Monday, 30 July 2018

Devoran and Stithians Reservoir

Before I headed home, Liam and I headed out for a bit of birding near Falmouth. First up was Devoran, a nice little site where we had seven Greenshanks, four Common Sandpipers, 70 Redshanks, four Whimbrel, seven Black-tailed Godwits, 18 Dunlin, 94 Curlews, 20 House Martins, six Mediterranean Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, 16 Oystercatchers, 70 Redshanks and two Little Egrets.

From the hide at Stithians Reservoir, we enjoyed views of single Green and Common Sandpipers. A Snipe, a Willow Warbler, nine Swifts, seven House Martins, a Little Egret, an Oystercatcher and two Lapwings were also present.

Sunday, 29 July 2018


Liam and I pulled up in the car park down in the cove shortly after 05:00 then trudged our way up to Hella Point in the pre-dawn. We were eager to secure a comfortable, sheltered position and the 03:00 alarm paid off as we claimed prime position behind the sheltering rocks. Anticipation was high as the rough sea came into blearly vision. It wasn't long before the first Great Shearwater came into view, and once the lights were fully on we were treated to a steady stream of shearwaters between squalls. Many were close in, with some of each species even visible with the naked eye.

Things went to another level when a shout came from the opposite end of the 25-strong crowd, declaring 'Fea's!'. I found it remarkably hard to compose myself, especially as we weren't hearing any kind of useful indication as to the bird's position or behaviour. Failing to get on the bird in a couple of wide and frantic scans, I resorted to getting on the Runnelstone (near the right-hand end of my view) and clapped eyes on the creature as it slided around the back of the buoy. However, our prime positioning next to the rocks backfired and I only got the most fleeting of views as it vanished out of view - just enough time for the bird to jar with my expected image of Fea's, but still fit well with a Pterodroma petrel. Just then, Martin Elliot started declaring to the crowd that it was a TRINDADE PETREL! It made sense from my extremely limited viewing time, and it did too to Liam - who had it for much longer than I did - and to everyone else present. Good descriptions and field sketches have now emerged online from observers who were lucky enough to be watching the bird for up to a minute as it passed.

It took a while to simmer down and re-focus on the seawatching as the shearwaters hadn't stopped going through! Indeed, it remained a busy watch till around 14:00 and we kept going till 18:00. My personal totals included 13 Cory's Shearwaters, 64 Great Shearwaters, 38 Sooty Shearwaters, 16 Balearic Shearwaters, 18 Storm-petrels, four Arctic Skuas, 10 Bonxies, 10 Mediterranean Gulls, four Kittiwakes, a Guillemot and good numbers of Manx Shearwaters. Shags, Gannets and Fulmars were of course also noted. Around the point was a showy juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, a Peregrine and a couple of Rock Pipits.

A day to remember...

Great Shearwater

Balearic Shearwater

Sooty Shearwater

Cory's Shearwater

Manx Shearwater

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Banstead Woods

There were no notable bird sightings during the CFBW Butterfly Tour but lepidoptera highlights included a Purple Hairstreak and four Silver-washed Fritillaries.

Friday, 27 July 2018

Goring and Headley Heath

A productive morning started with an unseen Green Sandpiper calling over my vismig point. A mooch around the bushes felt autumnal, with a Cuckoo, a Garden Warbler and four Willow Warblers. A family of five Whitethroats was nearby. Good counts on the beach included 129 Mediterranean Gulls and 19 Little Egrets, while three Dunlin, three Oystercatchers, a Ringed Plover and two Common Gulls were also present. The sea itself only offered singles of Gannet and Sandwich Tern. A Sand Martin, eight Swallows, a Pied Wagtail and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were among the other birds logged.

