Friday, 30 November 2018

Goring Gap

Two hours of migration watching this morning was fairly quiet in general but a/the Red-necked Grebe heading west provided a clear highlight. Red-breasted Mergansers were hard to count but a bare minimum of 11 were on the sea. Four Dark-bellied Brent Geese, six Great Crested Grebes, a Shelduck, a Red-throated Diver and a Gannet also passed. 10 Skylarks, two Meadow Pipits and two Linnets flew through. TwoAll of the usual wader species were on the beach but I only managed to count Sanderlings, Grey Plovers and Ringed Plovers, the former numbering 90 and the plovers 24 each. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls and 11 Common Gulls were logged. Two Goldcrests were in the seaward section of The Plantation.

Thursday, 29 November 2018


A write-off of a seawatch from George V Avenue this morning - the wind driving straight into the beach shelter, rain on and off and only two Red-breasted Mergansers and a Gannet during the half-hour chance I gave it. I then decided I could use my time more productively today and got some writing done.

Monday, 26 November 2018

Goring Gap

The 1CY drake Eider was still on the sea this morning, along with six Razorbills, 19 Red-breasted Mergansers and 33 Great Crested Grebes. Six Red-throated Divers were logged, including one or two pitching down, as well as two Kittiwakes, five Gannets, a Guillemot and six further auks. Light overhead passage involved 50 of both Linnet and Chaffinch, two Siskins, nine Meadow Pipits, 75 Goldfinches and a Skylark. With the bonus Redshank still present, all the usual waders were on the beach, including 24 Grey Plovers. The female Stonechat, four Mediterranean Gulls and two Common Gulls were also noted.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

West Worthing and Goring Gap

As I left the house this morning, three Redwings flew ftom trees next tto a house a couple of doors down. Wildfowl are the enduring theme of patch birding at the moment and an eventful first few minutes of seawatching/vismissing at the Gap this morning saw an adult drake Goosander pass east along the shore and a 1CY drake Eider bobbing on the sea. Later, a flock of six Egyptian Geese west over land was constituted an unexpected patch tick. Offshore 28 Red-breasted Mergansers and 23 Great Crested Grebes made up the numbers, while 10 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, three Red-throated Divers, 36 Gannets, four Kittiwakes and 16 auks - mostly Razorbills - went through. The Goldfinch tap was still on, with 160 heading east, along with 22 Meadow Pipits and 12 Linnets. The usual waders were on the beach, including 20 Grey Plovers and 16 Oystercatchers, plus a Redshank but the high tide roost was again non-existent, the birds evidently using another site at the moment. Four Lesser Black-backed Gulls (three adults and a 2CY) were in the roost field, along with eight adult Mediterranean Gulls and two Common Gulls. 23 Skylarks, a Jackdaw, a Chiffchaff and five of both Goldcrest and Pied Wagtail were also logged.

1CY drake Eider

Egyptian Geese

three adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls - the scarcest 'common gull' here, with one of the omnipresent Great Black-backed Gulls

Friday, 23 November 2018

Goring Gap

There was a marked increase in the number of Red-breasted Mergansers and Great Crested Grebes on the sea since my last visit, with 34 and 10 respectively. 40 auks were mostly very distant but those passing within ID range were Razorbills, while a Guillemot was on the sea close in. A Common Scoter and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese flew past, while 12 Red-throated Divers, 18 Kittiwakes and 43 Gannets were noted. The usual waders were on the beach, along with my first Redshank for the site since the summer, and four adult Mediterranean Gulls and five Common Gulls were around. What I presume to be the same Reed Bunting as on 18th was calling from the fenced rough at dawn. 30 Skylarks were in the roost field, a Song Thrush (still thin on the ground) was in The Plantation, three Meadow Pipits were on the stubble strip and the female Stonechat was still by the blocked road. Goldcrests had decreased to just three. Two Linnets and five Goldfinches moved east and 12 Pied Wagtails were around. I missed out on the Great Northern Diver reported by an unknown and unseen birder.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Belmont and Banstead Downs

At my parents' this morning, two Redwings were feeding in a berry-laden tree in the car park as I headed for a stroll around Banstead Downs. The biggest surprise during this excursion was a female Reed Bunting which emerged from the south end of the current sheep pen - the rank vegetation in this area looks rather good at the moment. A Lesser Redpoll was on the golf course side of the railway and other species encountered included a party of three Bullfinches, some 60 Long-tailed Tits in various flocks, 20 Redwings, nine Goldcrests and a flyover Common Gull.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Goring Gap

