Saturday, 31 March 2018

Chafford Hundred

Ingrid and I spent a lovely evening with David D-L and family, getting great views of his regular garden Badger!

Friday, 30 March 2018


It was back to George V Avenue for a morning seawatch, for a bit longer this time and in more promising conditions with a southeasterly breeze. Incredibly, a pair of Red-necked Grebes was on the sea before drifting east, only to be replaced by a pair of Black-necked Grebes then in turn a singleton BNG! A Great Northern Diver crashed onto the sea and dived but couldn't be picked up again. Presumably it couldn't find much and decided to fly on while I was scanning widely for it to emerge! Distantly towards the turbines, an immature Iceland Gull was feeding and was presumably the 2CY that has been visiting the Gap recently. A group of six Eiders went east, only to be followed by another group of seven which pitched down offshore for a while. Four Common Terns, possibly my first March record, flew by, along with 25 Sandwich Terns. A 4CY Yellow-legged Gull flew in off the sea and over town. Common Scoters totalled 157 and two Shovelers went west but only one flock of Dark-bellied Brent Geese (18) went through. Thanks to a curious dog-walker, we were put onto a male Wheatear which had arrived on the beach. 15 Black-headed Gulls were in migration flight eastward. 30 Great Crested Grebes and 16 Red-breasted Mergansers were also noted, along with 24 Red-throated Divers, 37 Gannets and two Ringed Plovers; Grey Plover calls were heard.

Red-necked Grebes

Black-necked Grebes

4CY Yellow-legged Gull

Thursday, 29 March 2018


The only birding done was a half-hour seawatch off George V Avenue first thing in the morning. This produced 23 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 14 Common Scoters, 13 Red-breasted Mergansers, two Red-throated Divers, four Gannets, a Cormorant, two Great Crested Grebes, four Sandwich Terns and a Kittiwake.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Buckland Sand Pits

A fine morning for a walk around with Ian M, highlights being a Hawfinch, a Snipe, three redpolls, three Siskins, four Little Grebes, two singing Chiffchaffs, a courting pair of Grey Wagtails, two Gadwall, four Great Crested Grebes, 12 Buzzards, a Treecreeper, a Mistle Thrush and an Egyptian Goose.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Worthington Lakes

Another quick look revealed a displaying pair of Great Crested Grebes, a singing Treecreeper and a Nuthatch of particular note.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Worthington Lakes

The only birding done was a quick look at the lakes behind the Catfish Study Group Conference site, featuring a couple of Great Crested Grebes and a Treecreeper.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Goring and journey to Wigan

Ahead of a journey to Wigan with Ingrid for the Catfish Study Group Convention, I headed out to Goring early but was met with poor visibility and dreadful weather so returned home. It became nicer later, and with some mouldy bread in need of disposal, we departed via the Gap to donate to the local gulls. I was amazed to spot the 2CY Iceland Gull in flight before we'd crossed driven through the Plantation and into the Gap and we tracked it into the northern fields, meeting up with Nick B. Hear it showed very well and enjoyed our stale loaf before we made tracks. En route we encountered over 20 Red Kites, mainly along the M40 but included a singleton over the M25 in line with Staines Moor.

2CY Iceland Gull

Thursday, 22 March 2018

West Worthing and Goring

While working this morning, I noticed the Firecrest in the garden again, along with a male Blackcap and a Coal Tit. Later in the day I headed to George V Avenue for a seawatch but this was so quiet that I gave up after 25 minutes, notching up only singles of Red-throated Diver, Gannet and Kittiwake, along with two Sandwich Terns, three Great Crested Grebes and three Red-breasted Mergansers.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Goring and West Worthing

I went out for an enjoyable evening in the pub with Nick B and Gareth J last night, the weather was uninspiring today and I still had some jobs to catch up on so thought I'd postpone my patch visit till the afternoon. While pottering around at home I heard the Firecrest again in my West Worthing garden. When I got out to the Gap, the 2CY Iceland Gull was showing nicely again, this time in the northern fields and coming in to chips thrown by unwitting passers by. Eight Mediterranean Gulls (including a 2CY and two 3CYS) were also around and some were quite vocal. A Jackdaw flew over and a Goldcrest was in one of the gardens. Three Skylarks were in the fields. Singles of Grey Plover and Ringed Plover in the roost field were the only waders during my casual visit. A Buzzard was over the hills to the north and stuff offshore in a quick look included a Red-throated Diver, five Great Crested Grebes, four Red-breasted Mergansers, three Gannets, four Sandwich Terns and a Kittiwake.

