Thursday, 19 December 2013

no wind, no gulls however i did see this at west rise today. surely a great black-back x glauc hybrid?. also 2 water pipits there.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

today with the return of strong southerlies there were lots of gulls on the go, my visit to west rise only produced 2 yellow-legged tho. the smew has been showing well in the northeast arm of the lake. yesterday i went down the cuckmere again but the wind had changed to the northeast, the worst direction you want for gulls and they were all out on the sea and along the undercliff. there were obviously loads of lbbg still about, frustrating knowing there were record numbers of caspo's around at the weekend. i still managed to see 3 each of caspian and yellow-legged. the 2 wintering firecrests were along the path just south of the pub.
a repeat of two weeks ago. i was sitting in the car at west beach waiting for a decent gull to appear, there were lots of herring but nothing else, disappointingly no lbbg which wasn't giving me much hope, but then out of nowhere there was a white winger! in my head i'd already dismissed it before i got it in the scope. i've only seen a handful of juv iceland before but they've had the same 'pure' look, almost pinkish cream with white primaries. this bird looked dark, with a brown wash on the primaries and coarse markings on the gc's and tertials. i wondered if it might be a diddy nelsons gulls or some uber pale argie at first, but there was no denying that iceland jizz. i dont have enough experience on these gulls but i've seen photos of kumlien's with similar plumage, however after having a look on the net it seems most features point to this being a well marked iceland. it looked rubbish in flight, didn't stick out like a sore thumb like a white winger should.

Monday, 16 December 2013

brief look at west rise at lunch produced a 1st-w caspian and 1st-w and adult yellow-legged gulls. more distant views today as they have been flushing easily in this high wind so didn't want to approach too closely. no photos.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

this gorgeous fox was outside my front door at 5.30 this evening

Friday, 13 December 2013

one of those photos that looks like a painting, love these birds anyway

Thursday, 12 December 2013

from one extreme to the other - the long-tailed duck which had up to now given the impression of a wary bird always at the back of the lake seemed pretty unconcerned by my presence as it fed in the northeast arm today. close enough to hear the splosh as it dived. the drake smew first reported yesterday was still there. i dunno it just doesn't feel right to me seeing smew in mild weather.
muntjac washed up on camber sands

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

3 caspian gulls in the roost at camber sands and a ton of argentatus (outnumbering argenteus on the beaches i looked at on the dunge peninsula)

yesterday 2 new caspian gulls in the roost down the cuckmere and a water pipit was at west rise at midday.

Monday, 9 December 2013


above 3: first-winter caspian 
below: a different first-winter 

 above 2: adult caspian 
below: both first-winters 

above: left to right adult yellow-legged gull, two first-winter caspian and adult argie

cuckmere this evening. loads of gulls, majority of them flew out to sea but in the portion of the flock i did get a look at there were 3 caspian and 2 yellow-legged. lots more gulls came down the valley at dusk, must be a big day roost somewhere inland, only place i've seen them is a field near sherman bridge. the spoonbill came into roost at 4pm, down on the meanders after doing a complete loop of the valley and making sure it flushed all the remainder of the gulls off, bloody thing! i even went to tidemills to have a look this morning and found it asleep in a tree ffs.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

prince's park. missed it flying around the lake after it'd been flushed by model boats but saw it down on the stream by the kids play area. great to watch it swimming underwater, they're pretty quick on those big paddles!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Thursday, 5 December 2013

there was a big gull roost at willingdon levels but most of them were frustratingly hidden from view. did manage to spot a caspian and a yellow-legged. must've been more!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

i actually managed to dip the spoonbill at tidemills, laughed when i spotted it today roosting in amongst the gbbg's down the cuckmere. i guess it's back to feeding on the cuckmere at low tide. didn't see the spoon bill.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

several features combine to give these finnmark argies a real glauc feel, there's gotta be some hyperboreus genes in there somewhere

when i took the camera away from the scope i couldn't believe how dark it had gotten. this little camera performs so well in low light levels, gives a much brighter image than my eye.

Monday, 2 December 2013

started at west rise where there was another adult caspian gull asleep, waited an age for it to do something eventually started having a wash then flew off. also a few argies and that long-tailed duck still. there was only a small gull flock down the cuckmere and nothing much in it - one ylg and some argies. ended up at newhaven west beach, low tide and east winds, i remember last year on these tides and same conditions i had a load of lbbg and a caspo. this time a load of lbbg and one ylg, but then out of nowhere a white-winged gull appeared. a superb adult iceland, actually the first non juvenile i've seen.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

lunchtime visit to west rise produced a long-tailed duck (not so surprising given how many are about) and an adult caspian gull which basically looked like a big common gull in flight, brilliant.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Sunday, 24 November 2013

a firecrest in the garden first thing was a tick. 6 eider and 5 jack snipes at newhaven. good passage of gulls down the cuckmere, constant arrival of birds coming in off the sea from the south into the north wind, birds seen on the deck in the gbbg flock included 2 caspian (1st-w + 2nd-w), 2 yellow-legged and around 25 argies. 2 firecrests south of the golden galleon.

1st-w caspo

resembles washed out caspo but too much head streaking (burnt out in photo) and didn't see it stand up or anything

some argies

wonder if there's any glauc genes in there

Saturday, 23 November 2013

been a good movement of gulls over eastbourne the last few days in favourable winds. quick look at west rise today produced 3 argies and a juv drake scaup (?) plus the return of last year's hybrid (?) female.

Monday, 18 November 2013

yellow-legged gull and argentatus herring gull (photo) down the cuckmere. black redstart at newhaven west beach.

Monday, 11 November 2013

with the autumn seawatching having been so bad this year i wasn't keen to get out early today despite the good forecast of southerly winds. wish i'd not had that lie in tho! got to holywell at 08.30 and stuff was on the go straight away. i dont count anything these days but there would have been some good numbers, will just have a look at what dunge gets today for some idea?? having flocks of 4 species in the fov at the same time was a novelty for autumn, felt like a spring watch. dunlin were relentless, i've never seen anything like it even in spring, it was a case of as soon as one flock flew out my fov another came in. brents also on the go, must've been pushing a thousand, then in descending order wigeon, common scoter, teal, red-breasted merganser, shelduck, shoveler and pintail. oddities were 2 eider and 1 goldeneye. a handful of sanderling and a few small flocks of grey plover were mixed in with the dunlin, plus 1 common snipe! other bits included 2 fulmars, 2 great crested grebes, 4 red-throated divers, and my latest arctic tern, a juvenile. gannets were mostly going east and there were 2 or 3 distant skuas east which looked like poms. no little gulls but i left just before the main event, would've needed to be out on the head to see anything going east, then it really would have been a french style seawatch.

shelduck, wigeon, brent and eider

dropped into arlington. a walk along the dam produced... drum roll...... 1 swallow. the amount of times i've walked out on that dam in the pissing rain this year thinking the weather's gonna bring summink in and not seen anything. but then on my way back i spotted a flock of 14 little gulls flying straight towards me. as they did a fly by along the dam i just had to risk getting my little camera out in the rain for a shot of these beauties. after milling around in the middle for a bit they headed back towards the sea. got soaked for nothing in the lower cuckmere, just an argie (first of winter), and nothing at newhaven harbour either.