Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Ashdown Forest and The Burgh

This morning I parked up at the Gills Lap car park in the Ashdown Forest and set out to find the wintering 'butcherbird' which I'd had wonderful views of with Dick Filby back in November. As before, I pointed the scope in the direction of the bird's favoured area and scanned repeatedly till, after about 45 minutes, I picked up the Great Grey Shrike over half a mile away. Bingo! Happily, an interested dog-walker and a birder passed while I had it in view and managed a look through my scope. Walking round to nearer where the bird was hunting failed to produce any further views. A couple of Dartford Warblers and Bullfinches, 16 Crossbills, a Lesser Redpoll, nine Reed Buntings, two Stonechats and a Fieldfare were among the other birds logged. A quick look around the corner at Old Lodge produced another Lesser Redpoll, a Siskin and seven more Crossbills but little else.

Great Grey Shrike at Wren's Warren

Crossbill near Gill's Lap car park

I got to The Burgh for late afternoon, where for the first time I ventured beyond 'The Triangle' and actually walked around the site, all the way to the dew pond, where I enjoyed upgraded views of a juvenile Hen Harrier and a Short-eared Owl. 150 Lapwings were joined by a Golden Plover in the bare fields, a Yellowhammer and three Reed Buntings called and other stuff included four of both Red Kite and Buzzard, two Kestrels and six Meadow Pipits. As dusk fell, the cacophony of Grey Partridges and Ravens made for a most evocative soundscape.