Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Whoopers and Bewick's (30 December)

Tuesday 30th.  Most of the day with John King who joined me on the Adur where unsurprisingly there was no sign of the Goosanders seen there yesterday.  The Shelduck was still around, my first sighting for a while, and also a Grey Plover.  We were heading towards Barnham but as the sea was very calm it seemed worth calling in at Goring Gap on the way.  There were aout 20 Great Crested Grebes and 25 Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea but most were generally distant and the low sun didn't enhance viewing.   We saw 2 Slavonian Grebes (my first of the year!) which fortunately were closer than most, a single Red-throated Diver, 13 Brent Geese and a Mediterranean Gull.  At Barnham the swan flock were soon located in a distant field from the end of Church Lane.  We walked along the old canal path to get a bit closer and had reasonable scope views of the adult and three juvenile Whoopers in with 65 Mutes.  Rather sad that both adults hadn't made it back.  It is now seven winters that Whoopers have been returning to the Barnham/Chichester/Pagham Harbour triangle and it seems likely that they have all been related.  In three of the seven years the adults have brought three juveniles, the other times none.  We drove back to Burpham where we got caught up in a badly signed diversion and almost missed a flock of 32 Bewick's Swan flying north towards Amberley.  Two remained on the Offham side of the Arun with three Black Swans in a small flock of Mutes.  We returned to th eTriangle and walked up onto the burgh seeing two Red Kites, a Short-eared Owl, three Grey Partridges and 2 Mistle and an impressive 38 Song Thrushes.  I had a final look at the Adur seeing Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and some fishermen which presumably explained why there were no gulls present.
Whooper Swans at the back of the flock.  As expected they were rather distant
three of the four Whoopers
all four Whooper Swans at Barnham
Robin at Barnham.  How many British birds are really better than this?

Arundel Castle
Short-eared Owl going away over the Burgh
 Monday 29th.  A morning visit to Petworth House & Park with Megan and Vanessa.  The temperature was hovering around freezing and the pond at Storrington was frozen which did not bode well for looking for Goosanders.  We parked at the northern car park and walked via the Lower Pond (3/4 frozen) to the Upper Pond (2/3 frozen) and the house, returning the same way.  A pair of Egyptian Geese and 22 Shoveler were on the Upper Pond and a flock of 32 Redwings in nearby bushes.  I had to visit the bank in the afternoon and considered cycling back via the Adur but the tide wasn't great and it had been very quiet the previous thee days so I didn't bother.  A mistake as two Goosanders were seen.
looking back at 3/4 frozen lower pond at Petworth, no Goosanders ice-skating here today
old trees in Petworth Park
Petworth Upper Lake
spherical mistletoe
Egyptian Geese failing the bread test at Petworth, although later they had vanished
little did we know at the time that this plane was having problems and returning to Heathrow

Sunday 28th.  A brief visit to the Adur produced the Curlew and a bait digger but very little else.

Robin by the Adur with the new camera
Saturday 27th.  A walk around the houseboats and partway up the Adur with Megan and Vanessa produced one Great Crested and two Little Grebes and two Kingfishers.  A record six Stock Doves were on our lawn.
Lancing College
Nessa, Megan and the Old Toll Bridge
Stock Doves on the lawn 

Friday 26th.  I cycled to the Adur, across the airfield to Widewater, along to Shoreham Fort and back seeing very little.  Highlights were a male Stonechat by the airfield, 29 Little Grebes on Widewater, a Peregrine on Southwick Power Station and the Curlew on the Adur.  The 150 Herring Gulls on the Adur included locally colour-ringed A2FA.

Balloon by Shoreham Airport, soon to depart

heading slowly east
Herring Gull A2FA, near right
Thursday 25th. HAPPY CHRISTMAS
rushed Robin with the new camera
Sunday 21st.  Ahead of a family Christmas get together at our house Megan and I walked around Anchor Bottom seeing a male Stonechat and two each of Stock Dove, Raven and Corn Bunting.
rainbow over Steyning
high tide
Lancing College and Brighton & Hove Albion training ground
me and my sisters
our boys

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