I left the house at 2.40 and collected Adam. When then set off.
We covered the 180ish miles and arrived at Ashdown Forest at about 6am.
First birds seen were Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Wren, Chaffinch, Willow Warbler, Carrion Crow, Bullfinch and Pied Wagtail and all of these were before I'd even got the scope out of the car.
Once set up and scanning the trees for the Eagle we started seeing more species, Magpie, Whitethroat, Goldfinch, Herring Gull, Swift and Blackbird.
A family of Stonechat then came into view with the adults feeding what appeared to be at least 4 young with possibly a 5th.
We waited longer with more scanning and seeing Linnet, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Tree Pipit, Skylark, Wood Pigeon, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Woodlark, Coal Tit, Mistle Thrush, Greenfinch, Green Woodpecker, Starling, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer.
Adam and I had moved slightly away from the main group and stood further down the road to get a better angle with the light. I then heard a shout that it had been seen and reported on bird guides as being 2 km NE of where we were. Adam and I felt that we could see that far east so started scanning.
I then pick up a 'large' bird of prey and a awesome game of Chinese whispers begins and this is how.
Me " I have a bird of prey, its not a Common Buzzard, but not the Eagle"
OtherA " Hes Got a Bird of Prey"
OtherB " Hes Got the Eagle"
OtherC " The Eagle I can see it"
OthersDthroughY "Wheres the Eagle, is it flying in the Sky?"
OtherZ "Its Not and Eagle its a Honey Buzzard"
Well that was the gist of how it happened.
So yeah a Dark Morph Honey Buzzard flew over.
Everyone else ran off down the road to try and find the Eagle, Adam and I stayed behind as we could see people the other side of the valley all looking through there scopes.
We kept scanning, a person shouts that they have it in the tree but.... its a Kestrel.
Adam and I and 1 other the walk around the hill, mainly as the Sun had moved around so much you really couldn't see. The other chap gets a call from his mate and gives rough directions. Ironically the round looking evergreen tree described I spotted and then spotted the Short-toed Eagle.
We moved slightly further round but getting no closer to the bird so when it flew the sun would be behind us, which eventually it did, and as this took a Common Buzzard did also.
It flew off over the hill and out of sight to us so we walked back.
We saw the family of Stonechats again and this male.
and before we could get back to the car the Short-toed Eagle gave on last pass.
All in all a great morning out and 34 species record, shame the radiator got a whole on the way back adding 2.5 hours to the journey