Saturday, 25 September 2010

25 Sep, double score!

Late September is my favourite time of year. My first ever local comittee rarity, a Goshawk, was seen exactly one year and 364 days previously to today, in exactly the same area I was walking today. 362 days ago, I saw a Glossy Ibis in the Lower Cuckmere (although I wasn't the original finder that time). And today, I bagged two local rarities, and nice additions to my Self-found list too!

Having noted an execptional movement of birds throughout yesterday around Seaford (two Hobbies, four Grey Wagtails, 350+ Hirundines and 20+ Meadow Pipits) I thought today would be a good day to get out. With clear skies in the morning, it looked to be a good raptor day, although I wasn't too sure about grounded migrants. I opted to walk out to Firle Beacon, where there would be a good chance of seeing any raptors moving.

Along, Firle Road, Seaford, I heard my first migrants, a few Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests calling away in the gardens. There were also a handful of Swallows and House Martins overhead.

On Seaford Golf Course, I recorded a total of 14 Chiffchaffs, 7 Blackcaps and 4 Goldcrests. Single Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit both flew south, and I got a brief view of a Redstart in flight. A flock of Long-tailed Tits, 15+ strong, passed along the pathside. There were also loads and loads of Speckled Woods, some posing very well for shots

A tatty Speckled Wood

While this one was almost pristine!
Hobbs Hawth and Five Lord's Burgh, the areas between the Golf Course and Firle Beacon, where almost devoid of migrants in the windswept weather. about 60 each of Swallow and House Martin were whizzing around, as were 20 Linnets and 30 Meadow Pipits. A Bullfinch called, but just 5 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap were recorded, the wind being at least partly to blame here.

The view from Firle Beacon was spectacular...

The birds were pretty good too.

They included 80 Meadow Pipit, 25 Chiffchaff, 15 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 2 Buzzard and single Yellow Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, Wheatear (shown below) and what I thought was a Redpoll, flying south calling. Suffice to say, I was to discover I was wrong, eventually...

a rather lovely Wheatear at Firle Beacon
However, by far and away the best bird I managed to see was over the wood at Bo-peep. A raptor was being blown in the wind. It flew over the wood, at treetop height, in view at a range of 30 metres for about 10 seconds. It wasn't a Marsh Harrier. It wasn't a Common Buzzard. It was a damn fine looking, dark-phase, fairtrade chocolate HONEY BUZZARD! Regrettably, I never got a good view of the tail, so I'm still weighing up whether it is worth a description. But even if not, it is my first self-found HB and I'm rather happy with it!

As I walked the 31/2 mile walk back to Seaford, still on cloud nine, I didn't see too many more birds. Greenway Bottom held a few Meadow Pipits and Linnets, and two Buzzards, a nice comparison with the Honey Buzz. Goig back through Seaford GC, I found this (very!) recently deceased Red Admiral.

R.I.P, the one that didn't make it to hibernate again.
Back Home, about 6.00 PM

what I thought was a Redpoll, flying south calling. Suffice to say, I was to discover I was wrong, eventually...

I had heard a mysterious bird flying south calling earlier today. It bore some resemblance to a Linnet call, but was at the same time distinctive, and having heard plenty of Linnets, I knew this sounded different. Stuck for ideas, I took my next fallback, a Redpoll.

But, being nosy, I decided to check Redpoll calls on Xeno-canto when I got home. And it became apparent I was wrong in my ID. It wasn't a Redpoll. Or a Siskin. Or a Linnet, or any other finch. However, when I came accross this page, my queries were happily resolved!

That's right, a second brilliant self-found bird, a LAPLAND BUNTING! With so many around at the moment, it isn't too surprising. I saw one less than two weeks ago, in fact. But as a self-found bird, they don't come much better.

As I said before, I love late September!

My totals for today were
Meadow Pipit-120+
House Martin-70+
Long-tailed Tit-30+
Yellow Wagtail-2

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