Monday, 21 November 2011

Sussex - is it really worth it? (15-20 November 2011)

Tuesday 15 November 2011.  An early afternoon meeting at Brighton University gave me the chance to look at the east arm of Shoreham Harbour on the way home where 2 Rock Pipits were seen briefly.  A peregrine was also seen on the power station chimney.

Wednesday 16 & Friday 18 November 2011.  A peregrine was seen on the power station chimney as I cycled by on the way to work.

Saturday 19 November 2011.  Feeling unenthused I cycled to Shoreham Harbour, Widewater and the Adur seeing a Grey Plover on the Adur, Guillemot in the harbour entrance and 2 Goldcrests at New Salts Farm.  Despite the tide being low there were no colour-ringed gulls on the Adur although those that were there were soon disturbed by bait diggers and flew off.  On returning home I decided to try for the Yellow-browed Warbler which had been seen again at Pulborough although it had not been seen for over two hours when I arrived.  Three hours of unproductive searching produced 25 Fieldfares, a Redwing, 3 Goldcrests, 7 fly-over Crossbills and 2 Bullfinches.  I decided to cut my losses and went on to Greatham where a Barn and 3 Short-eared Owls saved the day.  Also at Greatham 30 Fieldfares flew into roost and Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler were heard.

Fieldfare at Pulbouough - it is in there somewhere
Nuthatch at Pulborough
Short-eared Owl in poor light at Greatham
Sunday 20 November 2011.  After more indecision I decided to give Beachy a final go for the autumn.  It was very pleasant walking around but few birds were seen with the Birling-Crowlink circuit particularly unproductive.  Birds recorded included 3 Peregrines, Red-legged Partridge, Golden Plover (heard), 80 Sky Larks, Black Redstart, 2 Stonechats, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Goldcrests, 2 Treecreepers, 155 Goldfinches (flying E), 4 Redpolls (only 1 seen) and Siskin (heard).  I decided to try an 'owls save the day' repeat but hit fog by the old cement works and didn't bother getting out of the car at Beeding Brooks it was so thick.

Robin at Birling - not the bird with a red throat I was hoping for
Stonechat at Birling - sometimes this is as good at Beachy gets

Monday, 14 November 2011

Margate Eastern Black Redstart (13 November 2011)

Sunday 13 November.  I was keen to see the ‘Eastern’ Black Redstart at Margate, particularly after reading David Cooper’s blog, but was concerned that it may not stay.  A family gathering in Hove for my father’s 87th birthday meant I only had the morning free so waiting for news was not an option.  I picked John King up outside Burgess Hill at 05:45 and we arrived at Palm Bay at 07.30 am.  The bird was on view for virtually all the time we were there and we watched it for over two hours before dragging ourselves away.  Also seen was a very dull normal Black Redstart (any other would have looked dull compared to the Eastern but this one appeared to be particularly so) and a colour-ringed petrosus Rock Pipit (black AHP on yellow) ringed 1266km away on 12 August 2011 at Makkevika (Giske Ornithological Station) (62.30N-06.02E), Giske, Møre & Romsdal, Norway.  Despite being from Scandinavia all Rock Pipits at Giske are apparently petrosus rather than littoralis.  This is at variance with the literature (Migration Atlas, Wagtails & Pipits, BWP etc) but those on Giske should know as they are handling birds in the summer when it would be more obvious to which race they belong?  Ring-necked Parakeets were heard a couple of times while we were there and 7 briefly flew out over the cliff edge on one occasion.

Rock Pipit AHP ringed 1266km away in Norway in August

Eastern Black Redstart at Margate, one of the birds of the autumn
Black Redstart at Margate, rarely are they made to look so drab

The Burgh (12 November 2011)

Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 November.  A Peregrine was on Southwick Power Station chimney on the way to work.

Saturday 12 November.  Called in at Climping with John King on our way to the Burgh.  No sign of the hoopoe (again) in an hour and a half during which time a few finches went over with 5 Redpolls seen flying east and both Brambling and Siskin heard.  We continued on to the Burgh where a number of other observers were looking for the Rough-legged Buzzard.  We saw it well twice for prolonged periods during the several hours we were there but it was generally rather distantly and although nice not the most impressive individual I have seen.  The day degenerated into a social gathering discussing some of the more outlandish reports and write-ups of rarities in the county this autumn!  Also recorded were 1-2 Red Kites, 2 ring-tailed Hen Harriers, 7+ Buzzards, 22 Grey and 2 Red-legged Partridges, 4 Stock Doves, 40 Sky Larks and 2 Corn Buntings.

distant Rough-legged Buzzard at the Burgh

Monday, 7 November 2011

Shoreham area (01-06 November 2011)

Tuesday 1-Friday 4 November 2011:  One or two peregrines were seen on Southwick Power Station chimney each morning on the way to work with 35 Greenfinches on the beach on 2nd.

Saturday 5 November 2011:  A visit to the Adur at low tide produced a Little Egret, Peregrine, 56 Ringed and a Grey Plover, 28 Dunlin, 400 Herring Gulls (of which 5 were colour-ringed) and a delightful Kingfisher catching a very small fish.

local Herring Gull A2FA, previously seen on the Adur in July and December 2010.  It was ringed as an orphan in Hastings in August 2003 and was seen in Cambridge that winter before returning to the South Coast where it was seen at Hastings in September 2005 and Dungeness in April 2007
local Herring Gull A3KA roosting on a sandbar in the River Adur at low tide
North Thames Herring Gull AR4T at low tide roost
North Thames Herring Gull UT7T, previously seen on the Adur in August, it was ringed at Pitsea as a 3CY on 19 March 2011
North Thames Herring Gull YW7T, previously seen on the Adur on 27 November 2010 having been ringed at Pitsea as a 1CY on 6 November 2010.
Little Egret hunting in the Adur at low tide


few British birds are as good as this
Sunday 6 November 2011:  A couple of hours on Mill Hill produced a Sparrowhawk, 70 Wood Pigeons, 3 Redwing, a Siskin and 12 Redpolls.  A visit to the Adur at low tide produced a Little Egret, 98 Greater Black-backed Gulls (of which 3 were colour-ringed) and the Kingfisher put on another good display although the light was much poorer.

Norwegian Greater Black-backed Gull JY22, prevoiusly seen on the Adur in November 2010 and intermittantly since miod September 2011
Presumed Normandie Greater Black-backed Gulls 68H an d98H (not to be confused with H86 & H89!) roosting on the Adur at low tide

Kingfisher - still a stunner in poor light but rather less photogenic