Saturday, 30 June 2018


Just about squeezing in my late BBS visit before the deadline, I patrolled my transects across breezy Lyminster this morning. I noted far fewer species than during my May visit, the most notable being Cetti's Warbler, Grey Heron, Reed Warbler and Buzzard.

Friday, 29 June 2018

Northend and Pagham Harbour

Driving back down to Worthing early afternoon I saw a Red Kite by the A24 at Northend - between Washington and Findon. A lovely birthday evening stroll around Pagham Harbour with Ingrid featured a stunning summer plumage Spotted Redshank, as well as a Knot, 35 Black-tailed Godwits, two Grey Plovers and four Avocets of particular note, as well as the usual terns including Littles, and Mediterranean Gull. As always, Ingrid was besotted with the Curlews!

adult summer Spotted Redshank in the Ferry Channel

Curlew at Pagham Harbour

Wednesday, 27 June 2018


The best catches during a morning ringing session were juveniles of Grey Wagtail and Coal Tit. Other birds noted included five House Martins, a Little Egret, two Treecreepers, a Sparrowhawk and several Reed Warblers.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Warnham LNR

On my way back down to Worthing today, I arranged to meet up with Phil at an old favourite reserve of mine, Warnham LNR near Horsham, for a potter about. We enjoyed watching the antics of three Common Terns - the local pair and another - as well as a family of Grey Wagtails and a distant Kingfisher duo. Five Reed Warblers were singing and a Black-headed Gull flew through. The Great Crested Grebe pair had three young. The highlight, though, was a magical and long overdue encounter with my first ever White Admiral - first in Britain at least, I think I saw one in France years ago. We also got nice views of a couple of Silver-washed Fritillaries, my first of the year.

Common Tern

Grey Wagtail

White Admiral

Silver-washed Fritillary

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Canons Farm and Banstead Woods

A pleasant donder around the patch today. I met up with Darragh C at Canons Farmhouse and we strolled up the lane; he joined me a short distance into Banstead Woods before heading home and I carried on exploring the downland edges for butterflies. A Small Blue, three White-letter Hairstreaks, two Dark Green Fritillaries, many Marbled Whites and my first Ringlets of the year ensured that it was a fruitful session. Bird highlights were single Red Kites over both the Woods and Canons, as well as a feeding frenzy of 45 Swifts over Perrotts by Wood. A flock of five Grey Herons flew west over the farm. There were fledgling Whitethroats at the farm, where four Yellowhammers were singing, and family groups of Nuthatches were at both sites. I heard five Treecreepers in Banstead Woods.

male Kestrel at Canons Farm

Dark Green Fritillary at Banstead Woods

Small Blue at Banstead Woods

Large Skipper at Banstead Woods

Friday, 22 June 2018

Buckland Sand Pits

I teamed up with Ian M for another of our occasional checks of Park Pit this morning and it was a surprisingly fruitful visit, with 53 species recorded in 3 hours. The most interesting sighting was a flock of seven juvenile Grey Herons which circled the pit and briefly alighted in trees on the west side before moving off - roaming fledgers from Gatton Park perhaps? Or further? A Little Egret was feeding on the lagoon, where seven Egyptian Geese were loafing. A Sand Martin, two House Martins and six of both Swallow and Swift fed over the water but panic was stirred when a Hobby flew through. Singles of Red Kite, Peregrine and Kestrel were also logged. An adult Black-headed Gull dropped in and a Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over. A hormonal cob Mute Swan tried his best to break up a loitering group of 10 non-breeding birds, seemingly including the previous year's young. A Nuthatch, a Treecreeper, a Goldcrest and three Coal Tits (including a juvenile) were recorded and it was great to see and hear the male Reed Bunting still holding fort in the northwest corner. Two Little Grebes and six Great Crested Grebes busied themselves and four Linnets bombed around. Worryingly, the only young waterbirds seen were four Greylags and 17 Canada Geese - no chicks or juveniles of anything else! It was a delight to see my first Marbled Whites of the year, along with a handful of Small Heaths, and a good few Black-tailed Skimmers patrolled the margins. There was a pretty mighty lone Common Spotted Orchid specimen.

juvenile Grey Herons

Great Crested Grebes

Little Egret
Marbled White

Small Heath

Common Spotted Orchid

Thursday, 21 June 2018

St. James's Park

A quick walk while waiting for documents to be processed featured a singing Coal Tit, Great Crested Grebe with young and a Mute Swan pair with seven cygnets, while the feral Red-crested Pochards were probably the most acceptable of the exotic wildfowl on the lake.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Pagham Harbour

While seawatching off Walney Island the previous evening, the news broke that the colour-ringed American Royal Tern - usually of Channel Islands residence - had pitched up at Pagham. After a little bit of dithering, we made the inevitable decision of interrupting my visit to Walney and driving south overnight. We set off at about 22:00 and I felt sharp enough to make the drive, but only at OAP pace, mostly not even crossing 60mph. Somehow we remained passively resigned to missing a first light arrival and didn't get the foot on the gas. Anyway, we arrived at something like 05:20, by which time an amazing number of folk who did the sensible thing of not doing things by halves and got here for the crack - and had therefore seen the bird - were buggering off. Just as the tern had. There was an instant dull feeling of idiocy at having made the effort of an overnight drive but making it pointless by faffing about for a couple of hours before leaving and driving well below the speed limit. I had only myself to blame. I think Liam was too polite to push me, or realised I would have been unresponsive in my dazed auto-pilot night drive mode. Spilt milk and all. However, this definitely classes as possibly my worst mainland dip of all time - titting up the timing of an overnight drive to what is now a local site for me, for a bird needed by all tiers of the twitching community.

