Saturday, 8 May 2021

Shoreham, Beeding Hill, Knepp and Shoreham (04-08 May)

Saturday 08 May. A SE forecast had me thinking of seawatching but heavy rain rather put me off going to Seaford. I met Frank Lambert at Widewater just before 6am and we sheltered rather unsuccessfully for a couple of hours before giving up, rather drenched with the wind half way around to SW. In very difficult viewing conditions, not helped by trying to hold up an umbrella (Frank was in the more sheltered side of the beach hut), I saw 3 Common Scoter and single Whimbrel, Sandwich Tern and dark morph Arctic Skua flying east. About 6 Fulmars and 30 Gannets were off-shore while 3 Oystercatchers, 14 Whimbrel and about 75 small waders flew west along the beach. The latter were in two tight groups and were all or mostly Dunlin. After drying out back home Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands which was quite sheltered and dry. We saw a drake Gadwall, 3 groups of Mallard ducklings (12, 8 and 7 in ascending size) and a Cetti's and 2 Reed Warblers. At low tide I took Cookie down to the Adur where by the airport waders were performing by numbers: 1 Redshank, 2 Oystercatchers, 3 Common Sandpipers and 4 Whimbrel. Ringed Plover didn’t get the memo and 9 turned up.

Whimbrel on the Adur


Friday 07 May. Six hours wandering around the southern section of Knepp was fairly hard work, at least as far as seeing the more interesting species. A cold wind probably wasn't helping and was it warmed up other visitors arrived. I eventually saw pretty much what I'd hoped to but views could have been better. I saw 2 Cuckoos, 6 Stock and 2 Turtle Doves, 3 Buzzards, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 3 Jays, 2 Swallows, 5 Long-tailed Tits, 4 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Garden Warblers (eventually), a Lesser and 13 Common Whitethroats, Mistle Thrush, 3 Nightingales (and another 5 heard), Nuthatch, 2 Treecreepers and 3 Bullfinches. Distant Cuckoo and Turtle Dove were also heard well away from the footpaths as were 5 close Nightingales that I failed to see.

Cuckoos at Knepp, I'd hoped for better views but they didn't hang about
out of focus Turtle Dove at Knepp, seen too briefly to switch to manual focus
Nightingale at Knepp

the same bird a little later

Tamworth Pigs at Knepp
introduced storks were hard to ignore
stunning male Bullfinch at Knepp

Garden Warbler at Knepp, another requiring manual focus

Bluebells near Knepp

Thursday 06 May. Megan, Cookie and I walked around and through Tottington Wood. Loads of Bluebells and a few Early Purple Orchids but as many birds heard as seen. Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Nightingale and Nuthatch were heard while Red-legged Partridge, 2 Stock Doves, 5 Jays and a Whitethroat were seen.

a Red-legged Partridge was a bit of a surprise at Tottington

Wednesday 05 May. I dropped Megan at Shoreham Station and took Cookie up to the Beeding Hill Car Park. We headed SE along the Monarch's Way and at its highest point were greeted by a stunning but somewhat unapproachable male Whinchat, my first in spring for four years. Four Wheatears were nearby and we later saw another two. We continued towards Thundersbarrow, up to Truleigh Hill where we overlooked the Weald (looking down on 37 Rook's nests) and back along the rim of Room Bottom - our usual triangle. Other species seen during on our 3.5 hour wander included Red Kite, Green Woodpecker, 3 Peregrines, Jay, 2 Ravens, 11 Sky Larks, a Lesser and 3 Common Whitethroats, 2 Meadow Pipits and a Yellowhammer.

Wheatears on Beeding Hill

male Whinchat on Beeding Hill
a stunning bird but not very approachable

Meadow Pipit above Room Bottom

Tuesday 04 May. I seawatched at Widewater in a strong westerly wind from 06:30-09:20. Little was moving within sight of me although watching a Hobby and 3 Swifts coming in from great distance made my visit more than worthwhile. A Kestrel and 3 Whimbrel also came in, the former providing an initial puzzle. Thirty-five Common Scoter, a Kittiwake and a Little Egret flew east with 5 Dunlin west, 3 Sandwich Terns, 5 Fulmars and 25 Gannets off-shore and a Great Crested Grebe on the sea. I met Megan and Cookie at Harbour Way and we walked our usual circuit along Emerald Quay to the Adur Ferry Bridge and back via the boardwalk and Shoreham Fort. Doing this I saw 2 Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlin at Harbour Way, a Whimbrel from the Ferry Bridge and 17 Turnstones near the Fort. On the way home Cookie and I stopped at the Adur seeing 2 Whimbrel opposite the airport.

first-summer Common Gull off Widewater
virtually all Common Gulls seen recently, and there have not been that many, are this age
Dunlin at Harbour Way
Turnstone near Shoreham Fort
Whimbrel on the Adur

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Living off memories - TRIP INDEX 2020>1974

