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]


Firecrest at Rodmell

A Firecrest at Rodmell yesterday (Sharifin Gardiner, via SOS sightings)

Short-eared Owl at Bo Peep

A Short-eared Owl reported today by Barrie Norman at Bo Peep, Alciston (from Firle Birds).

Yesterday, a Woodcock at Frog Firle (Alfriston) seen by Bob Eade, who also had two Firecrests in his garden in Seaford (via SOS).

Garganey arrive

Garganey by ferran pestañaA day of Garganey action – an impressive three pairs reported with Teal on a farm pond near Arlington (Andrew Johnston, via SOS) but an extraordinary 26 reported flying past Seaford, amongst lots of other good stuff (Dick Gilmore, via SOS).

In the past few days, there have been significant first arrivals of summer migrants in the area. Over the weekend, Wheatears were reported several times, particularly from Newhaven Tidemills, with Firecrest in the lower Cuckmere Valley and an early Yellow Wagtail at Seaford golf course (Bob Self).

Meanwhile in Firle (where even British Coal Tits are rather unusual) a continental bird (Parus ater ater) was reported over the weekend, visiting Paul Stevens’ birdfeeder.

Image by Flickr user ferran pestaña


A few long-staying birds:

Four Bearded Tits remain on show at the Ouse Estuary Project.

The Great Northern Diver was reported again on Friday, on the scrape at Cuckmere Haven.

The Firecrest was seen again at Rodmell.

Also some good seabirds seen from Seaford on Friday by Bob Self:

“After a few utterly futile attempts to find anything on the sea at Splash Point recently, a two hour bitterly cold vigil in excellent light and wind conditons proved remarkably productive with one Black-throated Diver (briefly landed on the sea before going west at 10.40); one Great Northern Diver fairly close inshore going east (possibly two); 4 Red-throated Diver; 14 Diver sp.;12 Brent Geese; 11 Common Scoter; several Fulmar; one Auk sp. and 6 Gannets. In addition, on the beach beneath the cliffs at Splash Point I recorded an adult Yellow-legged Gull and what appeared (to my untutored eye) to be a recently deceased Dolphin around 70 cm in length.”

Firecrest, Rodmell

From Sharifin Gardiner, per SOS sightings:

A stunning Firecrest just outside my window in Rodmell at 08.30 this morning, adding to regular Goldcrests and recent Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker. The previous two mornings I looked in vain for the Bearded Tit in the reeds by the end of the track to the Ouse. However single Kingfisher, Chiffchaff, Yellowhammer and 5 Corn Buntings around the pumping station, a regular pair of Stonechats and 3 Redshank in addition to the other species reported yesterday.