Birding Beaumonts


27th March  -  West Rise Marsh

A sunny day with no wind, at last! Although ducks were notably thin on the ground a single SHELDUCK dropped in briefly and this superb pair of GARGANEY appeared late morning on the main lake. 

A lonely-looking ROOK (surprisingly scarce here I find) was migrating high to the northeast and it was great to find BEARDED TITS once again after a few blank visits - 50 species on the day-list.

25th March  -  Hampden Park

Spring definately in the air this morning with a bonded pair of BLACKCAPS, a MALLARD parading ducklings and 3 LITTLE EGRETS in courtship behaviour, all clambering noisily around the branches amongst disinterested HERONS dozing in their nests.

A flyover PEREGRINE was a nice surprise and 3 MANDARIN DUCKS flew a few circuits around the pond but didn't land. 3 SISKINS were feeding in the alders.

21st March  -  West Rise Marsh

I didn't bother checking my phone before leaving for West Rise this morning so when I greeted Richard in the car park I had no idea that 3 ALPINE SWIFTS !!! had been seen there an hour or so previously. He hadn't seen the birds and whilst we were wondering about how far away they must have been by now I suddenly noticed a swift flying around over the housing estate! We quickly realised that all 3 birds were back and they were to stay all day in the area, coming much lower down over the car park in the late afternoon. Yis !


In between the swift-watching sessions I did a couple of laps around the marsh: ducks were down in numbers with no SHOVELARS or GADWALL, and there was just a handful of WIGEON. The first SWALLOW of the year flashed past and this smart-looking WHITE WAGTAIL was in amongst the usual flighty flock of PIEDS.

16th March  -  Beachy Head

Most of the day spent on the western side of the Head, starting with an agreable seawatch at Birling Gap in the company of Laurence and the two Richards. It was another great goose morning with lots more BRENT GEESE streaming past (some being accompanied by a CURLEW hitching a ride on the slipstream) and a fine group of GREYLAGS
There were a few DUCKS on show also - a few COMMON SCOTERS and single SHELDUCK and EIDER, but the  highlight today was a pair of BLACK-THROATED DIVERS flying east, fairly close offshore.

Seawatching was followed by a fairly birdless walk along the cliffs, amongst singing SKYLARKS and MEADOW PIPITS. Spring is in the air...

15th March  -  West Rise Marsh

Quite a good day list today but nothing out of the ordinary apart from a WHITE WAGTAIL amongst the PIEDS.

13th March  -  Beachy Head

Took a chance at seawatching early this morning at Birling Gap in the hope that BRENT GEESE might be moving, and they certainly were: 1508 were counted before 11am, some appearing in huge skeins high overhead which slowly shifted and sprawled out to sea before checking back to follow the line of the cliffs.

Apart from flickering white lines of smaller GULLS, low over the sea, there was nothing much else migrating east -  most birds probably knew better than to battle with such a strong southwesterly wind.

10th March  -  West Rise Marsh

Most of the day spent down the marsh in spite of a terribly annoying gale-force, freezing cold wind. Amongst all the gulls on the water were a few adult MEDITERRANEANS, 3 COMMONS and a CASPIAN. The first CHIFFCHAFF of the spring was at the entrance gate.

8th March  -  West Rise Marsh

2 items of interest flying around today - a BLACK SWAN and a CURLEW.

3rd March  -  West Rise Marsh

Another cold and windy day down the marsh. Great views of some BEARDED TITS again and there were lots of GULLS on the choppy lake, including these CASPIAN and YELLOW-LEGGED.

1st March  -  West Rise Marsh

No sign again of any WATER PIPITS today although some nice views of BEARDED TITS at the Lottbridge Drove pool.

This agentatus HERRING GULL was in amongst the gulls.

27th February  -  West Rise Marsh

Great sighting of a MERLIN today (a patch tick)...the bird raced low over the lake and swooped up to land briefly on a bush on the other side.

