Sunday, 14 January 2018

2018 - the first 100 (01-13 January)

I always like to see the first 100 species of the year. It usually takes me a few days (although in 1995 I'd seen 104 by the end of 2 January) but this year took 13. Rather embarrassing when the Splash Pointers managed 100 by noon on their bird race day (see

Monday 1 January. I started the year with Cookie at Sovereign Marina where Black Guillemot was my 10th species of the year and Common Guillemot the 8th. We went on to a very flooded West Rise Marsh but soon gave up as the water level was too much for Cookie's legs and my short Wellingtons. There were about 400 Great Black-backed Gulls roosting in a flooded Lower Cuckmere, fewer than on previous visits, and 200 Herring Gulls on the floods. A contender for a third winter Caspian Gull didn't give enough away to identify and never had its head up for images. A not uncommon behaviour for a more interesting looking gull in the Cuckmere, but maybe they are only more interesting because they don't show very well? We finished at Newhaven where the Great Northern Diver was off the end of the west breakwater. I then called in to see my mum finishing the day early on 43.
Black Guillemot in Sovereign Harbour
Guillemot there too
gulls in the Cuckmere

Wednesday 3 January. Shoreham Fort with Cookie produced 3 Purple Sandpipers and a Greenfinch while the female Goosander was on Widewater with 2 Common Scoter on the sea and a Red-throated Diver offshore, both picked out by David Buckingham. Later an afternoon walk with Megan around Beeding Hill added nothing.
Goosander in a Widewater garden

Friday 5 January. Megan and I took Cookie to a windy Steepdown seeing Sparrowhawk, 10 Sky Larks, Meadow Pipit, 10 Goldfinches, 15 Linnets, 2 Reed and a Corn Bunting.

Saturday 6 Janaury. Cookie and I parked in Henfield and walked down the old railway line to the levels where we saw Alan Kitson, the 5 Bewick's Swans and 76 overflying Barnacle Geese but few duck probably due to the presence of shooters. Later at Shoreham Fort a single Purple Sandpiper and 5 Greenfinches.
Bewick's Swans on the flooded Henfield Levels
there is something very special about wild swans

roofless Howard Kent building, the gulls will have to find somewhere else to breed this year
Sunday 7 January. Megan and I took Cookie to Rackham and Parham Park seeing a superb Firecrest, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 11 Long-tailed and a Coal Tit as well as decent numbers of common dabbling duck. Back home and off duty I went to Pulborough seeing amongst others Marsh Harrier, a distant Dunlin, the very distant Temminck's Stint (hardly identifiable views after an hour or so of searching), 5 Ruff, 11 Black-tailed Godwits, Fieldfare, 11 Redwing, Hawfinch (good flight view behind the church) and 4 Bullfinches. A good visit taking my year total to 89.
flooded Amberley Wild Brooks from Rackham viewpoint
Kestrel at Pulborough

Nuthatch at Pulborough

flooded North Brooks
 Monday 8 January. A Rock Pipit was the only notable bird seen during a brief morning visit to the Adur with Megan and Cookie. I returned in the afternoon with Cookie seeing the Greenshank by the houseboats where I was helpfully told that the Avocet was near the Toll Bridge. We then saw a male Red-breasted Merganser and the female Goosander on Widewater.
Avocet on the Adur

Tuesday 9 January. 2500 Starlings flying west at Brighton seafront while cycling to work.

Thursday 11 January. 4000 Starlings flying west at Brighton seafront while cycling to work.

Friday 12 January. We went to Goring Gap and walked back towards Worthing. Decent numbers of the expected waders on the beach and 7 adult Mediterranean Gulls in a smallish mainly Common Gull roost in one of the back fields.
Mediterranean and Common Gulls at Goring Gap

Saturday 13 January. A free morning for birding, I was at Church Norton at 08:00 where I met David Buckingham. The tide was in almost as far as t was coming and higher than I was expecting as my app was set to London Bridge! DB had seen the Red-necked Grebe before I arrived coming in with the tide and soon pointed it out to me as it did a circuit of the harbour. Very nice. There were lots (500+) Brent Geese in the harbour but the tide was too high for many waders. We looked out to sea, which was very hard work, but did see 2 (a pair) of Velvet Scoter flying west before landing and becoming lost in the troughs. Also a Sparrowhawk, Peregrine (my 100th species for the year) and a few Mediterranean Gulls and both Adam Bowley and Andrew House didn't have much to add. I went on to West Dean Woods, eventually seeing the Little Owl near Stapleash Farm and 1-2 distant Hawfinches and 7 Bramblings near Monkton Farm. Also at West Dean 5 Red Kites, 35 Redwing, 3 Fieldfares, a Mistle Thrush, 5 Marsh Tits and a Nuthatch. I left at 13:30 to get home, collect Cookie and see my mum.
Red-necked Grebe at Church Norton
Little Owl at West Dean Woods

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