2CY Iceland Gull at Goring Gap

2CY Iceland Gull at Goring Gap

adult Great Black-backed Gulls at Goring

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Goring and West Worthing

A nice day with Nick B and Gareth J I've been hoping for a Slavonian Grebe on the sea and scanning hard so it was a delight to finally clock one distantly offshore this morning. 54 Red-breasted Mergansers, 32 Great Crested Grebes and a Kittiwake were also offshore and nine Sandwich Terns were around. I saw my first two Wheatears of the year - both males, one a new arrival on the beach and the other has apparently been around. Seven Mediterranean Gulls (including single 2CY and 3CY) were in the fields. Waders included eight Oystercatchers, 20 Turnstones, a Ringed Plover, four Dunlin, nine Grey Plovers and 22 Sanderlings. Two Meadow Pipits, four Skylarks,  a Redwing, a Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk were also logged. Later in the day, while tidying up at our West Worthing home I heard a Firecrest peeping away in the garden and eventually got nice views and it flicked around in an overhanging tree!

Sandwich Terns at Goring Gap

2CY Buzzard over Goring Gap

Mediterranean Gulls (3CY and 2 adults) with Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gull at Goring Gap

Monday, 19 March 2018

Ferring Rife

Late afternoon I headed to the Rife, inspired by news of veritable flocks of Bluethroats in the Southeast! I found none, of course, but was pleased with a flock of 20 Golden Plovers overhead. Other bits included a Snipe, two Little Egrets, a Pheasant and a Kestrel.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Canons Farm

I'm not sure I've ever seen spring stopped in its tracks so mercilessly! This morning was a complete contrast to the previous day and I wasn't entirely sure about going into the field but keenly aware of my Canons Farm neglect recently I drove to my old patch, though with a funny sound coming from the rear near-side. I realised upon arrival that I had a flat and was going to have to battle it in the blizzard - I'm not great with cars at all so was grateful for my dad's advice - I reckon I'll have it cracked next time! While this was going on a Golden Plover flew over. A flock of 200 Linnets, a singing Mistle Thrush and fly-overs by a Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Canada Geese were the only other standout observations.

Friday, 16 March 2018

St. James's Park, Nonsuch Park and Beddington Farmlands

A long and busy but enjoyable day saw me start by meeting up with Bill H and co for another session of Coot ringing at St. James's Park. This session wasn't as productive as last time but we did still catch four birds. A couple of Little Grebes, a Nuthatch and two Coal Tits were probably the most notable wild birds noted but it was entertaining hand-feeding drake Smew and Hooded Merganser! Later on I met Christian and Josiah C for a chilled walk around Nonsuch Park, highlights being interacting female Sparrowhawks and courting Green Woodpeckers; with this breeding behaviour and the gentle conditions it really felt like spring! We reconvened at Beddington later, racking up five Green Sandpipers and a Water Pipit in the Southeast Corner, along with a handful of Snipe and two Shelducks, plus a fly-over Red Kite, a Buzzard, two Cetti's Warblers and small numbers of Fieldfares and Redwings. It was a joy to see and hear displaying Lapwings, too. We joined Tomos B, Koje and Ms Koje for an owling session, resulting in a magical twilight encounter with two Barn Owls, a memborable end to the day!

Rose-ringed Parakeet at Nonsuch Park

Green Sandpipers at Beddington Farmlands

Redwing at Beddington Farmlands

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Goring and Ferring Rife

Combined totals from two short and relatively slow seawatches off George V Avenue included 26 Red-throated Divers, three Shelducks, three Sandwich Terns, two Shovelers, 14 Common Scoters, two Dark-bellied Brent Geese, a Curlew, 32 Red-breasted Mergansers, seven Gannets, seven Kittiwakes, three Mediterranean Gulls (including a 3CY), a Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Great Crested Grebes. Small numbers of waders around included 22 Sanderlings and - particularly unusually - six Oystercatchers in the roost field, along with a handful of Grey Plover, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A Buzzard was seen.

