Sunday, 20 August 2017

My dad

my dad, it would be hard to have had a kinder, more supportive dad, we were very fortunate to have you for so long and will all miss you a lot
Dad at home, 8 June 2017, still very much on the ball, keen to know how the grandchildren were doing and interested in how many birds I had seen and where I was going next.

Birding seems rather trivial at present, especially as I've hardly seen anything of note.

Sunday 20 August. Cissbury Ring with Megan and Cookie: A Swallow, 2 juvenile Stonechats, 2 Wheatears, 11 Whitethroats, 6 Willow Warblers, a Spotted Flycatcher and a Yellowhammer. Low tide on the Adur: 54+ Ringed Plover, 17 + Dunlin, adult anbd juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Reed Warbler.

Saturday 19 August. A Wheatear and 27 Goldfinches on the Trundle with Megan, Nessa and Cookie. Megan and Nessa went to the Chichester Festival Theatre while Cookie and I walked from Stapleash Farm through West Dean Woods, along the South Downs Way to the Devil's Jumps and back past Monkton Farm. It was very quiet with a single Red Kite, Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff and 20 Swallows.

Friday 18 August. Adur: 5 Ringed Plover, juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a Swallow chasing a Wheatear on the Rec, single Reed and Willow Warbler and 16 Goldfinches. Dad's funeral. Very moving but he'd had a good long life.

Thursday 17 August. A Sparrowhawk dashed low across the garden being briefly chased by one of the adolescent crows.

Wednesday 16 August. Mill Hill with Cookie: 6 Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler. Steepdown with Megan and Cookie: 2 Golden Plover flew west, 9 Swallows, 3 Whitethroats, 45 Goldfinches and single Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting.

Sunday 13 August. Visit to Standen with Megan and Nessa where I walked throuygh the woods with Cookie seeing just 6 Swallows.

Saturday 12 August. Mill Hill with Cookie. 4 Buzzards, 4 Kestrels, 12 Swifts, 2 Whitethroats, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler.

Friday 11 August. Adur: 28 Ringed and a moulting adult Grey Plover, 12 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper (heard).

Thursday 10 August. A Wheatear on Southwick Beach on my way to work and 4 Swifts over the house in the evening, almost certainly the last of the year.

Wednesday 9 August. Dad slipped away peacefully at 14:!5. Mum, Anna and I were at his bedside and Ruth was landing at Gatwick. We stayed with him until Ruth arrived two hours later. The Royal Sussex County Hospital Staff were absolutely brilliant throughout. 

Tuesday 8 August. Another emotional hospital visit although dad was more aware and took comfort in our (mum, Anna and my) presence and the knowledge that Ruth was coming on her way from New Zealand. A Wheatear on Southwick Beach and just one Swift over the house in the evening.

Monday 7 August. An early call from the hospital where I then spent an emotional day with mum and Anna at Dad's bedside. He was hanging on peacefully but hardly aware of our presence. 14 Swifts over the house in the evening were a joy.

Sunday 6 August. South Downs Way west of Devil's Dyke: 6 Kestrels, a Buzzard, 6 Swallows, a House Martin, 70 Meadow Pipits and 20 Goldfinches. Later 6 Swifts over the house.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Autumn is coming (West Sussex early August)

Saturday 5 August. Wanting to see a few more waders I went down to Pagham stopping at Sidlesham Ferry where I became distracted by a small fall of warblers in the bushes. I decided to walk to Church Norton seeing 36 Willows, 7 Reed and 11 Sedge Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat and 5 Whitethroats. Nice but by the time I arrived I was surprised to see the tide had come in sufficiently far to move off many of the waders (it was over two hours before a neap high tide). Looking into the light wasn't great either although I consoled myself that it would have been worse had I been earlier. On the ferry and in the harbour I saw 5 Avocets, 5 Little Ringed Plover, a Sanderling, 35.75 Dunlin (the 0.75 refusing to convince as a Little Stint), 67 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, a Green and 2 Common Sandpipers and 32 Turnstone. Also adult and juvenile Mediterranean Gull and at least one distant juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 10 Sandwich Terns, Peregrine and 4 Sand Martins. Later on Mill Hill 4 Willow Warblers and 7 Swifts with at least 11 of the latter over the house in the evening. The main downside of autumn coming is that the swifts won't be around for much longer.

Reed Warbler at Sidlesham

Adonis Blue at Mill Hill
Friday 4 August. Megan and I took Cookie to Cissbury seeing my first Wheatear of the autumn, a young looking juvenile. Also 3 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Stonechats, 14 Whitethroats and a Willow Warbler. 13 Swifts were over the house in the evening.

Stonechat at Cissbury
very young Wheatear at Cissbury

mushroom village
Wednesday 2 August. Quiet at Mill Hill with 2 Swallows, a singe Whitethroat and 2 Ravens seen. A walk to Dacre Gardens from Cuckoo's Corner was better with 6 Common Sandpipers and a Sedge Warbler. Cookies third walk of the day was a wetter affair top check the Adur for gulls. None of note were seen although a/the Whimbrel and a flock of 16 Black-tailed Godwits that departed south made the visit worthwhile.

Common Sandpiper opposite Dacre Gardens
Tuesday 1 August. I saw 4 Green Woodpeckers on my way into work. At Pulborough in the evening were a Wood and 8 Green Sandpipers, a Barn Owl, 2 Mandarin and 6 Sand Martins on the North Brooks. The sandpipers flew off west just before dusk.
Pulborough North Brooks
Monday 31 July. 13 Swifts were over the house in the evening.

Sunday 30 July. At Shoreham Fort a Common Scoter flew east while single Dunlin and Turnstone were in/on the harbour. In the evening 12 Swifts were flying over the house.

Turnstone on Shoreham Harbour

Saturday 29 July. A small fall of migrants in one of the hedges at Mill Hill where I saw 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 5 Whitethroats and 3 Garden Warblers. Also Peregrine, 7 Swifts and a male Yellowhammer. Later near Hertsmonceaux 2 Willow Warblers and some Black-legged Gulls.
Black-legged Gulls
HMS Mersey waiting for the tide off Shoreham Harbour on 27 July