Sunday, 30 June 2013

Shoreham gulls and fish (22-30 June 2013)

Sunday 30 June.  Back to Shoreham Fort where a Gannet, 14 Common Scoter, 2 Curlew, 5 adult Mediterranean and 12 Black-headed Gulls and 4 Sandwich Terns flew west in an hour.  A Greater Black-backed Gull flew in with a long thin fish while 15 Swifts were flying around, some quite low over the Fort.  If only ...  Nothing on the Adur, as usual.
Greater Black-backed Gull flying in with a large wriggling fish
not sure if it caught it or it was a fisherman's throwback?  It had come in from at least  a km
very long and thin
with a long pointed bill.  Identified by Shane and Bob Self as a Garfish.  Thanks guys, I wasn't sure.
Little Egret at Shoreham Fort
rooftop gulls, these Herring chicks are well camouflaged, not that much could get them up there 
adult doing long-call, note lack of raised wings so not a Caspian Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull looking to still be on eggs
Saturday 29 June.  An hour at Shoreham Fort produced a Whimbrel in and a Curlew and 2 Swifts west (only 1318 fewer than at Beachy!!).  2 Gannets, 8 Kittiwakes and 6 Sandwich Terns were also seen as was Herring Gull GX0T.  Little was on the Adur although two Greater Black-backed Gulls having a tug-of-war with a dead eel was entertaining.  12 Swifts over the house in the evening, still not Needletail amongst them.
North Thames Herring Gull GX0T on Shoreham Beach.  It requires some imagination to read it from this image.  I got closer for a clear reading but it then flew before I could get a photo.
Greater Black-backed Gulls, most likely a pair, and dead eel

its mine ...
... no, its mine

OK, let's share it
Friday 28 June.  Two adults and two juvenile Peregrines on the chimney, a Ringed Plover on the beach and 6 Swifts over the house in the evening.

Thursday 27 June.  An adult female and two juvenile Peregrines on the chimney, a Ringed Plover on the beach, north Thames Herring Gull FS8T on Hove pitch & put and 3 Swifts over the house in the evening.  Still in shock about the Needletail.  What a bird it would have been to see.  Several that made it in time have reported it as their best bird ever in the UK.  I'm sure it would have been there or thereabouts for me to if I'd seen it.

Wednesday 26 June.  Two juvenile Peregrines on the chimney, and 4 Swifts over the house in the evening.  Shocking news that the Harris White-throated Needletail had collided with a wind-turbine and been picked up dead.  Plans to go up for it were immediately shelved.

Tuesday 25 June. Two swifts over the house.  Double checked to be sure they weren't Needetails, sadly not.

Monday 24 June.  Two swifts over the house.

Sunday 23 June.  An hour seawatching at Shoreham Fort where 2 Curlews flying west were the only evidence of movement although a few Fulmars, Gannets and Sandwich Terns were also seen and an unseasonal Great Crested Grebe.  Three Little Egrets on the Adur and two Buzzards and a Jay during a walk through Nyman's Woods with Megan.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Sussex fledglings (17-22 June 2013)

Saturday 22 June.  Seawatching from behind the beach huts at Widewater sheltering from a strong SW produced just 13 Gannets, 4 Sandwich Terns and 2 Turnstones in an hour.  It wasn't helped by visibility coming and going.  On Widewater the pair of Mute Swans with 6 cygnets.

A walk on the Downs above Lancing with Megan, taking in Cowbottom and Steepdown, was most notable for Sky Larks in full song while holding position into the wind, which if anything had strengthened.  5 Corn Buntings and a Buzzard were also seen, the former benefiting from singing from perches.

Best of all a family of 6 Dunocks (2 adults and 4 juveniles) hopping across the garden like a flock of ground babblers, brilliant.

Friday 21 June.  3 juvenile Peregrines on the Power Station nest box ledge.  They don't appear to like each other as they couldn't have been further apart without falling off - one on the NW corner, one on the middle of the southern side and one on the NE corner.  The pair of Ringed Plovers with 3 small chicks on the beach and Sandwich Terns heard offshore in the murk. 

Thursday 20 June.  3 juvenile Peregrines on the Power Station nest box ledge, presumably keeping the adults busy hunting as no sign of them.  No sign of the sitting bird Ringed Plover but a pair on the beach with 3 small chicks, BRILLIANT.   Sandwich Terns heard offshore in the murk, 9 Swifts over the house.

Wednesday 19 June.  An adult and at least two juvenile Peregrines on the nest box, i hope one hasn't fallen off.  Ringed Plover still sitting and 3 Sandwich Terns offshore.

An evening visit to Pulborough Brooks where 2 Little Ringed Plovers (distant as usual), my first Green Sandpiper of the year, two flocks of Long-tailed Tits a Jay and a calling Nightingale.

My third Woodcock census at Lavington.  Lovely evening but just 3 encounters plus three male Nightjars, heard Tawny Owl and 1000 midges.
Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders at Pulborough
Green Sandpiper at Pulborough

Tuesday 18 June.  The other Black Redstart singing from the tower behind Shed 6, Peregrine pair with 3 youngsters (2 flapping vigorously), Ringed Plover on nest, 3 Sandwich Terns offshore and 16 Swifts.

