Sunday 22 September 2019


Recently I began to wonder why I hadn't tried seawatching from Worthing Pier. In fact nobody seems to have done so in the time that I've lived here. I figured it might be a wise option on days with strong onshore winds, when seawatching would be the inevitable focus and vismig or migrant-seeking would be a dead loss. Today's forecast didn't expect any particular blow but it predicted a reasonable onshore breeze with showers, so I walked to the pier for a test watch this morning. Frustratingly, the forecast was misleading and there was only a light easterly (though it did veer southeast) with no sign of any showers. It dawned on me I should have been vismigging or migrant-seeking... I really should know by now that the given wind speed and rain outlook figures generally ought to be at least halved.

It was quiet, but somehow I managed to happily while away over two hours, mainly spent counting Gannets: 423 in total, with a roughly even split heading each way. The highlight was a close adult Red-throated Diver, but otherwise three Kittiwakes and six Common Scoters were the best on offer. 24 Mediterranean Gulls, two Common Gulls, 10 Sandwich Terns, nine Swallows and, oddly, a Grey Heron also flew past offshore. Two Grey Wagtails and four Meadow Pipits were heard overhead. In addition, a Little Egret was feeding on the beach and a Turnstone could be heard at roost below the pier. It was satisfying to hear a tannoy early on a Sunday morning telling a dog-walker to get off the beach, as it's now a no-dog zone. If only the powers that be would prioritise conservation over neurotic hygiene for sweaty beachgoers and make areas like Goring Gap a no-dog zone instead.