I was too drained to properly appreciate the Mediterranean Gulls and Little, Common and Sandwich Terns, or the two Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover and Ringed Plovers. A Fulmar flew over the crowd and a Cetti's Warbler sang. One of the Meds was a smart 2CY with an adult-type head and bill pattern.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

South Walney and Lakes NP

A short morning walk around South Walney featured Sand Martins, Reed Buntings, Sedge Warblers, Meadow Pipits and a family of Little Grebes. The reserve's legendary leucistic Curlew graced us with an appearance. Later on we did some birding from a road just into the Lakes National Park, seeing singles of Osprey and Red Kite, and enjoying the sound of a Willow Warbler and three Reed Buntings singing while House Martins, Swallows and Swifts fed over the boggy area. A Siskin and a couple of redpolls flew over. We saw 11 Buzzards, two Kestrels and a handful of commuting Little Egrets and Grey Herons.

An evening seawatch back at South Walney produced 114 Manx Shearwaters, 93 Common Scoters, any Eiders, five Red-breasted Mergansers, four Kittiwakes, two Guillemots, a few Gannets and a scattering of Little and Sandwich Terns, plus a lone Arctic. Small-ish flocks of Sanderlings and Knots patrolled the beach, along with a rather fewer Dunlin, while a Ringed Plover was busy displaying.

leucistic Curlew at South Walney

Swallows in the Lake District NP

Monday, 18 June 2018

South Walney

I arrived at South Walney much later than planned - around 18:00 - for a short spell of birding with Liam, who's based there doing a PhD on Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Sand Martins, Meadow Pipits, Swallows, Skylarks, Oystercatchers, Curlews and a singing Reed Bunting were also there to greet me...

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Cissbury Ring and Belmont

Cissbury Ring this morning featured two fly-over Mediterranean Gulls, brief bursts of song from a Lesser Whitethroat and - more unusually - a Reed Warbler, as well as three Bullfinches, two Yellowhammers and a Tawny Owl of note.

Back in Surrey briefly, eight Swifts were over the pub in Belmont in the evening.

Friday, 15 June 2018


Two Linnets and a Jackdaw were the only vaguely unusual sightings during a brief and casual walk around the Gap.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018


I've spent the last few days blitzing jobs that really needed sorting out, namely finalising the 2017 Surrey records for the London Bird Club and eventually making sense of my 2017 CFBW breeding bird survey. Now that all that has been pretty much completed, I treated myself to an early morning vigil at the Gap this morning. A Lapwing which flew from the beach was definitely the biggest surprise and 132 eastbound Common Scoters included a raft of 115. A Bonxie, five Sandwich Terns, nine Gannets, and a Common Tern were offshore, while other bits included a Ringed Plover, three Oystercatchers, seven Swifts, 13 Black-headed Gulls (noticeable increase), a Little Egret and three Swallows.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Cissbury Ring

A morning with Val B, Finch D and Mya B featured a Raven, two Red Kites, two Sparrowhawks, two Kestrels (attacked by the Sparrowhawks), a Yellowhammer, two Bullfinches and a Swallow of note, as well as my first fledgling Whitethroat of the year.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Canons Farm, Banstead Woods, Banstead Downs and Sutton

A short walk around Canons late morning with Josh B featured Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Goldcrest feeding young, Nuthatch and a handful of Linnets. While in the Rambler's Rest garden (Banstead Woods sector) with Paul G and Linda M at lunchtime, two Coal Tits and a Goldcrest were calling in the pines. Stopping off at my parents', a Whitethroat was singing from adjacent Banstead Downs and while dropping friends off from a trip to the cinema in the evening, we stopped off in Sutton for a quick look at the resident Peregrine pair.

Thursday, 7 June 2018


A worthwhile visit to the patch this morning, starting with a Bonxie and a Fulmar during a short seawatch, along with 16 Gannets and two Sandwich Terns. During an amble around the Gap, a Hobby appeared overhead, representing a well overdue patch tick, and two separate Painted Ladys were a treat. The tide was out as I began to head home but a scan of the beach only revealed a lone Oystercatcher.


Chaffinch (left) and Greenfinch

Painted Lady

Tuesday, 5 June 2018


A very half-hearted visit to the Gap produced an eastbound Swallow, five Gannets, a Little Egret and seven Oystercatchers of note.

Monday, 4 June 2018


A pleasant morning was spent ringing with John N and Sue W. Between net rounds we saw noted two Mediterranean Gulls overhead, two Peregrines, a Little Egret, two Cetti's Warblers, a Treecreeper and six Reed Warblers.

Sunday, 3 June 2018


Well things came good today. While dismounting my bike on the way back home from the Gap, a rather abrupt and gruff starling call made me look up, only to see a Rosy Starling fly directly overhead as it headed east, directly towards my house! Luckily I hadn't packed my binoculars away so got a good 10 seconds or so viewing before I lost it behind the buildings towards Grand Avenue. All that scanning of Starling flocks lately and it happens at such a random moment! I felt as though the bird was 'in the area' and not powering through - it looked as though it thought about landing a couple of times but carried on - so I'll keep an eye out for it over the next few days.

Earlier at the Gap I logged an eastbound flock of five Gadwall, 11 Gannets, a Swallow, a 2CY Mediterranean Gull, two Black-headed Gulls, two Sandwich Terns, two Little Egrets and an Oystercatcher.

Saturday, 2 June 2018


A trip with Ed S, Magnus A and Abel P took in a wonderful Eagle Owl at a quarry site, one of two lifers for me, the other being an Icterine Warbler. Other highlights included a displaying Honey-buzzard, Hawfinch and many Marsh Warblers!

Eagle Owl