Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Serin at Newhaven (28 December 2016)

Wednesday 28th. I was rather shocked to discover that I had not seen a Serin in Sussex (or Britain) since June 2002 and with the Newhaven bird appearing to be being seen more regularly I thought I'd better give it a go.  I arrived at 08:20 just after an initial view. It then went missing until Jon Curson saw it about an hour and a half later. I was talking to him at the time, through a gap in a wall and it appeared on his side and I missed it. It finally showed well about half an hour later. Rather nice. I then went to the Cuckmere to check the gull flock but virtually all the 550-600 birds present were Great Black-backs with only 15 Lessers and 25 Herrings. Disappointing but I'd had a very good run on my previous December visits. In the afternoon I took Cookie to Beeding Brooks where I saw a Barn and at least 4 Short-eared Owls, all rather distant making a scope necessary. I find negotiating stiles tricky with a scope at the best of times but add a dog on a lead and they take on a whole new level of difficulty. Only two of the owls were seen flying, both Short-eared, while later 4 Short-eareds were visible at once, two sitting on fences, one on a gate and one in a tree while the Barn Owl was also sat in a tree over towards the river bank.

Serin at Newhaven Tidemills
my first in Sussex for rather too many years
it very much kept to itself, shunning small groups of Chaffinches, Linnets and Goldfinches and a flock of 40+ Greenfinches. It was mostly feeding on the ground out of sight and only flying or sitting up infrequently.  

Tuesday 27th. Hardly any wind so it was no great surprise that nothing was moving off Shoreham Fort when I took Cookie for an early morning walk. Just one Purple Sandpiper on the wooden jetty and 6 Turnstones on the beach. A fine late afternoon walk around Beeding Hill with Megan and Cookie was very quiet with a Sparrowhawk the only notable sighting.

Monday 26th. Three Bullfinches (2 males and a female) were very nice on an early morning walk around Mill Hill with Cookie but Blackbirds were the only thrushes seen. Later I heard a Ring-necked Parakeet from the Long term parking at Gatwick north terminal while waiting to pick up Ruth and Emma over from New Zealand.

Sunday 25th. An early morning walk around Shoreham Fort with Cookie was enlivened by a Black Redstart, my first of the winter and a nice Christmas bonus, as well as Rock Pipit and two roosting Purple Sandpipers.

Saturday 24th. I recorded 3 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Gannets, 6 Kittiwakes and about 20 auks during an hour seawatch from Shoreham Harbour. Most birds were flying west but the only auk identified, a Guillemot, and the grebes were on the sea. A Purple Sandpiper was roosting on the wooden jetty. Later, at low tide, 3 Little Grebes and an adult Mediterranean Gull were see on the Adur.
Mediterranean Gull on the Adur, still sufficiently unusual here to make a visit worthwhile

Friday 23rd. We went to Petworth, me walking Cookie around the park while Megan and Nessa visited the house. Cookie and I saw a drake Goosander on Lower Pond, Green Woodpecker and 2 Nuthatches.
drake Goosander at Petworth, very smart bird and the closest I'll come to Scaly-sided Merganser this winter ...


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