|Raven at Birling|
|a familiar sight and sound in Sussex these days|
|it was not the case 20 years ago when a sighting of two would have been exceptional. I saw my first in Sussex in 1999 (at Beachy) and they bred for the first time in 50 years in 2001 (at Beachy)|
|Knot dragging a ball and chain|
Saturday 17th. I drove up to Chantry Hill in the hope the Pallid Harrier seen there recently might put in an appearance but a tree had fallen in the wind and was completely blocking the road halfway up the scarp slope. Gordon and Tony were coming up as I returned and we diverted to Kithurst Hill and walked to the Lee Farm shelter belt. In a unexpectedly cold NW wind for which I was ill prepared the shelter was most welcome. In over three hours of scanning we saw 3 Red Kites, 4 Buzzards and 2-3 Kestrels but no harriers. A loose flock of 9 Ravens playing around in the valley were nice, a few hirundines flew over (mainly House Martins) and partridges were everywhere. I saw 16 Greys and in the shallow valley north of Lee Farm counted 240 Red-legs. How many of those would be shot over the winter? The way some were behaving would make them hard to miss. Later a low tide visit to the Adur before dark produced just 16 Ringed Plover, 24 Dunlin and a bait-digger.
Friday 16th. An afternoon visit to Pulborough was heading for disappointment with no waders and only 60 House Martins until back by the visitors centre Gordon spotted a Hobby flying away. As it was low tide I called in at the Adur on my way home and was pleased to see the Curlew Sandpiper was still present, with a Knot, 37 Dunlin and 28 Ringed Plover.
|Curlew Sandpiper on the Adur opposite Shoreham Airport|
|Greater Black-backed Gull 6AA9. It was ringed as chick Lihou Island, Guernsey in June 2014 and that August was seen on Chouet Landfill Beach on 16th and Dawlish Warren on 25th. I then saw it on the Adur six times during October-December 2015.|
|Harvest Moon. Not one of my most played Neil Young albums (give me On the Beach any day) but it has its moments|
|Curlew Sandpiper on the opposite bank|
|legging it out-of-sight on my side|
|... and swam away, hopefully none the worse for its experience|
Sunday 11th. A day touring West Sussex with John King. We started at the newly discovered Shripney Flood Pools joining Gordon and Dave B scanning the visible 2/3rds of the pool. In a couple of hours we saw a Wood, 2 Green and 6 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, a Knot, 14 Ruff and 30 Black-tailed Godwits. We (and Gordon and Dave) continued to Thorney where the Red-necked Phalarope was on view on the Little Deep. Also there were one or more probably two Ospreys, 9 Greenshank, 20 Black-tailed and a Bar-tailed Godwits and 25 Yellow Wagtails. Gordon and Davve went on to Titchfield but we headed back calling in at Fishbourne Creek where we saw about 250 Mediterranean Gulls (I counted 246 and undoubtedly missed a few), 12 Greenshank and 26 Black-tailed Godwits. Next stop was Pagham North Wall which produced 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Ruff, 75 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Greenshank, 6 Spotted Redshanks and about 150 Yellow Wagtails. Back at Shripney we joined Gordon and Dave again but there was still no sign of the Pectoral Sandpiper. We called it a day, my best for waders for a long time.
|Wood Sandpiper at Shripney|
|first views of Red-necked Phalarope on the Little Deep at Thorney (morning sun not helpful)|
|nice 'scope views|
|but digiscoping could have been more successful|
|Yellow-legged Gull at Fishbourne|
|Chichester Catherdal from Fishbourne creek|