Sunday, 6 April 2014

Littlehampton, Greatham & Pulborough (6 April 2014)

The forecast was not promising so I decided not to venture far.  Little was moving on the sea off Shoreham Harbour from 06:45-07:45, just 2 Gannets, 3 Fulmars, 31 Brent, 7 Scoter, 4 Curlew (west) and 2 Sandwich Terns.  2 Purple Sandpipers were on the inner jetty, 9 Turnstones on e west arm and a Peregrine on the Power Station likely to get a good view of the Brighton Marathon.  

I headed for Climping, parked by the school and a circuit down to the beach, along to the river mouth and around the top of the golf course.  I saw a Sparrowhawk, 24 Sanderling, the Kumlien's Gull, a male Wheatear, Mistle Thrush, 6 Chiffchaffs and 20 Linnets.  Other Chiffchaffs and several Blackcaps were heard.  The Kumlien's Gull soon appeared by the river mouth where it landed on the retaining wall.  I was keen to see it again as i may never see another.  Its plumage was looking less coarse/more faded than when I first saw it although the darker tail base was as prominent.

Kumlien's Gull at Littlehampton.  This image just about shows the darkest feathers to be at the base of the tail

this image shows the darker primaries well
Next stop Greatham where I saw the small Cackling or Aleutian Canada Goose, Peregrine, 4 Gadwall, 2 Pintail, 6 Shoveler and my first Willow Warbler of the year.  It even gave a short burst of song.  The small Canada goose was also calling at one stage.
Cackling or Aleutian Canada Goose at Greatham.  Clearly much smaller than 'normal' Canadas but not evidently any darker on this view?
despite the prominent white collar at the base of the neck I'm not sure its bill is stubby enough for an Aleutian?  Not a part of the world I've been too, so I've really no idea.  perhaps I should pay more attention to what they've got (had!) at Arundel.
Finally Pulborough RSPB.  I'd almost not bothered going as I usually find it quite disappointing at this time of year - unfulfilled promise or unreasonable expectations?  Not this time as I saw 4 Avocets, 3 Little Ringed Plover and my first migrant Swallow of the year.  The waders were closer than usual, although still rather distant but my visit was made by superb views of a pair of Jays feeding on the ground and a superb male Bullfinch feeding on hawthorn buds.  Two very under-rated species in my opinion.
Two of the three Little Ringed Plovers at Pulborough.  Almost too far to see an eye-ring despite being on the nearest island 
with a Ringed Plover hiding in the vegetation
one of four Avocets at Pulborough
two (a pair?) seemed quite interested in this island
male Bullfinch at Pulborough, one of my favourite birds

one of two Ground-Jays at Pulborough
or maybe a groundpecker (although they are now considered to be tits)
brighter than them all (not that I've seen most) ...
and at times quite comical
our Jays are brilliant

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