Willow Warbler at Goring Gap

In the evening, Phil and Lynne W and Linda M joined me for a quick evening walk around Headley Heath, where we glimpsed a Woodcock fly past us.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Goring and West Worthing

Lately some mornings have offered plenty of Mediterranean Gulls and other days the species have been in curiously short supply. This was a good morning, with 58 birds noted during my visit, including some active movers, mainly in a westerly direction (where some Black-headed Gulls were heading too). Two Willow Warblers were in the bushes and a Grey Wagtail flew west; a Pied Wagtail also flew over. Swifts and hirundines trickled through in small numbers, with 18 Swifts, five Sand Martins and 21 Swallows migrating across the fields. Singles adults of Lesser Black-backed and Common Gull were seen, and the beach held a Whimbrel, a Redshank, seven Oystercatchers and 11 Little Egrets.

At home in West Worthing, 12 Mediterranean Gulls flew over in the evening - just my second record here and possibly birds coming inland for flying ants? Also five Swifts still, and a couple of Long-tailed Tits were relatively unusual visitors.

Willow Warbler - autumn is here!

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Goring and West Worthing

The first Common Sandpiper of the autumn called as it flew west along the beach early this morning and a Willow Warbler, also a season-first, called in the Plantation behind me. A walk around later revealed another in the northwest corner. A Yellow Wagtail called overhead. 21 Mediterranean Gulls included 11 westbound movers and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was mobbing a Grey Heron. 12 Little Egrets were on the beach, and five Gannets and a Sandwich Tern flew past. Additional waders comprised my first four Turnstones of the autumn, two Redshanks, four Oystercatchers, a Dunlin and a Ringed Plover. A Swallow flew east, followed by a nice fast-moving flock of eight Sand Martins which skipped over the Plantation at the end of the visit.

26 Swifts were over my West Worthing garden mid-afternoon.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

West Worthing

33 Swifts were over my West Worthing garden late evening.

Monday, 23 July 2018

Goring and West Worthing

It felt like a very quiet session this morning and I didn't think I'd be coming home with any particular highlight - though it was nice to catch up with Gareth J who joined me for a while. There's almost always something to define the outing though, even if it's not rare. Today it was a fine male Stonechat which flew behind me and briefly alighted at the seaward end of the Plantation, just behind my vismig point! I wasn't expecting the first of the autumn for a little while... A flock of nine Shelducks flying west was also noteworthy, and three Common Scoters flew past. Also offshore were seven Gannets, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, eight Sandwich Terns and five Mediterranean Gulls. Four Little Egrets were on the beach and a juvenile Green Woodpecker was noted. I logged four Swallows and two Swifts west and Gareth had another Swallow. There were 22 local Swifts over the garden in West Worthing late evening.

male Stonechat

Sunday, 22 July 2018

West Worthing

Local Swifts over the garden were down to 11 in a quick evening count...

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Cissbury Ring and West Worthing

A morning ringing with Val, Finch and Mya produced some interesting catches. Juveniles of Lesser Whitethroat and Treecreeper found their way into the net, and a Woodpigeon proved something bigger to get our hands on. Two Crossbills calling as they flew ESE was the best moment of the morning for me, though. In the nearby fields a Corn Bunting sang and a few Red-legged Partridges were arguing among themselves. Three Yellowhammers seen included a juvenile. A Swift, four Swallows, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Buzzards were among some of the other species noted. In the evening, 30 local Swifts were over my West Worthing garden. I spent a while savouring the sight and sound - it won't be long till they're gone!

juvenile Lesser Whitethroat at Cissbury Ring

juvenile Treecreeper at Cissbury Ring

Friday, 20 July 2018


Most of the interest this morning was provided by the gulls feeding on the greensward. Some 50 Mediterranean Gulls were around: 29 adults, 15 juveniles, four 2CYs and two 3CYs. The first juvenile Common Gull of the year was probably the highlight, and a nice juvenile Yellow-legged Gull dropped in for a short while before heading east. Good numbers of Black-headed Gulls were around - 200+. Two Whimbrel flew east along the beach then one doubled back a few minutes later and a Dunlin flying east beyond the beach was probably actively moving. A distant flock of eight Common Scoters flew west and the Gannet tally increased to 31 in the easterly breeze. Four Sandwich Terns flew east. 10 Little Egrets, a juvenile Grey Heron and two Oystercatchers were along the beach.

