Wednesday, 2 January 2013

a caspy new year

I'm not generally one for serious listing, but I made an exception this year! Myself and a few other young birders, living in Norfolk, Durham, Northumberland, Lancashire, Aberdeenshire and various other areas decided a few months ago to have a Patch Battle- see who can see the most species in a year on their local. If any of you are reading this, here's how I got on on day 1! 

I started in great form, not 15 minutes after getting off the bus at Cuckmere Haven, I'd found an absolutely stonking adult CASPIAN GULL amongst the others. Features I noted were;
  • long and parallel-edged bill
  • sloping forehead
  • very small, beady eye
  • fairly pale mantle shade, slightly darker than argenteus herring gull
  • a large amount of white in the primaries
  • long-winged
  • deep-breasted, holding it's chest up very high
  • very pale, fleshy-pink legs
  • very long-winged
  • a somewhat clumsy, waddling gait when walking 
  • long-necked 
  • it was frequently seen 'albatrossing'
I'm not the most confident guy at identifying Caspians, but this one was practically doing a song and dance in front of me! Sadly the only photos I managed were completely unidentifiable! 

Further down the Cuckmere, I eventually found the 16 Barnacle Geese, flying out to sea! I'll take this as a hopeful sign of their origin, and given there was a report of 50 from Lewes on the 1st as well (click here), it seems there may have been a small arrival in sussex. for now then, I'm having them! 

Other than these two, not a great deal to report. a brief seawatch off the Cuckmere revealed 5 Fulmars kicking about offshore, a decent early arrival for them. also, if you want to visit the Cuckmere at the moment, I really would suggest wellies; 80% of the paths are complete quagmires!

I kicked off my patch battle with 48 species, see below;

  1. Mute Swan- c10 in the Cuckmere
  2. Canada Goose- c300 in the Cuckmere
  3. Greylag Goose- 3
  4. Barnacle Goose- 16 (ex)
  5. Shelduck- 15
  6. Mallard-6
  7. Wigeon-150 in the Cuckmere. 40 offshore at Hope Gap, 22W at Splash Point presumably part of this group
  8. Teal-30
  9. Pheasant- 3
  10. Little Grebe-5
  11. Fulmar-5 o/s
  12. Cormorant- 7
  13. Grey Heron-2
  14. Little Egret-4
  15. Sparrowhawk-1
  16. Oystercatcher-2 at Cuckmere, 20 at Hope Gap
  17. Curlew-40+
  18. Redshank-15 roosting on an island in the scrape
  19. Black-headed Gull- c700 overall
  20. Common Gull-c75 overall
  21. Herring Gull-c400 overall, argentatus; one at Exceat, one at Hope Gap, two at Splash Point
  22. CASPIAN GULL- 1 adult north of Exceat (ex)
  23. Lesser-black back- c250 overall, about 10% intermedius
  24. Great Black-back- c150 overall
  25. Feral Pigeon -16 at Seaford Head
  26. Green Woodpecker- 1 at Harry's Bush
  27. Skylark-c10, a few singing
  28. Pied Wagtail- c20
  29. Meadow Pipit- c10
  30. Rock Pipit- 3 in Cuckmere, 2 near Splash Point
  31. Wren- 1 Cuckmere, 2 Seaford Head
  32. Dunnock- a few
  33. Robin- widespread, a few singing
  34. Blackbird- 1 each at Cuckmere and Hope Gap
  35. Song Thrush- 1 singing at Exceat
  36. Blue Tit- c5 in Hope Gap
  37. Great Tit- 1 singing at Exceat
  38. Long-tailed Tit- c5 at Exceat
  39. Magpie- widespread
  40. Rook- widespread
  41. Jackdaw- widespread
  42. Carrion crow- widespread
  43. Starling- widespread
  44. House Sparrow- flocks at Golden Galleon and north of Exceat
  45. Chaffinch- widespread
  46. Greenfinch- one by the scrape
  47. Yellowhammer- one by the scrape
  48. Reed Bunting- 1 near the Horse Paddocks, Cuckmere
Happy New Year everyone! 

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year mate,

    Top work with the Casp, nice way to start off the year and the best find for the self-found Next Gen yearlist by some way so far ;) . Good luck with exams etc. and speak when you're back on Next Gen.

    Good birding