Sunday 23 February 2014

Littlehampton (23 February 2013)

After a quick look at Southwick Canal which produced distant telescope views of the first-winter Glaucous Gull hanging in the wind over the eastern end (I was at the hut opposite the Power Station) I headed to Littlehampton as I was keen to see the Kumlien's Gull in decent light.  Both it and the second winter Glaucous Gull were showing well, when not being disturbed by photographers, dogs or the lifeboat crew doing an exercise.  Also 215 Mediterranean Gulls, mostly adults but one first winter and about 10 second winters.  I came back via Goring Gap where I saw another 6 Mediterranean Gulls (5 adults and one second-winter) and an adult Little Gull over Brooklands while stopped at the traffic lights.
Second-winter Glaucous Gull at Littlehampton showing its pale eye

how close do some people need to get?
although this time it was flushed by a dog

... and soon came back

it wasn't long before it was disturbed
Kumlien's Gull at Littlehampton, just as susceptible to disturbance
looking quite Iceland like in this shot with small bill and rounded head

it looked less coarsely marked than when previously seen in poor light

well worth going back for a second look

Saturday 22 February 2014

Greatham, Beeding & Widewater (22 February 2014)

Saturday 22 February.  A morning out with John King started at Rackham where we saw Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Treecreeper.  The female Scaup was showing distantly from Greatham Bridge, a bit smaller than I was expecting but measurements overlap with Tufted Duck.  No sign of the Great Grey Shrike (again) but better luck at Beeding Sewage works where the tristis type Chiffchaff was seen (but unfortunately not heard) with 3 adult Little Gulls at the back of a waterlogged stubble field halfway to Wyckham Farm easily 'bird of the day'.  I came home via Widewater seeing 3 Goosanders, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, Coot and the pair of Mute swans (their youngsters finally appearing to have left home or been evicted).
Amberley Wildbrooks/lake from Rackham viewpoint, panorama feature not working well 
Scaup at Gratham, big round head but appeared no bigger than nearby Tufted Ducks

the very small amount of black on the bill rules out any hybrid possibility
the second best gull in the world'?

Goosanders at Widewater

I'm not sure if I've been stared at quite like this before.  They then flew the length of Widewater and SE out of sight over the beach huts
 Wednesday 19 February.  Nice to now be cycling to work in daylight, even better today as 3 Peregrines were on Southwick Power Station chimney.  Still worth fighting over despite the lack of a nest box?  Also 2 Linnets on the beach.  Still a glimmer of light in the sky when I got home where 'our' Blackbird was singing his heart out (as he was Thursday evening and Friday morning).

Monday 17 February 2014

Kent and East Sussex (16 February 2014), pics added

Sunday 16 February.  A day with mixed fortunes in Kent and East Sussex.  No sign of the Chinese Pond Heron at Hythe, presumably skulking in someone's garden nearby.  The location, albeit a posh housing estate with big gardens, didn't quite gel with a very wary bird?  Nice to see some familiar faces but after a couple of hours we headed for Dungeness.  There, after a false start or two, we saw Bittern, Great White Egret, female Goosander, Marsh Harrier, Sandwich Tern (the only thing of note on the sea, not even an auk or diver), female Penduline Tit and 15+ Tree Sparrows.  At Scotney and just in Sussex the Black-necked Grebe and another Great White Egret and Marsh Harrier.  On to Camber Sands were, once we found how to get onto the beach, JK found the Snow Buntings near the sandblasted blue container despite over 100 people, 20 dogs and 10 kites walking/running/flying everywhere.  Our final stop was at Pett Pools where a good contender for a 1w Caspian Gull flew off while I was trying to get JK onto it, very frustrating.  Also 3 North Thames Herring Gulls but only one was close enough to read its ring, DZ0T.

one of the four Snow Buntings dodging the crowds on the beach at Camber Sands

sadly this one appeared to have lost its right eye
it was good at peering over its shoulder

splendid birds and a long time favourite of mine
North Thames Herring Gull DZ0T
Saturday 15 February.  Big seas around the coast at Shoreham had depositied load sof pebbles on the footpath/cycle lane at Widewater (the Mute Swan family with the adults and 4 young some distance apart, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers ansd 2 Coot) and thalf the 'new' gate on the West Arm of Shoreham Harbour gone and several sections of railings missing or badly bent.  Two Purple Sandpipers was the highlight there.

Shoreham Harbour West arm taking a battering - most of 'security gates' gone
Purple Sandpipers taking a battering too
before finding a more sheltered area

Thursday 13 February.  Local Herring Gull A4AH at the University.  One I've seen intermittently since September 2009, it was ringed as an adult here in April 2007.  Not quite the 30 years I've recently clocked up.

Sunday 9 February 2014

Steyning & Beeding (9 February 2014)

Sunday 9 February.  A pleasant morning walk around Wakehurst Place with Megan seeing a few commoner woodland birds (Marsh, Coal and Long-tailed Tits and 2 superb Stock Doves). In the afternoon I parked by Beeding Church and walked across to Steyning Sewage Farm. Half an hour there failed to produce the Siberian Chiffchaff (just 2 Commons and 2 Goldcrests) but that was more than compensated for by good views of a Barn Owl from 15:25-15:30.  Back on the bank of the Adur I met John King and we walked north seeing little other than a few winter thrushes and a distant Bewick's Swan family (2 adults and 2 young).  Returning, in the last half hour of light in the fields south of the footbridge, we had brilliant views of 1, possibly 2, Short-eared Owls and 2 Barn Owls while a Kingfisher flew down river.

brilliant rainbow while caught out in a heavy squall.  I've rarely seen a full 180 degree rainbow, pity no wide-angle lens to capture it properly