Oystercatchers at Goring Gap - unusual in the roost field

Ferring Rife hosted our first spring migrant Chiffchaff of the year as it sang from a blossom tree. A Red Kite and four Buzzards soared to the north and other birds noted included two Mallards, two Pheasants, a Little Egret, a Water Rail, four Moorhens, two Green Woodpeckers, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, an adult Mediterranean Gull, a Goldcrest (few and far between of late), two Meadow Pipits and a female Reed Bunting.

Buzzard at Ferring Rife

Small Tortoiseshell at Ferring Rife

Wednesday, 14 March 2018


A fruitful seawatch from George V Avenue with Gareth J produced an immature Iceland Gull, a flock of six Avocets, our first two Sandwich Terns of the year, a Shelduck, two Pintails, 44 Common Scoters, 13 Shovelers, four Teal, 247 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 15 Red-breasted Mergansers, 30 Great Crested Grebes, two Fulmars, 12 Kittiwakes, three Curlews and 18 Red-throated Divers. We later located what was presumably the same Iceland Gull - ageable as a juvenile - in the roost field, where it was joined by another two Sandwich Terns. Seven Mediterranean Gulls in the fields included a 2CY and a 3CY. A Mistle Thrush was in the Plantation and 12 Meadow Pipits and three Skylarks were noted.

2CY Iceland Gull

2CY Iceland Gull

Monday, 12 March 2018

Beddington Farmlands

A very enjoyable session looking through the gulls with Peter A yieled a 2CY Glaucous Gull, a 3CY Iceland Gull, a 2CY Caspian Gull and two Yellow-legged Gulls (2CY and 4CY), plus a handful of mighty 'Scandinavian Herring Gulls'. The Ferruginous Duck X Pochard hybrid was again on the North Lake and other bits included two Wigeon, a Water Rail, a Reed Bunting, two Cetti's Warbler and two Snipe.

3CY Iceland Gull

2CY Glaucous Gull

2CY Yellow-legged Gull

2CY Yellow-legged Gull

2CY Caspian Gull

2CY Caspian Gull

2CY 'Scandinavian Herring Gull'

4CY Yellow-legged Gull

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Lee Valley Park

A dawn look at Bowyer's Water produced a female Shelduck, a singing Chiffchaff (my first of the year) and a Reed Bunting among the birds noted.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Goring and Lee Valley Park

What was presumably the same redhead Goosander from 5th was on the sea off the Gap before heading east. Other bits offshore included two Fulmars, 16 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 18 Common Scoters, 38 Red-breasted Mergansers, 15 Red-throated Divers, 16 Gannets and six Kittiwakes. A Pheasant was an unusual sighting. 11 Mediterranean Gulls (including two 3CYs, a 2CY) were seen, along with four Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A very quick walk around the land yieled a male Stonechat, a Meadow Pipit and two Skylarks.

Goosander off Goring Gap

Later on I was at Bowyer's Water in the Lee Valley Park where highlights included a Sparrowhawk hunting bats at dusk, a Grey Wagtail, a Little Egret and a couple of Cetti's Warblers.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Goring and Ferring Rife

A seawatch off George V Avenue produced four Mute Swans, six Wigeon, four Shelducks, two Common Scoters, 11 Red-throated Divers and 22 Great Crested Grebes. Grey and Ringed Plovers, Oystercatchers and Dunlin flew along the shore. I then teamed up with Gareth J at the Rife; three Canada Geese overhead were a patch tick for both of us and three Mallards were also noteworthy. Also noted was a Reed Bunting, two Little Egrets and a Green Woodpecker of note.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Ferring Rife

Just a very quick late afternoon mooch around the Rife, the highlight being a Reed Bunting roosting in the reedbed. Singles of Pheasant, Skylark and Green Woodpecker were also noted.

