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.

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Rodmell Brooks

3.pm. – 4p.m. A quiet overcast afternoon, very atmospheric, was lightened by the ever expanding flock of buntings around the stubble fields. Over 120 Corn Buntings in a mixed flock of 200+ birds,that were constantly being disturbed by a Kestrel and female  Merlin (the first I have seen of this bird for over a week). Also Kingfisher along the brook next to the path. All this brought to a halt by a 4 car shooting party.

Harrier and Grey Partridge

Quarter of a mile south of Bo Peep car park a ringtail Hen Harrier quartering the game cover flushing two Grey Partridge (which was a pleasant surprise in this neck of the woods, first I’ve seen in this area for a year) – small flock of Linnet and a Kestrel late afternoon.

Mid-week SOS walk, Cuckmere Haven 11.11.08

Sixteen people joined me on the best morning for weather we have had for a bit, although there still was some strength in the south-westerly wind to say the least. This would keep most birds heads down for the whole morning but it was not quite as bad as I had expected 24 hours earlier.

It was a straightforward walk from the carpark to the sea and back on the eastern side. The birds along the way included a difficult to see Ring Ouzel that only really let itself be known when it gave out two sharp ‘taks’ when it flew off, 1 Redwing, several sightings of Kingfishers, 2 pairs of Stonechats, Kestrel, Redshank, Curlew, Greylag Goose, Tufted Duck, a flotilla of 17 Little Grebes and Little Egret.

A sea-watch was virtually impossible due to the head wind so a quick about turn and back to the carpark with the wind and light behind us which produced excellent views of a Peregrine coming towards us from the north, over our heads and then continuing still fairly high south-west.

A good morning’s walk with one or two nice birds thrown in all made even bettter by everybody’s good mood. Thirty-seven species were seen.