July and early August round-up

Common Blue butterflies in Firle, by Mary Berridge

Common Blues in Firle, by Mary Berridge

So, everything went quiet after the Red-footed Falcon, but things have started to move again.

Among the commoner migrant warblers noted at Seaford Head in recent days there have been several Grasshopper Warblers and Nightingales , and today the first Pied Flycatcher of the season.

A Black Redstart at High and Over on 31 July preceded one at Firle two days later – an unusual time of year for this species, recalling an early-autumn record at Alciston a few years back.

At Arlington Reservoir, Jacob Everitt has turned up some good waders, including 2 Black-tailed Godwits on 22nd,  and Little Ringed Plover (juv) and 9 Common Sandpipers on 29th.

The Red Kite (kites?) continues to be seen, with luck, mainly along the escarpment between the lower Cuckmere and Firle. Hobbies have been typically low-profile, but continue to be seen occasionally. And a strange-looking Kestrel photographed at Malling appears to be leucistic – resembling a small, pale harrier (see The Lyons Den for a picture)

Meanwhile Pearl-bordered Fritillaries had their best recorded year of recent times at Abbott’s Wood, with over 250 recorded.

Alpine Swift etc – Weekend roundup

A rush of activity around the Ouse this weekend, worthy of a roundup.

Highlight was the ALPINE SWIFT seen at Rodmell this morning – the first locally since the twitchable Lewes bird two years ago.

Also reported today from Lewes Brooks: two White Wagtails (Andrew and Ian Whitcomb), two Med Gulls, a pair of Garganey and a Wheatear (Alan Kitson, SOS sightings).

Viewing screen at the OEP

At the Ouse Estuary project yesterday, a GLAUCOUS GULL, five Med Gulls and two drake Garganey (How many seen in the Ouse Valley already this spring? Six? Ten?). Today at least two Med Gulls still there, as well as my earliest ever Common Tern*, at least seven Chiffchaffs and a Cetti’s Warbler. Good to see the water levels here looking wildlife-friendly (for years it looked like someone had forgotten to put the plug in).

Wheatears were seen widely, including several at Tidemills and ten on Seaford Head, where there was also a Black Redstart reported (Derek Barber & Tracey Lambert, SOS sightings). Movement offshore has also livened up, with plenty of Brent Geese yesterday from Splash Point, amongst other birds (see Liam Curson’s report for more detail).

Meanwhile a Firecrest by the cricket field in Firle yesterday was my first in the village for three years, and a day in advance of the first singing Chiffchaffs.

Bring on the rest of Spring.

* it seems this is the joint earliest Common Tern ever recorded in Sussex [see Liam’s comment and link]

More Garganey?

A pair of Garganey today, this time 1K North of Southease Bridge, on the West side of the river. The same as the two seen south of the bridge last week?

Also three Chiffchaffs there, and one at Arlington Reservoir, while 9 Purple Sandpipers remain at Newhaven Harbour, and a Black Redstart was seen at Splash Point, Seaford.

[sightings via SOS site and the Sussex Nature blog – see latter for pics]

Roundup, Valentine’s Day 2010

Common Crane, by Les Bird

The Common Crane still present and enjoyed by many today, around Durham Farm just south of Southease.

A new flight picture has been posted on the SOS sightings board.

Other local sightings today:

Two Red-necked Grebes off Peacehaven, with two Black Redstarts and a Rock Pipit there (Alan Kitson and Miou Helps, via SOS).

A Black-throated Diver, 7 Red-throated Divers and plenty of Gannets and auks moving off Splash Point, Seaford (Ewan Urquhart & John Reaney, also SOS).

Ducks around the Cuckmere

It’s all about ducks at the moment. Three Goosander (male and two females) were at Arlington Reservoir again today, with a couple of Gadwall and nine Pintail among the usual Wigeon there (Paul James, Liam Curson et al, per SOS sightings).

Meanwhile the female Scaup still on a pond beside the lower Cuckmere today, just south of the Golden Galleon, and the two drake Goldeneye were last reported on the river itself on Thursday.

A count of 60 Snipe at Alfriston yesterday (Matt Eade) was notable, as was the lingering male Black Redstart today at Seaford Primary School (Liam Curson, both per SOS).

In Firle Park today, a season’s high count of 180 Common Gulls, with similar numbers of Black-headed.

Black Redstart in Lewes

Another Black Redstart in Lewes, on houses betwee South Street and the Ouse, on 2 Jan. Also a common seal in the river opposite Cliffe Industrial Estate (Jeremy Patterson, via SOS sightings).

Blackcaps and Black Redstarts

An impressive count of six Blackcaps in a garden in Landport, Lewes (30 Dec, via SOS).

Today, two Black Redstarts at Newhaven Tidemills, on “the grey sheds near the east arm” of the harbour (via Birdguides).

Happy New Year!