Sunday, 5 January 2014

Selsey-Petworth-Hove (5 January 2014)

5 January.  After finishing 2013 on a real high I found it difficult to work up much enthusiasm for 2014 but feeling we'd regret not going out given a halfway decent forecast John King and I headed for Chichester Gravel Pits (sadly no Whooper Swans with a Kingfisher more of a consolation than a rather tame female Red-crested Pochard).  the two Ruddy Shelduck were on Siddlesham Ferry and two Velvet Scoter off Selsey Bill.  The sea was quite rough making viewing difficult and we didn't get a decent view of any divers.  At Church Norton six eider showed well and two Long-tailed Ducks rather less so.  Nine Avocets, a Peregrine and 25+ Mediterranean Gulls were seen in the harbour.  We tried Petworth but our long walk was rewarded with no Goosander or Egyptian Geese, a Tufted x Pochard 'Lesser Scaup' type hybrid being the only bird of note.  We finished at Hove Lagoon where the Grey Phalarope showed very well in fading light.  Superb bird.





very poor photo of a superb bird

4 January.  The morning around Shoreham in strong southerly winds.  Excellent views of a single Purple Sandpiper and two Rock Pipits on the West Arm of Shoreham Harbour but not an easy place to find shelter and still look out to sea.  I moved to Widewater and found Alan Kitson seawatching from hut 32.  Highlight was an adult Little Gull that Alan picked up as it flew past close inshore.  I completely missed it (not looking close enough) until it crossed the next groyne and lingered briefly.  Some close Kitiwakes included one briefly on Widewater where 6 Red-breasted Merganser were present.  About 50 Brent Geese flew past, some going in both directions, but no Gannets or much else.  The Mute Swan pair were keeping their distance from their offspring, of which only 4 were present - the other had perhaps already been encouraged to leave home.

2 January.  A Peregrine on the Power Station chimney in the gloom on my way to work.  Mistle Thrush singing in Stamner Park at lunchtime but otherwise a dearth of small birds. 


1 January.  Dreadful weather, Megan and I decided to visit Arundel WWT.  The collection's highlights were, as usual, Blue Duck, Harlequin and Scaly-sided Merganser.  Otherwise two Mandarin and a male Bullfinch were the only birds of note.

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