Monday 17 June.  The Peregrine pair have 3 full-sized orangey youngsters,  Black Redstart singing from the Grain Silos, The Peregrine pair with 3 youngsters, Ringed Plover sitting tight on nest (first seen doing so on 31 May, the one time I saw it leave - on 3 June - there were 4 eggs in it), Rock Pipit on the beach and 11 Swifts over our road.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Selsey and Shoreham expectations (15-16 June 2013)

Sunday 16 June.  Expecting little from a seawatch off the end of Shoreham Harbour I was pleasantly surprised to see a summer plumaged Black-throated Diver flying east as did 35 Common Scoter,  8 Sanderling and an Arctic Skua.  A Bonxie was sat on the sea rather distantly while another flew west even more distantly.  Over 200 large gulls were feeding amongst the washed up seaweed and showed a variety of plumages.  A much more satisfying two hours than over twice as long the previous day at Selsey had been.  It is as much about expectations as what you see! 
variously plumaged gulls included this very faded individual

Greater Black-backed Gull looking more attractively plumaged than usual
North Thames Herring Gull on the far breakwater - too far  to read, it didn't stay long enough for me to get any closer
North Thames Herring Gull TV6T

Later a pleasant walk around Houghton Forest and Bignor Hill with Megan in very intermittent light drizzle produced very little with Willow Warbler and Yellowhammer best.

Saturday 15 June.  The forecast of a string SW wind and recent sightings of Manx Shearwater and Storm Petrel saw John King and I heading west to Selsey Bill for a seawatch.  Moderate expectations but little seen resulted in a very disappointing session from 06:36-11:05 which produced a Shag, 115 Common Scoter, a Sanderling and 2 Arctic Skuas.  Of note at Church Norton were 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 10 Mediterranean Gulls, 3 Little Terns and a Cuckoo (heard only) while there were 10 Avocets and 20 Black-tailed Godwits on Sidlesham Ferry.  An impromptu stop at Ivy Lake produced a superb Hobby which made the trip worthwhile, 250+ Swifts and single Sand and House Martins.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Cuckmere American Golden Plover (12 June 2013)

Wednesday 12 June.  Having failed to get my act together last evening a before work visit to the Cuckmere was in order.  To my relief the American Golden Plover was still present and showing very well.  A superb find by Matt Eade and a very impressive and confiding bird.  Also there Black Swan and 4 Swallows but unfortunately no Grey-headed Wagtail - I should have gone after work instead of before!
American Golden Plover at Cuckmere Haven
a delightful bird and a very nice find by Matt Eade on his local patch
showing its very bright white supercillium very well
long primary projection and long legs evident in this image
long primary projection and long legs evident in this image
beautiful feather edgings on the mantle

the black on the belly reaching the sides and leaving no room for a white border is also a good feature of this species

a nice angle from which to see the long wings

Monday 10 June.  Both Black Redstarts seen singing (at Shed 6 and the timber yard), Peregrine, Ringed Plover and 40 Swifts over Hove seafront.

Sunday 9 June.  A low tide visit to the Adur produced one Little Egret and drained my enthusiasm for the day so i returned home to scan old trip images.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Thorney & Pagham (08 June 2013)

Saturday 8 June.  Barry Collins postings of an Osprey at Thorney Deeps, a cold NE wind and general lack of enthusiasm had John King and me heading west.  We arrived at Thorney at 07:45 and soon located the Osprey sat on the far platform at the end of Thornham Road.  It was closer than I've usually seen them at this site and after 15 minutes it flew to the nearer platform after a brief tour of the Deeps.  Half an hour later it flew almost overhead and hunted over Prinstead Channel before returning to the Great Deep where it caught a large fish (just out of our view).  It took the fish back to the original, more distant platform, and proceeded to eat it once it had stopped wriggling.  We then headed for Pagham Harbour where we saw 2 Avocets and 11 Black-tailed Godwits on Sidlesham Ferry and 7 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Mediterranean Gulls (an adult and two first-summers) and 2 Little, 2 Common and about 40 Sandwich Terns.  Earlier I'd seen a Jay and a Raven over our road while 3 Swifts were flying around later and 3 Oystercatchers were chasing each other around over the allotment.
Large raptor, near the A27 and landing lights, perhaps this is the Booted Eagle reported from the A27 (just in Hampshire) by one of the counties more notorious observers in 2010?  Well the landing lights were claimed but I think most of us would be very happy with it as an Osprey
Although the bird did not appear distressed or to have restricted mobility, the pinkish feathering at the base of its right leg did look rather like a wound?

the local crows were not keen on it although this was as close as we saw them venture
the extensive breast and might suggest that this bird is a female?  

a bit of damage to the right wing might be connected to the apparent wound mentioned above?
Avocets on Sidlesham Ferry
practising synchronised preening?
Sandwich and 2 Little Terns on Tern Island.  My first Littles of the year - I'd forgotten how small they are 

Friday 7 June.  Black Redstart seen singing from Timber Yard,  Ringed Plover on the beach, Peregrine on the Chimney.

Thursday 6 June.   Black Redstart heard at Shed 6, 2 Ringed Plover on the beach, 3 Swifts over our road.

Wednesday 5 June.   2 Ringed Plover on the beach, 6 Swifts over our road.

Tuesday 4 June.   Black Redstart heard from Timber Yard, 3 Ringed Plover on the beach.  An evening woodcock survey visit to Lavington Plantation/Common produced 3 Woodcock (6 sightings), 3 Nightjars and a Cuckoo.  no sign of any Tee Pipits where 3 were singing previously while Tawny Owls were much less vocal and a distant Wood Lark was heard briefly.

Monday 3 June.   Black Redstart heard at Timber Yard, 3 Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper (my first of the year!) on the beach, 7 Swifts over our road.