Monday, 18 March 2013

First Signs of Spring

A day exploring the cliffs between Brighton and Seaford Head with our chief target a Black Redstart reported at Telscombe Water Works.

We had a bit of a slow start when the Black Redstart was a no show. However, we did see a pair of Peregrines flying and also a male Wheatear, my first of the year, as he made his way off the beach and up the cliffs. Pity he didn't hang around a little longer.

Wheatear

There were also a number of Rock Pipits around. I had only ever seen them as single birds before but there must have been between six and ten moving around on the beach and at the bottom of the cliffs.

Rock Pipit

Very active feeding

and not camera shy

 As usual the Rock Pipits were easy to photograph. They seemed indifferent to my presence and as long as I made no fast movements they would come quite close.

We then moved on to Seaford and searched the churchyard. Again no Black Redstart but there was a Chiffchaff, probably newly arrived judging from its rate of feeding.

Chiffchaff

There were Kittiwakes at Seaford Head but picture opportunities were limited and Newhaven harbour was also very quiet with only one Fulmar on the cliffs. However, we did meet another birder who gave us better directions for finding the Black Redstart back at Telscombe.

A second visit proved successful although my pictures were a bit of a disaster with the black bird in shadow and silhouetted against sunlit chalk cliffs. I couldn't even use them as record shots.

Oystercatchers
 
A quick shot of an Oystercatcher roost and we headed off home after a successful day and with the warm sun and the sightings of Wheatear and Chiffchaff suggesting that spring could be on the way.







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