Out for Ouzels

Fed up of hearing about everyone else’s Ouzels, I went up Firle Bostal this morning to try and find one of my own.

A late-ish Wheatear flew in front of the car as I arrived at the top. Didn’t get a proper look, so it will have to remain as a ‘probable’ Isabelline.

Dropping down onto the access land there were very few birds to start with. The sun is so low now that most of the hollow was still in the shade at 10am. But there was a lone House Martin over the plantation, and a few Skylarks, mipits and finches (including Siskins) flying through.

The corner where game cover meets the escarpment, just north of Firle Bostal Having heard nothing remotely Ouzel-like from the scrub, I’d decided that the male Stonechat, where the game cover borders on the access land in a right-angled corner, was probably going to be the best bird.

But then some chunkier noises (like a Stonechat on steroids) and there it was – a Ring Ouzel sat in a hawthorn on the edge of the crop. Silvery wings and a scaly front, not much of a crescent on the breast, sat there flicking its wings and scolding me.

As I moved round the fence it dived into cover, continuing to call, and when I flushed it back across the game cover another flew out with it. These are my first since some in Alciston about five years ago, and my first ever in Firle, though I guess they’re regular along the escarpment at this time of year.

Ring Ouzel 2
Stonechat 1
Wheatear 1
House Martin 1
Chiffchaff 1
Reed Bunting 2+
Yellowhammer 3+
Siskin 2+
Sparrowhawk 1
Buzzard 2

A map of the location.

*Update* – a strongly-marked bird with full white throat was seen there by Paul S later in the day, and was still there three days later when I returned.

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