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.

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Hawfinch at Exceat, 9 Nov

A Hawfinch was a nice surprise for Alan Kitson at Exceat on Sunday (via SOS sightings).

There are no reliable local spots for this species, as far as I’m aware, and generally the only records are of odd ones passing through, usually on the coast. It would be great to have a wintering party – somewhere in Friston or up at Abbott’s Wood, perhaps? If the food’s right, they’re not necessarily fussy about the wild qualities of their wintering grounds – take the spot on the edge of Romsey in Hampshire where several birds return each season.

Other news for Sunday: three Swallows seen at Seaford (Liam Curson) and a Ring Ouzel and Brent Goose at Cuckmere Haven (Joanne Chattaway, both via SOS sightings).

Merlin, Peregrine, Ring Ouzel + poss Goshawk

Report for Sunday 9 November from Peter Davies:

A large, buzzard-sized raptor disappeared elegantly off the edge of Lullington Heath into Friston Forest, suggesting female Goshawk.

Previously a Merlin failed to take a skylark north of the heath, and a male Peregrine gave two close sightings near Littlington.

A Ring Ouzel was present in Charleston Bottom feeding on hawthorn berries.

Black Reds, Ouzel and Dartford + Cetti’s

Lots of late autumn migration this weekend. In our area, a couple of Black Redstarts at Newhaven Tidemills this morning (Jon Curson), a Ring Ouzel and a Dartford Warbler at Hope Gap (Mack Burnside).

Meanwhile, a count of 3-4 Cetti’s Warblers between Southease and Rodmell was notable, as was an upstream Rock Pipit (Liam and Jon Curson).

(both via SOS sightings)