Monday, 9 January 2012

Shoreham, Burgh & West Dean Woods (07-08 January 2012)

Saturday 7 January.  A day birding with Frank Lambert started at Shoreham Harbour where we hoped the Iceland Gull might be showing.  Unfortunately it wasn't although 4 Purple Sandpipers and a Rock Pipit were seen.   Amongst the gulls on the beach Normandy Greater Black-backed Gull 70E was present along with two CR Herring Gulls - A6WS (my first sighting of a local bird) and an unread North Thames bird that was flushed onto the sea by a dog.  After about an hour and a half we relocated to Widewater where the Snow Buntings were giving excellent views and the Black Redstart was seen.  While there John King heard that the Iceland Gull had appeared by the harbour but by the time we returned it had gone.  An hour later when it hadn't reappeared Frank and I decided to cut our losses and head to the Burgh.  A good move as the Iceland wasn't seen again.  The Rough-legged Buzzard gave distant perched views while a male Hen Harrier gave a brief, close flypast, and over 30 Grey Partridges were seen.  I also saw distant Red Kite and Short-eared Owl.

Greater black-backed Gull 70E, hatched at La Poterie-Cap-d’Antifer, Seine-Maritime, Normandie on 31/05/09. Spending its third winter in the Shoreham area, it was seen at Etretat, Seine-Maritime on 21/11/11

the irresistable Snow Buntings at Widewater

distant Rough-legged Buzzard, The Burgh, 7 January

Sunday 8 January.  Rather than potentially waste more time on the elusive Iceland Gull John King and I decided to spend the morning at West Dean Woods.  After a quick look around Stapelash Farm we slowly walked up the track to Monkton Farm and spent most of our time scanning distant tree-tops from the clearing there.  This proved productive with single Hawfinch, male Crossbill and Brambling.  Also recorded were Red Kite, Little Owl, Firecrest, 5 Marsh Tits, 3 Siskins and 5 Redpoll.  We left at lunchtime and called in at the Burgh for an hour and a half.  The Rough-legged Buzzard was on view for most of this time, initially perched at a similar range to the previous day then flying/hovering over the far hillside.  Much more satisfying views although half the distance would have been nicer.  Also seen were several Buzzards, 5 Grey and a Red-legged Partridge, 40 Sky Larks, 15 Yellowhammers and 10 Corn Buntings.

Rough-legged Buzzard, The Burgh, 8 January, viewed from Peppering triangle - a similar distance to yesterday but the light seemed better today
Grey Partdige and friend at the Burgh

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