Sunday, 30 June 2019

Lyminster, Long Furlong and Cuckmere Haven

My late BBS visit to Lyminster featured a pair of Mute Swans with four cygnets, a Little Egret, two Buzzards, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, three Swifts, a Green Woodpecker, two Kestrels, three Skylarks, six Swallows, a Pied Wagtail, a Reed Warbler and a Reed Bunting.

While driving Long Furlong, I clocked a Red Kite.

Walking with Ingrid at Cuckmere Haven in the afternoon we had eight Oystercatchers including two youngsters, an Egyptian Goose, five Shelducks, three Grey Herons, six Little Egrets, a Redshank, a Kestrel, eight Skylarks, two Swallows, a Lesser Whitethroat and four Meadow Pipits.

Oystercatcher with two young at Cuckmere Haven

Friday, 28 June 2019

Goring Gap, Brooklands Park and Adur Estuary

Goring Gap was very quiet first thing today, with just a 3cy Mediterranean Gull, four Swifts and two Little Egrets of note. Brooklands had a flyover adult Mediterranean Gull, a Grey Heron and six Swifts. Half-an-hour from the bridge over the Adur at Shoreham produced a Sand Martin, seven Swifts, an Oystercatcher, 11 Mute Swans, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Skylark.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Woods Mill SWT

Woods Mill was my first port of call this morning; although it was rather breezy I enjoyed fine views of a purring Turtle Dove in a dead tree. A Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels, five Greylags, a Buzzard and 29 Swifts, moving into the wind, were among the other birds noted.

Turtle Dove

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Cliffe Pools RSPB

I spent a couple of hours from the viewpoints this morning in hope of connecting with the Marsh Sandpiper but was caught off-guard by the chilly conditions and cut my losses rather than loiter for hours more. Black Barn Pool 3 held an incredible 21 Little Ringed Plovers, along with six Ringed Plovers and 12 Black-tailed Godwits. Among other highlights were a Green Sandpiper, two Curlew, a male Ruff, two Dunlin, a Raven, two Cetti's Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge and Reed Warblers, a Marsh Harrier, two Wigeon, 16 Gadwall, three Shovelers and 51 Teal. Avocets, Black-headed Gulls and Redshanks had well-grown or fledged young.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Cissbury Ring, Chorleywood and Sutton

First thing I walked the fields north of Cissbury Ring, noting two Ravens, Yellowhammer, two Bullfinches, eight Whitethroats, a few Skylarks, a Swallow and a Kestrel.

Non-birding wanderings produced Grey Wagtails at the Tropical Marine Centre in Chorleywood and in Sutton High Street.

Monday, 24 June 2019

West Worthing

It was pleasing to see an apparent increase to 18 Swifts over the garden in the evening.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Cissbury Ring and Medmerry RSPB

During a morning's ringing at Cissbury, singles of Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat were in song and flyovers included two Ravens, 15 Swifts, three Swallows and a Grey Heron. We also noted two Bullfinches and two Whitethroats. The best catch was a juvenile Treecreeper.

juvenile Treecreeper at Cissbury Ring

I planned on heading to Cliffe Pools for the Marsh Sandpiper but ended up helping Ingrid on the allotment for a few hours before heading to Medmerry to listen to (and maybe see) the Quail. I didn't manage to lay eyes on it but there was no problem hearing the bird! This quest became rather secondary when Mike Booker pointed out a distant 'Marsh Harrier' which turned out to be a 2cy female Montagu's Harrier! After a relatively short initial view, the bird pitched down and an anxious wait followed as locals arrived. Thankfully, it went on to show very nicely for much of the following hour.

The evening held a third Sussex year-tick, with a mobile and vocal Green Sandpiper. A Spoonbill was a nice bonus and 11 Black-tailed Godwits, a distant singing Cuckoo, a few Mediterranean Gulls, a Cetti's Warbler, three Yellowhammers, two Reed Warblers and a Reed Bunting were among the other species logged.

2cy female Montagu's Harrier at Medmerry RSPB

Saturday, 22 June 2019

West Worthing

A Cormorant overhead was a notable garden record...

