Monday, 10 August 2020

Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Phil and I logged 72 species on the reserve this morning, including a Crossbill, four Siskins, a Ruff, two Dunlin, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover, two Green Sandpipers, six Snipe, 32 Black-tailed Godwits, two Redshanks, an Avocet, a Mandarin, a Tufted Duck, three Egyptian Geese, two Sand Martins, a House Martin, a Willow Warbler, six Treecreepers, five Bullfinches, four Nuthatches, a Mistle Thrush, three Stonechats, a Grey Wagtail, three Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk, four Buzzards, a Gadwall and nine Shovelers.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Cissbury Ring

This morning's ringing session with Val and Pete was much quieter than last time. A Garden Warbler, a small number of Willow Warblers and a couple of Bullfinches were the 'best' birds caught. Two Ravens, a Sparrowhawk and a Red Kite flew over, and there was a group of young Yellowhammers back towards the car park.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Cissbury Ring and Brooklands Park

Two Redstarts were the highlight of my morning at Cissbury Ring. The first was an elusive female, the second a smart adult male, giving away its presence with its hu-iting, like a forceful and unrelenting Willow Warbler. It even gave two brief bursts of song. At least one Crossbill heard flying over was followed later by a group of three high up; I'm recording these here pretty much every time, despite the lack of suitable habitat. Truly out-of-place was a silent Green Sandpiper which flew over quite low (perhaps having been disturbed from the Lychpole dewpond a couple of miles away?). Other flyovers included a Tree Pipit and a juvenile Red Kite. Back on the ground, at least two Spotted Flycatchers were mobile and warblers were made up of three Lesser Whitethroats, 14 Willow Warblers, six Whitethroats, seven Blackcaps and two Chiffchaffs. Eight Bullfinches, three Yellowhammers, two Mistle Thrushes and four Meadow Pipits were also around.

Brooklands Park offered little in the way of gulls besides three Lesser Black-backs (two juveniles). For the second time running, only the female Mute Swan accompanied the six surviving offspring, and I learned that the cob has recently died, as I had begun to fear. Singles of Cetti's Warbler and Reed Warbler were by the boardwalk, while the lake hosted two Grey Herons and six Cormorants.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Brooklands Park and Worthing

An evening cycle to Brooklands Park to sift through the gulls produced a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls (two juveniles) and two juvenile Great Black-backed Gulls of note. Two House Martins, a Common Sandpiper, a Cetti's Warbler, a Willow Warbler, a Reed Warbler, a Little Egret, a Grey Heron, three Swifts and the family of Mute Swans (still six juveniles) were also noted.

In Worthing I had five more Swifts fly over.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Ferring Rife and Worthing

My birding today was a slow walk up and back down Ferring Rife. After a quick check of the beach, where three Mediterranean Gulls, a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull, two Turnstones and six Little Egrets were feeding, my first surprise was a Kingfisher that made to land right next to me, before inevitably spooking and flying on. Just after this shock of blue, it took me a little longer to compute the dazzling red bird which flew out from the reeds: a male Northern Red Bishop, looking pleased with the habitat he'd selected post-breakout. My previous form for finding escaped landbirds is rather poor, with only one Cockatiel that I recall, so it certainly qualified as a highlight of the morning. Further upstream, I froze when I heard a Green Sandpiper calling and it wasn't long before it flew past me. Only my second locally in getting on for three years in Worthing, this was a moment to savour. Later on, I relocated the bird feeding on mud a hundred yards or so downstream of the central bridge, where a little fieldcraft allowed good views without spooking this local rarity.

Eight Willow Warblers were encountered, some giving lovely views as they fed with little hurry in low vegetation, while five Reed Warblers were local birds. A brood of Goldcrests confirmed breeding and a Coal Tit broke into song briefly. Six Swifts and 10 Swallows flew through. A similiar number of Little Egrets to that on the beach began to gather in the conifers.

Two Stock Doves randomly appeared again on a chimney opposite our house in the afternoon; I just can't work out what they do around here...

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Highdown and Widewater Lagoon

I cycled up to Highdown early this morning to find a concerned couple crouching over a very unwell Hedgehog. I made the arrangements over the phone between the RSPCA and the vet for the animal to be taken in and the couple very kindly drove it in to Worthing. I doubt it stood much of a chance - it had either been run over or mauled by a dog - but it was the best we could do.

My first two Tree Pipits of the autumn buzzed high overhead, unseen in the clear skies, while on the ground there were just singles of Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. 45 Swallows were made up by a couple of main groups, one of which was clouding around a Sparrowhawk. The wooded area held a brood of Goldcrests, a couple of Treecreepers and a Nuthatch, while the grassland was charmed by around 60 Goldfinches, with smaller numbers of Linnets and Greenfinches thrown in. A young Buzzard cried in the distance and an adult was noted, while a Kestrel and a Canada Goose were among other birds heard.

I visited Widewater later on, hoping the Mandarins reported yesterday would still be present but I could not find them. A Little Egret, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and the pair of Mute Swans with their one juvenile were present.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Goring Gap and Worthing

Goring Gap was devoid of migrants this morning, besides a fly-through Sand Martin, but two vocal juvenile Sparrowhawks in the Plantation made my day. Two Common Gulls and seven Mediterranean Gulls were in the back fields.

In Worthing, the female Peregrine was back on Manor Lea and another Sparrowhawk flew over West Tarring Allotments. A Grey Heron flew over my garden.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Cissbury Ring

An enjoyable session at Cissbury this morning with Pete and Val produced 44 species. The ringing was our best day so far this year in terms of number and variety. The highlights in the nets were a Spotted Flycatcher, a Reed Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat and four Garden Warblers, while Willow Warbler, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff also featured in small numbers. A flock of 10 Crossbills flew over towards the end of the session but the highlight was a juvenile Cuckoo showing well on a nearby fenceline, guzzling a fair few big caterpillars. A Marsh Tit, three Yellowhammers, two Red Kites, two Ravens, 10 House Martins, seven Swallows, a Treecreeper and two Bullfinches were among other observations.

Friday, 31 July 2020


Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and three Swifts were over the garden. An evening walk along the seafront produced a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Ashburnham Place and Worthing

Christian helped me with the inaugural ringing session at Ashburnham this morning. It was quite successful with only the one net site up, which produced 37 birds of 10 species, including a Marsh Tit, six Siskins and three Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Our station turned out to be well positioned for general observations, with a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker suddenly bursting into voice nearby and showing fleetingly in flight. I had ruled out encountering this species in 2020! A brief visit from a couple of Spotted Flycatchers was another treat. Two Firecrests were also audible and at least two Bullfinches were heard.

25 Swifts were again over my garden in Worthing in the evening.