Sunday 25 November. I decided to check the Cuckmere gull flock and look for the Seaford Snow Bunting on the way, Cookie came too. I diverted to Newhaven Harbour on the way as the rising tide was still quite low. A few gulls were on the beach and included two colour-ringed Great Black-back Gulls. One with a Norwegian ring walked into the sea just far enough to submerge part of its ring and then flew. It looked to have been JC383 seen earlier in the month on the Adur and by Matt at Newhaven the previous year but I couldn't be sure of the second character. The other a Le Havre bird was at an angle that only the bottom of one of the characters was visible, either an O or U, and then immediately flew. I waited for 20 minutes as the tide covered half of the exposed beach but neither returned. Frustrating. I then failed to find the Snow Bunting in 45 minutes of looking and headed to the barn on Seaford Head. We headed down to Harry's Bush and the nearer of two gull flocks, noting Matt walking in our direction from the further larger flock. Our flock held just an adult Yellow-legged Gull but Matt had seen an adult Caspian in his, and four White-fronted Geese had dropped in near them. Matt had also failed with the Snow Bunting but had recently seen 85U at Newhaven, the Le Havre mystery solved. I followed Matt back to the larger flock and we spent an hour scanning from a raised track, Cookie being very patient throughout. We picked out five Caspian Gulls (2 adults, a third-winter and two first-winters) that we were happy with and six Yellow-legged Gulls (5 adults and a second-winter). During this time Neil and Chris appeared and we pointed out to them the Caspians that were on view (and the White-fronts). After an hour and as there seemed little movement amongst the gulls we gave up. I had a final look through the smaller flock on the way back seeing a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull. Checking my phone back at the barn I saw that the Snow Bunting had been seen after we'd left but another half hour there on the way home drew another blank. Back home while checking my photos I discovered they were all over-exposed, not that they would have been very good to start with but inadvertently taking them at +2/3rds hadn't helped.
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird A) showing among other features its small head|
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird A) showing among other features its bulging chest, sagging rear belly|
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird A) showing among other features its white rump and tail base with only light flecking|
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird A) showing among other features its whitish underwing|
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird A) showing among other features its long thinnish legs and thin all dark bill|
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird B) showing among other features its black tail tip, lightly flecked white rump and upper tail and thin legs.|
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird B) showing among other features its typical white, grey, brown and black plumage, long parallel bill, thin legs and snouty appearance|
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird B), the bill appearing a little heavier in this image|
|First-winter Caspian Gull (bird B) showing among other classic features its hanging rear belly and long wings. It briefly flew showing a whitish underwing.|
|Third-winter Caspian Gull (bird C) showing snouty appearance, small eye, clean white head, mantle a shade darker than argenteus Herring Gull, brownish tinge to rear greater coverts, predominantly black wings and elegant appearance|
|Third-winter Caspian Gull (bird C) showing a small white subterminal tip to the outer primary and small dark eye|
|Third-winter Caspian Gull (bird C) showing among other features its long thin legs and|
|Third-winter Caspian Gull (bird C) showing among other features its elongated rear end and bulging breast|
|Third-winter Caspian Gull (bird C) showing among other features its parallel sided bill, small head and dark eye|
|Adult Caspian Gull (bird D) showing extensive white on the underside of p10|
|Adult Caspian Gull (bird D) showing its long thin washed out bill|
|Adult Caspian Gull (bird D) showing among other features its bulging breast and hanging rear belly|
|Adult Caspian Gull (bird E) showing its all dark eye. Sadly it never did any more in the time we were watching, although there were too many distractions in the flock to spend overly long on it.|
|one of the four White-fronted Geese in the Cuckmere|
|Stonechat in the Cuckmere|
|main gull flock Cuckmere from Harry's Bush|
Friday 23 November. Seventeen Fieldfares flew east over Mill Hill while I was up there with Cookie. Three Redwings were with them and another was in the bushes. Later we visited Beeding Brooks with Megan seeing 3 Short-eared Owls mainly in the same area (over towards the Small Dole road) as last week, 40+ Fieldfares and 2 Reed Buntings.
Wednesday 21 November. A late afternoon visit to the River Adur produced an adult Mediterranean Gull, 9 Redshank and 2 Dunlin, one of the later appeared almost as dark as a Green Sandpiper. Earlier on the way to take my car to the garage a Sparrowhawk flew over.
|dark Dunlin on the Adur at dusk!|
|Peregrine at Shoreham Harbour|
Friday 16 November. I took Cookie to Shoreham Fort seeing a Meadow Pipit and 21 Greenfinches so wasn’t best pleased to later learn that two Black Redstarts were seen there later. We called in at the Adur seeing 5 Ringed and 3 Grey Plover, 17 Dunlin and 12 Redshank but very few gulls. In the afternoon Megan and I took Cookie to Beeding Brooks where 3 Short-eared Owls were a welcome sight. Also 6 Fieldfare and 600+ Jackdaws gathering before roosting.
|Short-eared Owl on Beeding Brooks, ther closest I came with the camera|
|Little Owl at Beeding Hill|
|Mediterranean Gull at Brooklands|