Thursday, 10 January 2019

Goring Gap, Ham/Medmerry RSPB and The Burgh

Phil came down for the day and we arranged to meet at Goring Gap but with a NNW wind and a very low early morning tide, I thought after a swift scan we'd be cutting our losses and moving elsewhere. Pleasingly, though, the sea was rather busy, with a Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver the clear highlights, along with three Common Scoters, three Mute Swans, 128 Great Crested Grebes, 58 Red-breasted Mergansers, 42 Gannets, three Red-throated Divers, six Razorbills and 52 auks. Seven Mediterranean Gulls patrolled the beach, where Sanderlings, Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Grey Plovers and Turnstones were feeding as usual. A Goldcrest called at the seaward end of The Plantation.

Along the road at Ham, we picked up a Corn Bunting, 250 Stock Doves, six Yellowhammers and six Meadow Pipits. Once at the Ham Viewpoint at Medmerry, we scanned relentlessly for the Hooded Crow for about an hour but to no avail. 70 Common Scoters, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers, three Dark-bellied Brent Geese and seven Red-throated Divers were visible offshore. Two Peregrines were stationed on fence posts, a young female and an adult male, while at least two Marsh Harriers quartered, spooking Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall and Shelduck. A male Stonechat, a few Skylarks and a couple of Reed Buntings were active below us. Waders included two Bar-tailed Godwits, 200 Dunlin, five Curlews, 35 Lapwings and nine Grey Plovers.

The Burgh was yet again a natural finish to the day, not many Red Kites and Buzzards were noted but a Merlin showed well as dusk approached, followed by a good performance from two ringtail Hen Harriers. Ravens and Grey Partridges formed the backdrop yet again, and other stuff noted included two Fieldfares, a Redwing and a couple each of Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.