Wednesday 21 February 2024


Monday 12th February 2024

  • Around 9 pm, from my back garden, I could hear a tawny owl moving around from tree to tree.  Alas I was not able to see it.

Oh for a thermal imaging camera!

Friday 16tth February 2024

I made a quick afternoon visit to Splash Point, Seaford, to look at the damage caused by the recent collapse of some of the chalk cliffs.  Recent TV coverage had intimated that it was quite substantial but it did not mention any threat to wildlife.  

  • Unfortunately I saw that the fall had removed over 50% of the nesting sites for our beloved kittiwake colony, so long a feature of the area.  The remaining nest sites were fully occupied by kittiwakes getting ready for the breeding season.  Scores of displaced kittiwakes were flying around frantically near the cliffs.  
Courtesy of Tim Holter and WhatsApp

What a tragedy!

  • By way of consolation I saw my first black redstart of the year.  It was flitting around the area close to the viewing ramp, sometimes on the boulders and sometimes cling to the chalk cliffs.

Courtesy of Martin Jeffree
  • Before heading back home, I called in at Newhaven West Pier to see my first fulmars of the year.  I didn't have to get out of the car as 3 of them gave me a wonderful flying display as they glided over the deserted car park area.

Saturday 17th February 2024
I was just setting down getting ready to watch the football on TV when I got a phone call from my friend David who invited me to join him on a hawfinch search at Penhurst Lane near Battle.
  • We arrived just before 3 pm to find another birder there and quite soon we were seeing hawfinches in the canopy of the distant trees.  The most we saw in any one telescope view was 5 but estimates put the total at 20 - 30.  We saw several small flocks at regular intervals of our 60 minute stay.
  • An obliging brambling showed well with one of the hawfinches - almost 30 minutes in all.

Tuesday 20th February 2024
I was back at Weir Wood Reservoir for the first time since before Christmas.  My sprained knee was now a thing of the past.  A group of us were assigned the task of floating a tern raft into the water after a recent repair.  By way of an aside we did some bird watching and I was able to add 3 birds to my 2024 list:-
  • On the way to the work area I saw my first tree creeper of the year,
  • At the waterside I saw 2 of the 3 kingfishers that flew by us.
  • On the return leg to the car park, I saw a couple of Egyptian geese on the water.
Later on, after lunch, I took Martin down to see the kittiwakes and the black redstart at Splash Point.  The black redstart was there, as was a rock pipit but there wasn't a single kittiwake to be seen!  The remaining nesting areas were deserted and there were no kittiwakes flying around the cliffs or on the sea.  On the WhatsApp group our post gave us some encouraging answers - it is not unusual for kittiwakes to visit their nesting sites before flying out to sea again.  Let's hope that is the case here.  We cannot afford to lose the whole colony.
Courtesy of Martin Jeffree

Friday 23rd February 2024 

I went with martin to Old Lodge NNR in the Ashdown Forest this afternoon.  Despite the showers we had a good time.
  • We heard at least 3 woodlarks singing away in the distance but we were unable to get a sighting.
  • We were more fortunate with the redpolls, seeing several flocks of 20 or more as we went round the reserve.
  • Martin spotted a Dartford warbler but it disappeared before I could join him.
  • Also seen were coal tit, goldfinch, great spotted woodpecker as well as the basic birds of the forest.

2024 species count=126

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.