Saturday 14 January. I met John King in Lancing at 8am and we headed for Greatham. We had only been watching from the railway bridge for five minutes when the Great Grey Shrike flew in from the east and landed in the top of a distant tree to the south. Less than five minutes, and a few poor digiscoped pics, later it flew strongly SW and was lost to view. we walked a circuit to the sewage works and back across the brooks but did not see it again. Red Kite, Water Rail, Grey Wagtail and distinctive Siberian Chiffchaff (with at least a dozen commons) were reasonable compensation. We continued on to Petworth Park where two very smart drake Goosanders were keeping to the middle of the Lower Pond. Next stop was Lavington where we saw Stonechat and Dartford Warbler before continuing on to West Dean Woods. We walked up to Monkton Farm where John picked out a Brambling on its own in the top of a tree. Very welcome as we had failed to find any amongst Chaffinch flocks totalling about 200 birds. Less welcome was a Hawfinch which flew past and disappeared behind a tree before John could get his bins on it. It would have been a decent view if he had. An enjoyable day although unfortunate about the Hawfinch and we rather ran out of time (not disciplined enough but then it wasn't a bird race).
|Great Grey Shrike near the railway line at Greatham|
|third time lucky for me, although having seen it I'd hoped it would stick around for longer|
|Goosanders on Lower Pond, Petworth|
|I had seen one in late December while three had been present on occasion since so seeing two was a bit of a surprise|
|very nice though|
|quick scale check|
|a very smart duck|
|and one that seems a little more regular in West Sussex in recent winters|
|Dartford Warbler at Lavington|
|Red Kite at Monkton Farm|
Thursday 12 January. A visit to Knepp Mill Pond before the heavy rain started. The two Scaup were rather distant although telescope views were reasonable.
Wednesday 11 January. An early 'dog walking' visit to Shoreham Harbour where 19 Gannets, 2 Kittiwakes and over 60 auks flew west in half an hour. The nearer auks were identified as 34 Razorbills and 4 Guillemots. No Purple Sandpipers in evidence despite a high tide and no passerines at all. I returned home for Megan and we then picked up Ruth and Emma and walked from Devil's Dyke almost to Truleigh Hill and back. Later I returned to Greatham and walked the sewage works/brooks circuit seeing Water Rail, Barn Owl, Cetti's Warbler, 7 Chiffchaffs, 65 Fieldfares and as I was leaving the full moon.
|Cookie anxious to find Purple Sandpiper|
|Razorbill off the west arm of Shoreham Harbour|