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.

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