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15 December  -  West Rise Marsh

Very cold again - a lot of the snow has gone but the flooded fields are frozen. It was clear and sunny today and the birding was good, although there was no sign of the Penduline Tits.


A local-looking GOLDEN PLOVER was flying around and JACK SNIPE and DARTFORD WARBLER were flushed from the icey tussocks. On the edge of the reeds, some excellent lengthy views of BEARDED TITS.


A female GOOSANDER was among the many ducks on the main lake and there were particularly large numbers of SHOVELAR. 



There were more GULLS on the lake than yesterday and I found, at last, my first CASPIAN !


29th November - West Rise Marsh

Excellent day today, finally nailing one of the five PENDULINE TITS that are roaming around these days. Yis!










21st November - West Rise Marsh


No luck again in finding the 3 PENDULINE TITS which are being seen

now and again by some. These 2 SHELDUCKS flew around and around

for ages looking to land, the first I've seen here.








19th November - West Rise Marsh


Met Kris and Al in the morning who had found not one but three PENDULINE TITS near the pagoda at first light. Unfortunately they'd flown off high in the sky towards Beachy Head just before I got there, drat !


The same MARSH HARRIER was there again, getting chased off by a CROW.


18th November - West Rise Marsh

Good birding at the marsh today, with an amazing twist at the end : a nice male MARSH HARRIER was quatering the reeds, there were good views for once of a WATER PIPIT, and I almost trod on my first ever JACK SNIPE here which flushed up from the main path round the lake.


Great excitment later in the evening when (whilst searching on the computer for some WATER PIPIT calls) I happened to come across this pretty unmistakable call of a distant PENDULINE TIT !!                                           Here's hoping it sticks around a bit...





13-14th November - Hampden Park

Quite exciting overnight with 4 separate groups of BRENT GEESE                                          flying over the house, a couple of GOLDEN PLOVERS                                            and a good number of REDWINGS.





10th November - Beachy Head

The last two days at Beachy have been grey, very windy with not a lot about - yesterday's PAINTED LADY was a rare splash of colour. The odd CHIFFCHAFF can still be found and this SWALLOW was one of only two today and perhaps the last? Huge flocks of migrating WOODPIGEONS were moving around the cliffs in the early morning.

















8th November - Langney Point

Tried Langney again this morning since the southerly winds were even stronger today with no rain. Alas no luck, although a late SWALLOW was a surprise, getting knocked around by the gusts over the harbour.


7th November - Langney Point

Most of the afternoon on a windy beach at Langney but nothing interesting flying through. Best bird was a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER which was sitting out at sea, not too far from a group of 4 COMMON SCOTERS.


5th November - West Rise Marsh

Heavy rain again today, though just about birdable in the early morning. Fairly large numbers of GULLS were gathered on the lake, around 20 or so SNIPE flushed up, and I got my first WATER PIPIT of the autumn creeping around the edges of what has suddenly become wet and boggy ground near the Sevenoaks Road.


4th November - West Rise Marsh



After such a such grey and grim day yesterday and all the torrential rain it was good to don the wellies and slosh around a lush-looking marsh in bright sunshine. Some excellent close views of 4 BEARDED TITS tucking into the reeds, and a surprise late WHINCHAT were the highlights. 

There were at least 2 BLACKCAPS, 3 CHIFFCHAFFS and a FIRECREST around the car park.




1st November - Langney Point

Very strong southerly winds today and having heard about a LEACH'S PETREL on the Sussex coast the other day I gave it an hour or so in front of an angry, raging sea on the beach at Langney this afternoon, getting absolutely drenched in torrential rain in the process. Before the rain arrived there'd been small groups of RINGED PLOVERS dashing past, a fine MED GULL on the water and a flyby RED-BREASTED MERGANSER.


















29th October - West Rise Marsh



Amazingly the DARTFORD WARBLER I saw on my last visit here was there again this morning, in exactly the same bush !


Some great close views of a small party of BEARDED TITS in the reeds at the Lottbridge Pool.









25th October - Beachy Head

A DARTFORD WARBLER at the top of the Hollow again, and a brief close view of a grounded WOODLARK on the cliffs.


21st October - Beachy Head

I did the usual walkabout early this morning but when I got to the top of Whitbread Hollow I decided to call it a day and put a spurt on back to the car since I had a long drive to Stoke planned in the afternoon. After just a few metres the familiar calls of a DARTFORD WARBLER in a bush next to the path stopped me dead in my tracks - this was worth a look ! Strangely, though, the only thing immediately visible was a brown-coloured, small warbler skulking low in the undergrowth, surely a CHIFFCHAFF. I put the bins on it, followed it, and quickly realised that this was no CHIFFCHAFF - it was just a trifle bigger and sturdier and not dipping it had a whopping great long buffy supercilium and bright orange legs.....this was a RADDE'S WARBLER and no mistake !!!


