Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Dell Quay, Pulborough Brooks RSPB, Coldwaltham, Rewell Wood and Amberley Wildbrooks

Having been knocked out of action for some time by a nasty chest infection, I was delighted to get back in the field today. The intention was to ease back into birding but it ended up being a full day out! First up was Dell Quay, where I spent an hour scanning the waders and wildfowl. Most importantly, the Long-tailed Duck was still present, diving frequently to the south, near three Red-breasted Mergansers. 300 or so Dark-bellied Brent Geese were present, along with good numbers of Teal and Wigeon. Waders included singles of Spotted Redshank and Bar-tailed Godwit, as well as numbers of Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Lapwing. A Kingfisher was hunting from moored boats and a Peregrine flew over.

Long-tailed Duck at Dell Quay

I met up with Phil Wallace at Pulborough Brooks mid-morning but this turned out to be an unwise choice of location as the floods were shrouded in heavy fog. We did hear a Golden Plover fly over, though, and the calls of Snipe and Wigeon were evocative in the mist. A Mistle Thrush, Fieldfares, Redwings, four Bullfinches and a Treecreeper were noted along the trail. Throughout our visit a noisy Raven was touring the site.

Coldwaltham sewage works was visited fleetingly in the hope of some Chiffchaff action, though just three were seen and all were collybita. A Grey Wagtail broke into song, a handful of Fieldfares and Redwings were seen, plus a Bullfinch.

Sherwood Rough mid-afternoon produced at least three distant Hawfinches, plus a Yellowhammer, a Marsh Tit and three redpolls.

As the light faded, we managed to squeeze in a visit to Amberley Wildbrooks, looking from the Rackham Viewpoint. Through the mist we caught sight of a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Short-eared Owl, three Buzzards and a Kestrel while hordes of Wigeon and Teal called.