Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snow birds

on 31st November, Seaford got nine inches of snow. This is an amount virtually unheard of in November this far south. And the following day, a few birds were seen locally.

In the garden, we had two firsts. A REED BUNTING was at the feeders and a WOODCOCK flew over. Other birds in the garden were a Common Gull, a Pied Wagtail, lots of Redwings and larger than usual numbers of the regular stuff. 15 Black-headed Gulls in the neighbourhood were also unusual.

I saw a few other birds on a walk in Seaford too. A second WOODCOCK, lots of Fieldfares and Redwings, a few Meadow Pipits in the gardens and, the undoubted highlight, a gorgeous FIRECREST in one St. Peters Churchyard, on Belgrave Road. Dad also had a third WOODCOCK on Seaford Golf Course, the fourth successive time one has been seen up there after snowfall! He also saw a drake GOOSANDER on the River Ouse at Southease.

all photos taken from the garden on 1st Dec

Thursday, 16 December 2010

November 2010

It took me all of November to get up to date with a week of birding in October! Luckily (depending on your outlook) I have done very little birding since then, so catching up is a tad easier.

By the time we got back to Seaford (31 Oct) visible migration was all but over. A few Meadow Pipits moved over in the first week of November, and overnight Redwings moved over in very good numbers, up until mid-month. November 7th was particularly good. I took a sample count of 23 in 10 minutes, which works out to approximately 120/150 per hour. I'm assumig they would have been moving from approximately 20:00 to 05:00, about first light at this time. This would have meant that approximately 1080-1350 Redwings moved over during that night!

I also saw Siskins in Seaford on 16 and 18 November. I have never seen then actually in town before now, only flying over, so this was unusual. I haven't seen any since though, so I don't think they are wintering.

On 20 Nov, in a mixed flock of Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit, I saw a Chiffchaff of eastern origin, either abientus or tristis, but most likely the former. It was browner above and without any yellowish tone on it's underside, looking strikingly similar to the bird here (scroll down to 15 Nov). two Ravens also flew over today, and I saw my first wintering Redwings in Seaford.

After that, I saw very few birds until the snow arrived. On 28 November, a flock of 25 Lapwing and 30 Skylarks flew high over my house, all heading SW. I'll sign off with some photos from the garden taken recently...

Friday, 3 December 2010

ending scotland trip

well, it's been a whle bloody mnth since I was up there, but school, social life and general teen lethargy have prevented me from doing much on this blog since then. October 29th was my last day in Scotland, and on the 30th we took the ten-hour drive back down to East Sussex.

We spent the late morning birding on the 29th. At Longniddry, a Sparrowhawk came in/off, disappearing inland. A female Long-tailed Duck flew west, and other ducks were 3 Velvet Scoter, 20+ scoter sp (probably all Velvet), 1 drake Eider and 1 female Goldeneye. A Slavonian Grebe (yeartick 193) and a Guillemot were also offshore. Waders on the shore were c10 Sanderling (yeartick 194), c10 Dunlin, 1 Turnstone, c40 Lapwing, 2 Grey Plover, c250 Golden Plover and c100 Bar-tailed Godwit.

Golden Plover on the shore east f Longniddry. and No, they aren't Starlings!

At Mussleburgh Lagoons, I didn't bother with a camera. A mistake in retrospect, as Razorbill, Shag, Goldeneye, Slavonian Grebe and Velvet Scoter all showed well within photographic range. The totals were c20 Velvet Scoter, 3 Slavonian Grebes (together, and very close inshore), 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill (also very, very close), and 3 Shags. On the lagoons were c100 of Golden Plover and Lapwing, and c20 Curlew.

In the same field (off the A27) where we had seen 2 Roe Deer on the 24th, there were 13 today!

On the 30th, we stopped in Kieltner Forest, Northumberland. On a beautiful morning walk in the stunning scenery, a flock of 40 Crossbills were brilliant and my best ever views of this normally elusive species. Also seen were 60 Siskin, a sole Mistle Thrush and several Goldcrests. Dad also saw another Dipper.

two Red Kites were seen over the A4, and several flcks of Golden Plover and Lapwing were seen from the A68 (Pennines), A1 (the NE) and A14 (E Midlands). Totalling 600 Golden Plover and several thousand Lapwings.
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