A 2-hour seawatch this morning was rewarded with a nice selection of wildfowl, headlined by a group of three Eiders and no fewer than eight Velvet Scoters heading east offshore, including a group of five and a singleton with a Tufted Duck in its wake. 12 Red-breasted Mergansers, three Teal, 10 Common Scoters, two Great Crested Grebes and a Kittiwake flew east, while four Dark-bellied Brent Geese went the other way and 19 Red-throated Divers, 236 Gannets and 73 auks were also logged passing. Waders present included 30 Grey Plovers and 75 Dunlin, though only 11 Ringed Plovers and four Turnstones. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was in the roost field, while two Mediterranean Gulls and four Common Gulls were also seen. A female Stonechat was by the blocked road, a Chiffchaff was in the northwest corner and six Skylarks, four Goldcrests and two Song Thrushes were among the other birds noted.

Velvet Scoters

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Goring Gap

The first Pintail of the autumn, a drake, flew west past the Gap this morning. Flocks of 11 and four Golden Plovers flew over and offshore five Dark-bellied Brent Geese, three Red-breasted Mergansers, a Great Crested Grebe and a lone Gannet passed. Goldfinches were still bombing through east in decent numbers, over 600, with six Siskins, 21 Chaffinches and 15 Linnets thrown in, and 24 Meadow Pipits heading the same way. A Reed Bunting and a female Stonechat were in the fenced rough, while an impressive flock of 58 Skylarks toured the fields. Waders on the beach included the usual Sanderlings, Ringed Plovers, Oystercatchers and Turnstones, with a skittish flock of 50 Dunlin and small numbers of Grey Plovers. A Grey Heron flew west and an adult  Mediterranean Gull was noted. A circuit of the site totted up 12 Goldcrests, plus a Chiffchaff, and a Kestrel was hunting. In excess of 300 Woodpigeons  flew through but just what they were doing was unclear.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Cissbury Ring

An early start saw Val, Mya, Terry and I meet at dawn to set the mist nets. It was a pretty lively session with a good variety in the catch, including three Firecrests, a Bullfinch and the odd Blackcap, Redwing, Song Thrush and Chiffchaff (one of the latter interestingly being a 2CY+ caught and ringed on site in August while in post-breeding moult!). I'm always keeping an ear and eye out as much as possible while ringing and scanning between net rounds scored us a fly-over Great White Egret as it headed northeast late morning. A heard-only Lapwing was also noteworthy, as was a marvellous flock of nine Ravens, and some 200 Common Gulls fed in the adjacent fields.  Fieldfares and Redwings moved overhead, along with much smaller numbers of Siskins, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Linnets. A Tawny Owl was vocal first thing.

Great White Egret


male Bullfinch

Friday, 16 November 2018

Goring Gap

Through light drizzle this morning I spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering the Gap with Gareth. A Golden Plover which dropped into the central fields was the first main highlight, followed by a surprise Black-necked Grebe on the sea (later twitched by Garry and Clive) and 17 Lapwings overhead. The sea was quiet otherwise, with just a lone Great Crested Grebe. The beach held four Grey Plovers and reasonable but uncounted numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plovers and Turnstones, plus a couple of Oystercatchers. A Grey Wagtail, four Mediterranean Gulls, nine Skylarks, nine Goldcrests, two Pied Wagtails and five Meadow Pipits were among the other species logged.

Black-necked Grebe

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Thorncombe Street and West Worthing

I met up with Ed at his Thorncombe Street patch this morning, finding a showy male Ring Ouzel at Tilsey Farm and enjoying a steady flow of Fieldfares and Redwings overhead. A couple of Mistle Thrushes and Meadow Pipits, a Red Kite, two Ravens and singles of Yellowhammer, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting were among the other notables logged during the visit. Taking in Bramley Mill Pond, another part of the Thorncombe Street recording area, we added two Mandarins, two Little Grebes, five Shovelers and a Gadwall. Back home in West Worthing, a late afternoon fly-over by three Pied Wagtails was notable for the garden.

male Ring Ouzel

Monday, 12 November 2018

Goring Gap

I didn't bother looking at the sea and just did a circuit of the Gap. Overhead 145 Goldfinches trickled east, including one or two Siskins calling among them. 15 Chaffinches went the same way. A Firecrest was by the pumping station, with another in the northwest corner, along with a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff. 12 Goldcrests were dotted around and an unploughed area attracted 22 Skylarks, six Meadow Pipits and 29 Linnets. 10 Pied Wagtails and 220 Starlings were also feeding in the fields. The Treecreeper announced its presence in The Plantation. Five Mediterranean Gulls were logged, along with an increase to 50 loafing Common Gulls, though few waders were around, with a quick look at the beach and the roost field around high tide revealing just 12 Ringed Plovers, three Dunlin and two Turnstones.

