Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Goring Gap, Pease Pottage and Burton Mill Pond

Goring Gap continued to accommodate our popular 2CY female Snow Bunting. Offshore were 320 Great Crested Grebes but only 20 Red-breasted Mergansers. Many of the grebes were feeding very close inshore on the ebbing tide, perhaps enjoying morsels washed off the beach. Further out, a pair displayed. Five Dark-bellied Brent Geese (seemingly the first spring migrants of the year) and a  Curlew flew east, two Wigeon went west and other birds offshore included two Kittiwakes, seven Red-throated Divers, three Gannets and a small handful of Razorbills. 19 Oystercatchers and three Ringed Plovers - the latter particularly sporasic among the waders this year - were among the usual suspects on the beach, along with two adult Mediterranean Gulls. A Goldcrest called from gardens near The Plantation.

The woods off Parish Lane in Pease Pottage kept me occupied for a few hours up to lunchtime as I grilled a flock consisting of around 50 Lesser Redpolls and 20 Siskins. I'd quickly teased out a smart Mealy Redpoll but getting a fitting record shot required a great deal of patience. Three Marsh Tits, two Bullfinches, a Grey Heron and a couple of Treecreepers and Nuthatches were also present while I stopped the car at a nearby field to enjoy a mix of 128 Fieldfares, seven Mistle Thrushes, 66 Redwings and four Song Thrushes.

Mealy Redpoll at Pease Pottage

Fieldfares at Pease Pottage

I spent the rest of the day's light at Burton Mill Pond, failing again to find a Bittern but logging a Kingfisher, 56 Cormorants and 20 Pied Wagtails to roost, a Little Egret, two Grey Herons, a Water Rail, nine Pochards, four Teal and a Tawny Owl. Six Little Grebes demonstrated snorkling behaviour and produced some lovely, almost diver-like, whinnying calls as dusk fell, that I'm not sure I've heard many timed before.

Little Grebes at Burton Mill Pond