Sunday, 1 December 2013

Shoreham to Ferring (1 Dec) and Church Norton (30 Nov)

Sunday 1 December.  A dull morning with a high tide and light northerly wind seemed ideal for looking on the sea, especially as a Great Northern Diver had been seen regularly off Lancing Beach.  I left home soon after first light and cycled to Widewater, over the new footbridge to Beach Green where 2 Eider were offshore.  From Widewater another 6 Eider (by recent standards it is proving a very good winter for them) and some auks.  I continued to Lancing Beach Green stopping by the Yacht Club where Dick Eyre-Walker was watching from.  We soon found the Great Northern Diver.  It was fairly close but I realised I'd forgotten my camera.  I decided to continue on to Brooklands and from there to West Worthing where Dave Smith was seawatching and told me he'd earlier seen a Red-necked Grebe that had drifted west.  I continued in that direction stopping and scanning regularly but with no success.  At Ferring I encountered Dave again and while scanning we saw two Slavonian Grebes.  It would have been difficult to cycle further - by-laws prohibit anything approaching enjoyment from being done on the Greenswards - and it was lunchtime so I returned home.  With only a few stops it was somewhat quicker, about an hour, than going out.  On the sea, as well as the species mentioned above, I'd seen 9 Red-throated Divers, a diver sp., 151 Great Crested Grebes (including 89 in a single scan at Ferring), 50 Gannets, 4 Shelduck (flying west), 2 Wigeon, 66 Red-breasted Mergansers (all west of Brooklands), an adult Mediterranean Gull, 40+ Kittiwakes, 11 Guillemots, 54 Razorbills and 50+ unidentified auks.  Small groups of Sanderling were many beaches with flocks of 75 and 40 seen either side of Worthing.  The Mute Swan family with 5 cygnets, 21+ Little Grebe, 21 Teal, 4 Little Egrets and 2 Coot were on Widewater lagoon.

Saturday 30 November.  An enjoyable day with John King started on the beach at Church Norton just before high tide at 08:15.  During the next three hours we saw the Long-tailed Ducks, first two then the other three then all five together off the Severals.  One then split off from the others which we continued watching doing some synchronised diving fairly close to the shore.  Also offshore were a Red-throated Diver, at least 16 Slavonian Grebe, 2 female Velvet and 13 Common Scoter, 8 Eider (one a male), a Goldeneye and 16+ Red-breasted Mergansers.  A female Merlin was seen distantly on the spit while a pair of Buzzards appeared to see off an intruder.  A Firecrest was heard and seen in flight in the churchyard and 4 Goldeneye (one a male), the usual selection of waders (including the very pale Curlew) and 11 Mediterranean Gulls in the harbour.  An adult Mediterranean Gull was all that was seen during half an hour at Selsey Bill despite the tide being quite low and the sea fairly calm.  We then went to Medmerry to see what it looked like with the sea wall breached.  Rather a mess if truth be told but it certainly has potential, although will probably be a difficult place to watch.  Driving back past Arundel with the light starting to go we decided to have a quick look for the Bewick's Swans at Burpham and found 10 with 8 Mutes viewed from near the church.  Three were juveniles but they possibly only had one parent.
poor shot of two of the five Long-tailed Ducks off the Severals
Mediterranean Gull from Church Norton, others below

very pale Curlew, back at Pagham for at least its third winter (I had first seen it on 20 August 2011).
one of several very tame young Robins that was keen on anything going
this one preferred grubs from ground I'd kicked over to chocolate.  No accounting for taste!

Friday 29 November.  Both Peregrines on Southwick Power Station chimney as it was getting light on the way to work.

Thursday 28 November.  The female Peregrine on Southwick Power Station chimney on the way to work.

Wednesday 27 November.  Redwings heard over Hove while visiting my mum at 20:30.

Tuesday 26 November.  The female Peregrine on Southwick Power Station chimney on the way to work.

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