News archive

June 2018

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Spotted flycatcher on perch

May Bird Sightings in and around Eastbourne

On 4th May a turtle dove was singing at Rye. It is very sad that the turtle dove has become a rare sighting, and one of the RSPB's main current conservation projects is to assist this species focussing on North Kent among other areas.

On the other hand, both spoonbill and great white egret are becoming relatively common. These birds seem to like Rye Harbour, which hosted up to three spoonbill and four great white egret. Other notable visitors to Rye Harbour were a Terek sandpiper, a broad-billed sandpiper and two little stint. Towards the end of the month a pair of black-winged stilts paid a brief visit, while six black terns were present on the 18th.

At Seaford Head, the month began with migrant pied flycatcher and spotted flycatcher (pictured) moving inland, continuing with the passage of 13 Pomarine skua, and ended with the fly past of a solitary puffin. Nearby at Cuckmere Haven a Temminck's stint was seen.

Inland sightings included hoopoe, red-backed shrike, and lastly a rose coloured starling. Peter Denyer has reported an influx of these birds into Western Europe, including 12 at his current workplace, Skagen Bird Observatory in Denmark. We expect a further report from Peter shortly.

Ian Muldoon with notes from Peter Denyer

Friday, 22 June 2018

Marsh Harrier (female), close up of head

Skagen Bird Observatory, Denmark

Our newsletter editor, Peter Denyer is currently working at Skagen Bird Observatory in the north of Denmark (Nice work if you can get it!). The site is a major point on an important migration route, and Peter is taking part in a ringing project.

He has been most impressed with the northwards raptor migration. Over 200 common buzzards have passed through, as well as 20 rough-legged buzzards with their distinctive under-wing markings. There have been plenty of marsh harriers (pictured), hen harriers and pallid harriers besides some white-tailed sea eagles.

Red and black kites have been numerous. Whereas most of the migrating birds continue to move north, the black kites remain in the vicinity. This is also true of the abundant white storks, who have reached the northernmost end of their range.

Peter's next dispatch will review the Skagen annual bird festival, a smaller version of our annual Rutland Water event, and he will update us on the ringing project and on further sightings.

Ian Muldoon

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Pair of kittiwakes on rock

'Birds on the Edge' Exhibition, 27th June until 5th August 2018

'Birds on the Edge' Exhibition at the National Trust Visitor Centre, Birling Gap will run from Wednesday 27th June until Sunday 5th August 2018 and draws you into the wonderful intimacy of the bird life on the blustery cliff edges with huge photographs of the cliffs and Kittiwake colony in unprecedented detail from Sussex photographer Trevor Dickens. The remarkable habitat within these rapidly eroding cliffs goes mostly unseen with its many facets, layers of flint and intriguing colours of mineral, flora and fauna. Adults birds can be seen caring for chicks on precarious ledges, as well as taking on fearsome fights with ravens and skuas to protect them.

To capture the beauty and life within these iconic chalk cliffs at such scale, Dickens uses a technique called 'digiscoping' which gives outstanding images of the cliffs with the Kittiwake colony in so much detail. This will be Trevor Dickens debut exhibition showcasing the cliffs at Seaford Head as they have never been seen before.

Admission to the exhibition is free. However there is a pay and display car park for visitors, which is free for National Trust members.