I need a longer lens

A midweek moth trap finally delivered a long overdue Jersey Tiger: it was beginning to feel like we were the only moth trappers in Sussex without having seen one.  Unfortunately, it was so worn it looked as though it had swum over from Jersey, but we’re not complaining.

The lure of Wood Sandpiper and Ruff at Pulborough Brooks wasn’t enough to make me drag myself over there.  Instead I had a walk on the downs in search of migrants, which have been coming through all week.  A couple of Redstarts were an addition to the on-foot list for the year and a Wheatear and Spotted Flycatchers were nice, but infrequent.  The bird I was really after was Pied Flycatcher, but there was nothing doing, until, when I was about as far from home as I could be, a friend put out news of one near home.  A dash back got me there in time to spend a nearly an hour with a showy bird.

Today Karen joined me on the downs, but it was quieter than yesterday, with just one Redstart and a Wheatear in amongst the Willow Warblers.  On the way back news came on about 9 Spoonbills flying past Widewater, on the coast.  Wrong place again!  We were in sight of the sea, three miles away, and Spoonbills are big and white, so we found a suitable vantage and stared at the sea.  Sure enough, after a minute or so 9 white dots appeared and moved along the coast, before moving a bit inland.  It’s not often I photograph birds at three miles distance.

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Jersey Tiger
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Silver-spotted Skipper
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Don't worry, the Swallows will be gone soon, so I can't take many more pictures.
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Spotted Flycatcher
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Pied Flycatcher
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Aperture: 7.1
Camera: Canon EOS R5
Iso: 500
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9 Spoonbills fly over Splash Point

It’s not grim up north

We’re having a long weekend in Yorkshire this weekend, and autumn migration is starting.

It’s a long time since I had two lifers in a day in the UK, even though there have been two chances (Caspian Tern but no Albatross last year, and Eleonora’s Falcon but no Sardinian Warbler early on this year), so the possibility of the Cape Gull on the way up north and the Red-tailed Shrike was too much to resist.  That hope died almost the moment we decided to come up north, when the Cape Gull went missing, but the Shrike, which was a world lifer and a smart bird, and so much more interesting than the gull, hung around and gave superb views yesterday afternoon.

After a night in a B&B where I think the name Galtry flagged up that they needed to serve huge quantities of food (good food at that) we went to Flamborough this morning and got a second lifer in two days: a long overdue Icterine Warbler, that never showed as close as the Shrike, but was very welcome.

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Yellow Wagtail
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Teaching the kid to fly
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A beast of a Yellow-legged Gull
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About the only view of a red tail
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Red-tailed (or Turkestan) Shrike
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Bempton Cliffs, Filey Brig and Scarborough Castle in the distance
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An Iccy at last
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What are you looking at
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All plumages of Kittiwake are nice, but the juvenile plumage is my favourite


Autumn migration has started, with a large number of Willow Warblers (or Wibblers, after their song) on the Downs: an eleven mile walk around Cissbury Ring and the Monarch’s Way found about 70 of them, as well as a Whinchat and 9 Wheatears.  The mothing has been quiet, but we’ve had a few nice moths too.

This Bank Vole has taken up residence in the garden
Garden Tiger
Oak Eggar
Dark Arches
Willow Warbler
Hummingbird Hawk Moth