juvenile (left) and adult Common Gulls

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

juvenile Mediterranean Gull: some nice subtle variation in these today

three adult Mediterranean Gulls (back) with adult Black-headed Gull and juvenile Mediterranean Gull (foreground)

an underdog simply for being abundant: a smart juvenile Black-headed Gull

juvenile Grey Heron

Little Egrets on their tide commute

Thursday, 19 July 2018

West Worthing

In the evening, 17 Swifts were displaying high over my garden and singles of Lesser Black-backed Gull and Black-headed Gull joined the larids feeding on flying ants.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Goring, Drayton and Ferring Rife

This morning was quiet at Goring, although a few Mediterranean Gulls were moving (11 actively heading west and 11 milling around). Two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls were more notable and Common Gulls increased to three, all adults. A Grey Wagtail was heard overhead, two Pied Wagtails flew west and four Sand Martins and two Swallows tracked the beach west.  10 Little Egrets and four Oystercatchers were on the beach. five Gannets and four Sandwich Terns offshore was about as lively as seabird activity as got recently! It didn't look as though any Swifts were moving for a while but there was a mini-pulse of 13 birds west mid-watch.

adult Lesser Black-backed Gull
At the Wyevale Garden centre in Drayton, three Swallows and a Goldcrest were around the car park. The best of a short visit to Ferring Rife late morning was limited to a Linnet, two Whitethroats and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018


The WNW breeze ignited something of a Swift movement this morning, rattling up a total of 425 by 08:00 but then the supply immediately ran dry. The first Yellow Wagtail of the autumn flew east with a Pied Wagtail, and a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull was on the beach along with 14 Mediterranean Gulls, an adult Common Gull, 10 Little Egrets and two Oystercatchers. Three Curlews west signalled something stirring within the species, especially with two of these over land. A juvenile Grey Heron flew east over the beach, a Lesser Black-backed Gull coursed east over the fields and activity offshore was limited to singles of Gannet and Sandwich Tern.

Monday, 16 July 2018

West Worthing

An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull flew over the garden.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Goring and Norfolk Bridge, Sheffield

Astounding news came through last night of an Audouin's Gull in the middle of Sheffield. I half-thought about what to do about it then somehow completely forgot the matter and continued with my routine, getting up early this morning for my vigil at Goring Gap. At the patch, singles of Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail flew over, along with two Swifts, and other birds included four Little Egrets, a Grey Heron, a Sandwich Tern, two adult Mediterranean Gulls and three Oystercatchers. A quick look at my phone revealed the Audouin's Gull was again present early knockings and I panicked, cycling back home to get in the car. By about half way up to Sheffield, I'd decided the whole thing was a stupid idea and this marine gull was bound to have moved on in search of more suitable habitat. However, having made a good chunk of the journey I stuck it out and arrived in Sheffield late morning. I gave it about four hours (not wishing to potentially wait another five on the off-chance it would reappear in the evening), only made bearable by meeting up with the lovely Paul W and junior, who kindly showed me a juvenile Dipper that was feeding a little up the way from the bridge. A rather appropriate species to be seeing today...! Aside from this treat, the only 'notable' entries in my notebook were 10 Sand Martins and a Grey Wagtail.

juvenile Dipper at Norfolk Bridge

Friday, 13 July 2018


Even at this time of year, every day is different and migration is definitely starting. Today's highlights were the dramatic sight of an adult Hobby bolting in to seize a House Sparrow from the rough field, and a calling Treecreeper at the very seaward end of the Plantation which I eventually tracked down to photograph. 10 Mediterranean Gulls included two juveniles, while two Common Gulls were an adult and a 2CY. Three Teal, two Grey Herons and 13 Little Egrets were on the beach. Waders comprised three of both Whimbrel and Oystercatcher, as well as singles of Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Redshank. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls tracked east over land and just four Gannets and seven Sandwich Terns were offshore (the sea was still very dead!). Nine Swallows and three Swifts flew through.

