Tuesday 30 June 2009

mainly Sussex (January-June 2009)

The following images were taken in Sussex during 2009, before I started a blog.

and next year's Christmas Card is ...  Robin at Burton Mill Pond on 4 January.

King Eider off Pett Level on 17 January
one of the very best birds I've seen in Sussex although having missed it the previous week end I was convinced that I had blown my only chance.  It was with some relief that we heard it had reappeared and some epic driving from Martin Casemore got us there in record time
one of the Waxwings at Windmill Hill on 24 January
Waxwing practising juggling
a bird one rarely tires of seeing
First-winter (2CY) Glaucous Gull at Newhaven on 25 January
very dark underparts
looking less of a brute in this image
sadly it seems the bird became entangled in fishing line and perished
similar aged (first-winter/2CY) Iceland Gull on Southwick Beach on 31 January
provided a nice contrast with the Newhaven Glaucous

pale Chiffchaff seen briefly at Coldwaltham Sewage Works on 7 February
Red-breasted Goose at East Head on 14 February
the Iceland Gull was photographed again on 15 February, even worse than previously, this time on Southwick Canal

Red-breasted Goose in the fields at West Wittering car park on 21 February

it occasionally took flight

on a return visit on 23 February the Red-breasted Goose was just inside Chichester Harbour

one of the Waxwings in Goring on 21 February

a show-off when eating
Long-eared Owl at Stump Bottom on 1 March.  A walk with Megan coincided with a downland fun run which appeared to have disturbed a pair of these superb birds.  Sadly the site no longer seems to be active.

Hawfinch at Arundel on 7 March
poor flight shot showing distinctive wing panel

Tree Pipit on Stanley Common on 4 May
Wood Lark on Stanley Common on 4 May
perhaps my all-time favourite songster
Nightingale at Coldwaltham on 4 May, not a bad songster either ...

Whimbrel on the Adur on 16 May, my first efforts at digiscoping

Black-winged Pratincole at Grove Ferry on 23 May.  A rare but very enjoyable twitch outside of Sussex with Martin Casemore
drake Garganey at Grove Ferry on 23 May.
baby Tawny Owl at Stodmarsh on 23 May
male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker at nest-hole near Horsham on 25 May
Oriental Pratincole at Pagham Nortrh Wall on 29 May, although few realised its true identity at the time
despite all the relevant features being very apparent
I mistakenly thought all Orientals should show peachy flanks and ruled it out on that basis while completely discounted the lack of a pale trailing edge to the primaries and the short out tail.
I even talked myself out of arguing that it would be very unlikely for both tail feathers to be broken so evenly ...
the extent of red at the base of the bill and the thickness of the black throat surround also point to Oriental but it is easy to spot that with hindsight
of those seeing the bird only Tim Edwards was adamant that it was an Oriental but his opinion was largely discounted
back at the Lesser Spots on 30 May both parents were visiting regularly, here the female with a young males head evident in the nest hole
female feeding young female
young male
Ringed Plover's nest on Southwick Beach on 4 June, three eggs hatched but only one youngster survived to become full-grown
Whitethroat near Lancing College on 7 June

Grey Heron at Abersoch, North Wales on 16 June on an abortive Royal Tern twitch
another Ringed Plover's nest on Southwick Beach, this one also produced one fully-grown youngster
one of the adults