Sunday, 11 November 2018


Another depressingly quiet seawatch from George V Avenue did produce a 2CY Yellow-legged Gull, which made it feel worthwhile. Otherwise, the only birds noted moving offshore during the hour were singles of Mediterranean Gull and Great Crested Grebe.

2CY Yellow-legged Gull

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Goring Gap and Brooklands Park

My patching fuel gauge blinking with depleted enthusiasm, I just about managed to get up to the Gap for 07:30, hoping for further activity on the sea. Within half an hour the sole bird recorded moving was a distant eastbound Great Crested Grebe. There were barely even any waders on the beach, a single Grey Plover, a flock of 22 Dunlin, a couple of Turnstones and a Little Egret being the only birds feeding. Quite frankly pissed off at the Gap being reverted to a bird exclusion zone, I moped around The Plantation for a while, where there was a clear arrival of Goldcrests, around 20 in all, their whispy exchanges doing something to brighten my depressed outlook but not enough to inspire a full circuit of the site.

News from Gareth and Paul James at BrooklandsPark of a Pallas's Warbler made me at once glad for these gents and shamefully bitter that it was not among my Goldcrests. I snapped out of it and drove over there, luckily getting a few nice views along the road to the sewage works there before it went missing. Also present were very good numbers of Goldcrests, two Firecrests, a Chiffchaff, two redpolls and a Grey Wagtail. Mingling with the loose crowd reminded me to appreciate the value of being around other birders - the Gap has been a bit of a lonely vigil this year, myself usually being the only birder present in the mornings, and, sadly, conversation with dog-walkers is just as likely to irk as uplift.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Goring and West Worthing

A 90-minute seawatch from George V Avenue this morning largely felt quiet but was rewarded firstly by a distant Little Gull moving east, then by a Red-necked Grebe heading in the same direction. Two Teal, two Common Scoters, nine Great Crested Grebes, three Red-throated Divers, a Mediterranean Gull, over 100 Gannets and a few Guillemots and Razorbills were offshore. A couple of Meadow Pipits flew up from the beach and a migrating flock of 20 Goldfinches flew east.

A Meadow Pipit flew over the garden when I set out this morning and I heard a few Redwings after dark over Worthing last night, including over the garden. This morning a Curlew flew along the beach opposite Marine Gardens.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Cissbury Ring

A lovely morning's ringing on the Ring with Val featured some nice catches, such as a Firecrest, two Bullfinches and several Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. A Brambling, two Lesser Redpolls, two Reed Buntings, six Siskins, three Yellowhammers, 19 Greylags, a Little Egret, a Treecreeper, eight Pied Wagtails, five Redwings, two Meadow Pipits and four Skylarks were among the other birds noted during the visit.

1CY male Firecrest

1CY female Bullfinch

adult male Chaffinch

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Goring Gap and The Burgh

A brief visit with special guests Paul G and Jazz mid-/late morning produced three Red-throated Divers, two Great Crested Grebes, three Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Kittiwake, 26 Gannets, 16 Common Gulls, 30 Razorbills/Guillemots (mostly the former), three Mediterranean Gulls, 17 Skylarks, a Little Egret, two Grey Plovers, 20 Oystercatchers and uncounted Dunlin, Turnstone and Ringed Plover.

With seabird movement dying down but the breeze still offputting we decided to check out The Burgh for a couple of hours, where highlights included a fleeting flight view of a group of around 10 Grey Partidges, as well as six Red Kites, 10 Buzzards, four Kestrels, a Reed Bunting, 30 Linnets, three Meadow Pipits and 25 Stock Doves.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Canons Farm and Worthing

A casual stroll around Canons with Geoff - more for a catch-up than anything (the farm felt decidedly uninspiring), produced 15 Meadow Pipits, 40 Linnets, two Yellowhammers, a Pied Wagtail, a Common Gull, 10 Fieldfares, 16 Redwings, six Skylarks and a Treecreeper among other expected species.

In Worthing later, a Grey Wagtail and a Pied Wagtail flew over the shops.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Beddington Farmlands

November began with me back at one of my 'home patches' in the hope of connecting with the Richard's Pipit found by Pinpoint earlier in the week. Christian, Roy W and I scoured the mound to no avail though working machinery in the area favoured by the bird might not have helped our cause. Dejected, I ended up scanning through the gulls on the North Lake before we had to bid an exit, turning up two nice first-winter Caspian Gulls. Other highlights during the visit included a Cetti's Warbler, a Stonechat, three Snipe, eight Meadow Pipits, three Skylarks, a Buzzard and two Reed Buntings.

1CY Caspian Gull

second 1CY Caspian Gull