Monday, 10 October 2016

Mill Hill and Pulborough (10 October 2016)

Monday 10th October. An early visit to Mill Hill found at least 3 Ring Ouzels still present. Also 3 Swallows, 11 Song Thrushes, Stonechat, 2 Blackcaps and 13 Chiffchaffs. I then headed for Pulborough arriving just as the Visitor Centre opened at 09:30. Soon after my arrival the/a Yellow-browed Warbler called a couple of times as it flew into the large sallow at Fattengates. It showed well for 2-3 minutes but I then lost it while trying to find it in my camera. It then called from further away but I wasn't sure from where and after 10-15 minutes left. A Marsh Harrier was the only notable bird on the North Brooks with no interesting geese amongst the numerous Canadas and Grey Lags. I then joined ARK in walking to Hale's Viewpoint where we saw the 4 White-fronted Geese, then the 3 Beans, except there were 11, and a Red Kite. A very pleasant morning as it turned out even if I would much rather have been on Shetland. An afternoon dental appointment and the three days in a row at work would have made it difficult although without DC's encouragement (and some epic driving) my appetite for long distance twitching has definitely waned.
Ring Ouzel at Mill Hill
Blackcap at Mill Hill
White-fronted Geese at Pulborough
my earliest in autumn

most of the Bean Geese at Pulborough, my biggest flock since 2006
and my earliest in autumn

 Sunday 9th October. I met JK at the Beachy Head Hotel just after 07:00 and we walked down to the Old Trapping Area before taking the Cliff Path and dropping into Whitbread Hollow. As expected there was no sign of yesterday's bluetail although hearing details of it and some hard luck stories I was pleased to have been at the other end of the county rather than in ignorance at Birling. We returned around France's Bottom and ended up having seen at least 30 Ring Ousels, Merlin, a calling Golden Plover, 50 Swallows, 20 House Martins, Wheatear, a single Redwing, 8 Blackcaps, 32 Chiffchaffs, Goldcrest and 2 Ravens. I also heard a Siskin. Back at the cars JK noticed that I had a puncture, I'd run over a screw. I jacked the car, removed the wheel nuts all read to fit my 'space-saver' but the wheel remained firmly fixed. A call to the AA produced a man with a hammer and a quick few bashes soon had it off.
Beachy Head trip point, I had plenty of time to admire the view while waiting for the AA, who arrived exactly when they told me. JK offered to stay, and would have been better company ...
Saturday 8th October. An early visit to Mill Hill where I saw 95 Swallows, a Stonechat, 8 Ring Ouzels, 27 Blackbirds, 16 Song Thrushes, 10 Blackcaps, 11 Chiffchaffs and 40 Linnets. Megan and I then went to Harting Down and walked along the South Downs Way to Pen Hill. I had hoped for more ring ouzels but saw very little, the highlight being a high flying Mistle Thrush very reminiscent of a pic of DC's from Skaw that I'd seen the previous evening - except for the underwing pattern. I dropped Megan off in Chichester, where she was going to the theatre, and returned to West Dean Woods seeing, after some scrutiny, the Little Owl in its usual tree at Staple Ash Farm, 4 Red Kites, 20 Swallows, 3 Chiffchaffs and enough Pheasants to last a lifetime.
view west from Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill trig point
looking east from Beacon Hill
Little Owl in its usual tree at Staple Ash Farm
obvious from this angle but almost invisible from any oter

rainbow and Swallows over West Dean Woods

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