A Hasty post as I pack my bags for 5 days at Falsterbo, Sweden from tomorrow. Despite coverage every morning recently the patch has been a little slim on numbers of migrants however another Dotterel flew over Ian S and I at Langdon Hole on the 25th, Ian went on to find a Wryneck moments later which I failed to see.
A smattering of migrants in the days after and things like Whinchat and SpottedFly being seen daily. A piedflycatcher on the 28th was a highlight along with 3 Greensandpipers and today’s surprise a Redwing calling and perched in the valley! along with 2 Firecrest and a Hobby.
An overcast start to the day and light SSE winds delivered some new birds for Rich B and I as we made our way East from Foxhill down first thing.
A treepipit and good numbers of Willows (my best day for the latter species so far this year ending on 30 birds) Some yellowwagtails over and still great numbers of common Sylvias but the morning really kicked off with a Juv Osprey heading NW along the cliffs at light house down.
The bird continued over Bockhill and out of sight, only my second here and first ive seen in autumn. Still counting decent numbers of common migrants in the valley plus brief views of a SpottedFlycatcher, we headed to the farm where we caught up with at least 5 Whinchat, the highest count so far this year.
As we stood watching, our ears pricked at the sound of a much anticipated call, a Dotterel! which seemed to appear from towards the cliffs and came our way. The bird flew around calling pretty much constantly, briefly putting down in a stubble field before another lap of the area we stood in and continuing west.
A very nice encounter with a bird that shares a special history with the area.
Once back up on Fox hill down we added our autumn’s first CommonRedstart and a few swift to the day count plus ended up at almost 100 Swallow west.
A late evening visit back up Foxhill down and another look at the Redstart which was in the same place as earlier whilst c100 MedGulls fed on Flying Ants above.
This female HoneyBuzzard came in from the west and right over head just inland from the South foreland valley, It may have even been roosting in Top wood as it was only tree height when first seen.
It circled and flew north, perhaps will try and leave again later today. The 7th bird I have seen here along the headland since late May.
HBs are the best – they get me going every time!
Also Myself and visiting birder David C saw a Piedfly, 3 Whinchat, a few willows here and there and a GoldenPlover, I also heard Ringedplover and a few yellowwags earlier and half heard what sounded very much like Dotterel but distantly and only once.
Much the same weather on the 14th (moderate NE winds and high pressure) and up to 5 PiedFlycatchers and 2 SpottedFlycatchers around the Corrale at Langdon.
The HenHarrier was still over fields on Wanstone farm on the 14th but not seen since.
A clear out on the 15th but a few Willowwarblers here and there plus numbers of Lesser and CommonWhitethroats still, a GoldenPlover flew over the farm and a Hobby flew over the western end of the patch.
The 16th was fairly quiet with similarly small numbers of common migrants but my first Grasshopperwarbler of the autumn plus 5 SedgeWarblers were in suitable cover between the lighthouse and the two copses.
up to 10 Wheatear and a Treepipit also noted, plus a few JerseyTiger moths and this nice HummingbirdHawkmoth.
A light South Easterly and 26 degrees by 7am made for some decent birding today. Langdon hole held a PiedFlycatcher, feeding on the path in the second valley, a Treepipit over and a Whinchat was along the fence at the memorial pull-in.
Another 2/3 Whinchat between fanbay and southforeland where a piedfly was still in the NW end of the wood and a Ring tailed harrier briefly quartered the stubble field between the coppices. Distance, dreadful heathaze and brief views delayed me in figuring out it was as suspected a HenHarrier. It Showed again and flew into cover near Wanstone farm and wasn’t seen to fly out. Id imagine a bird from Calais, where they are easy to see and breed in the giant farmland landscapes over there.
The star of the show came just after midday as I walked back home via upper/reach road: a Female HoneyBuzzard, picked up low coming straight for me from the direction of Langdon cliffs.
It flew low over the top fields and circled right over head before continuing on due North. Very much what they do in spring and even on the exact kind of weather. Isnt it time some of them were leaving!
Turnstone, Greenshank and GoldenPlover were all heard over the patch today aswell.
Another moderate NE wind and warm conditions first thing. Rich B and I birded from Foxhill Down to South Foreland and back and tallied up: 2 PiedFlycatchers (one atop the cliffs just west of Fan bay and the other along the edge of Top wood) 1 SpottedFlycatcher, 1 Whinchat, 1 TreePipit (my first for Autumn) 2 YellowWagtails, Reed + Sedgewarblers and 12 WillowWarblers, 5 Wheatear, 2 BlackRedstart also small numbers of hirundines were noted and a single juv YellowLeggedGull. A commonSandpiper flew across the harbour as I was having a swim at lunchtime.
The first PiedFly, originally picked up perched on a cliff top bench, then worked its way along the fence line and fed on the ground at the very highest peak of the cliffs before hopping over the edge and heading towards Langdon. Very enjoyable!
There are still a few obvious omissions including CommonRedstart to the autumn’s bird list but today certainly provided a little boost.
A light sea mist hung over the cliff tops this morning and the light NE winds and sunshine took a couple hours to burn it off but it had dropped in a small selection of autumns migrants. Namely a Whinchat, a SpottedFlycatcher, a Nightingale, Reed and Sedgewarblers all in Langdon Hole, where many lesser and commonwhitethroats and still 2 BlackRedstarts were also found. A Goldenplover flew over calling and unseen plus c20 Sandmartins and a handful of Swallows. An afternoon Skywatch resulted in 8 CommonBuzzards, 2 RedKites and c10 Swift all East.
The past couple of days have been mostly quiet with small numbers of Willows being counted and very little else.
Juvenile Yellow–leggedgulls have been seen flying along the cliff tops and in the harbour but it wasnt untill today that i was able to photograph one nicely amoung the local gulls on the harbour beach, some second generation scapulars moulting through on this bird.
SilverSpottedSkippers are on the wing on light house down.
Back from working in Scotland and hoping for some migrants on the headland I headed up the cliffs first thing. A moderate NE wind had brought in 10 WillowWarbler, 2 ReedWarblers and a Wheatear to Langdon and Foxhill down area.
60 Swift and a few Swallows were circling high above the Castle and 2 Juv YellowLeggedGulls flew West along the cliff edge where 2 Juv BlackRedstart were flitting around in their usual late summer creche spot.
A time of year that I greatly look forward to has begun.