20th February  -  West Rise Marsh

Excellent day at West Rise, really grilling the two PENDULINE TITS which are being seen of late...I reckon the left hand bird is the same one I saw at the end of last year. The birds hung around at the pagoda for a good 90 minutes before quietly disappearing, presumably moving back into the phragmites behind the reed mace.

The pair of PINTAIL was still there today and there were 3 BUZZARDS and a MARSH HARRIER. No sign of any PIPITS today (neither Water nor Meadow).

18th February  -  Hampden Park

Good numbers of BLACK-HEADED GULLS were on the duckpond this morning and it was great to find once again the white bird there amongst them. Also in the mix was a superb adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL, a "patch tick" !

17th February  -  West Rise Marsh

More fruitless searches for the elusive PENDULINE TITS today, but great to see 3 PEREGRINES dashing at FERAL PIGEONS over the marsh and hunting together as a team. 

8th February  -  West Rise Marsh

Excellent patch-tick today with this BLACK-NECKED GREBE, found by Jack in the early morning. 

6th February  -  West Rise Marsh

Another good day at the marsh - sunny with no wind. Stupendous close views of a party of BEARDIES on the Lottbridge Drove pool, and a GREAT CRESTED GREBE had a good grapple with a big fish. There was another CASPIAN GULL on show, but not a single raptor today. 

4th February  -  Hampden Park

This incredible-looking, pure-white BLACK-HEADED GULL was swimming around with his mates on the duckpond this morning. More brilliant views of the wintering WATER RAIL as well - what a top bird that is!

3rd February  -  West Rise Marsh

Another good gull-day down at the marsh - 3 CASPIANS on show along with YELLOW-LEGGED and at least one argentatus. Excellent views also of this WATER PIPIT.

1st February  -  West Rise Marsh

Another cold and windy day: lots of GULLS gathering on the lake although I've no idea where all the LESSER BLACK BACKS have gone - I couldn't see any today. There were however a couple of CASPIAN GULLS and YELLOW-LEGGEDS amongst all the HERRINGS.

30th January  -  West Rise Marsh

A pleasant day down on the marsh with 51 for the day-list. Nothing out of the ordinary but good views of a PEREGRINE and a small group of BEARDED TITS at the Lottbridge Drove pool.

28th January  -  Hampden Park

A couple of hours wandering around the park this afternoon: the BUZZARD was there again and a LITTLE EGRET was perched on the edge of the pond. 

Corking views of the wintering WATER RAIL running along its favourite stretch of stream...

11th January  -  West Rise Marsh

This is the famous "pagoda" area where folks come and stand and wait for ages, knee-deep in cold water, waiting for the PENDULINE TITS to show, which they almost never do. I keep on going there (like I did today) and always draw a blank. Today was another day full of that infernal wind, although it was at least sunny with no rain until the early afternoon. The highlight was getting some decent views for once of one of the WATER PIPITS that hang out near the Sevenoaks Road.

9th January  -  West Rise Marsh

A good day at West Rise, windy but sunny and no rain for once. Had a patch tick on arrival with a flyover KITTIWAKE and there were good views of a group of BEARDED TITS feeding on the mud and a DARTFORD WARBLER. Met Jack in the late afternoon who had seen a PENDULINE TIT earlier in the day, so good to hear that they are still about.

6th January  -  West Rise Marsh

Decided to have another bash for the PENDULINE TITS today but it was negative yet again, they may well have gone. The water levels have gone quite a bit but my trusty new waders proved essential for wandering the edges of the waterlogged fields. 

Quite a large loose flock of MEADOW PIPITS was on site and there were more TUFTED DUCKS than normal today. Just got one brief view of a BEARDED TIT, and this MARSH HARRIER was circling.


2nd January  -  Sovereign Harbour

A casual stroll down towards the harbour today ended up being a pretty mind-blowing start to the new year with the discovery of this LITTLE SWIFT !!! The bird winnowed high overhead towards the harbour in the late morning and was to show on and off in the area for 55 minutes or so before disappearing as a speck eastwards over the buildings and along the coast. Amazingly it’s a first for Sussex to boot…Happy New Year !!!