Wednesday 31 August 2016

late August in Sussex

Wednesday 31 August. I arrived at Birling at 06:10 and was soon joined by John and Doreen Cooper. We birded to Shooter's Bottom where a film crew were present, allegedly with Jeremy Clarkson, seeing RKH, RK, GG and others there or on the way. I continued on to the rides above Whitbread Hollow and back to Birling with a detouring towards Bullock Hill. I also looked at Crowlink village which was very quiet. Birds seen were Wryneck (Shooter's Bottom), 12 Sand Martins, 600 Swallows, 25 House Martins, 33 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Redstarts, 6 Whinchats, 8 Wheatears, a Grasshopper, 2 Reed and 2 Sedge Warblers, 3 Lesser and 34 Common Whitethroats, 22 Willow Warblers 2 Pied (Birling and Hotel garden) and 5 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 Corn Buntings. A very enjoyable 9 hours before visiting my dad who was in good spirits.
Seaford Head, Belle Tout Wood and filming helicopter
Willow Warbler at Beachy
Reed Warbler in Shooter's Bottom
Pied Flycatcher in the Hotel Garden hedge
Wryneck in Shooter's Bottom
seen on my return visit
Tuesday 30 August. Six Swallows flew over Southwick Beach as I was cycling to work.

Monday 29 August. A morning walk at Wolstenbury with Megan and Vanessa. Superb views but few birds with two noisy Ravens best. Late afternoon I visited Pulborough seeing 120 Teal, Little Stint, Greenshank and 3 Green Sandpipers but not the Wood Sandpiper seen in the morning.

view from Wolstenbury west along the downs to and beyond Chanctonbury Ring
waders from West Mead hide at Pulborough, later afternoon not a good time to visit. Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank and most of a Little Stint

Sunday 28 August. A morning on the eastern side of Pagham Harbour were 5 Little Stints, 9 Spotted Redshank, 12 Greenshank and a Yellow Wagtail were on the Breech Pool. Three Curlew Sandpipers were in White's Creek on the falling tide and a walk to the sea to see the 'new' harbour entrance was interesting. A Wheatear on the beach was the only migrant seen all morning.
Curlew Sandpiper in Whyte's Creek
shanks on the Breech Pool
Black Swan on Pagham Lagoon

Saturday 27 August 2016

Beachy Head (27 August 2016)

Saturday 27 August. I met JK in the car park at Birling at 06:10 and we covered the main sites up to the hotel garden, mostly in the company of JFC and DRC. I was a little concerned as I had to leave at 11:00 to be back in Shoreham for a family commitment but it was rather quiet and I was ready to leave by then. I saw 40 Sand Martins, 300= Swallows, a single House Martin, 3 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Whinchats, 4 Wheatears, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 13 Whitethroats and 24 Willow Warblers and a Raven.  That is until we were about to return to Birling in JKs car and were stopped by a German tourist asking about parking restrictions. This delayed us to 10:39, just long enough to see an Osprey flying east towards us - the first decent bird picked up with my new specs. It flew closer then headed off south over the cliff edge. Nice. Conveniently the family do was at Shoreham Airport (none of this Brighton City Airport for me!) allowing me to look at the Adur where there was a Greenshank, 21 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin and 700 Herring Gulls. The latter included locally (Southwick) colour-ringed A6XY which I had seen on the Adur four times during 2010-13 but not since.
sunrise over Beachy

Osprey over Beachy

Friday 26 August. A couple of hours wandering around Mill Hill before breakfast was memorable mainly for a flock of 23 Yellow Wagtails flying around sheep in the 'trig point' field. Otherwise I saw 2 Reed, single Garden and Willow Warblers and 7 Whitethroats. Later, at low tide, Megan and I walked along the Adur seeing 25 Ringed Plover, 8 Dunlin and a North Thames colour-ringed Herring Gull. The latter too distant to read without a telescope which I had left at home. I then cycled to Worthing to collect my new specs seeing a Wheatear at Widewater on the way and 105 Ringed Plover and 9 Dunlin on the beach my return.
Small Tortoiseshell on Mill Hill
Holly Blue in our garden

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Beachy Head (24 August 2016)

