night-time movements of Redwing and Godwits

This is the time of year Redwings start migrating northwards, primarily at night. Despite the cloudy conditions I counted a fair few overhead last night- listen out for them, the gorgeous atmospheric calls is one of my favourite, especially in October/November when it seems like the sound of autumn to me. If you aren’t familiar with their call, the link below should be useful;

http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?query=Redwing+%28Turdus+iliacus%29+56&species_nr=bkjjwi

and while you’re there, listen to their song as well, sometimes you can hear it from now onwards,as birds practice for the breeding grounds they are very soon heading too. Unlike their calls, the song is a very tuneful warble, most similar to the song of the Blackcap.

Another somewhat peculiar February speciality for me is Bar-tailed Godwit. Last year many were heard passing over at this time of year, along with a few Golden Plover, Curlew, Dunlin and even a night-flying flock of Brent Goose! Last year I assumed they were relocating following the cold weather, but it’s been quite mild recently… so anyway, the single Bar-tailed Godwit I heard pass over the house at about 11:00 PM last night was quite a surprise! Perhaps they’re actually a regular February occurence, I’ll have to keep an ear out tonight as well.

a spring migrant in the Cuckmere, April 2011image of  migrant Bar-tailed Godwit, Cuckmere Haven, April 2o11

here are some recording of Bar-wit (possibly my favourite birding abbreviation) which you could take a look at.

http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php?query=Bar-tailed+Godwit+%28Limosa+lapponica%29+6&species_nr=firpyn

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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!

All sorts at Cuckmere Haven

An extraordinary selection of good birds reported from Cuckmere Haven today by Liam Curson. They included two Little Ringed Plovers, a Water Pipit, a Yellow-legged Gull, a Black-necked Grebe and six White Wagtails, plus a smart Bar-headed Goose (picture of the last and further details over at SOS Sightings)

Ordinarily, any one of these might have been the highlight of a trip to the Lower Cuckmere…

Elsewhere, two Redstarts seen by Bob Eade at Frog Firle (between Seaford and Alfriston), as well as several Whitethroats, which seem to have arrived widely in Sussex over the last few days.

Yesterday a Red Kite was reported from the Downs near Berwick (John Bailey & Mack Burnside, via SOS), with presumably the same bird seen over Seaford (via Birdguides).

Eight Buzzards over Rodmell was a good count  (Sharifin Gardiner, SOS).

Serin at Hope Gap

A female Serin reported over Hope Gap, Seaford at 7.35 this morning (via Birdguides).

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).

Pied Fly at Seaford Head

A female Pied Flycatcher in the wood at Seaford Head this morning, and two Wood Warblers there on Monday. (Matt Eade & Bob Self)

Black Kite at Seaford

A Black Kite reported at Seaford just before 9am this morning (via Birdguides).

Nothing quite so exciting at Arlington Reservoir this morning, but a very brief visit produced five Shoveler on the water, and singing Reed Bunting and Linnet near the car park.

Nearby at Berwick Station, a Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler singing, plus a Bullfinch.