Autumn migration below the cliffs.

Yesterday Oct 23 I joined Cliff Dean and Mike Mullis for a low tide walk below the cliffs of Hastings Country Park from Cliff End to Hastings- a change from my normal walk above.

This is a challenging walk, with slippery rocks to be negotiated and shingle to slog through,  making it difficult to look up and to hear calls, but at least it’s level…

Arriving at Cliff End promenade at around 10.30, we immediately saw 2 Black Redstarts, which proved to be the best birds of the day, but as we slowly progressed westwards we constantly witnessed migration in action, with Starlings Thrushes and Skylarks coming in off the sea, as well as a few Robins and Chiffchaffs which landed on the rocks on the beach. Rock Pipits could be heard calling overhead-more than I’ve recorded before,  Robins were everywhere and presumably mostly migrants.

We stopped to examine the small waterfall where the Warren Glen stream discharges onto the beach, in the strip of green willows beside this were a Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff and a Robin, doubtless newly arrived

Where Warren Glen meets the sea

Totals for the day-no doubt underestimated- were: Redwing 36 in, Blackbird 4 in, Song Thrush 5 in, Skylark 20 in/E, Starling 30 in,  Chiffchaff 3, Goldcrest 1, Swallow 3E, Rock Pipit 8 in, Redpoll few heard, Siskin 10 E 12W, Robin 50.

At sea, 40 Brent Goose W, 24 E, unusually 15 Gadwall landed off Fairlight Cove; a Lesser Black-backed Gull on the beach and a Knot on the rocks.

Probably 3 Peregrines on the cliffs-waiting for migrants ?; and 2 Ravens at Rock-a-Nore.

And of course the stunning landscape of towering cliffs, mudslides and rockfalls.


Hastings Autumn migration watch

The first decent weather for several days


White Rock 7.00-8.20
Passage W of Pied/White wagtail 6, Meadow pipit 28, Swallow 80, House martin 145, Chaffinch 28, Brambling 2, Linnet 2, Siskin 7 and Jay 1.
13 Chiffchaffs, 1 Goldcrest, 3 Wheatears and 9 Robins.

Gensing Gardens 8.55
5 Chiffchaffs.

Central St leonards 9.00 onwards during morning.
occasional notes of birds passing W of Great spotted woodpecker 1, Jay 14, Siskin f20 and Chaffinch 6.


AP Fairlight-Hastings through HCPNR 0700-0920:

Redpoll 8E, Siskin 60 E, Brambling 3W, Reed Bunting over high 8, Linnet E20 W20, Greenfinch E1, Chaffinch E 30, Goldfinch 85 E, Grey Wagtail E1, Pied Wagtail W10, Tree Pipit in/W 3, Meadow Pipit W 20 Curlew in off sea and inland over Fairlight 2, House Martin W 190, Swallow W 120, Sand Martin W1, Jay 5W along cliffs.

Chiffchaff 38, Blackcap 22, Goldcrest 15, Wheatear 1, Redstart 1, Skylark 2, Song Thrush 3.

These are the first Bramblings of the winter.



Autumn migration watch and the RX birdrace

Oct 8th was a very busy day in the events calendar, Wildlife events no exception with both the Friends of HCPNR autumn migration event, led by Andrew Grace, and the RX Birdrace taking place simultaneously.
The Friends event aimed to show attendees [17] migration actually taking place, and did so very well with, a steady stream of small birds passing overhead. Much better than last year when we had thick fog! The RX event pitted teams of up to 5 against each other to see who could see the most bird species in the RX area between 0700 and 1900, raising funds for Mallydams Wood RSPCA and Rye Harbour NR.As I was helping with the friends event as well as part of a team [the Pett Levellers, organised with military precision by Cliff Dean], I set off in the dark from Fairlight to join my fellow bird-racers at 7. It all looked very promising, with a Ring Ouzel in clifftop scrub at Firehills in the dark , and , 0700 having arrived, good records of Dartford Warbler, and both Merlin and Marsh Harrier heading W over the sea. I left the rest of the team to walk as far as Fairlight Glen, joining Andrew and the others at 8 for a walk around Firehills. Straightaway another Ring Ouzel came in off the sea and flew right past us all,calling well. After a while groups of House Martins, Meadow Pipits and Finches began passing west, together with an unusual series of parties of House Sparrows, some of which were seen to come in off the sea, and over 30 Skylarks-a good total. Several groups of Crossbills,a Rock Pipit, a calling Dartford Warbler and an obliging Stonechat rounded off the 2 hour watch nicely.
I rejoined the RX team at 10, to discover that the species count for the morning so far was 53, all within HCPNR-we had a target of 100 species .
We then left the park and headed west, via Warren Road, Stonelink Wood, Market Wood, Toot Rock, Carters Flood , Pett Levels, Winchelsea Beach, the Long Pit, Castle Water, eventually arriving at the Rye Harbour NR Bittern viewpoint where we stayed till 7. We walked around 12 miles [or 35,000 steps according to Martyns pedometer !], and, after a rather nail -biting last hour, finished with a comfortable 104 species.
We then returned [by car!] to Mallydams to compare results with the other teams , eat a welcome buffet, and as it turned out, take part in the Glittering Award Ceremony, for our 104 species was the joint highest total, scored by another team also. However, we were the only team to do it all on foot….

