Friday, 31 August 2018


Movement was evident as soon as the whistle blew this morning, maintained full flow until mid-morning and trickled on till about midday. I ended up with 260 Yellow Wagtails through, almost entirely east (and including flocks of up to 42), with 1,180 Swallows, 70 Sand Martins, 23 House Martins, a Swift and two Meadow Pipits heading the same way. Nine Grey Wagtails added further spice to the day as they clinked overhead and a single Pied Wagtail headed west. A juvenile Red Kite cruised west and a couple of glances offshore revealed a Shelduck and a Gannet. Grounded migrants included three Redstarts, a Tree Pipit, a Whinchat, four Wheatears, a Willow Warbler, seven Whitethroats and a Blackcap. The Treecreeper was calling in the Plantation, where a Coal Tit was singing. A flock of 17 Dunlin flew strongly inland and other wader counts included seven Oystercatchers, 36 Ringed Plovers, 70 Turnstones and 13 Sanderlings. 15 Sandwich Terns entered the roost field and 22 Little Egrets and three Common Gulls were also noted.


female Redstart - the other two were 1CY males

juvenile Red Kite


Thursday, 30 August 2018

West Worthing

Working out in the garden today, I heard a couple of fly-over Yellow Wagtails and a Coal Tit was singing next door. Analysis of my nocturnal recording from last night revealed a small flock of Sandwich Terns and - to my astonishment - a very clear few seconds of Wood Sandpiper calls as two birds passed over just after midnight.

Wood Sandpiper sonogram

Wednesday, 29 August 2018


I thought yesterday's count of Little Egrets was good, but I was amazed to rack up a total of 64 feeding along the beach this morning. With them were two Grey Herons, 41 Ringed Plovers, a Sanderling, five Turnstones, a Redshank and an adult Mediterranean Gull. Eight Sandwich Terns ventured into the roost field. I started to walk the Gap but it wasn't long before the rain set in. This didn't put off a male Firecrest from calling and eventually bursting into song near the playing field though, nor did it deter me from trying to cover some ground. This produced five Whinchats, four Wheatears, a female Redstart, two Whitethroats and two Willow Warblers. Three of the Whinchats, the Redstart and two of the Wheatears formed an entertaining flock feeding right out in one of the fields in the rain. 23 Yellow Wagtails flew overhead, as did a Pied Wagtail and four Sand Martins and several Swallows. Eventually I got soaked through and domestic duties called anyway, so called it a day before I'd managed to complete the circuit.


Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Goring and Worthing

Nine Whimbrel were a nice surprise on the beach this morning before they headed east. Counting the Little Egrets led to an impressive tally of 40, while Oystercatchers numbered just 10. A Grey Heron was also feeding and I heard a Redshank. The northwest corner held a female Redstart and a Spotted Flycatcher. Five Whitethroats were noted and I logged just singles of Willow Warbler and Blackcap. Four Yellow Wagtails and two Grey Wagtails flew over, as did nine Sand Martins and six Swallows. 20 Sandwich Terns were using the roost field, along with 53 Ringed Plovers, two adult Sanderlings, a juvenile Dunlin and 89 Turnstones. Nine Mediterranean Gulls included five northbound birds, and four Common Gulls were seen. Four Great Crested Grebes were resting just offshore, while a tight group of six Cormorants was feeding. Three Jackdaws were notable and a Coal Tit was heard in the northwest corner.

Spotted Flycatcher

six of nine Whimbrel

A Sparrowhawk flew over my road in West Worthing later in the day.

Monday, 27 August 2018

West Worthing

Restricted to garden birding today, a Tree Pipit was a nice addition to our house list, as was a calling Willow Warbler.

Sunday, 26 August 2018


Trying to make the most of the morning before the forecast rain set in, I started with a slightly rushed scan of the beach before heading to check the bushes. Feeding there were 22 Little Egrets, 11 Oystercatchers and two Dunlin, along with a small number of Ringed Plovers and Turnstones - though counts of these latter two species were exceeded in the roost field later on with 60 and 18, respectively. Four Yellow Wagtails and a Pied Wagtail flew over early on. The pumphouse held an elusive female Redstart - a patch tick, as well as a Willow Warbler, with two more of these in the northwest corner. Walking along Ilex Avenue, I was surprised to hear a Firecrest singing in the holm oaks, the first of the autumn, and a Tree Pipit buzzed overhead. I could only muster up three Whitethroats to further the migrant tally, though heard the Treecreeper in the Plantation.

