Saturday 17 March. With poor weather forecast it didn't seem worth going very far so I concentrated on my local circuit around Shoreham. Six Purple Sandpipers were on the inner side of the west arm when I arrived at 06.30 and seawatching for the next hour of so produced 109 Brent Geese flying east (including two flocks of over 40), a Sandwich Tern east, a Red-breasted Merganser west and a Razorbill on the sea. Back on the inner arm were now ten Purple Sandpipers, a record for me, and a probable Scandinavian Rock Pipit. Halfway through the seawatch a lone Brent Goose flew past and landed on the sea off the harbour entrance. The sentementalist in me was very pleased when it flew off to join the next flock (of 13) that flew by 15 minutes later, although it took it several minutes to catch up with them. A quick look at Widewater produced a small duck out on its own that momentarily had me thinking might be a Garganey, until I got my bins up to see it was a female Teal - a reminder, if i needed one, that my WW is Widewater and not Weir Wood!
I'd only been back home 15 minutes when I received a text from Paul James letting me know there were 3 Wheatears at Shoreham Fort which was rather annoying as I'd only been there just over an hour earlier. I was going out again anyway to check the Adur at low tide so brought my plans forward and cycled back to the Fort. No sign of the wheatears in deteriorating weather. I continued west, part walking along the beach, part cycling on the track until Brooklands without success. The return was much better with 2 rather bedraggled looking Wheatears on the beach almost immediately and another by the beach huts on Lancing Green. Also the wind/rain was behind me. So I saw 3 wheatears but not the ones I'd set out to look for. A reasonable number of gulls on the Adur on the falling tide included two with colour-rings, a North Thames herring and a normandie Greater Black-backed.
All in all a satisfying day despite the weather, made even better by replacing the Rear mechanism on my bike (it not changing gear very well) being relatively straight forward. Wear and tear on the bike isn't too surprising given the milage it does. I'm just short of 1500 trips to work, equivalent to one and a quarter times around the Equator (but unfortunately without the exotic species that would go with it).
|Purple Sandpipers at Shoreham Harbour, the ten recorded is my biggest ever flock here|
|North Thames Herring Gull YK7T, my first sighting of this bird although I've seen YW7T here in November 2010 and November/December 2011|
|Normandie Greater Black-backed Gull 48G on the Adur, another first sighting for me although I was expecting it to be 49G that was on the Adur last Saturday!|
|poor shot of Scandinavian Rock Pipit at Shoreham Fort|
|female Wheatear at Shoreham Fort|
|male Wheatear at Shoreham Fort, few spring migrants are as eagerly anticipated|
|and few are as stunning|
|Norwegian Greater Black-backed Gull JH350 on the Adur at low tide|