Frosty sunny clear W1

Our first sea-watch of the year between 08.30-09.15 and then we just walked through the rough field, Belle Tout wood and the walk back to Birling:

Red-throated Diver 5 E
Great-crested Grebe 4 (2 E and 2 on the sea)
Fulmar 6
Gannet 1 E
Brent Goose 6 E
Common Buzzard 2
Peregrine 1
Red-legged Partridge 1
Kittiwake 10
Stock Dove 7
Tawny Owl 2
Great-spotted Woodpecker 2
Skylark 200
Rock Pipit 1+
Wren 5
Stonechat 4
Goldfinch 20
Reed Bunting 7
Corn Bunting 50

Female Stonechat at Birling

Sunday, 4 January 2015

4th Jan 2015 Beachy Head Overcast becoming fine and mild. N 1

We covered Birling to Belle Tout loop, Belle Tout wood and rough field opposite Belle Tout wood.
Highlight was a Short-eared Owl with still good numbers of Skylarks and Corn Buntings.

Fulmar 8
Common Buzzard 1
Tawny Owl 2
Short-eared Owl 1
Skylark c500 in rough field
Meadow Pipit 2
Stonechat 1
Song Thrush 1
Goldfinch 30
Reed Bunting 6 in rough field
Corn Bunting c50 in rough field






Short-eared Owl near Cornish Farm