Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Goring and West Worthing

I went out for an enjoyable evening in the pub with Nick B and Gareth J last night, the weather was uninspiring today and I still had some jobs to catch up on so thought I'd postpone my patch visit till the afternoon. While pottering around at home I heard the Firecrest again in my West Worthing garden. When I got out to the Gap, the 2CY Iceland Gull was showing nicely again, this time in the northern fields and coming in to chips thrown by unwitting passers by. Eight Mediterranean Gulls (including a 2CY and two 3CYS) were also around and some were quite vocal. A Jackdaw flew over and a Goldcrest was in one of the gardens. Three Skylarks were in the fields. Singles of Grey Plover and Ringed Plover in the roost field were the only waders during my casual visit. A Buzzard was over the hills to the north and stuff offshore in a quick look included a Red-throated Diver, five Great Crested Grebes, four Red-breasted Mergansers, three Gannets, four Sandwich Terns and a Kittiwake.

2CY Iceland Gull at Goring Gap

2CY Iceland Gull at Goring Gap

adult Great Black-backed Gulls at Goring

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Goring and West Worthing

A nice day with Nick B and Gareth J I've been hoping for a Slavonian Grebe on the sea and scanning hard so it was a delight to finally clock one distantly offshore this morning. 54 Red-breasted Mergansers, 32 Great Crested Grebes and a Kittiwake were also offshore and nine Sandwich Terns were around. I saw my first two Wheatears of the year - both males, one a new arrival on the beach and the other has apparently been around. Seven Mediterranean Gulls (including single 2CY and 3CY) were in the fields. Waders included eight Oystercatchers, 20 Turnstones, a Ringed Plover, four Dunlin, nine Grey Plovers and 22 Sanderlings. Two Meadow Pipits, four Skylarks,  a Redwing, a Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk were also logged. Later in the day, while tidying up at our West Worthing home I heard a Firecrest peeping away in the garden and eventually got nice views and it flicked around in an overhanging tree!

Sandwich Terns at Goring Gap

2CY Buzzard over Goring Gap

Mediterranean Gulls (3CY and 2 adults) with Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gull at Goring Gap

Monday, 19 March 2018

Ferring Rife

Late afternoon I headed to the Rife, inspired by news of veritable flocks of Bluethroats in the south-east! I found none, of course, but was pleased with a flock of 20 Golden Plovers overhead. Other bits included a Snipe, two Little Egrets, a Pheasant and a Kestrel.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Canons Farm

I'm not sure I've ever seen spring stopped in its tracks so mercilessly! This morning was a complete contrast to the previous day and I wasn't entirely sure about going into the field but keenly aware of my Canons Farm neglect recently I drove to my old patch, though with a funny sound coming from the rear near-side. I realised upon arrival that I had a flat and was going to have to battle it in the blizzard - I'm not great with cars at all so was grateful for my dad's advice - I reckon I'll have it cracked next time! While this was going on a Golden Plover flew over. A flock of 200 Linnets, a singing Mistle Thrush and fly-overs by a Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Canada Geese were the only other standout observations.

Friday, 16 March 2018

St. James's Park, Nonsuch Park and Beddington Farmlands

A long and busy but enjoyable day saw me start by meeting up with Bill H and co for another session of Coot ringing at St. James's Park. This session wasn't as productive as last time but we did still catch four birds. A couple of Little Grebes, a Nuthatch and two Coal Tits were probably the most notable wild birds noted but it was entertaining hand-feeding drake Smew and Hooded Merganser! Later on I met Christian and Josiah C for a chilled walk around Nonsuch Park, highlights being interacting female Sparrowhawks and courting Green Woodpeckers; with this breeding behaviour and the gentle conditions it really felt like spring! We reconvened at Beddington later, racking up five Green Sandpipers and a Water Pipit in the South-East Corner, along with a handful of Snipe and two Shelducks, plus a fly-over Red Kite, a Buzzard, two Cetti's Warblers and small numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings. It was a joy to see and hear displaying Lapwings, too. We joined Tomos B, Koje and Ms Koje for an owling session, resulting in a magical twilight encounter with two Barn Owls, a memborable end to the day!

