Thursday, 20 May 2010

recent pics

a Whitethroat, who has set up territory in urban Seaford

Dunlin at Arlington Reservoir, while in search of the Temminck's Stint  (see below!)

Temminck's Stint at Arlington Reservoir-13 May 2010

some much better photos can be seen on Sussex Nature (see blog list), but since I only have a rather pathetic camera to be going on with I'm pretty chuffed at this photo of a fantastic bird.

what I believe is a Greater Spotted Orchid, at Arlington Res.

Monday, 17 May 2010

catch up

this blog has now gotten incredibly out of date, so here is what has been happening in the past few weeks of my life wildlife-wise.

Since 5 May, Swifts have been around Seaford daily, filling the skies with their wonderful calls.

at Newhaven Tide Mills on 9 May I saw 2 Sandwich Terns offshire,  Common Sandpipers on the river mouth and a Hobby flying overhead.

A futile attempt to see the Red-rumped Swallows at Arlington Res on 10 May failed miserably, thanks to the freezing NE winds, the only creatures of note a Greater Spotted Orchid and a Common Sandpiper

on 12 May, a slightly better day at Arlington, with glorious weather, produced plenty of Swallows and House Martins, 3 Sand Martins, perhaps the same Common Sandpiper, a nice summer-plumed Dunlin and a fantastic Temminck's Stint.

will upload a few pics taken recently soon.

Friday, 7 May 2010

1 May 2010

a trip into Abbot's Wood produced singing Cuckoo, 5 singing Nightingales, and plenty of Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, with a few Lesser Whitethroats chiming in from time to time. Non-birdy sights were a Pearl-bordered Fritilary in their glade, and an Early Purple Orchid. Abbot's Wood is one of only two places in sussex where Pearl-bordered Fritilaries breed. Of the Nightingales, two males were seen, including one showing very well with his mate right by the path, they presumably have a nest nearby. It was the first time i have ever knowingly seen a female Nightingale, and a first for Dad too despite three decades of birding. And to show I'm not lying, here's the proof.

also some pictures of the PB Frit and Early Purple Orchid, the first proper carpet of bluebells and a Mallard on the lake.

Later on, we visited Arlington Reservoir, looking for hirundines and Ospreys. In the end we saw 100+ Swallow and House Martin and 1 Sand Martin, and Dad saw two swifts. Other birds were several singing Lesser Whitethroat, a few pairs of displaying Great Crested Grebe, a singing Sedge Warbler and a few Willow Warblers. A few poor House Martin shots are shown below

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Splash Point-24 April 2010

With SE winds from the off, and 25 birders keeping their eyes on the sea, this was always going to be a fantastic day. And so it proved to be.

The most constant feature of the 2.5 hours dad and I spent at Splash this morning were Terns. They were constantly streaming past, a never ending flow of dainty, persil white flying machines on loose, powerful wings. Commic terns were ab absolute constant, many coming very close. I would estimate we saw upwards of 400 during our stint. Most of the flocks went very close, allowing the short-billed, long-tailed Arctics to be picked out in good numbers, I identified at least 50, probably about 70 or 80 (it was a week ago, my memory has gone a bit fuzzy since then!), and there were almost certainly well over a hundred moving through. Sandwich Terns went through in three-figures too, and among the hundreds of these commoner terns were 8 Little Terns, which they really were among their big cousins, and 4 Black Terns, looking for all the world like huge swifts, plowing accross the sea in such a haphazard way I half-expected them to crash land into the water.

Skuas were a fairly big feature too. One Arctic Skua circled right over our heads before carrrying on east, and two went ENE towards Seaford Head Golf Course, being lost from sight as they vanished over the cliffs. Overall about 12 Arctic and 8 Great Skua went through, but sadly no Poms.

100 Little Gulls flew past, their very ability to actually fly without being blown about in the wind like a butterfly amazing me as much as anything else. Unsurpisingly though, a fairly strong SE wind did push a few inland. 40 went over our heads, including one spectacular flock of 30 birds, all heading towards Arlington Reservoir. No Bonaparte's were among them, though!

A fair few waders also went past. about 60 each of Whimbrela and Bar-tailed Godwit, the latter in tight compact flocks that zipped by so fast you could miss them if you blinked. Thankfully, one mixed flock did put down on the beach briefly, giving good views, but quickly flew off, passing us quite close in. Most bizarre of all, though, was a group of 4 Avocet. First picked up at a ridiculous distance of about 2 kilometres, they were sitting on the sea! After a few minutes, the unsure little group took off, flying past us in quite unsteady fashion (though that is normal for any Avocets). However, their nerves showed when they put down again, about 100 metres east of the groyne! They only stayed for a minute or two before finally finding their wings again, but I got a fairly good look at them, thanks to the birder who kindly let me use his scope.

Other than all that has been mentioned, their were a fair number of wildfowl. About 50 each of Common Scoter and Brent geese, including one Pale-bellied bird, and two Shoveler, two Pintail and 13 Shelduck.

A Brilliant day's seawatching!
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