Monday, 19 March 2018

Waiting for Spring (1-18 March)

Sunday 18 March. We awoke to find two inches of snow everywhere. We decided to take Cookie to Widewater as the roads were clear. A male Common Scoter flew past, the only thing we saw on a very cold looking sea, and a Sandwich Tern was on the lagoon, probably rather wishing it wasn't. We saw BJ who told us of an Avocet at Brooklands which we went to see. There were also 3 Dunlin there and 2 Stock Doves in our garden.
what am I doing here?
Sandwich Tern at Widewater
Avocet at Brooklands

Saturday 17 March. A morning visit to Kingley Vale with Cookie produced 260+ Hawfinches including flocks totalling about 200 exiting the vale to NE between 09:00-09:15 while 60+ were in the vale until at least 10:30 when the weather closed in. On my way a Red Kite flew over the A27 just west of Worthing and I heard Raven and Bullfinch (deja vu). Later we joined a nice family gathering at my mum's in Hove to celebrate her 92nd birthday (it had been on Thursday).

Hawfinches in Yews at Kingley Vale

brilliant to see so many and something I can't help thinking will never be repeated in my lifetime
a view south over the vale, high tide in Chichester Harbour just about visible in the distance
with the weather closing in we headed back down

hard to be sure this photo is of a cow rather than a dog
remains of warehouse following Shoreham Harbour fire
Friday 16 March. A pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were on the roof opposite where successful breeding took place last year. The nearby Herring Gulls were rather wary of them. I took Cookie to Shoreham Fort (not her favourite place) seeing 5 Sandwich Terns at Harbour Way first. Two Purple Sandpipers and 11 Turnstones were on the inner breakwater. We met ARK when leaving who told us he'd seen 7 Sandwich Terns and there had been 2 Black Redstarts around the construction fencing. Alan picked out one was we walked back which was nice but still no Wheatear. Later Megan and I had a few things to do in Shoreham and the afternoon slipped away not leaving me enough time to visit the Burgh.
adult Lesser Black-blacked Gull at Harbour Way
Sandwich Terns at Harbour Way, two more dropped in soon after I left
one was wearing a metal ring but a colour-ring would have been easy to read at this range
Thursday 15 March. An early evening low tide visit to the Adur with Cookie produced a Sparrowhawk, single adult Mediterranenan Gull and Norwegian ringed Common Gull.
Norwegian Common Gull J1Z something, the final letter obscured by mud
Wednesday 14 March. A late afternoon low tide visit to the Adur with Cookie was my best this year producing an Avocet, new North Thames Herring Gull, adult Yellow-legged Gull and 11 Mediterranenan Gulls (10 adults and a second-winter).
Avocet on the Adur
Mediterranean Gulls on the Adur
the left hand bird has an unreadable colour ring most likely from Belgium

gulls on the Adur including the second-winter Mediterranean Gull

adult Yellow-legged Gull on the Adur

North Thames Herring Gull A9XT, not one I'd recorded before
Tuesday 13 March. An early visit to Shoreham Fort with Cookie produced the Black Redstart (at long last), a single Purple Sandpiper and 11 Turnstone. We then tried Widewater where the pair of Mute Swans seemed to have finally encouraged last year's youngsters to move on.

Sunday 11 March. An early visit to Shoreham Fort with Cookie produced 7 Brent Geese flying east and a Greenfinch. At Widewater the pair of Mute Swans seemed to have established a nest at the eastern end although last year's five youngsters were still about. The pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were on the lagoon with a female on the sea and a Sandwich Tern flew east. We went on to Brooklands where we saw two pairs of Gadwall and a Redwing.

Saturday 10 March. An early visit to Shoreham Fort with Cookie produced 11 Brent Geese and 3 adult Mediterranean Gulls flying east.

Friday 9 March. A morning visit to Kingley Vale with Cookie produced 120+ Hawfinches although with an estimated 400 there the following day double that might have been more accurate. I had flocks of 32 and 62 flying north in quick succession while at least 26 remained in trees where I was. Later walking back about 100 flew north while about 20 were still around. I assumed they were the birds originally seen but who knows. On my way there a Red Kite flew over the A27 just west of Worthing, we had a walk along Mill Road at Arundel seeing 13 Redwing and 12 Fieldfare and at Kingley Vale I saw 6 Jays and heard Raven and Bullfinch.

Hawfinch at Kingley Vale
Wednesday 7 March. 19 Turnstone at Shoreham Harbour.

Tuesday 6 March. 2 Curlew, a Scandinavian Rock Pipit and 25 Linnets on the Adur.

Sunday 4 March. Megan and I took Cookie to Rackham seeing 2 Red Kites, 3 Buzzards, 2 Egyptian Geese, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch.

Saturday 3 March. 10 Shelduck, a Tufted Duck and 80+ Dunlin at Widewater.

Friday 2 March. A Lapwing and 5 Golden Plover on Middle Road playing field while later a Sparrowhawk and 106 Dunlin were seen on the Adur. Nice to be able to walk a circuit from the Old Toll Bridge down one side, across the Norfolk Bridge and back up the other again.

Thursday 1 March. A single Redwing in Stanmer Park and a Fieldfare in a flock of Starlings flying over Crown Road.

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