Saturday, 23 May 2015

Sussex (12-23 May)

Saturday 23rd.  A pleasant morning in Ashdown forest with John King.  We saw 5 Wood Lark, 5 Tree Pipits, 6 Redstarts, an unexpected Dartford Warbler and 2 Redpolls but only heard Cuckoo.
male Redstart singing from the top of a pine

Tree Pipit

Thursday 21st.  Megan and I dug out an old South Downs Circular Walks book and did one between Steepdown and Cissbury.  Nice but few birds with a Yellowhammer and 5 Corn Buntings best.  Three Swifts over the house.

Tuesday 19th.  A Peregrine was sheltering on the east side of Southwick Power Station as I cycled home into the wind.  One Swift over the house.

Sunday 17th.  Megan and I walked from Crowlink to Belle Tout and back on a gloriously sunny morning.  Spectacular views of the Seven Sisters but few birds with 5 Stonechats and a Raven with two juveniles best.
juvenile Ravens enjoying the sun

Megan on the Seven Sisters
looking west to Seaford Head
Stonechat near Belle Tout

Saturday 16th.  An enjoyable two and a half hours walking around the southern section of the Knepp 'rewilding' was full of birdsong with two Turtle Doves, two Cuckoos and 5 Garden Warblers the most notable sightings.  This and the Norfolk Estate at the Burgh give one an idea of how the Sussex countryside was before modern farming techniques took their toll on wildlife.

Friday 15th.  A Swift over the house.

Thursday 14th.  A seawatch from the end of Shoreham Harbour in a strong, cold, easterly produced just 6 Gannets before I gave up - I wasn't suitably dressed for a long session anyway.  Five Whimbrel on the beach seemed as unimpressed as I was.  Megan and I then walked around Rackham where a Cuckoo and Stonechat were best.  Later 4 Swifts over the house.

Wednesday 13th.  Just managed to do my first Downland Bird Survey ahead of the mid May deadline.  Highlights from the area immediately west of the Burgh, although not all part of the survey, were 2-3 Red Kites, 13 Grey Partridges, Lapwing, 7 Stock Doves, Cuckoo, 9 Sky Larks and single Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting.  I then called in at Pulborough seeing a pair of Pintail, 2 Little Ringed Plover (probably also a pair), Cuckoo, 2 Nightingales, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warblers, Spotted flycatcher and Bullfinch.  A Dunlin was on the Adur (the only notable bird so far all month) and 9 Swifts were over the house in the evening.

Tuesday 12th.  A Ringed Plover was on southwick Beach when I cycled home with 7 Swifts over the house in the evening.

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