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Tuesday, 17 September 2019

West Worthing and Pagham Harbour

In the garden today I heard Coal Tit and Chiffchaff. I was astonished when a female Brown Hairstreak landed on the edge of our pond!

This evening's visit for Wryneck was a dip, sadly, but two Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Yellow Wagtail, two Wheatears, a Cetti's Warbler, three Teal and three Little Egrets were some of the birds that caught my attention while searching.

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Cissbury Ring and Farlington Marshes

Val kindly agreed that I could go ringing but shoot off at 9am as I'd played it cool with the Eastern Olivaceous Warbler yesterday and was beginning to worry. It turned out to be a productive ringing session, with Spotted Flycatcher and Reed Warbler the headline birds caught by the time I left. At this point we had also processed 39 Blackcaps, 15 Goldcrests and six Chiffchaffs. Birds noted included a juvenile Peregrine, three Siskins, a Tree Pipit, seven Yellow Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 15 Meadow Pipits, two Yellowhammers, a Bullfinch, 40 House Martins, 10 Swallows, two Ravens and a Tawny Owl.

After eventually getting parked at Farlington Marshes, the EASTERN OLIVACEOUS WARBLER gave itself up nicely to the appreciative crowd, with a Garden Warbler nearby and two flyover Yellow Wagtails.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Hastings Country Park, Pett, Pannel Valley NR and Dungeness RSPB

Highlights at Hastings Country Park with Christian included a Grasshopper Warbler, a female Redstart, four Lesser Whitethroats, two Spotted Flycatchers, a Whinchat, a Wheatear, three Tree Pipits, three Yellow Wagtails, two Grey Wagtails, 100 Meadow Pipits, a Bullfinch, three Yellowhammers, seven Stonechats, a Nuthatch, eight Whitethroats, 40 Blackcaps, 30 Chiffchaffs and good numbers of hirundines, including 14 Sand Martins. Sandwich Tern and Gannet were offshore and raptors included eight Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk.

We stopped at the quirky Tic Tocery cafe in Pett where House Martins were still attending active nests, and a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel battled for airspace.

Pannel Valley NR was depressing, with the scrape dry, but we did note two Bearded Tits, a Marsh Harrier, a Raven, a couple of Sparrowhawks, a Sand Martin among further hirundines moving, 95 Lapwings, a Cetti's Warbler, two Shelducks, two Whitethroats, a Grey Wagtail, three Meadow Pipits, a Wheatear, three Nuthatches and a Reed Bunting.

Dungeness RSPB offered a fine end to the day. The ARC Pit offered four Garganey, two juvenile Black Terns, an adult Little Gull, a Cattle Egret, a Great White Egret, two Snipe, four Dunlin, four Ruff, three Black-tailed Godwits, 160 Golden Plovers, two Common Sandpipers, a Greenshank, three Pintail, a Sedge Warbler, etc. Burrowes Pit provided a Black-necked Grebe, two 1cy Caspian Gulls, two Yellow-legged Gulls (2cy and 1cy) and a further Great White Egret. Three Cetti's Warblers were heard. The entrance track had three Whinchats and two Wheatears for our way out.


Friday, 13 September 2019

Kipping's Cross, East Guldeford, The Midrips and Rye Harbour

My short East Sussex break began at Kipping's Cross services with a Red Kite. East Guldeford was frustrating as I couldn't find a legitimate way on to the levels, with singles of Marsh Harrier and Yellow Wagtail the best in my limited watching. Out of curiosity, I popped in to The Midrips, which was even more disappointing. A Marsh Harrier was over the fields at the back and the beach held Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher but the only waders on the pools were three Redshanks. Nine Sandwich Terns and two Gannets were offshore.

Christian joined me for an evening at Rye Harbour, where birds seen included 50 Sandwich Terns, 10 Common Terns, a Kingfisher, three Yellow Wagtails, two Grey Plovers, a Golden Plover, eight Knot, 60 Curlews, 90 Oystercatchers and nine Wigeon, to pick out a few.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Ferring Rife

A walk along the Rife produced three Yellow Wagtails, 13 Meadow Pipits, 210 Swallows and six House Martins overhead. A Spotted Flycatcher, a Willow Warbler, a Goldcrest, two Whitethroats, a Blackcap and five Chiffchaffs were in the bushes. A Sparrowhawk nearly nabbed one of two Grey Wagtails. A Little Egret was feeding and two Grey Herons were seen. Seven Collared Doves, four Jackdaws, 30 Goldfinches, a Buzzard and a Green Woodpecker were among the other birds logged. There was a single gathering of perhaps 150 House Sparrows, which was a pleasure to watch.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Goring Gap and Pulborough Brooks RSPB

I didn't end up staying long at Goring Gap first thing, but noted three Yellow Wagtails, two Ringed Plovers, four Sanderlings, a Common Gull, a Skylark and eight each of Gannet, Little Egret and Oystercatcher.

