Monday 01 March. I seawatched from Widewater in a light/moderate NE but saw very little. Birds might have been passing at distance, it was murky with Rampion not visible, but I doubt it. Flying east I saw a single Gannet off-shore and an Oystercatcher, 16 Turnstones and a Pied Wagtail long the beach. A Guillemot, Red-throated Diver and 3 Great Crested Grebes were on the sea and that was pretty much it. I met Megan and Cookie at the end of Harbour Way and saw 15 Cormorants and a probable Shag on the east arm of Shoreham Harbour, 4 Turnstones and 2 fishermen under the wooden jetty and nothing from the boardwalk. Megan took Cookie home and I wandered around Adur Rec waiting for the rising tide. I saw yesterday's Avocet and a Grey Plover just north of the railway line before looking over the saltings from the RSPB viewpoint. It was a big tide (6.5m) and most birds were forced to show themselves. I counted 14 Teal, 2 Oystercatchers, the Avocet, 4 Lapwings, 2 Curlew (a third eluded me), a Knot, 4 Dunlin, 53 Common Snipe, 45 Redshank, the wintering Greenshank, Grey Heron and 3 Reed Buntings.
Sunday 28 February. Megan and I took Cookie to Dacre Gardens and walked west along the South Downs Way past the Annington pig city to the Steyning-Sompting Road. There we headed south almost to Steepdown and returned via Coombe Head and Botolphs. It took 2.5 hours and for the first time in ages we tired Cookie out. She only has small legs and it was further than we'd realised - 6 miles when I measured it on a map. We saw 3 Grey Herons, Buzzard, 2 Ravens, 12 Sky Larks, 45 Fieldfares, male Stonechat, 9 Pied Wagtails, 3 Chaffinches and a Reed Bunting. Later I cycled down to the Adur to successfully look for the Avocet.
|Avocet (and Black-headed Gull) on the Adur|
|it was quite happy swimming|
Saturday 27 February. Cookie and I had a three hour walk on the Downs around Beeding Hill (the NT car park-Monarch's Way-Truleigh Hill-Room Bottom triangle). I saw 29 species including 2 Stock Doves, 9 Buzzards, Peregrine, 2 Ravens, 39 Sky Larks, Goldcrest, 7 Redwings, 9 Dunnocks, 24 Meadow Pipits, 5 Chaffinches, 2 Greenfinches and 2 Corn Buntings. The Sky Larks were the clear highlight with a few more singing that weren't seen.
Friday 26 February. Megan and I took Cookie to Steepdown seeing Red Kite, 2 Buzzards, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Kestrel, 2 Jays, 24 very vocal Sky Larks, Long-tailed Tit, 3 Stonechats, 2 Meadow Pipits, a Linnet and 8 Corn Buntings. Low tide on the Adur was disappointing, and quite busy with canoeists and bait-diggers. I saw a Grey Plover and 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls.
|no longer an exceptional sighting locally although always nice to see|
|this was one of my best ever views|
|Kestrel on Steepdown|
Thursday 25 February. I seawatched from Widewater in a light westerly with poor to moderate visibility before walking along to look for roosting waders at Golden Sands. Flying east I saw 5 Brent Geese, 10 adult Mediterranean Gulls (with another 2 briefly on the lagoon), 2 Red-throated Divers (2 also flew west) and a Fulmar. Two Great Crested Grebes, 2 auks and a diver were on the sea while 2 Teal, 14 Ringed Plover, 13 Turnstones and 2 Dunlin were also seen. On the Adur Saltings on a falling tide I saw 6 Teal, 11 Oystercatchers, a/the Curlew, 23 Redshank and the wintering Greenshank. A low tide visit to the Adur added 14 adult Mediterranean Gulls in the roost, 2 Little Egrets and a Kingfisher. At dusk 60 Jackdaws flew over the Red Lion.
|view out to sea from Widewater with the murk slowly clearing|
|Redshank on the Adur Saltings|
|Greenshank on the Adur Saltings|
Wednseday 24 February. I took Cookie to Widewater where we seawatched recording the following: Brent Goose 14E, Great Crested Grebe 2 on sea, Black-headed Gull 15E, Mediterranean Gull 4E (adults) and Razorbill 1E. No Gannets, duck or divers. A walk along to Golden Sands produced a single Sanderling and 4 Ringed Plover amongst a flock of about 120 Dunlin. At Shoreham Fort 2 Purple Sandpipers were dodging waves under the wooden jetty and a Peregrine was perched on the Power Station. At low tide a flock of mainly Common and Black-headed Gulls totaling over 1300 was roosting on exposed sandbank opposite the airport. I counted 32 Mediterranean Gulls on a single scan, a record for me at this site, although there were probably more. All were adult apart from a second-winter bird. None were colour-ringed which was disappointing although a Hamburg ringed Common Gull made up for it as it was one I'd seen here in November 2015. Also on the Adur was a Ringed (but no Grey) Plover, 2 Dunlin and a Kingfisher. The latter was my first sighting for almost 3 weeks, having bumped into them around Shoreham practically every other day during January.
|Purple Sandpiper at Shoreham Fort|
|and then there were two|
|German Common Gull A72K, not that the ring is readable in my poorly digiscoped images. It was ringed as an adult in Hamburg in June 2014 and seen on the Adur in November 2015|
|Mediterranean Gulls in a more spacious part of the Adur roost|