Of course I'd normally just grab the camera and get some shots but, as is the way in life, I'd stashed it away moments before due to the frequent rainshowers; as I made moves to get it I could see the bird flying away across the path and into the vast impenetrable scrub on the edge of the Hollow - aagh, surely it would never be seen again ! ? After a couple of frantic phone calls Laurence fortunately arrived quickly on the scene. It was time for me to leave but, thank the Lord, he did manage to find the bird afterwards and take some photos - I could travel up north in peace !!



20th October - Beachy Head

Great day for thrushes with 2 RING OUZELS flying around and an impressive large gathering of about 100  FIELDFARES, all clustered along the ridge and intermittently flying out over the sea and back again. 


12th October - West Rise Marsh




No sign of the BEARDED TITS this morning but this DARTFORD WARBLER was a nice surprise.


2 EGYPTIAN GEESE were swimming around on the lake along with a good variety of DUCKS. A MARSH HARRIER was on site.






10th October - West Rise Marsh

Good birding down at the marsh with my first ever BEARDED TITS, at least 3 of them, showing brilliantly for a short while on the tops of reeds. A low flying DUNLIN careered around and a distant, high flock of GOLDEN PLOVER went east. 



4th October - Beachy Head


Lots of grey cloud cover this morning with a southerly wind blowing, so decided to do a short seawatch from Cow Gap. Not a lot about but a few BRENT GEESE and 3 PINTAIL flew west. Fantastic sighting here of a MERLIN out at sea at low tide making repeated dashes at an incoming passerine. It eventually snatched the poor fellow and took it to the nearest rockpool where it remained perched on a rock for a while, bobbing its head - excellent stuff !


There were big swarms of hirundines again and a ROCK PIPIT was incredibly tame at the base of the cliffs. The two RING OUZELS were there again and from the same area came the soft grating growls of a late NIGHTINGALE. 











3rd October - Beachy Head

Two RING OUZELS feeding on berries this morning in the prickly scrub along the top path south of the hollow.





2nd October - Hampden Park

A BARN OWL was sound-recorded flying over the house late at night, a first !





30th September - Beachy Head

Went back up early to try to see the warbler but no luck. A BRAMBLING was heard flying over.



29th September - Beachy Head

Quite an incredible day with brief views in the afternoon of this BOOTED WARBLER which was roaming around with a bunch of CHIFFCHAFFS on the top path, just south of the Hollow. Shame I couldn't really watch it though, the bird fast disappearing into the large mass of impenetrable prickly scrub. Thank the Lord it did at least perch up obligingly for a precious few seconds...


It was good day all round with things clearly moving: a couple of MARSH HARRIERS went overhead and there were flocks of hundreds of SWALLOWS and HOUSE MARTINS. A LESSER WHITETHROAT was down at Cow Gap and there were good numbers of CHIFFCHAFFS everywhere. To cap it all off, what surely was a YELLOW BROWED WARBLER popped out into view for a split second before flying off. 







21st September - West Rise

2 CATTLE EGRETS in the same field today. A small group of

WIGEON was on the lake and there were many hirundines flying

around, particularly HOUSE MARTINS (230+).









20th September - West Rise


A surprise to find 4 CATTLE EGRETS (an adult with 3 juveniles)

feeding amongst the sheep in one of the fields this morning - a

patch tick !


A KINGFISHER dashed low across the lake and a calling

REDSHANK was eventually found high up as a distant speck

careering away to the coast.




19th September - Beachy Head

Presumably the same MERLIN was seen a couple of times today

dashing along the cliffs, much better views this time !







17th September - Beachy Head

A nice sunny day - the many hirundines flying around the Bomber Command Monument included this rather late SWIFT. 


A MERLIN was seen briefly.














13th September - West Rise


My first ever GARGANEY seen at West Rise this morning !


The Lottbridge Pool was starkly different from my last visit, filled

to the brim with water and thus no waders apart from a single

BLACK-TAILED GODWIT walking around amongst some TEAL.


Lots of birds in the air all morning - mainly heaps of HIRUNDINES






20th August - West Rise


Quick look at midday, too much wind. Not much but the

5 GODWITS are still present and correct...










19th August - West Rise





The WOOD SAND and the GODWITS still there. A WHITE STORK came in very low and circled around - it would surely have handed had I not been standing there with a camera.

