News archive

May 2017

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Hot Air Balloon Event at Hampden Park

The Friends of Hampden Park have kindly invited the RSPB Local Group to have a stall at the Hot Air Balloon Event at Hampden Park on the weekend of 29th and 30th July 2017. We will run two shifts each day, from 10 am to 1 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm, and we need three volunteers for each shift. If you would like to help, please contact Tony Vass on 01424 844304, but please come along anyway. It is also rumoured that the RSPB regional office will be there with their own stall, but focussing on the RSPB nationally, rather than the local group. More details will follow.

Ian Muldoon

Friday, 5 May 2017

Osprey in larch tree

April Birds in the Eastbourne Area

Splash Point, Seaford is a notable site for observing passage migrants along the English Channel. During the first weekend of April alone black and red throated divers flew past, as did many Sandwich and common terns and up to 35 Mediterranean gulls. There were also small numbers of eider and velvet scoter.

The next weekend saw 26 velvet scoter and literally hundreds of Brent geese, Sandwich and common terns, plus four of the rarer little terns. There were also around 80 little gulls, whimbrel flocks, gannets, more divers, six arctic skuas and a solitary great skua (also known as Bonxie).

One of the spring highlights is the passage of the distinctively shaped pomarine skuas. A single bird appeared on the 21st April, but numbers had risen to 17 two days later, and to an impressive 47 on the final day of the month. Arctic and great skuas continued to pass through, plus a single Balearic shearwater.

East of Splash Point at Birling Gap, at least 500 Mediterranean gulls were observed, and so were 50 little gulls, while other birds seen along the coast included whimbrel, little tern, velvet scoter and more black and red throated diver.

Further inland, the first swallows appeared at Arlington reservoir on April 1st, followed next day by sightings of a tawny owl and two ring ouzels. Much more unexpectedly, a female blue rock thrush was seen near Belle Tout. this rare bird was the highlight of the month; it is more common in Spain.

West Rise marsh hosted a garganey and two water pipits, and a wryneck at the end of the month.

Further inland there were some good sightings at Arlington reservoir including a red necked grebe, and towards the end of the month an osprey (pictured) and a red rumped swallow.

A female bluethroat appeared at the Cuckmere estuary, a species which could well become more common locally through global warming. A wood warbler was also heard here, plus another at Plantation wood. The last notable sighting in this area was that of a spoonbill on the final day of the month.

Finally a hen harrier flew ashore over Beachy Head mid-month.

Compiled by Ian Muldoon from sightings made by Sedley Underdown