Treecreeper just inches from the shingle beach!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Goring, Pagham Harbour and West Worthing

Mag joined me for a short watch at Goring Gap this morning. Conditions weren't great and it was soon evident that little was moving, but three season-firsts involved a Shoveler on the beach with a Teal, and a Dunlin. Other sightings included a Whimbrel, seven Little Egrets, three juvenile Grey Herons, five eastbound Swifts, three adult Mediterranean Gulls, five Oystercatchers, an adult Common Gull, two Pied Wagtails and five Sandwich Terns.

Shoveler (left) and Teal at Goring Gap

Cutting our losses, we headed to Pagham Harbour. Starting at Church Norton, we spotted the exceptional summer flock of seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese that has been on site for a while now, along with a lone Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Waders included a Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, seven Dunlin, 24 Turnstones and four Black-tailed Godwits. Dozens of Sandwich Terns and Little Terns were busy in the harbour, along with a much smaller number of Common Terns, and the odd Mediterranean Gull called or sailed by. Eight Teal and six Little Egrets were present. 40 Swallows, three Sand Martins and a House Martin were feeding. Moving around to the Ferry Pool, we added a Common Sandpiper, four Avocets, eight Lapwings and a further four Black-tailed Godwits. Two Little Ringed Plovers were - amazingly - the first I've seen this year!

In the evening, I popped around the corner from home to post some mail and managed a pretty accurate count of around 40 Swifts swirling over my road at 21:00.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018


The clear highlight of the morning was a Crossbill - although I somehow managed to not clap eyes on it, the bird was calling clearly as it headed west over the seaward Plantation. Most of the 29 Mediterranean Gulls - which included 10 juveniles - were actively moving, as were a few Black-headed Gulls. A Ringed Plover heard calling along the beach was my first in a while and singles of Curlew and Oystercatcher represented the rest of the waders noted. Offshore, 38 Sandwich Terns mostly moved east, as did three Common Terns. Eight Gannets flew past and three Little Egrets were along the shore. Other birds noted included a Sparrowhawk, 15 Swifts and a Pied Wagtail.

migrating Mediterranean Gulls

Monday, 9 July 2018

Goring and Thursley Common

A Whimbrel, an Arctic Skua and a Shelduck were season-firsts at Goring Gap this morning. A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull flew northwest over the fields and 18 Mediterranean Gulls included seven juveniles. Some were moving purposefully, including a flock incorporating two adults and six juveniles. Two adult Common Gulls and three juvenile Pied Wagtails were seen. Other birds noted included 14 Swifts, seven Gannets, four Swallows east, two Sandwich Terns and three Oystercatchers.

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull over Goring Gap
Herring Gull family at Goring Gap

In the late afternoon, as I was in the area, I called in at Thursley Common. Thanks to a bloke along the boardwalk for giving me directions, and thanks to another bloke just leaving the Belted Galloway enclosure, I knew I was looking in the right place. Sure enough, after about 15 minutes, the splendid male Red-backed Shrike materialised on the perch that bloke 2 had described it as frequenting. It showed very nicely indeed for half an hour or so, sitting calmly and making occasional brief sallies to catch a large insect before returning to its vigil. Other highlights included a Crossbill, a Siskin, a family of Stonechats, Willow Warbler, Meadow Pipit and a Teal.

male Red-backed Shrike at Thursley Common

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Goring and West Worthing

While vismigging/seawatching at the Gap, I spotted an adult Cuckoo land in the bushes by the pumping station. After enjoying rather distant views of this patch tick in the scope for a few minutes, with the bird seeming settled I quickly cycled over there to try for some photos. When I got to the spot, the bird alighted just 15 feet in front of me, giving amazing views but too fast for the camera before it spooked and headed strongly east! A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull flew west and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was notable. 17 Mediterranean Gulls included some heading purposefully west/northwest (including six juveniles). Indeed, even Herring Gulls seemed to be moving, with a few small groups set for a northeast bearing.

adult male Cuckoo at Goring Gap

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at Goring Gap

Passerines featured more strongly, with the first Meadow Pipit and three Sand Martins of the autumn noted, along with 64 Swallows which mainly moved east along the beach. Swift movement was limited but evident, with 14 east and eight west. A Common Tern flew east offshore and other sightings included 29 Gannets, three Little Egrets, a Curlew, four Oystercatchers, two Sandwich Terns and a Pied Wagtail.

