Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Worrying Woodcock (21-27 June)

My final Woodcock survey at Lavington this year (all in decent weather) produced just one bird and 3 Nightjars. Maybe I was unlucky but my three survey visits this year totalled just 3 Woodcock encounters. In previous years when I was able to make 3 visits total encounters were 19 (2013), 24 (2014) and 21 (2017). If it is a real decline and reflected elsewhere then it is seriously worrying.

June 21-27. A very quiet week prior to going away, the Great Black-backed Gull family were seen each day, the two chicks growing quite quickly. They will be gone when I return. Hopefully the Swifts will still be around. Up to 10 were seen and heard most evenings, some low over our garden which is always brilliant to see. Otherwise a bit further afield for a concerning Woodcock survey (see below) and a couple of dog walks. 

Sunday 24 June. A walk around Mill Hill with Megan and Cookie produced single Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat and 20+ Marbled Whites. Later I took Cookie to the Adur for a low tide visit seeing 2 Little Egrets, 2 Oystercatchers and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull.
our front lawn
Great Black-backed youngster, hardly a chick anymore
first-summer Mediterranean Gull on the Adur
Friday 22 June. Megan and I took Cookie for a walk along the South Downs Way from Ditchling Beacon towards Blackcap. Lovely clear views and a nice bank of Pyrimidal Orchids. Birds were about all one could expect – 3 Buzzards, 2 Sky Larks, 7 Meadow Pipits and 4 Yellowhammers. Early evening I called in at Greatham seeing a silent Cuckoo, a single Lapwing (on a small amount of exposed mud), a Gadwall family with 5 ducklings and 4 Reed and a Sedge Warbler. A Cetti’s Warbler remained heard only as did a Dartford Warbler and Tawny Owl at Lavington. 
South Downs Way
growing Great Blck-backed Gulls
Nightjar at Lavington
Thursday 21 June. Mistle Thrush on Southwick Green.

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