Sunday, 8 March 2015

early March in West Sussex (Brown Noddy breeding at Pagham?/how not to get a ringed gull reported)

Sunday 8 March.  A short visit to Steyning sewage works before sorting more photographs from Ecuador. I saw (but did not hear) a Siberian Chiffchaff 3-4 times in about 90 minutes although only once was a decent view, the others being rather brief.  There were probably 8 Common Chiffchaffs there, at least one Goldcrest and a female Blackcap.

a very poor image of Siberian Chiffchaff at Steyning SF taken with my old Olympus E-520.  Being tempted away by the Canon Powersot (currently being repaired following water damage at Cerro Mongus) I had forgotten how to use it!
this one is even worse and I got several where its head was hidden completely
Saturday 7 March.  John King and I went down to Selsey Bill hoping to see Great Northern Diver.  The tide was low, which seems to be good for seeing them, but the wind stronger than forecast and I'd not taken account of a low sun, pleasant as it was, making a segment of the sea hard to view due to glare.  I need not have worried.  Locals told us several were close offshore and we were able to watch them almost continuously for the couple of hours we were there (although I never felt like returning to the car for my camera).  I counted seven on one scan of the octant we could readily view but we doubtless saw more (10+?) as birds were drifting past as the tide came in.  Very pleasant.  We also saw about 15 divers flying east (all those identified being Red-throated), 56 Brent Geese, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and single Mediterranean Gull and Sandwich Tern.  The Eider eluded us and a female Shoveler failed to impress as a substitute.  With a rising tide we tried Church Norton where 4 Slavonian Grebes were on the sea at a reasonable distance (3 had early traces of summer plumage) but otherwise it seemed quiet.  Two Avocets were roosting on Sidlesham Ferry and 5 in the harbour along with 90+ Black-tailed Godwits.  A few of the latter were in full summer-plumage and showed extensive brick-red underparts suggesting that they were the wintering race islandica (as one would expect).  We could not find a grey goose flock during a brief stop at East Lake (nor did the Dusky Warbler put in a surprise reappearance).  We finished at the Burgh seeing 3 Red Kites, a Stonechat, 20 Fieldfares and 25 Reed Buntings.  A knowledgeable farmer/manager there told us that he had not seen any Short-eared Owls for a couple of weeks.  There were 6+ Chifchaffs by the little sewage works and on the way home another Red Kite flew over the A27.   An interesting BBC Natural World programme on Super-powered owls during the week had got me feeling that I would like to see Barn Owl again so I called in on my way home and saw two.  Brilliant birds.
RSPB lets slip that Brown Noddy is breeding in Sussex
one taken much earlier ...  (Michaelmas Cay, 1986)
Mediterranean Gull on Sidlesham Ferry.  One of three seen amongst 200 mostly winter Black-headeds

they were much better than these images suggest

Friday 6 March.  A Peregine on Southwick Power Station chimney as I cycled past to work.

Thursday 5 March.  A Rock Pipit was singing from the roof of Carats Cafe as I cycled past to work.

Wednesday 4 March.  Megan and I walked from Chantry Hill to Lee Farm and east along the South Downs Way to Highden Hill.  We saw 4 Buzzards, a Raven and 45 Yellowhammers (in two flocks).  I visited the Adur for the late afternoon low tide.  Black-headed Gulls were most numerous with at least 500 roosting of which 15-20% were in or coming into summer plumage.  Two had colour-rings and a Common Gull had a metal ring but otherwise nothing of note was seen amongst them.

Three ways for ringers not to get their gulls reported: 1. only put a metal ring on them as only Jake Everett at Warnham is likely to be able to read it.
Three ways for ringers not to get their gulls reported: 2. don't register your scheme on the European-CR web-site.  This was 7341 but no schemes are shown as using 4 numbers 
Three ways for ringers not to get their gulls reported: 3. don't bother replying when previous rings are reported.  This is from a Danish scheme but as they did not reply about a Lesser Black-back I saw last year, nor a friend's Black-headed Gull I'm not sure I'll bother either. Knowing it is Danish is good enough for me ...

Sunday 1 March.  Megan and I walked around Rackham and Parham Park.  There were at least 500 Lapwings on Amberly Wildbrooks and a pair of Tufted Duck on Parham Lake but we only saw 2 Goldcrest and 2 Coal Tits at Rackham.

Saturday 28 February.  Poor visibility restricted us to the Adur where Megan saw a Kingfisher while I was looking at gulls.  Lots there but nothing of interest that I could find.  I'm finding it very hard to get back into local birding - late winter is never my favourite time of year especially when the weather is poor and I've still got photographs to sort and notes to write up.

Tuesday 24 February.  Two noisy Peregines on Southwick Power Station chimney as I cycled past to work where Herring Gull A4AH put in an appearance. 

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