The following lists and gives links to the relevant blogs of all the foreign birding and some family trips that I have been fortunate enough to have done. It is ordered by year with the most recent first. Blogs of the older trips use scanned slides, some having degraded badly with age, or digitised prints of varying qualitySome use photos taken by those I was with. These are usually easy to tell as they are significantly better than mine (and in most cases acknowledged). Many of the older blogs are based on my unreliable memories as my notes were very lacking in detail, other than the birds seen, something I now greatly regret. The blogs were initially done to find a 'home' for boxes of old slides which I had not looked at for years, my dad giving me his slide scanner providing the necessary impetus to digitise them. Doing these blogs has brought back many very happy memories, and a few sad ones. I’ve been very fortunate in having various like-minded friends whom I have been able to travel with. Sadly an increasing number are no longer with us. The Covid-19 Lockdown has given me the opportunity to fill in all remaining gaps so, until I can travel abroad again, all my trips are included below.
Kagu, New Caledonia August 1998 (digitised print originally taken with an instamatic).  One of my current all-time top four birds. Giant Pitta (1987), displaying Wilson's Bird of Paradise (1993) and displaying Western Parotia (2013) are the others.

2020: MYANMAR (January)
            SPAIN Fuerteventua (February)
2019:  SRI LANKA (January/February)
             NORWAY (and FINLAND) (March)
             (BALI and) BORNEO (August)
             FRANCE Somme (September)
2018:  ECUADOR (February)
           FRANCE Somme (May)
           NORTHERN PERU (June/July)
           SPAIN Mallorca (September)
            MADAGASCAR (October)
2017:  JAMIACA (February)
           TRINIDAD and TOBAGO (March)
           GUYANA (March/April)
           MONGOLIA (May)
           FRANCE Somme (September)
           NORTHERN GREECE (October)
            BOLIVIA (November)
2016:  CALIFORNIA (January)
           MEXICO (February/March)
           NORWAY (May)
           FINLAND (May/June)
           JAPAN (June/July)
            FRANCE Somme (September)
           GHANA (October/November)
2015:  ECUADOR (January/February)
            ARIZONA (April/May)
            INDONESIA Lesser Sundas (August)
           FRANCE Somme (August/September)
           BRAZIL (September/October)
2014:  SPAIN Extremadura (April)
           COLOMBIA (July/August)
          FRANCE Brittany (September)

2013: CORSICA (May)

          INDONESIA West Papua (August)

          FRANCE Normandie (September)

2012: TURKEY (June)


          Nemrut Dagi

          MALAYSIA Sarawak & Sabah (July/August) 

          FRANCE Somme (September)

2011: ETHIOPIA (February)

          TAIWAN (April/May)

2010: CHINA (May/June)
          Shanghai (Spoon-billed Sandpiper), Wuishan, Fuzhou & Xiaolongmen

          Xi’an & Yangxian (Crested Ibis)

          Pingtai (Jankowski’s Bunting)

           UGANDA (June)

2009:  VIETNAM (April)
          Cat Tien & Da Lat plateau

2008:  PHILIPPINES (April)

           NAMIBIA (July/August)
2007:  INDIA Eaglenest (April) 
2006:  PAPUA NEW GUINEA (August)
2005:  TEXAS (April)
           INDONESIA Sumatra & West Java (July)
2004:  CUBA (April)
            PAPUA NEW GUINEA (June)
2003:  JAPAN (January)
           CAMEROON (April)
2002:  CHILE (April)
           GAMBIA (November)
2000:  CHINA Quinghai (June)
1999:  ECUADOR (August/September)
1998:  AUSTRALIA and NEW CALEDONIA (July/August)
1997:  VIETNAM (March/April) 
1996:  PHILIPPINES (April)

           NEW ZEALAND (August)   

1995:  MADAGASCAR (August)

1993:  INDONESIA Irian Jaya (August)

1992:  INDONESIA Sulawesi and Halmahera (August)
1991:  SOUTH AFRICA (August)

1990:  ARGENTINA (August)

1989:  ICELAND (June)               

1988: THAILAND (March/April)
           BRAZIL (July/August)

1987:  MALAYSIA Sabah and Peninsular (July/August) 
1986:  AUSTRALIA Queensland and Northern Territory (March/April)
           ECUADOR and VENEZUELA July/August 1986
1985:  COSTA RICA and PANAMA (July/August)

1984:  PERU (July/August)

           BOTSWANA (December 1984-January 1985) 

1983:  KENYA (July/August)

1982:  MALAYSIA Peninsular (January/February)

           THAILAND (February)

            NEPAL (March/June)
          Jomson Trek

          Everest Trek

          Langtang Trek

           INDIA (June/July)


           VENEZUELA (December 1982-February 1983)

1981:  AUSTRIA (July)
1980:  CANADA (May)

            THAILAND (December 1980-January 1981)

1979:  ISRAEL (March/April)

           CANARIES (June/July)

           NEPAL (November 1979-January 1980)

1978:  THAILAND (December 1978-January 1979)

1977:  MOROCCO (April)

           KENYA (December 1977-January 1978)

1975:  CARMARGUE (May)
          included in The 1970s: Camargue, Shetland & Scillies in 1975 blog

1974:  MAJORCA (October)
          brief mention in The 1970s: finding my feet - 1974 blog