Back home in West Worthing, I counted 28 Swifts screaming and chasing in a tight bunch overhead, and there were two Herring Gull chicks on next door's roof, looking about three weeks old.

Friday, 6 July 2018


Three Barnacle Geese heading west was the most random sighting of the morning and a tidy patch tick. Three Mediterranean Gulls, including two fine juveniles, were milling around and later on a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull - my first of the year - was floating just offshore before it flew east. Walking home along the seafront, my pulse raced slightly when I spotted four more large juvenile gulls on distant mud but they all quickly resolved to be Herring Gulls. So much for the early July grace period for YLGs... Other highlights from the morning included six Common Scoters, a/the Peregrine, two Swallows, two Pied Wagtails overhead, a 2CY Common Gull, a Gannet, five Little Egrets, an Oystercatcher, a Curlew, two Sandwich Terns, a Coal Tit, Goldcrest and three Whitethroats.

Barnacle Geese

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

juvenile Mediterranean Gull

Little Egrets

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Goring and Ferring Rife

Starting the day early at Goring Gap was a bit of a waste of time due to reasonably heavy mist but a flock of 30 Common Scoters flew past east offshore and other bits noted included a Redshank, two Sandwich Terns and three Swifts. Among the birds noted during a brief visit to Ferring Rife was a Pheasant, a Little Egret, a Grey Heron, a Green Woodpecker, a Swallow, two Jays, a Whitethroat and a couple of Blackcaps.

Tuesday, 3 July 2018


Watching from the coastal path at the Gap feels promising for autumn vismig, and I can't wait for some proper movement, but today was decent for early July with a Grey Wagtail east, along with 129 Swifts (plus four which went the other way) and a Swallow. A Lapwing and a Pied Wagtail moved west. Offshore was a Razorbill, 12 Common Scoters, 28 Gannets, 15 Mediterranean Gulls and five Sandwich Terns. The beach held a Curlew, a juvenile Redshank and two Little Egrets of note. The adult Common Gull was still on the green.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Goring and West Worthing

An enjoyable session this morning, getting to the Gap early to avoid the crowds. A total of 108 Swifts included 90 eastbound birds and a Swallow moved in the same direction. Among eight Mediterranean Gulls on the beach first thing was a juvenile and an adult bearing a green darvic ring; another eight moved east offshore. Also part of the gull exodus was a smart adult Common Gull. A 2CY Peregrine - probably the one that flew over my garden yesterday - passed overhead. A Bonxie plonked itself on the sea. Six Common Scoters and a Curlew moved east, while seven Little Egrets (at least one juvenile) and two Oystercatchers were on the beach. 16 Gannets and five Sandwich Terns were offshore. Five of the 70 Black-headed Gulls were juveniles - my first fledged of the year. Later, a juvenile Red Kite drifted north over the fields and I encountered two Painted Ladies.

Mediterranean Gulls on the beach at Goring Gap, including the first juvenile of the year (centre)

juvenile Red Kite over Goring Gap

adult Common Gull at Goring Gap

From my West Worthing garden in the afternoon I watched three juvenile Goldfinches begging an adult for food.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Goring and West Worthing

A short morning visit to the Gap produced the first Redshank of the autumn as it tracked west, as well as an eastbound movement of 25 Swifts and six Swallows. Two Little Egrets, three Sandwich Terns and two Oystercatchers were on the beach and one Gannet flew west. While cycling to the Gap, I heard a Pied Wagtail calling near the Sea Lane Cafe, my first on the patch for a while. 70 Black-headed Gulls represented a recent exit from breeding grounds.

Approaching home in West Worthing, a Goldcrest was singing from a garden around the corner and from the patio I counted 33 Swifts as they bunched together overhead, before realising they were reacting to a Peregrine moving overhead.

Peregrine over my garden