Thursday, 16 August 2018


With a fresh southwesterly, I figured a seawatch would be more productive than checking the bushes this morning so I did just over four hours from the George V Avenue shelter from dawn. It was pretty slow really but worthwhile, with season-firsts in the form of a Great Crested Grebe, four Kittiwakes and two adult Grey Plovers in summer plumage. Also logged moving offshore were 17 Common Scoters, 104 Gannets, three Fulmars, nine Sandwich Terns, a Ringed Plover and three Sand Martins. 16 Little Egrets were feeding on the beach. An unproductive walk around the Gap in the evening yieled just four adult Common Gulls of any note.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Goring, Brighton and West Worthing

The best migrant during my walk around Goring Gap was a Spotted Flycatcher in the hedge by the sports field. Other grounded migrants were in short supply, with two Wheatears, just five Willow Warblers, a couple of Blackcaps and three Whitethroats - the latter two species quite possibly still represented by locals. A total of 16 Sand Martins and a Swallow flew west. Birds on the beach included 27 Little Egrets, 15 Oystercatchers, 26 Ringed Plovers, 39 Turnstones, 10 adult Sanderlings, four Dunlin and singles of Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull and juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull. A glance out to sea revealed a Fulmar, three Gannets and seven Sandwich Terns.

Spotted Flycatcher at Goring Gap

Later in the day, a Swift flew over the Wyevale Garden Centre on the outskirts of Brighton, along with three House Martins. Back home, we were greeted by a brief Hummingbird Hawkmoth in our West Worthing garden.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Goring, Pagham Harbour, Northcommon Farm and Medmerry/Ham

Before meeting up with Paul and Zac at Pagham, I had a quick whizz around Goring Gap, rewarded by a fly-over Tree Pipit (a patch tick), a Whinchat and 15 Willow Warblers. On the beach were 10 Sanderlings, 25 Turnstones, 28 Little Egrets, four Oystercatchers, two Dunlin and a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull. A male Sparrowhawk flew over with prey.

Whinchat at Goring Gap

Church Norton gave us a nice couple of hours of birding. A couple of Lesser Whitethroats and Willow Warblers were in the bushes, while Red-legged Partridge called behind, and the harbour provided a sizeable flock of Dunlin to scan through, although there was nothing different in their midst. A juvenile Greenshank and a Whimbrel showed nicely and the flock of seven Pale-bellied Brent Geese put in a brief appearance. Best of all was an Osprey - thanks to some nearby birders for the shout - which put in an appearance as it tracked over to the north of us. Swallows, House and Sand Martins were feeding. We saw just singles of Mediterranean Gull and Black-tailed Godwit, though the latter showed features of the nominate form, and the tern island was clear - just the odd Sandwich Tern knocking about in the harbour.

Whimbrel at Church Norton

A short trip to Northcommon Farm near Selsey drew a blank for flycatchers - just a single Willow Warbler being noted there, as well as a Sparrowhawk with prey. The Wellings took off home and after bidding them farewell I thought I'd try my luck with the Hooded Crow at Medmerry/Ham, which I connected with surprisingly easily. Other bits in this flying visit included two Yellowhammers, a Willow Warbler and a Yellow Wagtail.

Hooded Crow at Medmerry

Monday, 13 August 2018


This evening a Sand Martin, two Fulmars, 12 Gannets, two Mediterranean Gulls and a distant auk passed George V Avenue. Four Lesser Black-backed Gulls included two juveniles, and four Little Egrets were on the beach.

Sunday, 12 August 2018


An evening seawatch off George V Avenue only last for half an hour due to crap conditions. In this time I logged two Common Scoters, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, three Gannets, four Little Egrets and two Mediterranean Gulls.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Cissbury Ring

Val, Mya and I had quite a busy ringing session at Cissbury this morning. We caught 80 birds including 39 Willow Warblers (with a good few more around), six Garden Warblers, 16 Blackcaps, seven Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Bullfinch. While doing the rounds I found a Pied Flycatcher - perhaps two - by one of the tracks and picked up 10 distant Wheatears from our ringing station. During a later walk around the Ring itself, I encountered a Tree Pipit and another Lesser Whitethroat, as well as three Mistle Thrushes. A Swift, two House Martins, 25 Swallows and a Raven were among the other birds noted.

Lesser Whitethroat

Garden Warbler


Friday, 10 August 2018


The tide was out when I arrived so I spent an enjoyable couple of hours scanning the beach. For the first time this season, there was some number of waders to look at, with three Sanderlings - the first returners - along with 20 Ringed Plovers, 10 Dunlin and nine Turnstones. Best of all, though, was a flock of six Common Sandpipers which were at first on distant sand to the east then flew west past me, close inshore. Intermittent seawatching during the morning produced two Arctic Skuas, Common Terns, a Fulmar, 20 Gannets, four Mediterranean Gulls and four Sandwich Terns, as well as a Sand Martin battling into the wind. 16 Little Egrets were feeding. I saw my first juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull of the year on the greensward. Yet again I left it too late, once the wind has well up, to start looking for passerines, and thus only five Willow Warblers, five Whitethroats and a Blackcap represented the warbler tally in my notebook. However, four Wheatears flying high north was good to see, and a further singleton was near the beach later on. Eight Common Gulls were in the fields.

Common Sandpipers

Wednesday, 8 August 2018


Nick B had more success with passerines at the Gap this morning and I did - by the time I reached the northwest corner, most of the warblers he'd encountered at seemingly moved on. Highlights of my morning were a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, the Whinchat still, two Common Terns, six Willow Warblers, a Ringed Plover, a Redshank, three Turnstones, two Sparrowhawks, nine Little Egrets, three Sandwich Terns, nine Gannets and a Swallow.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018


I've been eager to get out to the patch but gone through one of those spells recently where I've not been able to make it for a week or so for various reasons. Thoroughly gripped off and inspired - in equal measure - by Gareth's Nightingale last night, I was hopeful for the morning. It wasn't quite the feast I was dreaming of but there were a handful of migrants on offer, including singles of Whinchat, Garden Warbler and Reed Warbler, along with seven Willow Warblers. A Treecreeper was in the Plantation and two Pied Wagtails flew over. Four Whitethroats were probably still local birds and seven Swallows flew east. Non-passerines included two Grey Herons, two Little Egrets, a Redshank, six Turnstones, a Ringed Plover, three Mediterranean Gulls, six Common Gulls, two Sandwich Terns and six Gannets.


Sunday, 5 August 2018

Rye Harbour and Dungeness RSPB

I met up with Darragh C for a stroll around Rye Harbour. It was a fine, warm day with a nice light breeze but I was hindered with a pretty rough cold. Still, I thought the fresh air would do me good and I'm sure it did. Highlights included a Whinchat, three Wheatears and a few Yellow Wagtails, along with six Common Sandpipers, a Whimbrel, three Greenshanks and a Black-tailed Godwit among the waders. A few House Martins were over the car park.

Whinchat at Rye Harbour

male Linnet at Rye Harbour

We moved on to fit in a fairly quick visit to Dungeness RSPB. We enjoyed nice views of three juvenile Black Terns with the hordes of Common Terns on Burrowes Pit then Dengemarsh offered up a Wood Sandpiper, three Great Egrets, two Ruffs and four Snipe. A few Yellow Wagtails and Sand Martins were knocking around the reserve.