Sunday, 5 April 2015

slow and sad (1-5 April)

Sunday 5th.  Unlocking my car at 06:10 to drive down to Shoreham Fort (c1 mile as the goose flies) I heard a Greylag Goose calling.  It flew north overhead and then headed east.  I hadn't been on the end of Shoreham Harbour long when again I heard a Greylag calling.  It flew around the harbour and off east calling continually only to return ten minutes later, still calling.  Geese pair for life and I couldn't help thinking this one had lost its mate.  Driving home at 09:10, a couple of roads short of our house a Greylag flew overhead heading N and calling.  Presumably it had been doing so for at least three hours - sad.  Greylags are scarce enough around Shoreham for me to wonder if it might it have been one of the two birds seen yesterday?  Between Greylag encounters there was very little going past in an hour and a half - 8 very distant Common Scoter and 2 Sandwich Terns.  On the shingle at Beach Green were 3 Wheatears, a metal ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull as on the Adur and later with Megan around Mill Hill we saw 2 Buzzards, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Raven and 4 Yellowhammers.  We might now be in April but any early promise is taking its time to be realised.
calling Greylag, presumably looking for its mate
second pass of the power station, it was flying around the Shoreham area calling continually for at least three hours
it appeared a typical intermedius but still a pity this bird was not colour-ringed as it would have been interesting to know where it had come from.  I'm amazed that anyone catching gulls doesn't use a colour ring.  Doing so must increase the chance of a recovery at least 100 fold. 
looking east to Sussex's premier spring seawatch sites, Splash Point, Seaford (extreme left) and Birling Gap (almost far right).  With such calm clear weather I didn't imagine they were doing any better than I was, and again I hadn't felt the forecast warranted the effort (or cost) of finding out.
photogenic Turnstone, hard to resist on a quiet morning
Yellowhammer
newborn
glad I'm a vegetarian
Saturday 4th.  An hour watching off the end of Shoreham Harbour from 06:40 was very quiet with a Gannet, 2 Fulmars and 5 Sandwich Terns east and a Wheatear landing on the breakwater.  Two Peregrines were on Southwick Power Station and as I walked back down the west arm 2 Greylag Geese flew east along the beach and there were 4 Wheatears around the old fort.   A stop at New Salts Farm on my way home produced 2 Cetti's Warblers (one briefly seen), 2 Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest while nothing of note was on the Adur.
female Wheatear just arrived on Shoreham Harbour west arm
first photographed at 06:59, I wonder what time it left the French coast?  As the nearest point, just north of La Havre, is 80 miles away it must have been before it got light. 
even females are rather special, more so when they have just arrived

a male Wheatear on Shoreham Fort
Friday 3rd.  An hour and a half watching off the end of Shoreham Harbour from 06:40 was quiet with 56 Brent Geese, 10 Common Scoter and 10 Sandwich Terns east and 2 Gannets and a Little Egret west.  Two Wheatears were on the beach.

Thursday 2nd.  Just 50 Herring Gulls on the Adur at low tide. 

Wednesday 1st.  Regular local Herring Gull A4AH was seen at Sussex University while I was unlocking my bike.

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