The roost field looked fairly busy from a distance so I headed over to check it out, though the weather was beginning to close in. Seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls was a good sign (three of these had flown west over land) as this generally scarce gull on the patch is a good indicator of larid movement. I quickly picked out a nice 1CY Yellow-legged Gull, well into scapular moult. My eye was then drawn to another interesting 1CY which rang cachinnans alarm bells straight away, despite lying down with its head tucked into its back. Everything I could see looked good and I couldn't see it turning out to be anything else, but I waited for it to stand or at least raise its head in case anything was awry. Soon enough it was spooked into action and revealed itself to be a splendid, classic juvenile Caspian Gull beginning moult into first-winter. A very rare bird in West Sussex but my second at Goring this year, it stuck around long enough to be twitched by a couple of folk. The first juvenile Great Black-backed Gull of the year shared the same field, along with 22 Sandwich Terns - the first time I've seen this species use the field in any number. Three Common Gulls were around.

1CY Caspian Gull

1CY Caspian Gull

1CY Yellow-legged Gull

I was keen to get a seawatch in and gave it half an hour from the George V Avenue shelter before admitting that few birds would be moving in the conditions and it wasn't particularly comfortable having rain constantly blown right into my scope and face. In this half-hour, two Fulmars and two Grey Plovers flew west, along with three Sandwich Terns.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Worthing (nocmig)

Leaving the recorder out last night produced digital firsts for the garden in the form of a Sandwich Tern late evening and two Redshanks over together in the early hours, as well as a bonus Yellow Wagtail around dawn.

Friday, 24 August 2018


A rushed circuit of the Gap from dawn was my first opportunity to get to the patch for some days so I was keen to make the most of it. Yellow Wagtails were moving, with 22 logged mostly going west into the light breeze, and shortly before I had to go a Tree Pipit called overhead. The northwest corner held a Lesser Whitethroat (patch tick for me - at last!), a Garden Warbler and three Willow Warblers. A Wheatear was near the pumping station, and five Whitethroats and two Blackcaps were noted. Two Sand Martins and 14 Swallows flew through. Five Teal flew west along the beach and counts there and in the roost field (now active, given the season and its fresh, disturbed condition) included 25 Turnstones, three Sanderlings, a Dunlin, an adult summer Grey Plover, 15 Ringed Plovers, 14 Oystercatchers, seven Little Egrets, a Mediterranean Gull and nine Common Gulls.



black rabbit - bonus patch tick!

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Worthing, Goring and Dungeness

I didn't manage to get out to the patch as planned during the morning, which was frustrating. I spent the morning writing in our West Worthing garden, which produced a tick in the form of a fly-over Yellow Wagtail, and later on had a possibly migrant Buzzard over the shops in Goring. Later on, a twitch to Dungeness was very satisfying and it was great that Ingrid could come along with me. We arrived at the RSPB car park in the evening and made our way to the Firth Hide, getting decent views of the juvenile Black Tern of the American form surinamensis along with several of its nominate congeners - mainly juveniles but including a couple of moulting adults - mixed in with the hordes of Common Terns. A juvenile Knot, a Little Ringed Plover and a Ringed Plover were on the mud in front of the hide, while the pit also held three Egyptian Geese, and a few Sand Martins were feeding.

juvenile Buzzard over the shops in Goring

Tuesday, 21 August 2018


I heard one or two House Martins over the car park when leaving my parents' place in the morning - a notable record there.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Oare Marshes KWT, Elmley NR and Warnham LNR

A wonderful day spent with Dipten and Shukla started at Oare Marshes. We we enjoyed the good variety of waders on The Swale and on the East Flood, including four Green Sandpipers, adults of Little Stint and Spotted Redshank, as well as a few Ruffs (including my first juvenile of the year).  A Little Ringed Plover and a good few Dunlin, Golden and Ringed Plovers were also present, along with singles of Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper and Greenshank, a few Snipe and Avocets, and the usual gatherings of Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks. A group of Turnstones were on the The Swale. We heard several Water Rails and a couple of Little Grebes and saw a fluffy black rail chick on the edge of the reeds.

