Sunday, 31 March 2013

uninspiring Shoreham (30 March-01 April 32013)

Seriously lacking in enthusiasm due to the constant cold north-easterlies I didn't venture further than Shoreham Harbour and the Adur.

Monday 1 April 2013.  Shoreham Harbour seawatch from 06.55-09.25, mostly in the company of Dick Eyre-Walker.  Just about enough was going past to keep one's interest despite lengthy periods with very little.  Passage noted was distant diver 3E & 3W, Brent Goose 64E (with another 45 seen by Dick before I arrived), Shelduck 1E, Mallard 2E, Gadwall 7E & 2 on sea, Pintail 19E, Shoveler 3E, Common Scoter 8E & 50+ on sea, Red-breasted Merganser 2E, small wader 2E, Curlew 4E, Sandwich Tern 40E & 21 roosting in the harbour and Razorbill 4E.  Also 2 Purple Sandpipers seen from the end of the West Arm on the exposed rocks half way along the east side of the East Arm.  Rock Pipit heard but not seen.
Gadwall on the sea off Shoreham Harbour
 It was little change on the Adur with the Shelduck still present as well as the two North Thames colour-ringed Herring Gulls from yesterday.  36 Lesser Black-backs was an increase although there were few Black-headed Gulls and no Meds.
Shelduck still sleeping on the Adur
2 North Thames colour-ringed Herring Gulls on the Adur.  Only once having seen the same CR gull on the Adur on consecutive days, and that a Norwegian Greater Black-back, what odds the two North Thames CR gulls seen today would be the same as the two seen yesterday?
It is rare that I'm almost glad to be going back to work but with an unchanging forecast I almost am.

Sunday 31 March 2013.  Shoreham Harbour seawatch 07:00-08:30 BST.   Great Crested Grebe just 2 on sea, Brent Goose 41E, Common Scoter 30 on sea, Peregrine 2 on the Power Station chimney, Mediterranean Gull 3 adults E, Black-headed Gull 114E, Sanwich Tern 14E and 6 on the beach inside the harbour.  Shelduck still on the Adur at low tide and two North Thames Herring Gulls.
Shelduck still on the Adur and sleeping again

Herring Gull KT4T
it was first ringed at Pitsea, Essex on 5Mrch 2011 and was first seen on the Adur a week later.  I've also seen it in December 2011, March and July 2012 and January 2013 while it was at Aldburgh, Suffolk in April 2012.
Herring Gull AU9T
Birds walking out of shot is a common problem with shutter delay when digiscoping.  AU9T is not one I've recorded before although AW9T was on the Adur in April 2012, having been ringed at Rainham on 11 February that year.   HW9T was also ringed at Rainham on 11 February 2012 and appeared on the Adur on 19 February 2012.
Saturday 30 March 2013.  Shoreham Harbour seawatch 06:35-08:05 GMT.  Diver sp. 1E, Great Crested grebe 14 on sea, Gannet 20E, Common Scoter 70 on sea, Red-breasted Merganser 1E, Sandwich Tern 36E plus c65 roosting in a tight group on Southwick Beach with another c20 very distantly roosting on Portslade Beach.  Shelduck still on the Adur at low tide but few gulls and nothing of note picked out amongst them.  Too cold to venture out again.
Shelduck still on the Adur and not always asleep ...

Friday, 29 March 2013

Shoreham and Pulborough (29 March 2013)

29 March.  Two hours from Shoreham Harbour from 06.35 in the company of Dick Eye-Walker (who'd been there since 6) produced a full summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebe on the sea although it soon flew off.  Also 2 divers and 20 Common Scoter on the sea, 9 Curlew, 4 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 47 Black-headed Gulls and 61 Sandwich Terns east and an adult Little Gull offshore.  The tide was still quite low and Greater Black-backed 04J was present amongst not many gulls on the Adur.  There was no sign of the Avocet although it had been there on Thursday when last I looked.
full summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebe off Shoreham Harbour
a rare shot with its head side on
most were like this
Red-throated Diver off Shoreham Harbour
Normandie Greater Black-backed Gull 04J
Shelduck on the Adur, not as common here as one might think
A walk up Stump Bottom with Megan was very quiet and hearing but not seeing two Mediterranean Gulls was frustrating.  A text from Paul James to tell me of some Garganey at Pulborough had me heading that way for the afternoon.  Pulborough was as good as I can remember it being with 7 Garganey (4 males & 3 females), 2 Little Ringed Plover, 14 Ruff, Barn Owl and a pair of Bullfinches.  As the sun was out I finished off at Greatham where a March Harrier, another Barn Owl and 5 Chiffchaffs were seen.  A very enjoyable day all told. 
Little Ringed Plover