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Partridge Green-Dial Post and Sheepcote Valley

I spent the entire morning in the area between Partridge Green and Dial Post for the SOS Turtle Dove survey. Alas, I found no Turtle Doves but the area is huge and has several areas of good habitat, so I have little doubt that they will be present in the tetrad. Hopefully I will record them in the later survey visit. It was, however, an interesting morning, with 53 species recorded; that's not too bad for a basically random bit of countryside in mid-June. Among these were two Lesser Whitethroats, two Reed Warblers, a Garden Warbler, two Siskins, a Reed Bunting, a Red Kite, 11 Buzzards (including a juvenile heard), two Kestrels, a calling Sparrowhawk, 10 Great Spotted Woodpeckers (including juveniles), five Green Woodpeckers, 15 Yellowhammers, three Bullfinches, 18 Linnets, 20 Swallows, a House Martin, 10 Swifts, six Skylarks, 22 Blackcaps, 17 Chiffchaffs, 11 Whitethroats, Goldcrest feeding young, six Treecreepers, nine Nuthatches, eight Coal Tits, two Grey Herons, six Mistle Thrushes, 11 Song Thrushes, five Pied Wagtails (two juveniles) and two Mute Swans. Among the few butterflies seen was a Purple Hairstreak.

Driving past the Sheepcote Valley, a Swallow flew over the car.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Goring Gap, Cuckmere Haven and Lavington Common

Feeling considerably re-enthused, I got to the Gap first thing. Three Little Egrets and an Oystercatcher were on the beach, while three Sandwich Terns were offshore (one carrying a fish back to Pagham Harbour) and 12 Swifts moved east, possibly related to the incoming storm. Skylark, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff were in song. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on the greensward.

A stroll through Cuckmere Haven in the afternoon featured a Hobby, a Little Ringed Plover heard calling, two Egyptian Geese, six Teal, a scattering of Little Egrets, a juvenile Stonechat, a few Reed Buntings, Whitethroats, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, and a Swallow. I saw a Painted Lady too.

Meadow Pipit at Cuckmere Haven

juvenile Stonechat at Cuckmere Haven

In West Worthing later, a Jackdaw heard calling was notable for home.

An atmospheric evening at Lavington Common, a site with wonderful echoing acoustics on a calm night like this, made for a satisfying close to the day. Five Nightjars were singing, all but one (heard across the road from the car park) in the northern section, so the entire site must host a considerable population. A pair of Cuckoos, a roding Woodcock, two Tawny Owls and dusk-singing Dartford Warbler and Stonechat were other stars of the soundscape. An Indian Peafowl was also heard, and is perhaps worth noting in light of the paper on the species' status in this month's British Birds.

Monday, 17 June 2019

The Burgh and West Worthing

A circuit around The Burgh featured two singing Corn Buntings, 20 Skylarks, five Lapwings, a singing Cuckoo, three Red Kites, six Buzzards, two Grey Partridges, a Swift, eight Swallows, four Kestrels, my first juvenile Whitethroats of the year, a couple of broods of Pheasant and my first Marbled White of the year.

At home, a Coal Tit was calling near the garden.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Combe Valley Countryside Park

It was hardly the weather for it, but I drove over to Hastings to see Christian's new flat and explore his new patch, Combe Valley Countryside Park, with him in the early evening. It's an impressive site, like a little Stodmarsh! We opted against staying after dark to listen for rare crakes due to the conditions but we did have a hawking Hobby, a singing Cuckoo and a scattering of Cetti's, Sedge and Reed Warblers, as well as Reed Buntings, and singles of Little Egret, Buzzard, Kestrel, etc. It would be nice to revisit on a more birdable day.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Pulborough Brooks RSPB

Unfortunate timing of various commitments meant I could only get to Pulborough at last knockings this evening, seeing the Red-necked Phalarope by the skin of my teeth as it drifted out of the corner for less than a minute, as darkness descended. Two Avocets and eight Egyptian Geese (including six young) were also out on the North Brooks.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Pagham Harbour and Carshalton

I was up bright and early at Pagham Harbour's North Wall following news last night of a Squacco Heron there. Disappointingly, only three or four other birders turned up - including regular Pagham birder Ian, with whom I had a nice chat - and rather predictably there was no sign of the heron. Two Whimbrel, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose and a Wigeon were some of the best birds out in the harbour and a couple of Cuckoos were singing, as were two Lesser Whitethroats. A Barn Owl quartered north of the wall, two Avocets were on the Ferry Pool and other waders included six Grey Plovers, 35 Black-tailed Godwits, six Dunlin and 12 Lapwings. Also noted were two Cetti's Warblers, a couple of Sedge and Reed Warblers, seven Gadwall, 10 Swifts, Mediterranean Gull, a Mistle Thrush, Common and Sandwich Terns, etc.

