Sunday, 10 April 2016

enjoyable Seaford seawatch (10 April)

Sunday 10th. With a south easterly wind forecast I arrived at Seaford at 06:20, just after Jon King, and we squeezed through the barriers at Splash Point to join Liam. Other observers arrived including Matt who had little to report from Seaford Head where he had spent the first hour of daylight. Jon and I stayed 6 hours although a couple more Brent flocks kept me there to 12:40. Highlight of our watch was a Manx Shearwater picked up by Matt initially heading west before turning left and some close terns. The Manx was my first for 4 years (!!) and the closest I have seen past Seaford. I also logged 12 Red-throated, 5 Black-throated and 3 unidentified divers, 2 Great Crested Grebes, just 4 Gannets, 324 Brent, 5 Teal, 6 Pintail, 4 Shoveler, 2 Eider, 788 Common and 2 immature Velvet Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Oystercatcher, Grey plover, Sanderling, 9 Whimbrel, 7 Arctic and a Great Skua, 13 Mediterranean and 4 Little Gulls, 365 Sandwich, 37 Commic, 27 Arctic and 18 Common Terns and 7 auks. I also saw two Swallows coming in. Very enjoyable and at times birds were passing almost too quickly to note down.

Saturday 9th. Thinking heavy overnight rain might have grounded some migrants I visited Mill Hill but the only likely new arrivals seen during an hour of walking around were 3 Willow Warblers. A distant Cetti's Warbler was heard and 2 Buzzards, 2 Jays and a Yellowhammer seen. Later Megan and I visited Pulborough RSPB seeing a Sparrowhawk over our road as we left. A nice walk but juvenile Peregrine, 2 Swallows, Nuthatch, Jay and 2 Bullfinches were the best we saw.

Willow Warbler at Mill Hill, my first of the year

juvenile peregrine at Pulborough
Thursday 7th. From 07:00-08:00 at Shoreham Harbour 3 Sandwich Terns flew east and two Sandwich Terns and a Common Scoter west, dire!  Five Great Crested Grebes on the sea the highlight. An early evening low-tide visit to the Adur produced few gulls and nothing else.

Rampion platform
Wednesday 6th. From 07:00-08:30 at Shoreham Harbour in a strong westerly I saw Red-throated Diver, 2 Fulmars, 10 Brent Geese, and 9 Sandwich Terns flying east and 2 purple sandpipers with 14 Turnstone below the wooden jetty. At low tide (late afternoon) on the Adur about 600 gulls were loafing around. most were Herring and included a North Thames bird (F3NT) I had seen previously this winter.
pilot boat going out in a choppy sea
North Thames Herring Gull F3NT
Monday 4th. A Peregrine on Southwick Power Station and a Sparrowhawk over Holmbush.

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