Thursday 28th. A decent forecast combined with a terrible one for the weekend tempted me out. I started at Selsey seeing 2 Great Northern Divers, Eider and 4 Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea but little was passing other than 2 Mediterranean Gulls. Nothing was on the sea off Church Norton although 21 Avocets at the top of the main channel were visible from the beach and a Kingfisher was perched above the flooded moat. Sidlesham Ferry was quiet as was Fishbourne despite a reasonable tide. I continued to West Dean Woods hitting a huge pothole hidden under an innocuous looking puddle on the turn off to Stapleash Farm. I stopped to find my tyre rapidly deflating then failed to see any Little Owls. I put the spare on (why do cars no longer have a proper spare?), saw a Hawfinch in tree tops on the corner and headed up to Monkton Farm. No more Hawfinches unfortunately but 30 Brambling, 3 Red Kites and a Treecreeper were nice, as was a Marsh Tit by the car when I returned. I headed home earlier than planned to drop my wheel off at the garage.
|almost the highlight of my visit to West Dean Woods|
|Chanctonbury trig point with flooded Pulborough Brooks in the distance|
Sunday 31 January. I cycled to the Adur and Widewater. On the Adur colour-ringed Mediterranean and Great Black-backed Gulls flew off before I was able to read their rings - rather frustrating as they looked to be German and Norwegian respectively. No sign of the Goosander either. Later Megan and I walked from Widewater to Brooklands and back.
|Mediterranean Gull on the Adur, it flew before the green ring could be read. 3 of the 4 green ringed Med Gull's I've seen were from Germany, the 4th from Belgium|
|Grey Wagtail at Brooklands|
Wednesday 3rd. Megan and I walked our usual Lancing Ring-Cowbottom Hovel-Steepdown circuit seeing 28 Stock Doves, 32 Sky Larks, 8 Corn and a Reed Bunting. Later I saw little at Widewater and the Adur.
Thursday 4th. I went to Goring Gap to look for the Glaucous Gull which had reappeared there. John and Doreen Cooper and John King had the same idea but unfortunately the gull did not appear in the 4 hours I was there. During that time I saw two Slavonian Grebes on the sea, 7 Mediterranean Gulls and 35 Sanderling. Later I cycled to New Salts Farm where the Short-eared Owl was flying around from 16:30-16:55. Very nice.
|first-winter Mediterranean Gull at Goring Gap|
|Greenshank on the Adur Saltings near the Dogs Trust|
|Glaucous Gull at goring Gap in its usual pose|
|it did stand up|
|but not for long|
|it did fly, for all of 10m|
|standing was a bit tiring|
|so it went to sleep|
Wednesday 10th. I took my car into the garage and Megan then drove us to Arundel WWT for my annual 'wish I'd seen you' look at Scaly-sided Merganser. Alonso, their male, had arthritis in one leg but was much more active than usual. No sign of the New Salts Farm Short-eared Owl 16:30-17:05. My car was still being investigated ...
|Bullfinch at Arundel WWT|
|wackiest haircut on a bird?|
|I'll have to wait at least another year, probably more to see a wild one|
|the Rampion Windfarm construction begins|
|Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper, Shoreham Harbour west arm|
|it hopped around quite well on one leg, the other damaged or caught up by what looked like fishing twine|
|view east from Shoreham Harbour|
|sunshine inland too, quite a rarity this winter|
Saturday 13th. A big high tide covered virtually all the Adur saltings pushing what waders there were into view - the Greenshank, 52 Redshank, 48 Dunlin but only one Snipe. I walked around to New Salts Farm where the Short-eared Owl was sitting up in view, at 14:35. A Sparrowhawk was showing well by the railway bridge and also a pair of Stonechats. The car's warning lights were behaving too.
|high tide on the Adur Saltings|
|looking rather dishevelled with several loose feathers|
|Megan at Highdown|