Garganey and Shoveler
male and female Garganey

male Bullfinch, one of my all time favourite birds that I don't see anything like as often as I used to, or would like to

not the best shot but it shows how beautifully the colours blend

sleepy Barn Owl at Greatham

unfortunately it seems as if one of the Greatham Barn Owls wasn't as careful crossing the railway line as it should have been

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Shoreham & first signs of spring (18-24 March 2013)

Sunday 24 March 2013.  Two hours at Shoreham Fort from 06:30 produced  13 Purple Sandpipers on the inner jetty, my highest count at this site and 5 Black-tailed Godwits flew east at 06:43 (rare on a seawatch) while 2 Avocets were seen just north of the railway bridge on an afternoon visit to the Adur for low tide.

Non-waders seen were, at Shoreham Fort, a Little Gull, a male Wheatear, 7 alba Wagtails in, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers and a diver west and 2 Brent, 14 Shoveler, 2 Garganey, 2 Pintail and 16 Common Scoter while a Mediterranean Gull heard but not seen.  On the Adur 1500+ gulls, mainly Black-headed and Common but including 55 Lesser Black-backs. No Meds or colour-rings were found amongst them.

A walk around Rackham and Parham Park with Megan was fairly birdless, a Mandarin and 2 Long-tailed Tits being best.
Avocets on the Adur

another pink black-headed Gull on the Adur

even the Redsank are looking quite smart
Saturday 23 March 2013.   07.30-09.30 at Shoreham Fort, the sound of rain on the roof stopped me getting up any earlier.  It wasn't particularly pleasant but some easterly passage made it worthwhile - 5 Fulmars, 23 Gannets, 9 Brent Geese,  2 Shoveler, 6 distant duck (thought to be 4 Pintail and 2 Teal), 7 Common Scoter, 13 Grey Plover, 10 Dunlin and 4 Sandwich Terns (one stood on a floating bit of wood).  Also 12 Purple Sandpipers on the inner jetty and a Rock Pipit.  

An hour at Widewater exceeded my (very low) expectations and produced 170 Brent Geese east, 2 Shelduck on the lagoon, 11 Sanderling on the beach, 2 calling adult Mediterranean Gulls flying high west, 3 Sandwich terns on posts and last but definitely not least my first two Wheatears of the year.  

A low tide visit to the Adur added another Mediterranean Gull despite a bait digger being present and a noisy pair of displaying Greater Black-backed Gulls. 

the first Wheatear of the year is always rather special and this one on the rock groynes at Widewater was no exception

Sanderling on the beach at Widewater

Sandwich Terns at Widewater

that feels better ...
this one was ringed
but it was either plain or any writing had faded away
Drop the Pilot, or rather pick him up off Shoreham Harbour
Friday 22 March 2013.  Didn't cycle due to unrealised poor weather forecast and aching knee so somewhat typically both Wheatear and Black Redstart were seen along my route, although perhaps not obviously enough for me to have seen them.

Thursday 21 March 2013.   Peregrine on Southwick Power Station chimney, Herring Gull A4AH at the University of Sussex and 2000 gulls on the beach/sea west of Millionaire's Row - mostly Common but one adult Mediterranean was seen.  40 Greater Black-backed Gulls by the Lock gates.   No Wheatears or Black Redstarts. 

Wednesday 20 March 2013.  2 Peregrines flying around Southwick Power Station chimney, singing Rock Pipit opposite Carot's Cafe.  30 Turnstones on the beach west of Millionaire's Row but no Wheatears or Black Redstarts. 

Monday-Tuesday 18-19 March 2013. 1- 2 Peregrines on Southwick Power Station chimney, regular Herring Gull A4AH at the University of Sussex.