Rose-ringed Parakeet at Nonsuch Park

Green Sandpipers at Beddington Farmlands

Redwing at Beddington Farmlands

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Goring and Ferring Rife

Combined totals from two short and relatively slow seawatches off George V Avenue included 26 Red-throated Divers, three Shelducks, three Sandwich Terns, two Shovelers, 14 Common Scoters, two Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Curlew, 32 Red-breasted Mergansers, seven Gannets, seven Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls (including a 3CY), a Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Great Crested Grebes. Small numbers of waders around included 22 Sanderlings and - particularly unusually - six Oystercatchers in the roost field, along with a handful of Grey Plover, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A Buzzard was seen.

Oystercatchers at Goring Gap - unusual in the roost field

Ferring Rife hosted our first spring migrant Chiffchaff of the year as it sang from a blossom tree. A Red Kite and four Buzzards soared to the north and other birds noted included two Mallards, two Pheasants, a Little Egret, a Water Rail, four Moorhens, two Green Woodpeckers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Goldcrest (few and far between of late), two Meadow Pipits and a female Reed Bunting.

Buzzard at Ferring Rife

Small Tortoiseshell at Ferring Rife

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


A fruitful seawatch from George V Avenue with Gareth J produced an immature Iceland Gull, a flock of six Avocets, our first two Sandwich Terns of the year, a Shelduck, two Pintails, 44 Common Scoters, 13 Shovelers, four Teal, 247 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 15 Red-breasted Mergansers, 30 Great Crested Grebes, two Fulmars, 12 Kittiwakes, three Curlews and 18 Red-throated Divers. We later located what was presumably the same Iceland Gull - ageable as a juvenile - in the roost field, where it was joined by another two Sandwich Terns. Seven Mediterranean Gulls in the fields included a 2CY and a 3CY. A Mistle Thrush was in the Plantation and 12 Meadow Pipits and three Skylarks were noted.

2CY Iceland Gull

2CY Iceland Gull

Monday, 12 March 2018

Beddington Farmlands

A very enjoyable session looking through the gulls with Peter A yieled a 2CY Glaucous Gull, a 3CY Iceland Gull, a 2CY Caspian Gull and two Yellow-legged Gulls (2CY and 4CY), plus a handful of mighty 'Scandinavian Herring Gulls'. The Ferruginous Duck X Pochard hybrid was again on the North Lake and other bits included two Wigeon, a Water Rail, a Reed Bunting, two Cetti's Warbler and two Snipe.

3CY Iceland Gull

2CY Glaucous Gull

2CY Yellow-legged Gull

2CY Yellow-legged Gull

2CY Caspian Gull

2CY Caspian Gull

2CY 'Scandinavian Herring Gull'

4CY Yellow-legged Gull

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Lee Valley Park

A dawn look at Bowyer's Water produced a female Shelduck, a singing Chiffchaff (my first of the year) and a Reed Bunting among the birds noted.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Goring and Lee Valley Park

What was presumably the same redhead Goosander from 5th was on the sea off the Gap before heading east. Other bits offshore included two Fulmars, 16 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 18 Common Scoters, 38 Red-breasted Mergansers, 15 Red-throated Divers, 16 Gannets and six Kittiwakes. A Pheasant was an unusual sighting. 11 Mediterranean Gulls (including two 3CYs, a 2CY) were seen, along with four Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A very quick walk around the land yieled a male Stonechat, a Meadow Pipit and two Skylarks.

Goosander off Goring Gap

Later on I was at Bowyer's Water in the Lee Valley Park where highlights included a Sparrowhawk hunting bats at dusk, a Grey Wagtail, a Little Egret and a couple of Cetti's Warblers.