Sunday, 15 April 2018

Ring Ouzels and the first Cuckoo (11-15 April)

Sunday 15 April. The forecast light SW didn't look too promising for seawatching so I planned to do my early South Downs Farmland Bird Monitoring Survey on a grid square west of the Burgh. Going out of the front door the wind was southerly but it looked quite murky and concious that it had been foggy for most of the previous day along the coast at Shoreham while sunny inland I decided to stick to the plan. It probably wasn't a great move. I arrived at my starting point near North Stoke and heard a Cuckoo as I got ready. Cookie and I then spent almost three hours walking 3 sides of a triangle, the first two being my survey route and the third what turned out to be a very muddy return. I didn't see the Cuckoo initially but did on returning to the car. Other highlights were 3 Red Kites, 5 Grey and a Red-legged Partridge, 3 Yellowhammers and a paid of Gadwall! We continued on to Greatham where we saw a Willow and heard close Cetti's and distant Sedge Warblers. All rather disappointing.
Cuckoo near the Burgh
 Saturday 14 April. The fog horn was going for most of the day with very poor visibility along the coast and, in the morning, by the Adur. Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill were we saw Brimstone, Small Tortoishell and lots of Peacock butterflies but a Chiffchaff was the only migrant. A low tide visit to the Adur was frustrating with the ionly notabel bird a presumed Norwegian colour-ringed Greater Black-backed Gull. The airport side footpath is now closed and it wasn't close enough to the footbridge to read. The light was awful from the east bank and the bird soon disappeared.
Small Tortoishell at Mill Hill
Friday 13 April. A visit to Shoreham Fort wasn't quite early enough as I saw the very pale, almost white second-winter (3CY) Iceland Gull flying away east as I arrived. Nothing else was moving and there were no migrants in evidence. Cookie and I moved on to Widewater seeing 7 Great Crested Grebes on the sea and 3 Sandwich Terns flying W. In the afternoon Megan and I took Cookie to Cissbury Ring where we saw at least 6 Ring Ouzels and a smart male Yellowhammer.
two of the Cissbury Ring Ouzels

Yellowhammer at Cissbury
its always been a favourite of mine

Wednesday 11 April. I took Cookie up to Mill Hill where we saw single Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Yellowhammer. A day of chores then made it game over until a quick scan of the Adur from Coronation Green revealed the very pale, almost white second-winter (3CY) Iceland Gull sat on the opposite bank. I'd only been going to the building scociety and had left my camera at home. I regretted doing so even more when it flew and landed in the river alongside the Adur Ferry Bridge where it remained long enough for Cookie and me to walk round and admire it. It then flew back to the riverbank and we left it.
a rather poor effort at digi-binning

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