Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Sussex (31 August-19 September 2011)

Wednesday 31 August.  2 Wheatears were on Southwick Beach and the Peregrine on the Southwick Power Station chimney.  An evening visit to the Adur by Shoreham Airport produced a Great Crested Grebe, Kingfisher and Reed Warbler.

Friday 2 September.  The Peregrine was seen on the Southwick Power Station chimney.

Saturday 3 September.  An early visit to Mill Hill produced 2 Sparrowhawks, a Curlew flying over E, 20 Swallows, single Yellow and Grey Wagtails flying over calling, 2 Wheatears, Lesser Whitethroat, 11 Whitethroats, Garden Warbler, 26 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaffs and 3 Willow Warblers.  I then had a quick look at the Adur seeing the Great Crested Grebe, Stock Dove and 15 Swallows.  Later Ruth (over from NZ), Mum & Dad and I very much enjoyed a leisurely stroll around Devils Dyke in the sunshine although a distant Buzzard was the only bird seen.



Wheatear on the 'reservoir' at Mill Hill
Sunday 4 September.  Another disappointing visit to Beachy with John King.  Failed again to see a single flycatcher or even a phyllosc!!  Our better sightings were 2 juvenile Shags off Birling, 3 Peregrines, 60 Swallows, Tree Pipit, 6 Yellow and 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 Whinchats, 5 Wheatears, 2 Sedge Warblers, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, just 8 Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps and 2 Ravens.  Although now seen on more visits than not the Ravens croaking as the fly over still give me a real thrill.

Monday 5 September.  The Peregrine was seen on the Southwick Power Station chimney and a Wheatear on the beach.

Wednesday 5 September.  The Peregrine was seen on the Southwick Power Station chimney and two Wheatears on the beach.  Nothing was seen yesterday suggesting the latter were probably different.

Friday 5 September.  The Peregrine was seen on the Southwick Power Station chimney and three Wheatears on the beach.  Nothing was seen yesterday suggesting the latter were probably different, or I was particularly unobservant then!

Saturday 10 September.  Beachy again when covered most of the area including Cow Gap but not Belle Tout Wood.  Very nice conditions and my best visit to date this year, but unfortunately that isn’t saying a lot as I ended up feeling it should have been better, not helped by a Honey Buzzard being seen departing over Shooter’s Bottom while I was elsewhere.  I saw an Osprey, picked up in the distance by Simon and making up for him and Geoff having seen another earlier, up to 13 Swifts, 30 Sand Martins, 500+ Swallows, 150+ House Martins, 2 Tree Pipits, 53 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Redstarts, 9 Whinchats, 15 Wheatears, 2 Lesser Whitethoats, 46 Whitethroats, 21 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaffs, 7 Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Ravens.  With no sign of the bad weather that had been forecast I decided to go to Rye to look for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper that was still present that morning.  I arrived to find it had flown off at about the time I left Beachy.  Eight Curlew Sandpipers were some consolation with 2 Ruff also seen.



Wheatear at Beachy





Juvenile Stonechat in the Old Trapping Area, Beachy Head


Whinchat at Beachy


Curlew Sandpiper at Rye

Sunday 11 September.  Seawatching off Widewater from 07:15-08:45 produced single Shoveller and Common Scoter, a few Gannets and terns including one juvenile Arctic and a few Sand Martins and Swallows.   A Wheatear was by the Adur and a flock of 7 Ruff were on Shoreham Airfield until the birdscarer flushed them off.  Had I been much further west they would more likely have been Buff-breasts!  Walked from Goring Gap round Ferring Rife and back with Megan seeing 18 Little Egrets roosting, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 4 Wheatears.  Finished the day in a dash up to Weir Wood Reservoir to see a very distant putative Red-necked Stint.  Interesting plumage but structurally appearing identical to the slightly larger juvenile Little Stints it was with.  Male Little Stints are smaller and brighter than females which would seem to explain all the anomalies.  20 Mandarin and 2 Green Sandpipers were also seen.

Monday 12 September.  The Peregrine was seen on the Southwick Power Station chimney.

Tuesday 13 September.  The Peregrine was seen on the Southwick Power Station chimney with a Wheatear near Hove Lagoon.  An evening visit to the Adur produced 51 Lapwings, a Bar-tailed Godwit, colour-ringed Greater Black-backed and Herring Gulls.  I'd seen both on the Adur previously, the Herring Gull A6XY being a rescuee from Southwick seen a couple of times last winter while it is the thrid winter I've seen the Greater Black-back which was ringed in Normandy. 

Normandy Greater Black-backed Gull A26 on the Adur for its third year

Wednesday 14 September.  The Peregrine was seen on the Southwick Power Station chimney with a Wheatear near Hove Lagoon.

Thursday 15 September.  The Peregrine was seen on the Southwick Power Station chimney.  I called in at Brighton Marina on the way home hoping to see the Sabine’s Gull which had been found that morning by John King but it had flown out to sea half an hour before I arrived.  A Wheatear was scant compensation.

Saturday 17 September.  Started at the Adur at low tide seeing Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Common Sandpipers, an adult Mediterranean and colour-ringed Greater Black-backed and Herring Gulls (two of each), Kingfisher, 15 Sand Martins and 10 Swallows.  Finished the day with a trip to Newhaven where what turned out to be another Sabine’s Gull had been seen.  Again I was half an hour late, only seeing a Mediterranean Gull.  I dropped in at Brighton Marina thinking it might have returned there (this was before it had been established that it was a different individual).  No luck but a Grey Phalarope feeding in the surf was almost as good.


North Thames Herring Gull NM8T
local Herring Gull A7RF
likely Normandy Greater Black-backed Gull 93E with hidden ring
Norwegian Greater Black-backed Gull JY22 had also been seen in Denmark

Sunday 18 September.  I had agreed to meet John King in North Lancing to go to the Burgh to look for the Montagu’s type harrier that had been seen there intermittently since Thursday.  Being a raptor an early start didn’t seem necessary so I briefly looked at the Adur first, seeing Kingfisher, Sand Martin, Wheatear and Chiffchaff.  At the Burgh David Cooper picked out the harrier sat in a field at considerable distance.  After 15-20 minutes it started flying around and appeared to lack a pale collar and show a dark leading edge to the underside of the primaries leading us to conclude erroneously that it was most likely Montagu’s. albeit with no dark trailing edge to the underside of the primaries.  We tried to get closer but it disappeared before we were able to.  JK and I stayed until 2pm but failed to see it again.  At the Burgh we saw Marsh Harrier, c60 Grey and 6 Red-legged Partridges, Redstart, 3 Wheatears and a Raven but not Red Kite, male Hen Harrier or 2 Hobbies that were seen by others.  Very frustrating, especially as the Newhaven Sabine’s was seen again although supposedly flew off east, then being reported east at Seaford.  I had the afternoon with Ruth but perhaps should have taken her over as the Seaford bird was probably a red herring as the Sabine’s performed well that afternoon.

Very distant Pallid Harrier between the Burgh and Burpham

inexplicably poor shots of grey Partridges at The Burgh

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