Saturday, 30 May 2015

Red-necked Phalarope (Sidlesham, 30 May)

Saturday 30th.  John King and I decided to head down to Pagham for the morning, the Black-winged Stilt on Sidlesham Ferry being of only moderate temptation after last years breeding pair.  We arrived at the ferry at 07:00 and after a quick scan located the stilt right at the back of the ferry pool.  I watched it and tried some digiscoped shots and after a while John decided to count the Avocets.  He got to the last one and discovered a Red-necked Phalarope swimming around it!  We put the news out and spent 2.5 hours watching it, it was a hard bird to leave especially as it was favouring the near centre of the pool and was in very good plumage.  My first since 2002.  As well as the phalarope and stilt we saw 8 Avocets, 129 Black-tailed Godwits, 15 Dunlin and a Shelduck family and heard a Cuckoo.  It was very cold (I was glad I still had gloves in my coat) and we dragged ourselves away to go to Medmerry with Bob Self where we saw 2 Little Terns, 7 Sanderling, 15 Grey Plover and a Corn Bunting.  At Church Norton were 22 Saderling, 57 Dunlin, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, Red-legged Partridge, Cuckoo and a Spotted Flycatcher.   We returned to the phalarope although by then it was much further away and the light not so good.  It also wasn't a lot warmer.  There were fewer godwits on the ferry but Avocet numbers had almost doubled to 15.  We called in at Ivy Lake on the way home seeing 100+ Swifts and a Long-tailed Tit family.  An excellent day although hearing the gory details of Ads et als recent trip to Scandinavia was rather gripping (as had been Matt's blog of it).  They had been too early for Red-necked Phalarope, a disappointment that was short lived, at least for Ads and Matt.

Black-winged Stilt at the rear of Sidlesham Ferry pool
a very pale legged individual
at least it was large enough to get reasonable digiscoped images

on a rare foray to the near side of the ferry pool, where the mud was much thicker!
Red-necked Phalarope on Sidlesham Ferry
found by John King while I was looking the other way
I thought it was a female
although head-on images are not so convincing
a splendid bird whatever

phalaropes have always been a favourite of mine and a good plumaged Red-necked is the best of them all
Little Tern at Medmerry

one of nine juvenile Long-tailed tits at Ivy Lake
note the wattle-eye
they must have very recently left the nest
Friday 29th.  Two Swifts over the house.

Thursday 28th.  An hour at Pulborough early evening produced a Little Ringed Plover, 30 Swifts, my first Sussex Sand Martin this year(!) and an excellent view of a Nightingale (thanks Gordon).  At Lavington just one Woodcock, two Nightjars, a Cuckoo and 4 Yellowhammers.
Lavington at dusk.  Just one Woodcock flypast was a concern although it was surprisingly cold

Wednesday 27th.  Four Swifts over the house.

Tuesday 26th.  A Peregrine on southwick Power Station chimney on my way to work and two Swifts over the house.

Monday 25th.  A Nightingale was singing and showed briefly at Mill Hill while walking around with Megan.  Also a Corn Bunting and later four Swifts over the house.

Sunday 24th.  During a walk around the southern part of the Knepp Estate with Megan we saw Red Kite, 4 Buzzards, a pair of Turtle Dovves, 3 Cuckoos, Nightingale (one glimpsed and another heard) and Garden Warbler (one seen and 4 heard).  Later four Swifts over the house.

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