Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Still local (19-22 September)

Tuesday 22 September. I took Cookie up to Mill Hill and spent 07:30-08:10 looking for yesterday's Spotted Flycatchers without success. I saw 20 House Martins, 8 Chiffchaffs, 30 Blackcaps, 3 Whitethoats, 20+ Blackbirds, 5 Song Thrushes and 2 Bullfinches and heard Siskin. We drove on to Beeding Hill and walked the triangle around it from 08:20-11:50, visiting the escarpment behind Truleigh Hill. This produced Great Spotted Woodpecker, 7 Kestrels, 2 Jays, 2 Ravens, 21 Sky Larks, 3 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 4 Chiffchaffs, 3 Blackcaps, 3 Whitethoats, Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whinchats, 17 Stonechats, 14 Wheatears, 14 alba Wagtails (several White contenders) , 105 Meadow Pipits, 115 Linnets and a Yellowhammer. I also heard Siskin

one of several Wheatears on Beeding Hill




Sky Lark on Beeding Hill, the first time this autumn I've seen any number (21) on this circuit

Stonechat on Beeding Hill, my highest count (17) on this circuit 


Whinchat near Truleigh Hill

most have gone through by now so nice to see three today

potential White Wagtail on Truleigh Hill

Spotted Flycatcher on Truleigh Hill escarpment


Monday 21 September. Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill. We were a little later than usual and were astounded to see hundreds of Common Blue butterflies resting on grass stems to catch the sun. We estimated at least 400 were west of the path between the lower car park and the steps. Returning an hour later many fewer were present (50, if that). There were at least 150 along the lower path and 50 around the top. We also crossed paths with 9-10 Clouded Yellows. Birds seen included Sparrowhawk, Jay, 30 Swallows, 50 House Martins, 4 ChiffchaffsReed Warbler, 4 Blackcaps, Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher (6 were seen soon after), a very distant Whinchat, 3 Stonechats and 10 Meadow Pipits while Siskins were heard. I didn't find time to return to look for the Spotted Flycatchers, cycling into Hove for a dental appointment.

Common Blue on Mill Hill, one of at least 600 seen

Clouded Yellow on Mill Hill

Reed Warbler on Mill Hill




Spotted Flycatcher on Mill Hill

at the time I was pleased with one, until I learnt that I'd missed another five

Sunday 20 September
. Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands. It was busy and predictably few birds were seen - just 2 Buzzards, Green Woodpecker, 6 Swallows and a Chiffchaff with 2 Cetti's Warblers heard.

Saturday 19 September. I took Cookie up for a quick look around Mill Hill where we saw Jay, Swallow, 13 Chiffchaffs, 7 Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, 5 Mistle Thrushes and 45 Siskins (flying east in two flocks). Late morning with Megan we met my sister Anna and her husband Ian in Pycombe and walked up to Wolstenbury. We saw Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20 Swallows, 2 Blackcaps, a Yellow Wagtail and 7 Siskins. We finished the day with a short walk along Shoeham beach boardwalk seeing nothing of note.

Chiffchaff on Mill Hill

Megan and Anna at Wolstenbury with Truleigh Hill and Chanctonbury in the distance

Newtimber Hill from Wolstenbury

Jack and Jill from Wolsenbury



Friday, 18 September 2020

Staying local (16-18 September)

Friday 18 September. Cookie and I walked from Lancing Ring car park across to Coombes and back via Steepdown for probably the first time this year. Despite a strong NE wind I saw 8 Stock Doves, 4 Buzzards, 2 Hobbies (an adult then a juvenile), 2 Ravens, 10 Swallows, 4 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, 4 Stonechats, 10 Wheatears, 3 Mistle Thrushes, 16 Yellow Wagtails, 30 Meadow Pipits, 180+ Linnets and 15 Siskins.

Stonechat at Cowbottom


another Stonechat

Wheatears at Cowbottom



Hobby near Coombe Head




part (2/3rds?) of the Linnet flock, I estimated 140 at the time but there are 129 in this image

Cookie tried to help



Thursday 17 September. I took Cookie up to Beeding Hill for what has become a regular walk (anti-clockwise from the car park avoiding roads where possible). I saw Sparrowhawk, 8 Kestrels, 20 Swallows, 7 Chiffchaffs, 6 Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, 3 Whinchats, 2 Stonechats, 15 Wheatears, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 100 Meadow Pipits, 90 Linnets and 3 Yellowhammers Later Megan, Josh, Cookie and I visited Sheffield Park where I saw Coal Tit, Nuthatch and a flock of 12 Crossbills.

Wheatear near Beeding Hill

Whinchat near Truleigh Hill


another Whinchat

Yellowhammer at Truleigh Hill

view east from the escarpment by Truleigh Hill

Cookie, Megan and Josh on the woodland walk in Sheffield Park

Wednesday 16 September. Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill where I saw Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, 10 Swallows and 200 House Martins (flying north in a 10 minute period), 14 Chiffchaffs, 11 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, 10 Robins and a flock of 18 Siskins which flew east. Returning home a flock of 39 Siskins flew east as I was locking the car. An evening low-tide visit to the Adur produced 2 Oystercatchers, 21 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 300+ Black-headed, single adult Common and Mediterranean and 900+ Herring Gulls and 6 Little Egrets.

Common Blue at Mill Hill, presumably a very blue female