Sunday, 13 January 2013

Shoreham area & Burton MP (12-13 January 2013)

13 January.  I gave the bike a rest and drove to Shoreham Fort for dawn.  With little wind I was hoping to see the Black Redstart but no joy.  Very little was moving on the sea so I went to Widewater to check the scoter flock.  With a tide only half-way in and a calm sea they were much easier to see but the closest 70 were all Common (and just one a male). a more distant 30-40 appeared to all be Common too.  Three Red-throated Divers were on the sea and six flew east as did a handful of unidentified auks.  Four Red-breasted Mergansers (all female/immatures)  were on the lagoon and seven Sanderling on the beach. 

Late morning Megan and I walked from Goring Gap to Ferring and back.  We saw five Mediterranean Gulls at the former, eight Grey Plover at the latte and nothing between.

In the afternoon I met up with John King near Beeding.  I was a bit early and saw an adult Mediterranean Gull while waiting.  We looked at Amberley Wildbrooks (7 Ruff, 300+ Black-tailed Godwits but no hoped for Bewick's) and Burton Mill Pond.  A Bittern flew into the reeds in the NE corner at 4.40pm but disappeared.  We stayed on, moving to the viewing platform, feeling that there was a good chance it would climb the reeds to roost.  It gave good views, albeit in worsening light, as it did so ten minutes later.  After five minutes it flew a bit closer and almost next to it a second bird climbed the reeds about 40m from us.  Eventually with the light almost gone this bird flew to the NW corner of the mill pond.  A superb end to what had been a frustrating weekend (no pics:-().

12 January.  Rain and a strong SE wind made deciding to cycle my usual circuit the wrong option.  The tide was high but no Purple Sandpipers could be found around the Harbour where there was very little other than a good easterly passage of Brent Geese.  Widewater offered more shelter from the wind but the scoter flock were constantly disappearing in troughs and so hard to check.  A single Wigeon with them was all I could pick out. Brent were still moving with 335 seen in the two hours I was looking intermittently along the coast.   Four Red-breasted Mergansers (one adult male)  were on the lagoon and two Sanderling on the beach. A very high tide revealed at least 80 Teal and 50 Snipe on the Adur Saltings.

11 January.  Lunchtime in a very quiet Stanmer Park produced single Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Jay.

08 January.  Herring Gull A4AH footpaddling at the University of Sussex.

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