Sunday, 7 April 2013

Shoreham & Seaford (06-07 April 2013)

2 April 2013.  Four Yellowhammers on Richmond Hill
3 April 2013.  Two Redwings on Richmond Hill.
4 April 2013.  One Nuthatch and two Jays on Richmond Hill.

5 April 2013.  I cycled to work for first time in two weeks and was rewarded with a superb male Black Redstart on the beach just east of the Power Station.  On the way home I finally caught up with the female type Black Redstart on Portslade Beach while an adult Yellow-legged Gull there was my first this year.  Further on the male Black Redstart was again on the beach before flying over/behind the sewage works.

6 April 2013.  Seawatched from the end of Shoreham Harbour from 06:55-10:55.  Very clear with a cold northerly wind.  Little variety but very good numbers of Brent Geese (1150) and Mediterranean (32) and Black-headed Gulls (1260) moving east with a constant stream of the latter seen by Dick Eyre-Walker in the half hour before I arrived. Also seen flying east were seven distant divers (with two Red-throated on the sea), 5 Whimbrel and 138 Sandwich Terns with at one stage 49 of the latter roosting on the Lifeboat Pier.  Eleven Purple Sandpipers were seen on the inner jetty as the tide came in with it quite likely that the other two were out of sight.  

A later walk with Megan behind Southwick Power Station failed to find yesterday's Black Redstart but two high flying adult Mediterranean Gulls were nice.  A low tide visit to the Adur was very quiet.  The 34 Mediterranean Gulls seen were all adults and all in twos, or multiples thereof.  Most were heard calling with many only detected that way.  Are migrating Mediterranean Gulls already paired?   This might explain why they are so vocal?
interestingly moulted Herring Gull with the top half looking much older than the bottom 
Border Force 'Searcher' leaving Shoreham Harbour
7 April 2013.  A change in the weather and a light south-easterly forecast made me hopeful of a good seawatch.  I met John King at Splash Point, Seaford and we watched from the groyne.  We were later joined by Bob Self and Ron Knight who had been in one of the shelters.  Easterly passage was steady without ever being manic and continued pretty well until early afternoon.  Between 06:30-14:45, by which time it had dropped right off, I recorded 319 divers (43 ID'd as Red-throated and 5 as Black-throated), 2159 Brent Geese (including 2 Pale-bellied), 1 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 7 Eider (5 males), 805 Common Scoter, 3 Velvet Scoter (1 male), 27 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Avocets, 57 Curlew, 41 Mediterranean Gulls (2 second-summers and the rest adults, most but not all paired), 15 Little Gulls and 154 Sandwich Terns.  Also 3 Greylag and 5 Canada Geese flew inland up the Ouse and a Whimbrel was heard.  No commic terns or skuas were seen which was a little surprising.  A very enjoyable seawatch with steady stream of birds, some of the less regular ones and good company.  It fully vindicated my desertion of Shoreham Harbour where I'm sure many of the birds would have been unidentifiable dots on the horizon.

A low tide visit to the Adur on the way home produced just 6 Teal, 2 Grey Plover and nothing of note amongst the roosting/washing gulls.
Brent Geese off Splash Point, Seaford
classic examples of not keeping a straight horizon

some were very close
unpaired Mediterranean Gull over one of Seaford's pink buoys

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