Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Back to a wet and windy Sussex (6-13 December)

Wednesday 13 December. Nice to be back to a normal working week with Wednesdays and Fridays off. Megan and I took Cookie to Widewater during a brief break in the weather. It was still unpleasant but female Goosander, male Red-breasted Merganser, an adult Mediterranean Gull and a pair of Stonechats made it very worthwhile. I wasn't so good at finding a weather window for an afternoon low-tide visit to the Adur were the only bird worth mentioning was a North Thames Herring Gull. 
Goosander at Widewater, a returning individual from previous years?

male Red-breasted Merganser at Widewater, not so unusual here in winter after rough weather

adult Mediterranean Gull at Widewater
still present when we walked back
confiding male Stonechat at Widewater

Herring Gull Z9HT on the Adur opposite Ricardo's. The fifth time I have seen tis bird on the Adur in just over a year. It was ringed as a first-year at Rainham in November 2013 and was seen at Beddingham in May 2014.
Sunday 10 December. Gale force winds and periods of driving rain greatly reduced my birding options but given Matt's success with Caspian Gulls in the Cuckmere a few days earlier it seemed worth a go. The gull roost is often bigger in rough weather when few gulls are at sea. About 1200 Great Black-backs were present, in three flocks opposite Harry's Bush and a little to the North. A few other gulls were with them but most were sitting down, packed in close together, and those in the closest and biggest flock sitting head on making picking out anything different a lot harder. I saw a brute of an adult argentatus Herring Gull, 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls, one briefly standing to reveal its yellow legs and the other openiong a red-rimmed eye. I saw what I took to be an adult (or possibly third-winter) Caspian Gull. On both occasions it was seen I attempted to digiscope it only for it to have sat out of sight or flown when I looked through the viewfinder. Its possible appearance in another image is inconclusive. Rather frustrating and after a couple of hours of getting wetter I gave up. I called in at Newhaven on my way home but the sea was very rough even in the harbour with no sign of the Great Northern Diver.


gulls in the Cuckmere, cobnditions were worse than these images suggest
Saturday 9 December. Megan and I took Cookie for a walk along the Adur and were very pleased to see that part of the eastern footpath had been reopened. About time. A flock of 20 Linnets was the highlight, few gulls and nothing notable amongst them.

Wednesday 6 December. 2000 Starlings flew west along Hove seafront as I cycled to work. After being in Bolivia for four weeks I was a bit behind and was working extra days to catch up. Rather tiring after a year of three-day weeks (or less).

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