Monday, 17 December 2018

Goring Gap and Burpham/The Burgh

I spent just over an hour at the Gap first thing, producing six Red-throated Divers, an adult Mediterranean Gull, the wintering female Stonechat and 13 Grey Plovers.

Being such a lovely day I thought I'd spice things up by heading to Burpham, where I easily found the herd of six Bewick's Swans (three adults and three juveniles). It's hit me just how infrequently I see this graceful visitor from the tundra, and how sad it is that the Arun Valley herd is now so diminished. Water Rail and a few Teal were vocal in the valley, where there was a pair Stonechats. Hearing a Chiffchaff calling below the road reminded me of the waste treatment works which I'd driven past previously but never checked out. I ended up spending several hours studying the 10 or so Chiffchaffs present around the filter bed, including a fine 'Siberian Chiffchaff' (form tristis). A Corn Bunting flew over, while a Sparrowhawk hunted and small numbers of Kestrels, Buzzards and Red Kites patrolled the downs. A Raven, a couple of 30-strong Linnet flocks and small numbers of Redwings, Goldcrests, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were logged.

Siberian Chiffchaff

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Goring Gap

An hour at the Gap produced a Guillemot, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Red-throated Diver and two Great Crested Grebes of note.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Goring Gap

A short visit to the Gap this morning produced a Dark-bellied Brent Goose on the beach, a Shelduck, two Red-throated Divers, a Gannet and the most regular wader species.

Thursday, 13 December 2018


Stopping at my parents', I went into town for some Christmas shopping, the walk there and back featuring a Peregrine, a couple of Goldcrests in song, three Redwings and a Pied Wagtail.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018


An adventure with Franko but sadly a dip. Traeth Lligwy held no Royal Tern but offered three Pale-bellied Brent Geese, two Great Northern Divers, two Black Guillemots, three Common Scoters, a Bonxie, several Kittiwakes and Fulmars, two Ravens, c60 Dunlin, a Greenshank, Sanderlings, Turnstones, Oystercatchers, Shags and a Bullfinch of note.

Nearby Afon Goch had Little Egret, another couple of Ravens, possibly the same Greenshank, Shelducks, etc. Red Wharf Bay offered two Bar-tailed Godwits, 11 Knot, two Little Egrets, good numbers of Wigeon and a few Teal, a Rock Pipit and a Grey Wagtail, Shelducks, Dunlin, etc.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Another, though very rushed, look for the White-rumped Sandpiper inevitably ended in failure, though a Firecrest was a nice surprise and a male Bullfinch showed nicely near a subsinging flock of 20 Linnets.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Pulborough Brooks RSPB

I was planning on staying in and getting things done today but of course news came through from Pulborough that the White-rumped Sandpiper was still there. I went over for it but the bird was stupidly distant and showing no signs of wanting to move around or feed so after a couple of hours I cut my losses. A Marsh Harrier quartering the brooks was the best bird and a Reed Bunting was heard near the visitor centre.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Canons Farm, Banstead Woods and Pulborough Brooks RSPB

This morning I led the CFBWBG's Winter Tour. We started at the Canons Farm where highlights included Barn Owl, a few Fieldfares and Redwings, Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit, Skylark and five fly-over Mallards. Spending a fair bit of time in Banstead Woods, we enjoyed prolonged views of a flock of seven Siskins gleaning from tree trunks, while a Mallard was on Piddly Pond and a nice set of woodland birds included Treecreeper in song, Mistle Thrush and Bullfinch, plus 30 more Redwings and a fly-over Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Siskins in Banstead Woods

On the way home I stopped at Pulborough Brooks RSPB in the hope of seeing the White-rumped Sandpiper found by Matt earlier in the day but it was a dip in miserable weather - with a Dunlin being the closest we got and the best entertainment being the numbers of Pintail and Wigeon present. Good to see Louis F-H in the hide though.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Goring Gap and East Preston

I gave the migration watch an hour this morning, coming up with only five Red-breasted Mergansers, three Red-throated Divers and two Gannets. With work to do, I almost called it a day and headed home but I'm glad I did a short loop of the fields as I stumbled upon a Snow Bunting on the central road near the beach. Fortunately it didn't flush straight away but when the next car came along it did fly over to the beach, where I saw it pitch down and fully expected to easily relocate it. However, as I put the news out - with Clive, Garry, Gareth and Nick arriving within minutes - it must have given me the slip as none of us could find it anywhere, despite scouring the beach and fields for a couple of hours. On examining my photographs it seems to be a 1CY female. Also noted were 211 Common Gulls (a significant increase), seven adult Mediterranean Gulls, the female Stonechat, three Meadow Pipits, 26 Skylarks, two Goldcrests, a Sparrowhawk and five Pied Wagtails. It was again a strange day for waders, with no high tide roost to speak of and only Turnstones and an Oystercatcher seen along the beach either side of the high tide.

1CY female Snow Bunting
At Haskins garden centre, East Preston, later, I had a Grey Wagtail.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Capel Fleet and Belmont

As we drove back through Capel Fleet from the wader ringing at 00:10, Paul and I stopped the car to watch a Short-eared Owl by road. Stopping off at Belmont, three Redwings were in my parents' garden in the morning.

Short-eared Owl