Wednesday 21 August 2019

Steep Down and Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Today just felt like birding at its best. I was semi-reluctant to spend the little time I had this morning at Steep Down but I drove home so glad that I did. My main target was the Quail, remarkably still on territory, and I did eventually succeed in hearing one short burst of song from the bird. Among the grounded migrants were singles of Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and Lesser Whitethroat, plus five Whinchats, three Wheatears and four Willow Warblers, while flyover action involved 20 Yellow Wagtails, a Tree Pipit, a juvenile Marsh Harrier and, least expected, a Snipe. I couldn't resist constantly re-setting my scope on a nearby pylon to admire a pair of Peregrines taking an easy start to their day, preening and surveying their territory before eventually taking off. Two Sparrowhawks buzzed a flock of some 400 Linnets, while other farmland birds included two Grey Partridges and 13 Corn Buntings. I also noted two Ravens, a Reed Bunting, two Swifts, 11 Swallows, a Kestrel, five Buzzards, two Skylarks, two Meadow Pipits, a Grey Heron, two Green Woodpeckers, eight Whitethroats, three Blackcaps and a Chiffchaff.

Peregrines at Steep Down

juvenile Marsh Harrier over Steep Down

Corn Bunting at Steep Down

Sparrowhawk at Steep Down

Spotted Flycatcher at Steep Down

Wheatear at Steep Down

Wheatear at Steep Down

Whinchat at Steep Down

After sorting some stuff out at home, I headed out again, this time joined by Ingrid, to Pulborough Brooks RSPB. Once we had spent a while peering into the ponds at newts, we set out and bumped into Chris and Juliet. While we were chatting, I clocked a Honey-buzzard circling overhead! It was in view for several minutes as it gained height alongside a Buzzard - I think the first time I've seen these species directly side-by-side - before it was lost to view. Result! Just before we left Chris and Juliet, they noticed two Spotted Flycatchers in a nearby hedgerow. When we finally made it to the North Brooks, we found three Green Sandpipers, 37 Lapwings, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a few Shoveler and Teal but little else. A Stonechat, two Treecreepers, two Green Woodpeckers, a Bullfinch, two Nuthatches and three Buzzards were among the other birds we logged.

Honey-buzzard over Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Honey-buzzard (left) with Buzzard over Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Honey-buzzard (right) over Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Spotted Flycatcher at Pulborough Brooks RSPB (these have always been into the light for me this autumn so far! [i.e. today and yesterday])