Sunday, 29 December 2013

Old Lodge and Shoreham (24-29 December)

29 December.  Four hours at Old Lodge watching the Parrot Crossbills with John King and others - a good turn out by Sussex standards and nice to catch up with a few old friends.  The Parrot Crossbill flock initially had eight birds in it (before they flew I'd counted at least 4 males and 3 females feeding unobtrusively in a large larch).  They flew again when nine were seen but I was to busy failing to get a recording t count them, although I did get a poor recording later on the one occasion they became quite vocal.  They moved a short distance into the reserve and there I could be sure of 5 males and 3 females but was not quick enough to get onto all six males the one time they were all on view at once.   They all appeared to be of a similar size and structure - large, bulky, thick necked, big headed - although the impressiveness of their bills appeared to vary with the viewing angle.  Their foreheads most often appeared quite flat but again the angle or posture made a difference. Unfortunately I saw no Common Crossbills alongside them although as we arrived about 15 flew out of the trees we first saw a Parrot in. Old Lodge was otherwise very quiet with 35 Redwing and 2 Coal Tits the best I saw.  A Grey Plover was the best on the Adur on the way home.  The following Parrot Crossbill pics are shown in the order n which they were taken.  Birds were often obscured to varying degrees and sometimes against the light so most leave something to be desired.
this angle makes the head looked quite rounded and the bird easily overlooked

no overlooking this one with a massive head and bill





this was perhaps the closest I got to the Shovel-billed Kingfisher analogy
little forehead evident from this angle
certainly one I would overlook on its own
although a slight movement of the head makes it look much more impressive, and big headed 
the big head and thick neck are evident even when seemingly alert



even foreshortened the bill is impressive
27 December.  Seven Purple Sandpipers and 25 Turnstones at Shoreham Fort.  8 Red-breasted Mergansers at Widewater (the six and a pair), the Mute swan family, single Coot and some Little Grebes.
Little Egret at Widewater




Red-breasted Merganser at Widewater
26 December.  Two North Thames colour-ringed gulls by the Yacht Club, 3 Purple Sandpipers, 15 Turnstone, a Rock Pipit and 14 Greenfinches at Shoreham Fort and a Perergine on the Power Station chimney but no nest box there.  Hundreds of gulls feeding on small crabs and shellfish washed up by the storms but I was unable to pick anything of note from amongst them. 200 Lapwing and 3 Song Thrushes by the Adur.


J7HT
N8HT, both these birds were ringed at Rainham Tip on 16 November
where is my nestbox?
built to last - gates on the west arm damaged by wind again
feeding frenzy


25 December.  Happy Christmas.  Three Mistle Thrushes over Worthing Cemetery during a post Christmas lunch walk.

24 December.  11 Little Grebe, the Mute Swan family (pair with 5 young), 6 Red-breasted Mergansers and one Coot on Widewater.
4 of the 6 Red-breasted Mergansers on a rough Widewater
all six

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