Rose-coloured Starling at Newhaven Fort

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday, 11 October 2010 20:26

I shot round to the cliffs in front of Newhaven Heights not really knowing where I was going in search of a Rose-coloured Starling. I looked along the bottom of the cliffs and saw only three Wheatear. I scurried up the cliffs and saw a number of forlorn looking birdwatchers clustered together. My rule is always to break away from these groups as people stop looking, start talking and cover very little ground. I saw that the Starlings seemed to be coming in to roost a little further east. I headed along the cliff tops and found this old gun emplacement (I'm assuming that's what it is) that is part of Newhaven Fort. 
There must be a large hollow going into the cliff. Starlings were pouring in, both through the opening and  through a hidden hole further up the cliff. I figured if I wait on the cliff top long enough, I'll see the bird come in to roost. Two people at the bottom of the cliff had the same idea. I was there for less than 10 minutes when I suddenly saw the bird with five Starlings. It circled round a few times, broke away and headed east out of site! I had been expecting a beige juvenile but it was a really nice adult! The people at the bottom of the cliff whistled, but I had already got onto it. Later, whilst talking to the two birders at the bottom, they said that they hadn't whistled and thought that I had! So who was this mystery whistler? Who cares, I just got another lifer! UPDATE: I since found out that it was Andrew Whitcomb who found the bird, here are some photos and a video from when it was on the deck.


Newhaven Fort is a strange sight, built in the 1860s it serviced both World Wars. I find these military sites fascinating, there are so few buildings that are built without any consideration for aesthetics, all geometric shapes and brutal functionality, crumbling concrete and rusting iron, more like the setting of an Iain Banks novel than a twitch.

1 Response to "Rose-coloured Starling at Newhaven Fort"

Anonymous Says:

The rose-coloured starling was still there yesterday morning (14 Oct.), moving around bramble/hawthorn/sloe bushes in a shallow depression on the cliff-top near the fort and obligingly posing on top of theses bushes, providing excellent views of it.

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