Monday, 2 April 2018

Bank Holiday weekend in West Sussex (30 March-2 April)

Monday 2nd April. I seawatched from Widewater from 07:00-09:35, the wind was SE rather than the southerly forecast the previous evening and the rain much less although I was glad of the shelter provided by hut 32. Visibility wasn't great and most birds were quite distant. I saw 6 Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe on the sea, 7 Gannets, a flock of 29 Brent Geese east and then 32 west, 2 probable Teal in a scoter flock, male and female Garganey, about 400 Common Scoter (345E:11W:60 on sea), 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Oystercatchers, an adult Mediterranena Gull, 67 Sandwich and 7 Common Terns and a male Wheatear on the beach. What were probably the Gargeney arrived at about 08:30 from the west with the Red-breasted Mergansers but landed on the sea before I had  a decent view. At 08:47 two Garganey flew past, a male and female, the female identified 'by association'. What were presumably the same male and female were seen at Seaford at 09:48 (where I likely would have been had the BBC forecast not changed from SE to S). I went on to Shoreham Fort where in a brief visit 2 distant Red-throated Divers and about 60 Common Scoter (perhaps those seen earlioer on the sea off Widewater) flew East. Also there a single Purple Sandpiper below the wooden jetty and a superb male Firecrest and a Chiffchaff in a pine by the car-park (thanks to JMS). In the aftgernoon I visited my mum in Hove and saw a Chiffchaff and female Blackcap in her small front garden.
Wheatear at Widewater
welcome bnack
off Widewater
Firecrest at Shoreham Fort

Sunday 1st April. Cookie and I spent the morning visiting West Sussex Commons looking for Wood Lark although our most unusual sighting was a male Tufted Duck flying low across the A283 just north of the Adur flyover. We started at Coates where I used to see them regularly but drew a blank. The ground vegetation was very much shorter than I remembered, the dog walkers much more although admittedly I was adding to them and a herd of cows were grazing. We saw a pair of Mandarin flying over, 4 Coal Tits and 2 Yellowhammers. We tried Burton Black Pond where a pair of Egyptian Geese had 3 small goslings and the woodland produced a Marsh Tit and 2 Treecreepers.  At Lavington  Common/Plantation we eventually heard then saw 2 Wood Larks as well as 2 more Coal Tits and Yellowhammers but no Dartford Warblers, perhaps a result of February's very cold weather? In the evening I tried Shoreham Harbour for roosting gulls but there were few on the lock-gates and I couldn't pick anything out of the 500+ mainly Herring Gulls on Southwick Beach before they flew out to sea to roost.
Egyptian Goose and goslings, Burton Black Pond

Saturday 31st March. A very quiet day around Shoreham with 3 Sandwich Terns in and a
Sparrowhawk over Shoreham Harbour, 2 Reed and 3 Corn Buntings at Steepdown and Little Egret and a Sparrowhawk by the Adur but very few gulls.

no gulls on the Adur, I wonder why?
Friday 30th March. JK and I joined ME and NP at Splash Point Seaford at 07:00 and stayed on to 12:30. I saw 42 Red-throated Divers, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 41 Gannets, 25 Fulmars, 126 Brent Geese, 11 Shoveler, 506 Common Scoter, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, an Oystercatcher, 7 adult Little Gulls (at 11:51), 92 Common and 32 Black-headed Gulls, 88 Sandwich and 3 Common Terns and an unidentified auk. Virtually all were flying East.

Thursday 29th March (continued). After the morning's Iceland Gull at Harbour Way and the Eastonain and Norwegian colour-ringed Common Gulls on the Adur the previous evening I tried the gull roost there again. The pair of Shelduck was still present as was a first-winter Mediterranean Gull
Mediterranean Gull on the Adur


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