Late Osprey

A latish Osprey reported in the lower Cuckmere on Friday (23rd), by Mike Unwin (via SOS).

Today in Firle, both Swallow and Fieldfare near the Church.

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Migrants at Alciston

A brief wander up to my favourite piece of the escarpment at Alciston revealed:

Swallow 2
Yellowhammer 4+
Lesser Redpoll 1
Chiffchaff 2+
Blackbird c. 12
Song Thrush c. 8
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Common + BH Gull c.200

The concentration of thrushes, many of which were flighty and vocal, seemed to indicate migrants rather than local birds.

Several moths and butterflies active, including a Red Admiral.

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]

Whooper Swans, Arlington Reservoir 16.11.08

Four Whooper Swans reported east over Arlington Reservoir, at 15.00 on Sunday (John Gallop, via SOS sightings).

This is an excellent local record, of a species recorded in very small numbers in Sussex. Is this the first in the area since one at Cuckmere Haven in January 2003? Previous to that, a single (feral?) bird was seen on Glynde Levels and at Berwick over a number of years.

Other notable reports from the same observer were: two Swallows on the west side of Cuckmere Haven, just north of the Coastguard Cottages at 11.15, a female Eider on the sea, single Grey Plover and Common Sandpiper with Oystercatchers at Hope Gap, Seaford and a Spotted Redshank west of the river between Golden Galleon and the sea.

Also yesterday, at least five Purple Sandpipers at Newhaven East Pier seen by Bob Eade.

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).

Thousands of Swallows at Seaford

Dick Jackson, per SOS sightings:

The birds were coming in off Seaford Bay and feeding on the hatch of flies along the cliff top. The bay was a mass of Swallows moving east. I could not accurately estimate a true number but it must have been thousands. Above Spash Point we were engulfed in the mass of Swallows, a truly marvellous experience. At 13.45 it was all over apart from a few stragglers. A remarkable event the like of which I cannot recall.