Sunday, 18 March 2012

Shoreham (12-18 March 2012)

Monday 12-Friday 16 March.  Brief stops at the King Alfred on the way to work produced up to 44 Great Crested Grebes each day with a flock of 70 Brent Geese flying east on 17th and 3 Sandwich Terns west and a Razobill on the sea on 18th.  1-2 Peregrines were on southwick Power Station chimney each day too.  My bike chain broke on Wednesday just as I arrived at work.  Ever since the same thing happened last year and I ended up walking halfway home I've carried a spare link and extractor so was readily able to fix it. 

Saturday 17 March.  With poor weather forecast it didn't seem worth going very far so I concentrated on my local circuit around Shoreham.  Six Purple Sandpipers were on the inner side of the west arm when I arrived at 06.30 and seawatching for the next hour of so produced 109 Brent Geese flying east (including two flocks of over 40), a Sandwich Tern east, a Red-breasted Merganser west and a Razorbill on the sea.  Back on the inner arm were now ten Purple Sandpipers, a record for me, and a probable Scandinavian Rock Pipit.  Halfway through the seawatch a lone Brent Goose flew past and landed on the sea off the harbour entrance.  The sentementalist in me was very pleased when it flew off to join the next flock (of 13) that flew by 15 minutes later, although it took it several minutes to catch up with them.  A quick look at Widewater produced a small duck out on its own that momentarily had me thinking might be a Garganey, until I got my bins up to see it was a female Teal - a reminder, if i needed one, that my WW is Widewater and not Weir Wood!

I'd only been back home 15 minutes when I received a text from Paul James letting me know there were 3 Wheatears at Shoreham Fort which was rather annoying as I'd only been there just over an hour earlier.  I was going out again anyway to check the Adur at  low tide so brought my plans forward and cycled back to the Fort.  No sign of the wheatears in deteriorating weather.  I continued west, part walking along the beach, part cycling on the track until Brooklands without success.  The return was much better with 2 rather bedraggled looking Wheatears on the beach almost immediately and another by the beach huts on Lancing Green.  Also the wind/rain was behind me.  So I saw 3 wheatears but not the ones I'd set out to look for.  A reasonable number of gulls on the Adur on the falling tide included two with colour-rings, a North Thames herring and a normandie Greater Black-backed. 

All in all a satisfying day despite the weather, made even better by replacing the Rear mechanism on my bike (it not changing gear very well) being relatively straight forward.  Wear and tear on the bike isn't too surprising given the milage it does.  I'm just short of 1500 trips to work, equivalent to one and a quarter times around the Equator (but unfortunately without the exotic species that would go with it).

Purple Sandpipers at Shoreham Harbour, the ten recorded is my biggest ever flock here

North Thames Herring Gull YK7T, my first sighting of this bird although I've seen YW7T here in November 2010 and November/December 2011
Normandie Greater Black-backed Gull 48G on the Adur, another first sighting for me although I was expecting it to be 49G that was on the Adur last Saturday!
Sunday 18 March.  An early morning visit to Shoreham Fort was rewarded with a female Black Redstart and male and female Wheatears.  Seven Purple Sandpipers were on the inner arm with somewhat better views of the Scandinavian Rock Pipit there too.  40 Brent Geese and 4 scoter flew east but at great distance and 2 Sandwich Terns and a Gannet were the only other species noted offshore.  Both Peregrines were on Southwick Power station chimney.  A quick look at Widewater produced nothing of note while a low tide check of the gulls on the Adur later in the day revealed a Norwegian Greater black-backed.

poor shot of Scandinavian Rock Pipit at Shoreham Fort

female Wheatear at Shoreham Fort
male Wheatear at Shoreham Fort, few spring migrants are as eagerly anticipated

and few are as stunning

Norwegian Greater Black-backed Gull JH350 on the Adur at low tide

1 comment:

  1. Your wheatear photos are lovely :-) What camera and lens do you use?
    I have put some photos of birds seen on the Adur Estuary near the flood arch (Brighton Road end) on Flickr at
    My camera is pretty old so they are not the same sort of quality as yours.


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