Saturday 17 May. My South Downs monitoring square near the Burgh was due its first visit. It included an area where I had seen Turtle Dove last year which seemed a good reason to choose it. No luck on this occasion but I did see 8 Grey Partridges, Red Kite, Cuckoo, 4 Mistle Thrushes, Marsh Tit (!), Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting. Less pleasant was a Magpie in a Larsen trap, not illegal but disappointing in an area that appears to do a lot for wildlife although seeing comments on Martin Casemore's excellent Ploddingbirder blog (http://ploddingbirder.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/pas-de-calais.html) perhaps puts my squeamishness in context. I'm also told authoritatively that Larsen traps are the least worst method of control so maybe I would not have seen Yellowhammer or Corn Bunting if they were not being used?
I went on to Littlehampton West Beach but had misjudged the tide which was higher than anticipated and there was no sign of the Kumlien's Gull. Twelve Sanderling were on the remaining exposed sand and I heard a Cetti's Warbler behind the Golf Course but the only possible sign of migrants were 3 Swallows. A walk around Lancing Ring and Steepdown with Megan produced more Yellowhammers and Corn Buntings than I had managed around the Burgh.
|approachable Red Kite near the Burgh|
|Cuckoo near the Burgh|
Friday 16 May. The warmest day of the year so far seemed a good evening for a Woodcock survey at Lavington. On the way I called in at the Adur seeing North Thames Herring Gull TM9T and two Ringed Plovers, then Greatham seeing a pair of Mandarin but not a distantly calling Cuckoo. I probably saw 3 Woodcock at Lavington in what I felt was a disappointing session. Three Nightjars were calling, two quite close, but I failed to see them. Three distant Tawny Owls were also calling.
|this gull caught my eye but so many immatures are looking very faded now|
Monday-Friday 12-16 May. A Peregrine was on the Power station chimney most days with a Rock Pipit by the lock-gates twice and 2 Wheatears on Southwick Beach on 14th. At dusk on 12th there were 19 Swifts over our road and we had a pair of Stock Dovves in the garden on 15th.