Trip reports

Wednesday Walk: Splash Point and Seaford Head

Pair of kittiwakes on rock

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

On a hot, sunny morning, 11 members of the group met at Splash Point, greatly outnumbered by several hundred kittiwakes on their nesting ledges, on a line of posts and on the sea. Sometimes a bird would fly inshore with a sand-eel in its beak. We made no attempt to count the kittiwakes, but we understand that there are now two smaller nesting colonies at Newhaven (West) and at Seven Sisters. Despite their lemon yellow beaks, these birds are occasionally confused with the common gull (actually not all that common!). However the kittiwakes (pictured) have short, dark legs while the common gull has yellow legs. Today the only other gull species seen was the herring gull. Rock pipits were glimpsed, and the detached pinnacle hosted three cormorants.

Walking up the steep slope between the golf course and the cliff edge, we had excellent views of stone chats and skylarks, although overall disappointingly few birds were seen. The remaining bird sightings comprised wood pigeon, meadow pipit, pied wagtail, dunnock, blackbird, house sparrow, magpie, jackdaw and carrion crow, giving a total of just 16 species.

We expected a quiet day for butterflies because many have already had their first brood, and they should become more plentiful again as the time for the second brood approaches. Even so we saw many common blue, besides small heath, tortoiseshell, meadow brown, peacock and red admiral.

The weather remained very warm with plenty of sunshine, and an onshore breeze was very welcome as we returned to Splash Point.

Ian Muldoon