A very enjoyable day-good birding, good company and good causes.

Hastings Autumn migration watch 2011

Internet problems continue, these records are for yesterday October 1: Sightings from AG and AP

again hot and calm – a record set today for the hottest UK October temperature apparently.

White Rock 6.35-7.45

Pied wagtail 10E 2W. Meadow pipit 27E 1S. Siskin 5 e. Finch sp. 20E.

1 Wheatear, 20 Robins, 3 Song thrushes, 14 Chiffchaffs, 1 Grey wagtail.

Rock-a-Nore 0700-0815: Sandwich Tern 30, Common Tern 10 E, Arctic Skua 1E, Red Throated Diver 1E, Gannet 4E, Common Scoter 2E.
Pied Wagtail 120 and Meadow Pipit 16 E along beach

Hastings Autumn Migration Watch 2011

Due to internet problems these records are for September 30

Another calm sunny and very hot day

sightings from AG and AP:

Quarry Hill 9.00-9.50

Passage east of Meadow pipit 13, Pied wagtail 7, Siskin 15, Swallow 4. 1 Great spotted woodpecker heard.

Fairlight-Hastings through HCPNR 0640-0930: Pied Wagtail 45 E, Grey Wagtail 4E, Yellow Wagtail 2 with cows, Meadow Pipit 55 E, Tree Pipit 1 in/E, Siskin 115 E,Goldfinch 20 E, Reed Bunting 10 high over

Chiffchaff 50, Goldcrest 13, Stonechat 2, Wheatear 1, Darford Warbler 3 [2 Firehills, 1 below Brakey Bank], Lesser Whitethroat 2Redpoll 10, Crossbill 5, Skylark 1, Swallow 5

Hastings Autumn Bird Migration2011

Calm, sunny and exceptionally warm

records from AG, RF and AP:

Quarry Hill 7.25-8.25

Linnet 20E, Goldfinch 9E, Chaffinch 4E, Siskin 48E, Reed bunting 3E, Meadow pipit 43E, Grey wagtail 1E, Pied wagtail 29E, Mistle thrush 1W.

Rock-a-Nore 0655-0810: Pied Wagtail 217 E along beach, Meadow Pipit 110 similarly. Grey Wagtail 1E

At sea: 6 Brent Goose E- first arrival of this winter visitor !, auk sp 1E, Common Scoter 1E, Gannet 9E.
Sandwich Tern 10 feeding.

HCP-CG Lane and Quarry 10.00-11.30

9 Blackcaps, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Common redstarts, 20 Chifchaffs, 2 Goldcrests, 10 Stonechats

passage East of 40 Pied/White wagtails (some Whites), 5 Siskins, 4 Goldfinches and 7 Meadow pipits. Also 1 Hobby S out to sea.

Hastings Autumn migration survey 2011-update

Aug 27 Cliff End-Fairlight Cove 0700-0800 AP: Hobby 1, Wheatear 1, Swallow W6, Knot 1, Grey Wagtail 2E 1 on beach

Archery Gardens 7.00. AG
Yellow wagtail 3 s.
1 Willow warbler.

White Rock 7.30-8.05.AG
Yellow wagtail 4 over. White/Pied wagtail 1 over.
5 Robins, 3 Wheatears, 2 Willow warblers, 2 Common whitethroats.

Aug 28 Hastings Country Park [Barley Lane-Ecclesbourne Meadow] 0600- 0800 AP: Yellow Wagtail 32 W, Tree Pipit 3W, Grey Wagtail 2W 1E, Swallow 4W, Wheatear 1, Lesser Whitethroat 5, Willow Warbler/Chiffchaff 8.

Aug 29 Rock-a-Nore o655-o755 AP: Swallow 1W .

White Rock 7.25-8.15 AG
Yellow wagtail 10 sw.
9 Robins, 2 Wheatears, 2 Willow warblers.

West Hill 8.40-10.25 AG
A good arrival with birds passing through quickly.
Sand Martin 25 Swallow 80 and House martin 1 w.
7 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 6 Robins, 1 Common redstart, 1 Common whitethroat, 1 Blackcap and 3 Willow warblers.

Hastings Country Park NR CD: 1 Redstart, 30 Yellow Wagtail W, Tree Pipit 5W, Wheatear 6W, Swallow 100 in Warren Glen, 3 Sparrowhawks, and 2 Honey Buzzards W over Fairlight Church at 0905