Saturday, 16 February 2013

Goring to Thorney (16 February 2013)

Saturday 16 February.  Another enjoyable day out with John King.  We started at Goring Gap at about 07:50 and had just walked to the western end of the beach when the Snow Bunting flew in calling from the NW and landed on the beach in front of us.  It gave excellent views between being flushed by occasional joggers and walkers although the light wasn't brilliant for photography.
male Snow Bunting at Goring Gap

it was a lot harder to pick out when on the shingle although was usually less disturbed there

We headed west to try and track down the Whooper Swans that had been seen during the week at Lidsey although the news that they had not been found the previous day was somewhat disheartening.  We tried Barnham Court, Lidsey Sewage Works & Lodge and Honer Lane but the best we could come up with were 3 Chiffchaffs and a Grey Wagtail at the Sewage Works.  With the tide about half-way in Fishbourne seemed a reasonable bet but although we found the Black Brant quite quickly waders proved more difficult with just John seeing Greenshank and our only adding the wintering Whimbrel as we were leaving.  Another Grey Wagtail and 2 Rock Pipits were the best of the rest.  
Black Brant with Brent Geese at Fishbourne (the Brant is the lefthand of the two back birds)
Black Brant (left) with Brents.  Showing white collar joining at the front, dark back and white flanks
With the tide pretty much in we headed for Thorney Deeps.  This proved successful with a walk along to the western security gate at the Great Deep producing 2 Spotted Redshank, 9 Greenshank, Kingfisher, 2 Cetti's Warblers singing and chasing each other and a Water Rail (with at least 3 more heard).
Spotted Redshank, a much better bird than this image suggests.  The second bird seen had a selection of coluor ringa
colour-ringed Greenshank
normally I get quite excited seeing colour-ringed birds but knowing these have been ringed in Chichester Harbour rather takes the edge off them, also they do look rather like a very young child's attempt at making a bead bracelet

Sunday 10 February.  Two hours on my usual Shoreham circuit produced 11 Purple Sandpipers roosting at high tide on the inner eastern arm of Shoreham Harbour with a Rock Pipit nearby, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers (1 male) on Widewater and a Red-throated Diver on the sea.  as it was high tide I thought I'd skip the Adur by the airfield and try the saltings but the Adur Rec car-park was full and it was raining so I went home.

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