Monday, 16 April 2012

mostly Shoreham (14-17 April 2012)

A few bits from the bike during the last week included 1-2 Peregrines on Southwick Power Station chimney most days, a singing Rock Pipit by Carat's Cafe on 12 April and a male Wheatear on Southwick Beach on 11 April.

Saturday 14 April.  Seawatching from the end of Shoreham Harbour from 06.45-08.15 produced the following in a stiff ENE wind:  Great Crested Grebe 2 on sea, Gannet 3E:1W, Common Scoter 9E, Grey Plover 2E, Great Skua 1E (at 07:40), Arctic Skua 1E, Mediterranean Gull 2 adults E, Kittiwake 7E, Sandwich Tern 23E:12W and Common Tern 4E.  A Willow Warbler was calling near the car park, a Peregrine on the power station chimney and 6 Purple Sandpipers and 37 Turnstone on the harbour's inner arm.

I later joined John King to walk around Cissbury, my first visit in absolutely years, but we were unable to find the Ring Ouzels seen there recently and 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Long-tailed Tits and a Yellowhammer were the highlights.

We called in at the Adur at low tide and, avoiding bait diggers, was a colour-ringed Herring Gull and an Avocet. 

North Thames Herring Gull AX2T
Avocet on the Adur
with tasty morsel

Sunday 15 April.  Seawatching off Shoreham Fort from 06:30-07:45 was poor, not too surprising in the cold NW wind, producing just 10 Gannets and 19 Sandwich Terns east and 1 Shelduck and 5 Sandwich Terns west.  59 Turnstones were on the inner arm at high tide but only 1 Purple Sandpiper was with them.  A North Thames colour-ringed Herring Gull was seen twice around the harbour but on both occasions flew off before its ring could be read. An early afternoon walk around Mill Hill with Megan was even less productive with just two Chiffchaffs heard.   The presence of bait diggers, visible from Mill Hill, ruled out a visit to the Adur.

Tuesday 17 April.  News of an Iberian Chiffchaff at Apuldram Church got me cycling home early.  How often is it against the wind when I'm in a hurry!  I finally left home at 5pm but just as I hit traffic on the Shoreham fly-over I received a phone call from DC saying it wasn't all he was expecting (in song or plumage).  This news, the solid traffic ahead of me and knowing the tide was low caused a timely diversion onto the airport and a look at the Adur.  Two new for me colour-ringed gulls, a Normandie Greater Black-back and what is presumably a North Thames Herring.  Also my first Whimbrel for the year and a presumed first-summer Lesser Black-backed Gull providing my usual struggle to age as its mantle appears to be older than the coverts.  Still, beats being stuck in traffic from Lancing to Worthing, and Arundel and around Chichester ...
Normandie Greater Black-backed Gull 18E, a female ringed as a chick at F├ęcamp, Seine-Maritime in 2009 and seen there three times in 2011 
18E in a rare moment when not preening
Herring Gull M8BT
a North Thames bird sporting one of their new rings
Lesser Black-backed Gull, presumbly an advanced first summer?

with first-summer Herring Gull
distinctive crown stripe of a ...
... Whimbrel, my first this year

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