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!

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Woodcock, Goosander, Hen Harrier

A few wintry movers in recent days: Woodcocks seen in Newhaven and Seaford, and a Snipe at Firle village (see Firle Birds).

In the Ouse Valley, a ringtail Hen Harrier and a redhead Goosander seen yesterday by Alan Kitson (per SOS).

Parakeet in Newhaven

A Ring-necked Parakeet reported this evening in Newhaven – in Valley Road (via Birdguides).

There are thousands in the London area, but not too many in our part of Sussex. Yet.

White-winged Gulls, Seaford and Newhaven

On Birdguides today, an Iceland Gull reported at Splash Point Seaford, and a Glaucous Gull reported from Newhaven.

Does anyone have any further details on these sightings?

***UPDATE***

Matt Eade posts on SOS:

A seawatch at Splash Point, Seaford this morning from 07.35 – 09.05 produced a Red-necked Grebe flying east at 07.39, then Steve Dawson arrived and we both had good views of an adult ICELAND GULL which was first seen at 07.54 flying in from the southwest, then landed on the sea for ten minutes and then headed off east.

Also that morning I had the 21 Waxwings again at Windmill Hill, and then the 2nd winter Glaucous Gull at Newhaven.

Late news: Swallow, Marsh Harrier, 22 Nov

oep-from-aboveA Swallow below High and Over on Saturday (22 Nov), seen by Andy & Gill Hibberd.

Also on Saturday, a Marsh Harrier (female or immature) over the Ouse Estuary Project reedbed, before departing high to the west, seen by Peter and Lorna Wilson.

Both sightings via SOS site.

Interesting to see the Ouse Estuary Project referred to as “the desert” – the landscaping was completed years ago, but despite occasional nice sightings it remains frustratingly quiet.

Anyone know whether there are firm plans to improve the habitat, or are we still waiting for agreement on how it can be properly flooded?

[Image courtesy of Google Maps]

Bearded Tits @ Ouse Estuary Project 14.11.08

Three Bearded Tits (a male and two females) reported from the viewing screen at the Ouse Estuary Project, Newhaven, and a Short-eared Owl over there (via Birdguides)

Newhaven and Lewes Brooks 14.10.08

Bit of a quiet spell in Sussex of late, but some good local fare seen by Joanne Chattaway, Sue Phillips & Alan Nottage on Tuesday:

Corn Buntings look a bit) like this

Corn Buntings look (a bit) like this

Highlights at West Beach, Newhaven were 6 Rock Pipits and a Raven.

Lewes Brooks highlights were about 10 Corn Buntings, 100+ Goldfinches, 100+ Linnets, 1 Snipe, 1 Cetti’s Warbler, a Kingfisher and David Williams.

(per SOS sightings)

Good to hear that a Cetti’s is hanging on at Lewes Brooks. They’re thinly scattered in the Ouse Valley – a cold winter and we may not have any left.

Meanwhile, Corn Buntings are perhaps easier to see at Lewes Brooks in this season than on many local downland sites.