I was delighted to see my first ever 'flock' of Turtle Doves, with four on a single telegraph post. The site's regular Little Owl showed well behind the East Hide. Quite a few Yellow Wagtails were flying around the site and two Grey Wagtails were near the cottages. Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers were heard and we also logged a couple of House Martins, four Swallows, a Sedge Warbler, three Reed Warblers, a Whitethroat and a Reed Bunting.

Little Owl at Oare Marshes

Next up was a mini-safari along the entrance track at Elmley. The biggest surprise was a fly-over Red Kite but we most enjoyed the views of Marsh Harriers and Buzzards from the car, as well as several Yellow Wagtails and a couple of Meadow Pipits. Hirundines included 50 or so Swallows, as well as a couple of House and Sand Martins.

Highlights at Warnham later in the afternoon included nice views of a couple of Marsh Tits and Nuthatches, and a Treecreeper. We also logged a Reed Warbler, a Coal Tit and a Lesser Black-backed Gull. A Kingfisher showed nicely on the edge of the lake, where two Great Crested Grebes were feeding, and a Swallow flew over

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Rutland Water

Ingrid and I spent the Friday and Saturday trying to cram in as many lectures as possible and catching up with an array of familiar faces. We didn't get a chance to do any birding on the reserve but while walking around on the last day a Yellow Wagtail and three House Martins flew over, and we watched the ringing demo process a Sedge Warbler.

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.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Oare Marshes, Bough Beech Reservoir, Leith Hill and Canons Farm

A long and enjoyable day in the field with Bob, over from Kansas. We started at Oare Marshes, arriving shortly after high tide. The adult Red-necked Phalarope was immediately visible on the East Flood, where we also tracked down a Spotted Redshank and a Little Stint. Other waders present included a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpipere, a couple of Greenshanks and Whimbrel, a few Ruff and Snipe, a juvenile Little Ringed Plover and the usual hordes of Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks. Adding to the set of waders were the usual Avocets, Oystercatchers and Curlews. Caldrids were in short supply, with only a couple of Dunlin noted in addition to the stint. At least two Turtle Doves were showing nicely in the scrub near the cottages and we enjoyed nice views of Bearded Reedlings, Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers by the road. A Clouded Yellow was my first this year.

adult Red-necked Phalarope at Oare Marshes

Turtle Dove at Oare Marshes

At Bough Beech Reservoir we had two Garganey on the North Lake, along with three Mandarins and a scattering of Teal.  Four Green Sandpipers were at the back. There were good numbers of Egyptian Geese and Little Egrets around the margins, as well as many Great Crested Grebes on the water. A short walk in the woodland revealed a couple of Bullfinches and Nuthatches.

two Garganey at Bough Beech Reservoir, with a Mallard

Next we parked up for a short while at the foot of Leith Hill in Coldharbour and enjoyed nice views of a couple of Siskins around the village - a bird that Bob had never seen before. A number of Swallows nesting in the adjacent stables were very active and vocal. By now it was really getting quite hot! We ventured up onto Duke's Warren, hearing a Redstart but otherwise there was only a Willow Warbler of any note.

A walk along Reads Rest Lane at Canons Farm soon produced Bob's desired Yellowhammers, as well as a bonus lifer for him in the form of a Wheatear - the site's first of the autumn.

Wheatear at Canons Farm

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Cissbury Ring

A ringing session with Val and Finch. It was clear that warblers were starting to move, and it was pleasing to catch two Garden Warblers and a Reed Warbler. Around 15 Willow Warblers were on site, including a handful caught. Four playful Ravens were over the distant hillside. A Yellowhammer and two Bullfinches were among the other birds noted, and at least 10 of both Blackcap and Whitethroat were around.

Garden Warbler

Willow Warbler