Redshank 2 on beach at Gulley below Cow Gap
Bee-eater 1 @ c.4.15 and 4.45 over Hollow. Whilst watching the Sykes’s Warbler at around 4.15pm DC heard the distinctive liquid ‘prruut’ call and announced that he could hear a Bee-Eater at or about the same time as a number of other observers did similarly. DRC was first to see it approaching towards us over the rim of Whitbread Hollow roughly above the mist-net rides. It remained distant flying east, calling frequently before disappearing over the ridge towards Holywell and Eastbourne. At around 4.45 DC and a number of other observers again heard it call whereupon it was again seen to distantly fly east, again calling frequently, over the same ridge towards Eastbourne. Very pointed wings with a contrasting broad dark trailing edge just visble on a couple of occasions. As it banked bright yellow scapulars were briefly visible eliminating the remote possibility of Blue-cheeked Bee-Eater!
Ring-necked Parakeet 1 male
Green Woodpecker c.4
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 top of Lane
Wryneck 1 top of Lane. On arriving at the top of the Lane at c.6.30 it was flushed from the side of the track where it briefly alighted in some dead sticks before flying west and dropping out of sight behind a large clump of gorse and scattered bushes. Despite searching the area it was not until c.45 minutes later when RJF had independently found it in virtually the exact same spot where we saw it fly into the pine trees where it sat for c.5 minutes in the arly morning sun. Short pointed dark grey bill held above the horizontal. Grey crown with some darker barring, nape and mantle except for a broad vertical black stripe running from the nape and down the centre of the mantle. Scapulars black forming the effect of dark stripes running parallel with that down the centre of the mantle. Dark eyestrip extending from behind the eye and down the neck sides. Throat a deep orangey colour with feint darker barring. Belly whitish with dark chevrons on flanks. Wings greyish-brown being complexly patterned with paler spots across coverts and rows of darker bars across primaries. Long tail grey with darker bars. JFC had seen the same orangey-throated individual several days earlier.
Sand Martin c.50
House Martin c.30
Rock Pipit c.4
Tree Pipit c.3
Yellow Wagtail c.10
Lesser Whitethroat c.5
Sedge Warbler 2
SYKES'S WARBLER 1 ex. Whitbread Hollow
The bill appeared very long and narrow. It appeared clearly two-toned with the upper mandible, which was notably broad-based, appearing principally dark almost black (apart from a small pale tip) contrasting with the lower mandible which appeared wholly yellow and completely unmarked. Photographs reveal a pale cutting edge to the upper mandible not noted in the field.
Head pattern very sudued appearing remarkably ‘plain-faced’. Pale buff supercilium starting at base of upper mandible (not meeting across base of bill) broadest above pale lores before narrowing in front and over eye and extending only just behind the eye. Hint of a narrow dark lateral crown-stripe bordering the supercilium but restricted to just over the loral area. This dark lateral crown-stripe appeared completely absent on occasions. The bird lacked even a hint of an eyestripe making for a very bland expressionless facial pattern. Ear coverts, cheeks and neck sides concolorous with crown and nape. Eye appeared black. Photographs reveal a very slightly paler iris not evident in the field.
Forehead, crown, nape, mantle, scapulars, back, rump and uppertail coverts very uniform pale drab greyish-brown adopting a less grey, paler ‘milky-tea’ or even sandy appearance in flight. The lesser, median and greater coverts virtually uniform with the mantle though complete pale fringes were clearly evident on the median coverts and especially the greater coverts broadening on the tips forming the effect of a pale wing-bar which varied in prominence with the angle of view. The overall appearance of the alula, primary coverts, tertials, secondaries and primaries were of being generally slightly darker and therefore slightly contrastingly so. The alula appeared uniformly dark brown with narrow pale fringes. The primary coverts were dark centred with pale fringes. The tertials were uniform with their dark centres contrasting with broad pale worn fringes. The secondaries clearly possessed pale fringes but so did the primaries thus no apparent contrasting pale ‘secondary panel’ was formed. The primary tips had complete narrow pale fringes enabling us to repeatedly count five primaries projecting beyond the tertials. Photographs reveal the spacing between the primaries appear to increase towards the longest primary and deep emarginations. It always appeared short-winged with our estimates of the primary projection beyond the length of the exposed tertials varying between a third to a half of the length of the tertials, but usually appearing closer to the former.
Chin, throat, breast, belly and flanks strinkingly silky-white almost recalling a Bonelli’s Warbler at times. Short undertail-coverts white.
Tail always appeared long, quite broad and with a distinct noticeable notch. It had a very slightly rufous tinge with marked horizontal darker fault bars. Centre of tail appeared slightly darker than outer tail. At least the outer webs of the outer tail feathers seen to be whitish being most obvious when the underside of the tail was seen in flight.
It had sturdy legs being grey with grey feet.
The bird often flicked its wings and tail together with a nervous quality with its tail sometimes slightly raised and at other times slightly lowered, and sometimes spread and flicked.
It always gave the impression of being a long-tailed Hippolais although it often appeared flat-headed like an Acrocephalus Warbler. It lacked the Phyllosc-like character we have associated with previous Booted Warblers we have encountered.
JFC heard it call on a single occasion describing it as a quiet ‘tchak'.
Long-tailed Tit c.8
Raven 4 in air together