Dad and I left the house at about 7.30 AM, arriving at 8.00. Driving the 15 miles, I counted 31 Magpies along the roads! Not exactly the most exciting thing in the world, I know, but I was wondering if the rhyme could be extended that far!... ;)
The sun was just rising above the sea as we arrived, making a spectacular backdrop. However, I couldn't be faffed to take any photos.
As we walked the short distance from where we were parked to the Hollow, several Stock Doves passed overhead, among a few hundred Woodpigeon. Two Bramblings also passed over, one dropping down into the hollow, and we saw a single Wheatear, probably my last of the year.
|Wheatear, Whitbread Hollow, 17 Oct 2010|
Sadly, the plan, as with all hastily set out plans, went awry. The bird was faster on the mark than us, and flew off about 50 yards, away from any football nets. Worse still, the coldappeared to have mucked up my cameras batteries! Though after about half an hour in the relative warmth of the ringing hut, they were working again.
We stayed for a few hours to watch the ringing. I didn't get to help out, unfortunately, but it was still good fun watching the ringing and holding the birds, and Bob and Jake, far more used to the early start than us, remained in upbeat moods! They banded about 40 birds, not a great tally, and nothing particularly rare either. However, seeing Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit in the hand was new for me. They are both truly adorable little birds when you see them up so close! We also caught a few continental Song Thrushes, which Bob very well pointed out the ID features on. Other birds trapped were a male Blackcap, several Chiffchaffs and a little flock of Blue Tits, all of presumed dispersive origin.
|male Goldcrest, Whitebread Hollow. sexed by the orange feathers on the crown|
|Whitbread Hollow, Beachy Head|
Whitbread Hollow is a great place to see visible migration too, which was very visible. loads of Siskin were passing over, with smaller numbers of Goldfinch, and a handful of Redpoll and Brambling. A few of the latter were also in some of the bushs in the hollow. 1500+ Woodpigeon also went east, with 30+ Stock Doves among them. One leucistic Woodpigeon was also seen, it was with one flock that flew over and dropped into the hollow, and all four of us got a good look at it, agreeing we hadn't seen anything quite like it before! About 50 Swallows and a few House Martins went over, and thrushes included one Song Thrush, three Mistle Thrushes and four FIELDFARE, my first of the winter. Meadow Pipit and Skylark were ubuquitiuos as always.
We left at about 11:30 AM. It had really quietened down, with the last two net runs having returned about five birds!
After the Hollow, we had a brief stop at Belle Tout. I was hoping for third time lucky with the gorgeous Phyllosc, but it had had other ideas, and was believed to have cleared out overnight! There were a few Chiffchaffs around, and a group of Siskin passed overhead, while a Kestrel and several dragonflies kept the camera busy!
|This Kestrel posed brilliantly|
|and while photographing it, I took the opportuity to photograph this male Ruddy Darter (?), who landed on my shoe!|
|another presumed male Ruddy Darter|
|while I believe these to both be females of the same species. If Jake, or anyone else, could confirm/correct me again I'd be grateful. Just a hint (:|