After yesterday’s outstanding encounter with a great white egret, today was – as expected – somewhat calmer. We headed out to Seven Sisters Country Park and did the walk down to Cuckmere Haven. It’s a beautiful spot, but can get a little crowded at times which means that it isn’t always ideal for wildlife watching. The views are stunning though.

Seven Sisters Country Park

Seven Sisters Country Park

And as it turned out, the wildlife was quite good too. A couple of herons were among the early sightings. Nothing spectacular, but nice to see. The first good sighting was all too fleeting. A smallish bird zipped over, heading out to the cliffs. I was talking to another birder at the time, and the consensus was that it is a merlin, our smallest bird of prey. If we’re correct that’s a first for me. The photo is dire. It came in over my shoulder so I could only catch it heading away from the camera.

Merlin (unconfirmed)

I could be wrong about the i.d., but the conversation quickly turned to that other merlin (no, not the wizard), the engine of the Spitfire. And remarkably on cue, one flew over just to prove the point. It’s a 2-seater (converted apparently for training purposes) and there’s precious little data about it on the web, though it seems have been part of the Dutch airforce at one time. Its index is SM520.

Spitfire SM520

We have several airshows in the region at this time of year, so no doubt it’s been taking part in one or other of those.

There were two other notable sightings, the first coming at the far end of the bird of prey scale. Having seen the smallest (I think), this is one of the largest: an osprey.


The second notable bird was a curlew. While not wholly unexpected, they are relatively uncommon and always a pleasure to see.



To close, a video clip of the egret from yesterday.

Camera note: all wildlife photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens. The two landscapes were with the EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Excellent shots, all!
    Love the first one, and the curlew is excellent.
    Seldom see ospreys around here; that niche is occupied by eagles, mostly bald, but an occasional golden.
    Nice to see a Spitfire … takes me back a ways.

    1. dW, love seeing Spitfires, and usually do at this time of year so the surprise is lacking, but they are wonderful. Ospreys are a definite treat. I don’t see many of them, and definitely don’t see any eagles. Buzzards aplenty though!

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