Yesterday was very quiet in the bushes, I bumped into Mark and Lucy and watched a handful of CommonScoter Fly up channel from the cliffs near their house. News of BlackKite heading my way was exciting but I somehow managed to miss it. The same or perhaps Another flew West from Bockhill over the patch but despite my legging it up the cliff I couldn’t see it, well done to all involved however!
A change in wind direction over night and what was probably the best morning so far this April for migrants. My First TreePipit of the year flew over North calling as I climbed the cliff path at first light, around 6 WillowWarblers were between Langdon Hole and Foxhill down, where I met Rich B, We had a Ringouzel calling from the thicket in the field north of the Radar station, which flew towards the castle. A few Swallows were around up top also. I left Rich to it as I had a date with a Car boot sale and he Had a TurtleDove fly NW inland from the Lighthouse, and 2 ContinentalCoaltits at Langdon.
I spent an hour or two on the patch after the car boot and had my first LesserWhitethroat of the year, a smart Whitewagtail in off and a Woodlark that seemed to come off the deck near the old lighthouse garden and fly around calling only to disappear towards the valley.
A quieter couple of days for me here but the addition of WillowWarblers (5) and Sandmartin on the 15th was later than expected but still nice. commonWhitethroats seemed in to have arrived in numbers throughout the patch now and the local Swallows appear to be back in business.
Single Yellowwagtails are being seen flying in off the sea as too are the occasional WhiteWagtail, however a flock of 4 of the latter kindly alighted on the recently ploughed field just east of Langdon hole for me on the 15th.
Phil S kindly let me know the whereabouts of 2 flowering EarlySpiderOrchids which I went to have a look for and eventually came across 3 of them. fantastic things.
I spent much of today working out in the garden and the gulls kindly let me know when any Buzzards passed too low for their liking including this pale bird that I’ve not seen locally before. The Peregrines went absolutely ballistic and almost killed it before it moved on.
Another morning of light southerlies, and a sea mist had rolled in and covered the entire channel by the time I was climbing the cliff path.
I cursed it for having formed slightly too late to drop many migrants in, but as I walked through Langdon I heard my first CommonWhitethroats of the year followed by 4 Wheatears and 5 Swallows between Foxhill down and the recently ploughed fields up top.
Another first of the year in the form of a female CommonRedstart, in the old light house garden but the star of the morning was found 500 metres East, on the path in front of me as I walked over Lighthouse down: A Hoopoe!
It was in the worst spot for phone signal and had to leave it whilst trying to put out the news, but within 30 minutes or so a few birders arrived and eventually everyone saw it. Nice to see all the locals today!
I went back for seconds in the afternoon and saw it several times feeding in the same spot I’d found it in earlier.
Other firsts for the year were a YellowWagtail in off and over light house down and a Housemartin over the top wood.
Below: Russ Blackman’s Pic of the Hoops flying infront of the old light house.
Back home and keen to get up the cliffs, today’s warm southerly wind promised more than it delivered but I was very happy to see my first sub-saharan migrants in the form of 2 Wheatears sat on a feed trough in fields off Reach road.
3 Swallows were also counted whilst out including one joyously singing high over Langdon hole flying west.
6 Chiffchaff, 12 Blackcap (also my first heard singing this year) and numbers of other breeders like Linnet, CornBunting and Yellowhammer seem up to last years numbers.
A BlackRedstart was heard singing and a female was noted elsewhere whilst a male Brambling and 6 Siskin flew over the valley. I Look forward to striking other common migrants off the year list this week hopefully.