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|
|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|
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|