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For local bird & wildlife news, try Matt Eade’s blog, Lewes Wildlife, The Kemp Town Enclosures, Beachy Head Birding and my main blog Firle Birds.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Cuckmere Ouse Bird Blog, especially Les Bird, whose cracking photos (such as this Arlington Red-rumped Swallow below) you can still browse in the archives.

~ Charlie

Red-rumped Swallow, May 2010, by Les Bird

Red-rumped Swallow, May 2010, by Les Bird

night-time movements of Redwing and Godwits

This is the time of year Redwings start migrating northwards, primarily at night. Despite the cloudy conditions I counted a fair few overhead last night- listen out for them, the gorgeous atmospheric calls is one of my favourite, especially in October/November when it seems like the sound of autumn to me. If you aren’t familiar with their call, the link below should be useful;

and while you’re there, listen to their song as well, sometimes you can hear it from now onwards,as birds practice for the breeding grounds they are very soon heading too. Unlike their calls, the song is a very tuneful warble, most similar to the song of the Blackcap.

Another somewhat peculiar February speciality for me is Bar-tailed Godwit. Last year many were heard passing over at this time of year, along with a few Golden Plover, Curlew, Dunlin and even a night-flying flock of Brent Goose! Last year I assumed they were relocating following the cold weather, but it’s been quite mild recently… so anyway, the single Bar-tailed Godwit I heard pass over the house at about 11:00 PM last night was quite a surprise! Perhaps they’re actually a regular February occurence, I’ll have to keep an ear out tonight as well.

a spring migrant in the Cuckmere, April 2011image of  migrant Bar-tailed Godwit, Cuckmere Haven, April 2o11

here are some recording of Bar-wit (possibly my favourite birding abbreviation) which you could take a look at.

spring is here

that’s right, yesterday (26 Feb) my first Western Honey-Bee of the year in the garden in Seaford, plus a migrating Common Buzzard (buteo buteo) which flew over heading North.

Among the gulls at Newhaven West Beach were an adult ICELAND GULL and a few Argentatus Herring Gulls (the scandinavian and nominate european race). Well that’s what I assume they were, but there are intergrades between Larus Argentatus Argentatus and L.A. Argenteus (our British subspecies of Herring Gull, which also inhabits Iceland and some of W Europe) that make racially identifying them more complicated. Gulls are a real pain to ID basically! But the ICELAND GULL (larus glaucoides) showed fairly well though very briefly among the other gulls on the breakwater, before somehow disappearing when the scope was taken off it for about 30 seconds! It was the first adult I’ve ever seen in, and I might hopefully get a better view of it before too long! There was also evidence of spring among the gulls, both Black-headed and Herring beginning their moult into summer plumage now. A Turnstone  heard calling somewhere out on the Breakwater was also a first for the site for me, very unusual considering the frequency with which I see both Purple Sandpiper and Ringed Plover in the area, which like very similar habitats.

On an unrelated note, my name is Liam, I am a local birder from Seaford and I’ve just started writing for this  blog!

Another Iceland Gull at Newhaven West Beach

I made a brief visit to the West beach at Newhaven late afternoon on friday (24th)  and was watching a mass of gulls around a fishing boat as it approached the harbour when I picked out an obvious adult white winged gull, my first thoughts were Glaucous Gull as it looked slighty larger than the many immature Herring Gulls present,but was probably due to the paleness of the bird. As the boat entered the harbour I lost sight of the gull and could not find it again.

I returned again yesterday late afternoon (25th) and watched a few small boats enter the harbour with only a handful of gulls following and no sign of it, as the tide was now ebbing I moved across to view the beach as the gulls were now starting to land on the sand, and after scanning those present I refound the bird which proved to be an adult Iceland Gull.

Some photo highlights from Tidemills area 10/02 and 11/02

Lovely afternoon sunshine on friday and saturday produced excellent photo opportunities along with some pretty confiding subjects at Newhaven Tidemills.

A pair of Avocets have attracted a lot of admirers.

Bar tailed Godwit



Dunlin Roost

Grey Plover



All of the above images were taken from the tidal pool to the east of the concrete footpath, a Knot was also present but proved a little camera shy. On saturday afternoon four Golden Plover were present on the vegetated area between the creek and the sea plus quite a few hidden Snipe, Skylark and a flock of Linnets.

Golden Plover


Goosanders on the pond

Thanks go to Steven Munday for the info. Two Drake Goosanders on Piddinghoe Pond late afternoon diving on the only unfrozen strip of water. They were seen a little later on the river near the incinerator. Pics not great looking almost straight at the sun.

Short eared Owls – Southease/Rodmell area

Whilst walking the dog yesterday afternoon  I had excellent views of two Short eared Owls midway between Southease bridge and the Rodmell track, hunting the ditches and flying close to the river bank at times, this tempted me to try again today armed with my camera, I`ve not had much luck trying to photograph these birds here so far this winter and again today proved somewhat disappointing, I did see two again but they did not hunt very close and were somewhat disturbed  by gunfire closeby.