Thursday 24 August. A day that started warm and ended hot despite a pleasant southeasterly breeze. I walked from Birling to Whitebread Hollow and the rides, cutting back behind Hodcombe. In almost 10 hours I saw 3 Little Egrets, at least 4 Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, 30+ Swifts (including a loose flock of 25), Wryneck, Green Woodpecker, 50+ Sand Martins, 1500+ Swallows, 1000+ House Martins, 31 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Redstarts, 10 Whinchats, 23 Stonechats, 29 Wheatears, Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Sedge Warblers, 11 Reed Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 68 Whitethroats, Blackcap, 14 Willow Warblers, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Ravens, about 8 Clouded Yellows and some Autumn Ladies Tresses. Very enjoyable and nice as always to see JFC, DRC and RDME in the field.

Sedge Warbler, one of two above Birling Lane
recovery operation at Belle Tout
Wryneck in Shooter's Bottom
it took a bit of finding

and then appeared on the main path
before hiding in a bush
Buzzard at Beachy

very distinctive from below
Yellow Wagtail
hirundines on a fence
Sand Martin
one of each
another Wheatear
and another

two more
and a passing bee
and a Whinchat for a change
Green Woodpecker above the wood

Sunday 21 August. A very quiet walk around Mill Hill where the only migrants seen were 3 Swallows, a Whitethroat and 3 Willow Warblers.

Willow Warblers on Mill Hill

Saturday 20 August 2016

Thorney Deeps (20 August 2016)

Saturday 20 August. An hours seawatching from Widewater produced about 30 Gannets (mainly heading west) and single Fulmar and Swift heading east, the latter more blown than flying. No shearwaters but perhaps the wind wasn't onshore enough? Megan had to be in Chichester for the afternoon so we walked around Church Norton first seeing a Spotted Flycatcher by the churchyard, 2 Grey Plover and 3 Knot in the harbour and at least 55 Mediterranean Gulls behind the first Several (there were probably twice that many in the flock but over half were hidden from view). I dropped Megan in Chichester and went on to Thorney walking down the western seawall to the Great Deep. I saw a Whinchat and 2 Wheatears but despite a very high tide there were only roosting Oystercatchers visible. that is until the osprey put in an appearance flying around from 15:00-15:25 and flushing 9 Greenshank my way. Also present were 7 Common Sandpipers and 11 Sand Martins. I returned to the main road and walked down to the gate opposite The Stable where the Osprey was sitting distantly in front of the landing lights. Also at least 3 Spotted Redshank with the distant Redshank visible from there. I then had to leave to collect Megan but it had been a worthwhile visit to a reliable autumn Osprey site.
Osprey at Thorney Deeps
viewed from The Stable, it might have been closer to the eastern sea wall but i didn't have the time to try there

Friday 19 August. Green Woodpecker, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff were all I saw on Mill Hill before breakfast. Megan and I then walked from Chantry Hill to Rackham Hill and back. It was breezy and visibility was at times poor. We saw at least 3 Ravens, a pair making it clear ot a red Kite who was king of the castle, the castle being a large stack of hay bales. Also 3 Whitethroats, 4 Willow Warblers, 4 Yellowhammers and a Corn Bunting. An evening visit to the Adur for low tide produced 65 Ringed Plovers and 11 Dunlin but few gulls.
view south from Rackham Hill, Arundel in the gloom
2 of the 7 intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gulls seen on the Adur
Starlings by the Adur

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Shoreham area 17 August 2016

Wednesday 17 August. Mill Hill before breakfast produced Whinchat, Wheatear, 3 Reed Warblers, 11 Whitethroats and 9 Willow Warblers. Later 4 Sandwich Terns east at Widewater while paddling with Megan. We then tried 5 km synchronised bicycle pushing in case it became an Olympic event - I'd chained our bikes together on the beach and forgotten the key! After tea on the Adur at low tide 29 Ringed Plover and 4 Dunlin but very few gulls.
juvenile Bullfinch on Mill Hill
not a plumage I see very often
Reed Warbler on Mill Hill
one of three seen
Whinchat at Mill Hill, my first of the year
Sunday 14 August. Megan and I walked around Cissbury seeing a Tree Pipit fly over, Spotted Flycatcher and Peregrine but only single Whitethroat and Willow Warbler.