Sunday, 13 October 2019

Goring Gap

Another slow two-hour seawatch produced 13 Common Scoters, 83 Gannets, a Kittiwake, 13 Common Gulls, seven auks; also seen were two Little Egrets, five Turnstones, a Grey Plover, an Oystercatcher, five Ringed Plovers, three Linnets, 18 Meadow Pipits and an adult Mediterranean Gull.

Friday, 11 October 2019


A seawatch from the pier, before I got turfed off due to the wind reaching Force 8, was slow-going but did produce a juvenile Shag - a Sussex tick for me - and an adult Little Gull heading west, along with a Great Crested Grebe, seven Kittiwakes, 11 Common Scoters, 78 Gannets, a Grey Plover, two Dunlin. Too distant and brief for firm ID were 12 auks and three Common/Arctic Terns. A Red-throated Diver was on the sea. Two Turnstones were on the pier and six Common Gulls and a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull were noted.

juvenile Shag

Wednesday, 9 October 2019


A magnificent twitch with George Kinnard to Galgorm in Country Antrim saw us connect with the adult male COMMON NIGHTHAWK. Along with a small crowd, including Niall Keogh, Toby Carter, Austin Morley and the Viles crew, we admired the bird for hours at its day roost just by the road, then enjoyed spectacular views of the bird hawking along the River Maine at dusk, often passing within inches of us. We also enjoyed Irish Coal Tit, a flock of redpolls, a Siskin and a Grey Wagtail.

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Brooklands Pleasure Park and Adur Estuary

It was a rather similar visit to last time. Overhead, a Siskin, a Swallow, five Skylarks, three Rooks, 12 Meadow Pipits, 12 Linnets, 49 Goldfinches and six Pied/White Wagtails moved through. At the lake, four Teal, two Little Grebes and the family of Mute Swans were feeding, while two Mediterranean Gulls were loafing and a Grey Wagtail flew across the water. Scattered in the bushes were 24 Chiffchaffs, nine Goldcrests, two Blackcaps, a Treecreeper, a Song Thrush and two Coal Tits. Two of both Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers made themselves obvious.

In the late afternoon I met up with David Darrell-Lambert for a quick look at the Adur Estuary before his evening talk for the SDOS. Highlights were a 1cy Yellow-legged Gull, two Canada Geese (locally uncommon), three Little Egrets, eight Oystercatchers, 19 Ringed Plovers, a Turnstone and seven of both Common Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Cissbury Ring

After my failed attempt yesterday, I returned to Cissbury Ring in somewhat calmer conditions to search for Ring Ouzels, and I certainly found some. I encountered a few small flocks, though none settled for very long - around 20 birds in all, some giving that delightful burbling call. Not a touch on some recent counts elsewhere, but I was equally pleased to count 50 Song Thrushes, mostly actively migrating overhead. There were also two Mistle Thrushes again around the yews, and a single Redwing over. Three Golden Plovers and a Siskin also passed overhead, along with 34 Skylarks, four Reed Buntings, a House Martin, eight Swallows, 65 Meadow Pipits, 33 Linnets and 54 Chaffinches. A Firecrest, 15 Goldcrests, 18 Chiffchaffs, nine Blackcaps and five Stonechats were on the ground. Other birds included three Yellowhammers, two Bullfinches, a Treecreeper, a Nuthatch, two Green Woodpeckers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Kestrel and 30 Long-tailed Tits.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

West Worthing, Widewater Lagoon and Cissbury Ring

My first Redwing of the season, a little overdue, was heard over my garden this morning but with clear skies and a strong breeze it was no surprise that my attempt at vismig otherwise fell a bit flat, with four Pied/White Wagtails, five Meadow Pipits and three Goldfinches moving. A Goldcrest and a Coal Tit were calling next door and a Common Gull overhead was a fairly uncommon sight from the patio.

I took Ingrid to Widewater so she could go for a dog-walk with a friend from Brighton and I went off to look for birds for half an hour. A Kingfisher alighted for a few minutes on a little boat at the back of someone's house, and a fine adult female Sparrowhawk was doing the rounds of the waterside gardens while a Kestrel hovered nearby. Two Teal, five Mute Swans and five Little Egrets were on the water and the beach had a Turnstone. I also noted a Grey Wagtail, four Linnets, a House Martin and six Meadow Pipits.