I was in Carshalton in the evening for a curry with birthday-boy Christian, and Magnus, where we saw a Grey Wagtail outside the restaurant.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Chantry Hill, Clapham and East Preston

A stroll around Chantry Hill was brought to life by the energetic songs of Corn Buntings, Yellowhammers, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. Red Kites and Buzzards soared overhead, as did at least seven noisy Ravens.

Corn Bunting at Chantry Hill

Driving around later, a Red Kite flew over Clapham and Goldcrest was in song at Haskins Roundstone.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Goring Gap

A 2.5-hour seawatch this morning did not produce the desired Storm-petrel or Balearic Shearwater, the highlight being a distant flock of nine Common Scoters. Otherwise, it was three Fulmars, eight Sandwich Terns, while a Skylark was singing and a Pied Wagtail flew along the beach...

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Pagham Harbour

Pagham Harbour (brief stops at Church Norton and Ferry Pool) offered 10 Little Terns among the clamour of Sandwich Terns, Common Terns, Black-headed Gulls and Mediterranean Gulls. A singing Cuckoo landed pretty close to me for a few seconds and other stuff noted included a Wigeon, a Gadwall, 22 Shelducks, four Great Crested Grebes, a Little Egret, a Buzzard, 19 Oystercatchers, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Turnstones, six Ringed Plovers, five Swifts, single Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two Skylarks, three Swallows, two Reed Warblers, a Chiffchaff, three Blackcaps, and individual singing Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat.


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Picket Post and Sullington

It wasn't a birding day, but on the drive back a Lapwing flew over the main road at Picket Post and while Ingrid was working in Sullington I took my usual walk around the nearby fields, where there were a couple of singing Yellowhammers, a Nuthatch, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a couple of Swifts, a Skylark, a Mistle Thrush and a flyover Black-headed Gull.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Telscombe, Hayle Estuary and St.Gothian Sands

I started the day at Telscombe, in search of the recently reported Quail. A couple of singing Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers, along with a fair few Skylarks and a handful of House Martins and Swifts were among the birds noted. However, my quest was cut short by news of the American Royal Tern's reappearance, this time on the Hayle Estuary in Cornwall.

Things were quickly shifted around and I set off west. News on the bird was positive till late morning and by the time I arrived at the Hayle Estuary at 4pm it had not been seen for over five hours. I wasn't quite sure how to play it but scanned the estuary for a short while, with three Whimbrel, five Wigeon and seven Little Egrets the most noteworthy observations, before taking a punt on looking off St.Gothian Sands, despite the bad light.

At St.Gothian Sands, there was of course orange-billed tern offshore but a steady procession of Manx Shearwaters went by, along with smaller numbers of Fulmar, Gannet, Kittiwake, Shag, Guillemot and Razorbill. A Reed Warbler was singing in the reedbed and another was gathering nesting material nearby. The main pool hosted Little Grebe and 15 Sand Martins, while a Meadow Pipit was in song on the slopes.

Deciding I wasn't in a fit state to drive back home, I crashed out at the Penzance YHA, getting a dorm to myself for £15, perhaps the biggest win of the day.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Cissbury Ring

A quiet morning's ringing at Cissbury featured a few interesting sightings. First of all, I was surprised to see two Shelducks on the downs opposite our ringing station, in the distance. A short while later, they were gone. Once it was starting to get quite hot, a Spotted Flycatcher made a brief appearance by our table, and a Cuckoo which had been singing in the distance flew past us then resumed proclaiming itself a little nearer. A Red Kite and four Buzzards got up towards the end of the session and other sightings included singing Yellowhammer, three Skylarks, a Kestrel, two Bullfinches, Red-legged Partridges, a singing Whitethroat, the Willow Warbler-mimicking Blackcap, a Mistle Thrush, a Swallow, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and perhaps most unusual of all for Cissbury, a Coal Tit.

In terms of ringing, we didn't make double figures, even including retraps but it was nice to handle a couple of Song Thrushes and my first juvenile Robin of the year.

Spotted Flycatcher


juvenile Robin