Cuckmere Haven

There were two targets today at a site I've been planning to visit for sometime; Rock Pipit, which would be a lifer, and a year tick Osprey. I arrived a bit early so had to leave my car at the car park gates. I headed off into the fog, which soon cleared and revealed a fantastic landscape. A Green Sandpiper was heard calling out of sight. I managed to get a vantage point and noticed that all the gulls were up in the air. I soon saw why as an Osprey was flying low over the river and then landed close to the beach, where it sat for some time. It wasn't there later when I got a bit closer and I didn't see it again, although it was reported later on. That was a very good start. I counted 8 Little Grebes on the river as I walked to the beach and there were 3 Greenshanks, 3 Redshanks, and possibly Bar and Black-tailed Gidwits around. I didn't manage to spot the Curlew Sandpiper amongst the waders that were very mobile. At the beach I noticed some pipits on the cliff edge so took a steep path up the Seven Sisters. The views looking down over the Cuckmere Valley were magnificent. I could only pick up Meadow Pipits up here so headed back down, which was far more treacherous than going up. There were a lot of pipits around and rocks on the beach and I sensed I might be in luck. One bird perched up low down on the cliff nearby, and this was clearly a Rock Pipit. It was much darker than a Meadow Pipit, with dark legs, smudged streaking on the breast and a long bill. There were a good few more around me on the beach too, although I could only confirm two separate birds. A pleasing and long awaited lifer. I did see Rock Pipits on Seaford Head two years ago, but only identified them later from photos, and as a new birder at the time I chose not to tick them. It had got much busier by the time I headed back up along the river, with many dog walkers around. A Wheatear was noted near the river bank. 

Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit 

Rock Pipit

Osprey

Wheatear 



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