|Peacock at Mill Hill, its antennae looked like used sparklers|
|Rock Pipit at Seaford, plumage looked a bit littoralish but it was singing so presumably a resident bird|
Thursday 5th. SE winds, no car and meetings at work meant the best I could manage was an hour watching off Hove from 06:15-07:15. Flying east, mostly rather distant in clear visibility, were 3 Fulmars, 27 Gannets, 24 Brent Geese, 3 Common Scoter, 23 Sanderling, 2 Curlew and 40 Sandwich and 3 Common Terns while a Whimbrel flew west. Hardly worth getting up early for and not a patch on Seaford's morning although that started slowly.
Wednesday 4th. I cycled Shoreham Harbour and seawatched from 06:00-08:00. The wind was very light SE but visibility very good and the little that I saw moving was a long way out. I recorded 37 Gannets, 7 Shelduck, 27 Common Scoter, 6 Oystercatchers, 9 Whimbrel, 8 Sandwich Terns and 3 Razorbills flying east. Best of all though were at least 6 Harbour Porpoises swimming west. They made up somewhat for seeing none of the skuas recorded off Seaford during the same period. Later Megan and I walked from High Trees to Truleigh Hill where a Garden Warbler was unexpected.
|Southlands Hospital nearing its end|
|viewed from Northbourne Medical centre|
Monday 2nd. A day of poor decisions. I woke early and decided to try Seaford as the weather was different, SW rather than W/NW. That one turned out OK although arriving to find very poor visibility and drizzle wasn't great. Trying watching from Splash Point was not conducive to seeing anything with most time spent cleaning lenses. BS had the sense to relocate - to his kitchen initially - leaving JK and myself seeing little. A call that we had missed a Black Tern was annoying ad we relocated to behind the end beach huts. There we missed a flock of 25 before joining BS and others in a shelter. It offered more protection than I had anticipated but watching was hard with tern flocks flying along on the edge of the murk. From 06:10-11:10 I saw the following flying east; 62 Gannets, 13 Common Scoter, 5 Sanderling, a Dunlin, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel, 7 Arctic Skuas (2 pale, 5 dark), 24 Sandwich Terns, 870 Commic Terns (the few seen well were Common), 9 Little Terns, 15 Black Terns and a Razorbill while 9 Swallows came in. Just JK and I stuck it out for the last hour but the tern passage had died and it only produced 2 of the Arctic Skuas so we gave up. My second mistake was going onto Seaford Head for 90 minutes. I had hoped a Whinchat or Spotted Flycatcher might be about but the wind had picked up, visibility was poor and I only saw Whitethroats and a pair of Stonechats. Mistake three was going straight home rather than calling back at Splash where Matt was starting a good seawatch. Mid afternoon I headed for Pulborough to look for the Black-winged Stilts. They were present some way in front of Netley's hide although most were at least partly obscured by vegetation. I relocated to the Hanger where they were in full view but more distant. An instant doubling of my Sussex total but a rarity that is becoming much more frequent and it is easy to imagine I will have doubled my total again in a few years. Nightingales were relatively quiet in the cold wind but I saw two well and heard 3 others. worst decision of the day was to turn down eastern Avenue on the way home, not seeing an oncoming Landrover Discovery until too late. My poor Fiesta wouldn't have come off much worse against a tank.
|one of the ten Black-winged Stilts at Pulborough|
|two were white-headed|
|and the other four|
|no way to treat a loyal servant|