Saturday, 18 April 2015

Shoreham & Arun (16-18 April)

Saturday 18th.  Another cold, clear morning with a strong NE wind.  Still sufficiently off-putting not to go far, I even had a lie in not reaching Shoreham Fort until 07:00.  The only passage noted were 7 Sandwich Terns heading east and the tide was too low for any feeding waders.  Looking inland from Shoreham Fort the only area of ploughed fields visible was Steepdown, one of my favourite not very birdy places in Sussex.  It seemed worth trying, if only to see how many Corn Buntings were singing despite being exposed to the wind.  The Cetti's Warbler was still singing at New Salts Farm and the Reed Bunting by the Adur but I didn't linger and headed for Lancing Ring.  Around Steepdown I counted 26 Sky Larks and 14 Corn Buntings with a flighty flock of about 50 also there.  Migrants were represented by a Wheatear and 4 Swallows flying east. 

Corn Bunting on Steepdown

looking SE from Steepdown
Two of the counties most prominent landmarks, Lancing College and Southwick Power Station, with Beachy Head distantly in the haze 
Steepdown from Lancing Ring.  From this angle Flatdown would be a more appropriate name.
Reed Bunting holding territory by the Adur

Friday 17th.  If anything the weather was colder and the wind a bit stronger so I didn't venture far.  I arrived at Shoreham Fort at 06:35 but as expected little was passing and even less was close.  I saw 6 Fulmars, 10 Gannets, 13 Common Scoter, 10 Whimbrel, 20 Sandwich Terns and a Swallow in an hour of watching.  In the harbour were a Purple Sandpiper, 23 Turnstone and my first Common Sandpiper of the year while a Peregrine was on the power station chimney.  At New Salts Farm a Reed Warbler had joined the singing Cetti's and Chiffchaffs while the best the Adur had to offer was a singing Reed Bunting and 2 Oystercatchers.  I then walked around Mill Hill seeing 3 Long-tailed Tits (one with no tail) and single Buzzard, House Martin, Yellowhammer and, I suspected, Greenshank.  The latter remaining silent (or out of earshot) as it flew east.

Reed Bunting by the Adur

Long-tailed Tit at Mill Hill
I didn't notice the ring at the time 
Short-tailed Tit.  It looked amazing in flight.
Thursday 16th.  The forecast of a cold clear day with a strong NE wind wasn't particularly inspiring for seawatching so I decided to try the Arun Valley for the change.  Rackham at dawn was quiet so I went on to Greatham where in three hours I saw Cuckoo, 3 Nightingales, Stonechat, Cetti's, Grasshopper, Sedge and Willow Warblers and Whitethroats.  I spent the next 3 hours at Pulborough seeing another 3 Nightingales, Whitethroat, lots of Blackcaps, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Bullfinch.  No Little Ringed Plover was a disappointment as was just a solitary Swallow flying through.  I tried a couple of spots on the Adur on my way home but both were very quiet.

it is usually a good day when I see a Grasshopper Warbler
more so when it is a good view although I don't recall seeing one with such bright pink legs before
it had me reaching for my Brazil field guide, Pink-legged Groveleteiro anyone?  Hopefully this autumn ...
Green Woodpecker - the first I've seen this year!
Cuckoo at Greatham
given the perils cuckoo's face on migration it is a wonder any ever make it back
Nightingale at Pulborough
these two with the Powershot Sx60
how fortunate to have one of the best places in the country to see Nightingales only a short drive away
these two digiscoped with my old Olympus 1040
Wednesday 15th.  A Peregrine was on the power station chimney.

Tuesday 14th.  Two Wheatears were on Southwick Beach, a Peregrine was on the power station chimney and a Rock Pipit on Carats Cafe roof.

Monday 13th.  Local Herring Gull A5HH by Sussex University Sports Centre bus stop.  Not a day to be working with a scattering of migrants seen along the coast including several very smart male Pied Flycatchers.  Maybe next year, or the year after ... 

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