Alpine Swift etc – Weekend roundup

A rush of activity around the Ouse this weekend, worthy of a roundup.

Highlight was the ALPINE SWIFT seen at Rodmell this morning – the first locally since the twitchable Lewes bird two years ago.

Also reported today from Lewes Brooks: two White Wagtails (Andrew and Ian Whitcomb), two Med Gulls, a pair of Garganey and a Wheatear (Alan Kitson, SOS sightings).

Viewing screen at the OEP

At the Ouse Estuary project yesterday, a GLAUCOUS GULL, five Med Gulls and two drake Garganey (How many seen in the Ouse Valley already this spring? Six? Ten?). Today at least two Med Gulls still there, as well as my earliest ever Common Tern*, at least seven Chiffchaffs and a Cetti’s Warbler. Good to see the water levels here looking wildlife-friendly (for years it looked like someone had forgotten to put the plug in).

Wheatears were seen widely, including several at Tidemills and ten on Seaford Head, where there was also a Black Redstart reported (Derek Barber & Tracey Lambert, SOS sightings). Movement offshore has also livened up, with plenty of Brent Geese yesterday from Splash Point, amongst other birds (see Liam Curson’s report for more detail).

Meanwhile a Firecrest by the cricket field in Firle yesterday was my first in the village for three years, and a day in advance of the first singing Chiffchaffs.

Bring on the rest of Spring.

* it seems this is the joint earliest Common Tern ever recorded in Sussex [see Liam’s comment and link]

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First Wheatear of 2010

The first local Wheatear of the spring found yesterday at Hope Gap, Seaford Head, yesterday, by Liam Curson (via SOS sightings).

Weekend roundup

The trickle of early spring migrants continued during the fine weekend.

Old Coach Road, looking west near Beanstalk, FirleBy Saturday, there were at least 5 Chiffchaffs singing around Firle (with territorial Stock Doves (2-3 pairs), Buzzards (1 pair), Green and GS Woodpecker (1 each).

The SOS walk at Newhaven Tidemills turned up more Wheatears, plus 12 Purple Sandpipers on the harbour arm (Neil Greenaway), with a Razorbill on the sea there on Sunday (Roger Barnett).

In the lower Cuckmere Valley, a couple of Scandinavian Rock Pipits were seen by Bob Edgar on the patch of saltmarsh just south of the Golden Galleon (and reports of six there last week), plus a Black Redstart and 2 Wheatears.

Late last week there were a couple of Sand Martins reported at Arlington Reservoir, with the first local House Martin reported today from Hailsham (via Birdguides)

And the last few days have seen many reports of Red Kites – most in West Sussex, but probably worth keeping eyes peeled for them anywhere at the moment.

Garganey arrive

Garganey by ferran pestañaA day of Garganey action – an impressive three pairs reported with Teal on a farm pond near Arlington (Andrew Johnston, via SOS) but an extraordinary 26 reported flying past Seaford, amongst lots of other good stuff (Dick Gilmore, via SOS).

In the past few days, there have been significant first arrivals of summer migrants in the area. Over the weekend, Wheatears were reported several times, particularly from Newhaven Tidemills, with Firecrest in the lower Cuckmere Valley and an early Yellow Wagtail at Seaford golf course (Bob Self).

Meanwhile in Firle (where even British Coal Tits are rather unusual) a continental bird (Parus ater ater) was reported over the weekend, visiting Paul Stevens’ birdfeeder.

Image by Flickr user ferran pestaña