18th August - West Rise

Quite a shock to see the pond this morning through the thick mist - yesterday's deluge of rain has filled it up with water and waders were back and tucking into the mud again, notably WOOD SANDPIPER, RINGED PLOVER and 5 BLACK-TAILED GODWITS. 










Bird of the day though was easily this WOOD WARBLER in the trees by

the entrance gate - a rare bird in Sussex these days and apparently

the first ever for West Rise !














17th August - West Rise

Very welcome cool, grey and still conditions this morning.

Just before a torrential downpour these BLACK-TAILED GODWITS

flew around looking for somewhere to land.  


There were at least 4 WHINCHATS and 4 WHEATEARS

on the fenceposts.

15th August  -  West Rise Marsh

This was the scene at the Lottbridge Pool a couple of days ago so it was hardly surprising to find no waders at all there today - can't really blame them. A YELLOW-LEGGED GULL was on the lake and 4 WHINCHATS were milling around up near the beehives.






12th August - West Rise

These two MED GULLS were on site this afternoon,

plus a WHINCHAT and the usual waders on the Lottbridge Pool.













9th August - West Rise





This rather short-billed CURLEW flew slowly around overhead this morning, idly calling now and again - it was certainly having a good look at the mud below but decided against it...

8th August - West Rise


Interestingly the 2 very black-bellied DUNLINS on site this morning

were not the same as yesterday's birds. 


Lots of WILLOW WARBLERS around at the moment, several singing.


Here's one of the grotty-looking juvenile WATER RAILS that are

walking boldly around away from the reeds - somehow they look much

rarer like that !







7th August - West Rise










The water is rapidly disappearing from the Lottbridge Pool it'll dry out completely at this rate - really must make the most of this welcome wader scenario. There were 5 species there this morning including a smattering of SNIPE and these two DUNLINS.






6th August - West Rise















Best bird this morning was this CUCKOO which flopped up and down from the fence posts into the long grass. It eventually flapped strongly away, flashing a pure grey rump. Fewer waders with only 3 GREEN SANDPIPERS, but the GREAT EGRET was seen again and a distant CURLEW was heard calling   

5th August - West Rise




Nice image of a pair of GREAT CRESTED GREBES this morning scurrying fast across the lake, still with one of the younguns riding on top. Good for waders again with 7 GREEN SANDPIPERS, a SNIPE, a LAPWING and 2 GREENSHANKS now on the mud. A SPOTTED FLYCATCHER was in the willows along with some corking WILLOW WARBLERS. A WHINCHAT and a WHEATEAR were together on the same fence up by the beehives.





4th August - West Rise

Real signs of migration this morning with the first WHEATEAR of the autumn and groups of SAND MARTINS flying purposefully overhead to the south. GREENSHANK still there, along with 5 GREEN SANDS.




3rd August - West Rise



Another count of 19 LITTLE EGRETS today, all standing conveniently in a long line in front of a feeding GREENSHANK.


A COMMON SANDPIPER flew around over the lake, and this YELLOW-LEGGED GULL was with the HERRINGS.







2nd August - West Rise

Just a quick look at the mud situation late this morning - a tantalizingly small, half-asleep, half-hidden wader eventually turned out to be one of the DUNLINS, and a GREENSHANK flew around calling.



1st August - West Rise




Record shot here of 2 of 4 DUNLINS on site this morning, all prefering to sneak about on the edges of the reeds and much more wary than the GREEN SANDPIPERS still on show.


An adult and a very brown-looking juvenile WATER RAIL were on show. 



31st July - West Rise

The LRP was still on the Lottbridge Pool along with 5 GREEN

SANDPIPERS , the GREAT EGRET and a world record 19 LITTLE EGRETS.


This YELLOW-LEGGED GULL flew over.



29th July - West Rise














4 restless GREEN SANDPIPERS flying around this morning, and this WHINCHAT was by the beehives. 2 LESSER WHITETHROATS and 2 WILLOW WARBLERS were in the trees running alongside the Sevenoaks Road.





29th July - Hampden Park

Great recording of a migrating WATER RAIL flying over the house at 1am !  




27th July - West Rise

A WHIMBREL was heard occasionally high in the sky, and eventually spotted as a speck flying out towards the coast. A GREAT EGRET was on the Lottbridge Pool, surounded by 14 LITTLE EGRETS.


22nd July - West Rise

Impressive-looking flock of GOLDFINCHES by the buffalo shed - at least 175 birds I'd say...

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