Having only had a fleeting look at the Red-necked Phalarope at Pulborough Brooks RSPB in the spring, news of a juvenile on the North Brooks had me heading over to the reserve. It was of course distant, but this smart bird could be enjoyed for much longer than the last one, as it span crazily on the nearer pool. A juvenile Little Ringed Plover, two Black-tailed Godwits, two Green Sandpipers, a Common Sandpiper, two Dunlin, 15 Lapwings and three Snipe shared the pools. A Marsh Harrier quartered and singles of Whinchat and Wheatear added to the scene. Over 200 House Martins streamed through in the time I was there, with the odd Sand Martin and Swallow thrown in. A flock of 10 Pintail was an unexpected sight and Teal numbered 160, though a Mandarin and two Shoveler were just about the only other ducks. A Grey Wagtail flew over and other birds noted included two Nuthatches, two Treecreepers, a Goldcrest, two Green Woodpeckers and a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

juvenile Red-necked Phalarope at Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Pintail flock at Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

West Worthing and Highdown

Along my road today, a Chiffchaff was calling from gardens and a Meadow Pipit flew over.

The morning's highlights at Highdown were three of both Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Sand Martin, two House Martins, 27 Swallows, seven Whitethroats, 13 Chiffchaffs, 20 Blackcaps, 10 Meadow Pipits, five Bullfinches, a Red-legged Partridge, three Skylarks, a Goldcrest, a Sparrowhawk, a Kestrel and two Nuthatches.

female Redstart

female Redstart

1cy male Redstart (right) and Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Steep Down, Canons Farm, Banstead Woods and Oare Marshes KWT

The day started at Steep Down, with three Wheatears, an adult male Peregrine, a Willow Warbler, six Chiffchaffs, six Swallows, a Goldcrest, four Meadow Pipits and a Sparrowhawk the best on offer.

It was then up to my homelands to lead the annual Autumn Migration Tour for the Canons Farm & Banstead Woods Bird Group. Given the weather, it was yet another particularly challenging walk, though the participants seemed to enjoy it well enough. The best bird, a Hobby, was unfortunately too fast for most people to get a view of, and a Yellow Wagtail was merely heard as it flew over. Other stuff included four Yellowhammers, 35 Swallows, a Meadow Pipit and two Kestrels. A Sparrowhawk tussled with two of the five Buzzards seen.

Banstead Woods offered a Bullfinch, a Treecreeper, and a few Nuthatches and Goldcrests.

In the afternoon, I took my old friends from school, Panos and Francis, who wanted to get a taste of some birding, to Oare Marshes KWT. Happily, this resulted in me finding an adult American Golden Plover among the Golden Plovers on the East Flood! A very elegant and beautifully marked bird, it was still in about 75% breeding plumage and had attitude, occasionally charging at its European companions! It conveniently stayed mostly at the front edge of the flock and wasn't too distant, providing a great opportunity to study just my third individual in Britain. This bird represents the eighth record all-time for Kent. Two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, a few Ruff, Knot and Avocet, and a couple of Snipe were some of the other waders present. Water Rail, Yellow Wagtail and Cetti's Warbler were heard.

adult American Golden Plover (centre) with Golden Plovers at Oare Marshes KWT

Friday, 6 September 2019

Goring Gap and Adur Estuary

A Knot fleetingly on the beach was the clear highlight of the morning, while a little bit of vismig included four Yellow Wagtails, seven Grey Wagtails, four Sand Martins, nine Swallows and 19 Meadow Pipits. A female Stonechat, five Wheatears, a Willow Warbler, four Goldcrests, three Chiffchaffs, a Whitethroat and two Blackcaps were 'on the ground'. Three Common Terns and 16 Sandwich Terns flew past. Further waders included 33 Ringed Plovers, 36 Turnstones and an Oystercatcher, while a Little Egret was also present. Other birds included five Mediterranean Gulls, two Common Gulls, two Green Woodpeckers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Rooks and a Jackdaw.

Some time spent at the Adur Estuary later on produced a Kingfisher, seven Dunlin, 49 Ringed Plovers, a Redshank, an Oystercatcher, six Turnstones, three Meadow Pipits, seven Mute Swans and five Little Egrets.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Cissbury Ring, Adur Estuary, Mill Hill and Brooklands Pleasure Park

Cissbury produced two female Redstarts, a Tree Pipit flying west with a Wheatear (plus another of the latter on the deck), a Grey Wagtail, a trickle of House Martins, Swallows and Meadow Pipits overhead and small numbers of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Whitethroats in the bushes. A single Lesser Whitethroat, three migrant Goldcrests two Ravens, a Yellowhammer and four Kestrels were among the other birds noted.

Great Spotted Woodpecker at Cissbury Ring

Wheatear at Cissbury Ring

At the Adur, Ringed Plovers had increased since my last visit to 38 birds, and other waders were five Dunlin, three Lapwings and two Turnstones. Just one Little Egret was fishing, and lone Yellow Wagtail and Meadow Pipit flew over, plus three Swallows. One Lesser Black-backed Gull was present.

I moved on to Mill Hill, which was very quiet save for flyovers from a Tree Pipit and two Yellow Wagtails, plus five Meadow Pipits and 11 House Martins.

Brooklands Pleasure Park had a 1cy Yellow-legged Gull on the lake along with two Lesser Black-backed Gulls. By far the highlight of the day was a Pied Flycatcher in the willow at the sewage works end of the stream, where a Cetti's Warbler was also calling. The Mute Swan family was still happily feeding, as was one Grey Heron. A Chiffchaff was the only further passerine migrant.


Pied Flycatcher at Brooklands Pleasure Park

1cy Yellow-legged Gull at Brooklands Pleasure Park