Saturday, 13 June 2020

Pett Level, Pannel Valley NR and The Downs

For Christian's birthday we met up at Pett Level, where a male Cuckoo, a couple of Bearded Tits and a pair of Marsh Harriers immediately performed as we got out of our cars. Broods of Pochard and Tufted Duck were on the pool, a couple of Egyptian Geese were around the edges, and both Common and Sandwich Terns gave vocal fly-bys. As we walked along the canal, two Hobbies gave spectacular views as they hawked for dragonflies and Cetti's, Sedge and Reed Warblers were prominent voices, as were the comical cries of the occasional Mediterranean Gull overhead.

The Pannel Valley scrape was alive with birds, mainly Avocets, Black-headed Gulls with chicks, one or two Oystercatcher families and at least three Little Ringed Plovers (including a mating pair). A male Marsh Harrier flew through here, too, as did additional Mediterranean Gulls, and more Cetti's Warblers were vocal. Eventually, a drake Garganey came out of hiding on the far side, and other duck interest included Shoveler and Gadwall broods. An Egyptian Goose was present alongside a few Shelducks. Another Cuckoo was heard singing before a Green Sandpiper announced itself flying over the path, the first sign of autumn.

drake Garganey at Pannel Valley

Common Tern at Pannel Valley

Shovelers at Pannel Valley

We finished with lunch back on the edge of Pett Level, adding Lesser Whitethroat to the day's list. It was a pleasure to spend the day with Christian, venturing into East Sussex for the first time in some while and on such a fine morning.

The evening was spent walking the downs above Sompting, where the Shelduck brood still seemed to be complete on the dew pond, a Corn Bunting sang and a gang of five Brown Hares stood in a bare field.