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Cuckmere Haven

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DirectionsEdit

the easiest access is along the A259. From Seaford, head down the A259 til you reach the Golden Galleon, where you can park your car for free (alternatively, there is another car park on the other side of the valley but it's pay and display). If you're coming from Eastbourne, follow the A259 as it skirts the southern edge of Friston Forest and moves down into the valley, the Golden Galleon is immediately on your left after crossing the bridge over the River Cuckmere.there are footpaths down either side of the valley. Walking down the west side, you can carry on over towards Seaford Head and Splash Point. The east side offers the chance to view The Scrape, and to complete the popular walk over the Seven Sisters. 

BirdwatchingEdit

Wildfowl; Shelduck are present year-round, while Egyptian Geese are a recent arrival, often found further upstream. Wigeon and Teal visit in winter, with other diving and dabbling ducks recorded less frequently, but still annually. Migrant ducks appear in March-April, including Shoveler and (if you're lucky) Garganey, while a Green-winged Teal was seen in March 2001. Rarer ducks seen in recent winters have included Smew, Goosander and Scaup. Most ducks are found on the Meanders. Geese are mostly seen in the fields on the West side, or from the footpath north of the A259. Brent Goose is regular in small numbers, and White-fronted Goose is seen in some winters. Barnacle and Bean Goose have occured in hard weather. 

Waders; Oystercatcher is the only regularly summering species, though Redshank appears to be regaining a toehold. Curlew is a regular winter visitor, while other species including Golden Plover are often displaced by hard weather. Snipe is present in small numbers, and Jack Snipe is occasionally seen (both surely go under-recorded), but other species are difficult to find. 

IMGP6795

Knot, August 2012

Spring brings regular Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper, while Avocet, Grey Plover, Little Ringed Plover and others are annual but scarce. A Black-winged 'Stilt was seen in May 2005, and Curlew Sandpipers in spring 2007 and 2010. Autumn brings higher numbers and diversity, including Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint almost every year, and rarer species have included Lesser Yellowlegs, Pectoral Sandpiper and Grey Phalarope. The wader scrape near the sea and the banks of the river are the best places to look, though any patch of mud may hold something of interest. 


other waterbirds;upwards of 20 Little Grebes winter on the Meanders, with both Great Crested Grebe and Red-throated Diver offshore. Black-necked and Slavonian Grebes may be encountered on the sea during early to mid spring.  Spoonbill is an almost annual visitor, especially in spring. White Stork, Crane, Glossy Ibis, Bittern and Great White Egret have all been seen in recent years. a large gull roost may be present in the winter, often north of the A259, and is worth checking for Caspian and Yellow-legged Gulls. Mediterranean Gull is often seen in spring, and Sandwich Tern is a commonly seen passage migrant. The other four tern species can be seen as well, and auks are often offshore in the winter. 

raptors; among the most celebrated was a very obliging Red-footed Falcon in June 2010. Marsh Harrier, Short-eared Owl, Merlin and Osprey are worth looking out for, especially in the autumn, while Peregrines breed nearby and frequently hunt the valley all through the year. a pair of Little Owls breed in the west side of the valley, and though elusive are often quite vocal. 

passerines and other land birds; Kingfisher's are present year-round, though move away to breed in some years. Green is the only regular woodpecker, though Wryneck is occasionally encountered in autumn, with an often obliging bird in August 2012. Yellow and Grey Wagtail and Tree Pipit are chiefly autumn migrants, Scandinavian Rock Pipit and Water Pipit may be seen in early spring. Shore Lark is occasionally encountered, with records in 2010 and 2012. all three hirundine species can be seen by the thousand during their peak exodus in September, with a few records of Red-rumped Swallow mostly in spring. 

Warblers, Chats and Thrushes may be seen in the bushes lining the west side of the valley during migration time, this area has in the past held Yellow-browed Warbler, and is worth checking for Ring Ouzel, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and many others. October finch passage can often be quite pronounced, with excellent movements of Siskins passing overhead, and smaller numbers of Redpoll and Brambling

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