Birling Gap, Hope Gap, Cuckmere Valley, 8th September 2012

Alan and Maureen, Shaun, Bob P, Richard P, Bob P and Sue met at Birling Gap on a brilliantly sunny morning, and began searching for birds from the free car park. Stonechats, meadow pipit, linnets, many swallows and two perched buzzards got us off to a good start. A fellow birder pointed out a high flying hobby – the only one seen all day. A sparrowhawk flew over, pursued as usual by a cross corvid.

A short seawatch produced curlew, oystercatcher, auk sp., herring gull, lesser and greater black backed gulls and black-headed gull, little egret. There were plenty of house sparrows around the café.

Walking up the hill, we found chiffchaff, willow warbler, greenfinch, wheatears, whitethroat, great spotted and green woodpecker. More whitethroats were seen in the scrubby areas of the downland.

We walked back and on to Horseshoe Plantation, having paused for coffee, where two green woodpeckers and another great spot were noted. There were plenty of flyover yellow wagtails, but few other birds, so we decided to move on to Hope Gap. Walking down the hill, four spotted flycatchers were seen, and a blackcap or two heard. A badger trundled across the path about half way down. Near the steps, we had a glimpse of a rock pipit, but there was very little offshore. We moved on slowly over the brow and towards the Coastguard Cottages. There were masses of people enjoying the sunshine, so birds were few and far between. However, we did (thanks Martin, and Richard) manage to i.d. bar tailed godwit and a couple of dunlin. More yellow wagtails were heard, and one gave good views, as we went back up the hill.

Our final tally was 52 – pretty good, considering the weather and the large number of people enjoying it.

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