Sunday, 1 May 2016

Crowlink & Birling (1 May)

Sunday 1 May. A bit more moving off Shoreham Harbour making it the best day this week, although still not much to write home about. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls flew west along the beach, 6 Whimbrel, a Little and 17 Sandwich Terns flew east. two Wheatears were on the beach and 4 Willow Warblers near the car park. As Megan and I were going to Crowlink for a walk I did not visit Mill Hill, hoping to do better for migrants there. We did not arrive until 09:30 but even so it was very quiet. A male Redstart above Belle Tout was the only land migrant seen (not even a Wheatear). 7 Sandwich Terns flew east and 26 Swallows and 3 House Martins came in. We also saw 7 male Stonechats (including one on each of the sisters we crossed), Mistle Thrush and Raven while views along the coast were superb.
Mediterranean Gulls flying away over Shoreham Harbour - too slow with the camera as usual
Seaford Head from Birling Gap
recent cliff fall at the Seven Sisters




Saturday 30 April. Groundhog day at Shoreham Harbour with 6 Sandwich Terns and single Wheatear and Willow Warbler. A Purple Sandpiper on the wooden jetty would normally seem late at the end of April but not this year. At Mill Hill I saw the Lesser Whitethroat, 11 Whitethroats, 2 Willow Warblers and a Yellowhammer. In the afternoon Megan and I dodged showers at Steepdown seeing a flock of 30 Corn Buntings and 22 Stock Doves but not even a Wheatear (and not the dreamed of Dotterel) despite half of it being bare earth.
Purple Sandpiper at Shoreham Harbour

view east from Lancing Ring
Highdown from Steepdown
Cissbury
Megan at Steepdown
Friday 29 April. Another hour at Shoreham Harbour with little to show for it flying past. 14 Sandwich Terns were fishing offshore, as were 4 Gannets while a Fulmar flew west over the beach. Four Wheatears on the beach made the visit worthwhile, just, and it was better than working. Cetti's and Reed Warblers were heard at New Salts Farm where a Swallow flew N, a female Reed Bunting was by the airport and a Swift and 7 Swallows flew N at Mill Hill. A Lesser Whitethroat was heard at Mill Hill with singles of the commoner warblers present on 28th recorded and a Raven flew over. 
dredging the entrance to Shoreham Harbour
Wheatear reading up on fishing charges





Thursday 28 April. I gave up at Shoreham Harbour after 45 minutes having seen 2 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Gannets and 5 Sandwich Terns. A Willow Warbler came in and there were 8 in the pine trees by the car park. this encouraged me to try mill hill where the visit was made worthwhile by a hobby flying N. Also Sparrowhawk, 2 Stock Doves, Yellowhammer, 4 Whitethroats, 3 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 Willow Warblers.
Willow Warbler on Mill Hill




Wednesday 27 April. A hour at Shoreham Harbour was even poorer than expected for a moderate NW. Two Fulmars, 6 Gannets and 6 Sandwich Terns were offshore but the highlight was a ship-assisted eagle owl. It was so poor I headed straight home rather than trying Mill Hill for migrants.
Eagle Owl heading west off Shoreham Harbour on the Fisheries Patrol vessel, unfortunately ship assisted and plastic
Monday 25 April. Peregrine and Wheatear at Southwick Beach on my way to work, a Stock Dove in the garden and a pair of Greater Black-backed Gulls on a roof opposite, much to the consternation of a 'resident' Herring Gull.

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