Monday, 5 March 2018


An hour of seawatching during the morning paid off with a redhead Goosander on the sea and eastward passage involving eight Eiders, a Shelduck, 39 Red-throated Divers, 174 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 13 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Curlew. A flock of five Pintails headed west and on the sea were a further seven Red-breasted Mergansers and three Red-throated Divers. An adult and a 3CY Mediterranean Gull patrolled the beach. A vigil later in the day only served to increase the offshore Great Crested Grebe count from 11 to 14.

Sunday, 4 March 2018


Seawatching off the Gap was quite fruitful, with c.2.5-hours of observation producing two year-firsts, with three adult Little Gulls and four Eiders (three drakes) heading east. Also on the move were four Pintails, 37 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 70 Red-throated Divers, five Teal, two Gannets and 10 Kittiwakes. 10 Great Crested Grebes were on the sea. Many of the 41 Red-breasted Mergansers logged also seemed to be making their way up the Channel and there was clear gull movement, with a sharp increase in Lesser Black-backed Gulls to 25 birds, about half of these tracking their way east along the coast and the others loafing in the fields. Nine Mediterranean Gulls passed through too. Unusual in the roost field was a Bar-tailed Godwit and the two Redshanks which usually stick to the beach, a Lapwing was nearby and general wader counts on the rising tide included 68 Grey Plovers, 26 Oystercatchers, 223 Dunlin, 26 Ringed Plovers and 22 Sanderlings. Three Stonechats (two males) were on the rough patch and two Skylarks were in the fields.

Bar-tailed Godwit with Grey Plovers and Dunlin at Goring Gap

Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls at Goring Gap

The first two Reed Buntings of the spring at Ferring Rife included a singing male. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over there. Five Teal and two Little Egrets were feeding on the Rife while two Water Rails and a Pheasant called. 11 Redwings, 18 Moorhens, four Meadow Pipits, two Skylarks and 21 Pied Wagtails were counted. Singles of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel were seen. Four Jackdaws represented my first record for the Rife and only my second for the entire patch.

Saturday, 3 March 2018


A brief morning visit produced four Shovelers, three Red-throated Divers, eight Red-breasted Mergansers and nine Great Crested Grebes at sea. Two Curlews headed east and a count of waders on the rising tide revealed a Redshank, 29 Oystercatchers, 23 Grey Plovers, 50 Dunlin, three Sanderlings, 15 Turnstones and three Ringed Plovers. A Snipe flew from the rough field and an adult Mediterranean Gull was feeding along the shore. Passerines included two Stonechats, eight Meadow Pipits and four Skylarks.



Friday, 2 March 2018


The highlight of the day at the Gap was a 2CY Caspian Gull which spent almost two hours in the field north of the rough area, the first site record. Two Bar-tailed Godwits on the beach were the first of the year and four Golden Plovers were logged, including two grounded birds. Three Curlews flew east offshore while two Red-throated Divers, a Razorbill and two Guillemots passed and 13 Red-breasted Mergansers and 17 Great Crested Grebes were on the sea. Two Redshanks were among the usual waders on the beach. Two adult Lesser Black-backed, four adult Mediterranean Gulls and three 'Scandinavian Herring Gulls' (two adults and a 2CY) visited the fields. Passerines included two Stonechats, six Meadow Pipits, 13 Fieldfares and seven Skylarks.

2CY Caspian Gull at Goring Gap

Bar-tailed Godwits at Goring Gap

Golden Plover at Goring Gap

Golden Plovers at Goring Gap

2CY 'Scandinavian Herring Gull' at Goring Gap

adult 'Scandinavian Herring Gull' at Goring Gap

A check of Ferring Rife produced a flock of 23 Golden Plovers in the paddocks on the west side. Two Jack Snipe, a drake Pintail, four Water Rails, seven Teal, an adult Mediterranean Gull, 10 Snipe, two Lapwings, two Little Egrets, two Grey Herons, a Kestrel, five Moorhens, nine Fieldfares, three Redwings, six Song Thrushes and two Meadow Pipits were among the other birds present.

Golden Plovers at Ferring Rife
Pintail, Teal and Snipe at Ferring Rife

Lapwing at Ferring Rife