Sunday, 21 June 2015

very quiet in Sussex, and then a Terek is found ...

Sunday 21st.  A circular walk over Graffham and Duncton Downs with Megan went through some excellent looking woodland and gave some excellent views but was almost birdless with a distant Red Kite, 2 Buzzards and Nuthatch and Yellowhammer heard my only notebook entries.  Traditionally a very quiet time of year and I had not taken my pager so a message about a Terek Sandpiper at Pagham when I got home was quite a surprise.  It was not somewhere I could get to before the tide came in and possibly push it off, and then here were then the Grand Prix highlights on TV ... In the event I didn't leave home until 18:30 but at least there wasn't much traffic on the road, or parking problems at Church Norton.  Only four birders were present when I arrived.  One of them was Jake Everitt who kindly pointed the bird out to me.  Rather distant but OK through a telescope, until it flew out of sight along the main creek.  By now our numbers had grown with the arrival of Lee Evans, closely followed by Dick Filby making it feel like a 1980s twitch.  Dick and I walked to the beach where Dick picked up theTerek at the end of a distant spit, even further away but somewhat atmospheric with Chichester Cathedral in the background.  I had a very distant view of what looked like the Hudsonian Whimbrel and there were 13 Avocets on Sidlesham Ferry where a Cuckoo flew over while I was looking at them.  
Terek Sandpiper in Pagham Harbour
found by top birder Alan Lewis from Hampshire.  Pity it wasn't the Greater Yellowlegs Alan ...

showing its orange-yellow legs, but not much else

Chichester Cathedral in the distance, the Terek was on the left hand central spit
The South Downs Way looking west up Graffham Down
Bexley Hill aerial and Blackdown, the highest point in Sussex, from Tegleaze Tye, near the highest point on the South Downs 
looking east to Chanctonbury Ring and beyond
The South Downs Way looking east to Bignor Hill

Saturday 20th.  A Greenshank was the high light of a low-tide visit to the Adur where a Sandwich Tern and a North Thames Herring Gull was also present - my best visit for ages. Nine Reed Warblers were along the ditch between the river and airport and at least 20 House Martins over Lancing College.

North Thames Herring Gull UU7T on the Adur
Not one I've seen on the Adur before although UT7T was present in august and November 2011

Thursday 18th.  A nice morning for my late South Downs farmland bird survey to the west of the Burgh.  A nice looking area although most of the tracks on my route had hedges planted along them and these have grown up making it hard to see much of the downland where there are no gates. This doesn't present a difficulty seeing Red Kites which were often overhead with at least 4 seen.  It is now vying with Buzzard as the commonest raptor here (I saw at least 4 of each ad a single Kestrel).  Other highlights were two Grey Partridge families, both with nine chicks, two Cuckoos, two Ravens and a male Yellowhammer.  Only one Corn Bunting was seen, after I had finished the survey, and no Meadow Pipits or Lapwing.

female Grey Partridge and seven of her nine chicks

keeping an eye on the more adventurous 

South Downs farmland in delicate shades of green
Arundel Castle
Reed Warbler
singing with its mouth full
easier without
Wednesday 17th.  Megan and I walked up Wolstonbury Hill.  Superb views from the top and a few orchids on the way.  In the evening I called in at Pulborough seeing a male Wigeon, Little Ringed Plover, 38 Lapwings and an adult Nightingale feeding a speckled juvenile.  Three Nightjars were seen at Lavington Common where a Hobby flew over and two or three Woodcock were roding.
fly on a Fly Orchid
Greater Butterfly Orchid and Twayblades
Tuesday 16th.  Twelve Swifts over the house in the evening.

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