With the windy conditions, a long to-do list and man-flu recovery still underway, I'd otherwise written off the day for birding but it was a busy day on the pager and I wondered whether I should have got out and done something purposeful for the first few hours of the morning. In the afternoon, loads of Ring Ouzel reports came through from Sussex and I figured there simply had to be some at Cissbury Ring, so went for a quick look. All small birds seen were diving straight into deep cover but grilling the yew trees revealed two Mistle Thrushes. Deflated, I headed back to the car - though I was cheered on the way by bumping into Nick and Claire - I figured they'd find some ouzels shortly after I went, and of course they did! All I noted otherwise was a couple of Kestrels and Blackcaps, and a Goldcrest.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Brooklands Pleasure Park

The highlights of a couple of hours at Brooklands were three Siskins, 42 Meadow Pipits, 19 Pied/White Wagtails, two Grey Wagtails, six House Martins, 12 Swallows and a Skylark overhead. 11 Goldcrests and 20 Chiffchaffs were scattered in the bushes. A Treecreeper and three Coal Tits, two Green Woodpeckers and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were also noted. The lake held the whole Mute Swan family, a Little Grebe and four Teal.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Goring Gap and West Worthing

With a northwesterly breeze I thought I'd give some vismigging at Goring Gap a go, though the clear blues skies did not particularly help. Passerines included two Reed Buntings, 344 Meadow Pipits, 61 Pied/White Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, two Sand Martins, 121 House Martins, 33 Swallows, 53 Linnets, 12 Chaffinches, 40 Goldfinches, four Skylarks and two Jackdaws. On the ground was a Wheatear, six Stonechats, two Song Thrushes, seven Goldcrests, three Whitethroats, three Blackcaps, nine Chiffchaffs. Offshore, Dark-bellied Brent Geese were returning from Siberia, with 122 heading west, along with a flock of seven Shelducks. A Whimbrel, a Redshank, three Grey Herons, 16 Little Egrets, eight Ringed Plovers and 19 Turnstones were on the beach. Also around were two Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk, two Mediterranean Gulls and three Common Gulls. Three Great Spotted Woodpeckers included two so embroiled in a silent and note particularly violent face-off that they argued just feet away from me.

Casual observations around and over the garden in West Worthing included singles of Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit, Coal Tit and Sparrowhawk.

Monday, 30 September 2019

West Worthing, Brooklands Pleasure Park and Adur Estuary

With much to do around the house, I reluctantly stayed in this morning but kept an eye on the skies whenever I popped into the garden, noting 22 Meadow Pipits, 23 Swallows, two Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and a garden-tick Little Egret.

In the afternoon I squeezed in flying visits to Brooklands Pleasure Park and the Adur Estuary. At Brooklands highlights included a Grey Wagtail, a Little Grebe, five Teal, a House Martin, 11 Chiffchaffs, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, three Goldcrests, a Little Egret and the entire Mute Swan family still going strong.

The tide was still a little high on the Adur and I only stayed a few minutes, noting four of both Little Egret and Turnstone, a Ringed Plover and a Mute Swan. I've got a reputation for losing and breaking things but have a hitherto respectable track record of keeping my notebooks safe, but this evening I do seem to have lost my current 'edition'. It received a thorough soaking at Spurn and was still recovering from that so had evidently become ill-fated.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Goring Gap

It was rather gusty this morning but some passerines struggled through, namely four Yellow Wagtails, six Pied/White Wagtails, six Swallows and 65 Meadow Pipits. Offshore my first two local Dark-bellied Brent Geese of the autumn headed west, along with two Common Scoters and 13 Gannets. As the tide rose, 84 Turnstones, four Sanderlings, 31 Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin gathered in the roost field, only to be spooked by a passing Sparrowhawk. A Kestrel was flung along the beach by the breeze. Three Skylarks were by the coast road and a Chiffchaff was calling from the seaward end of The Plantation.