Saturday, 3 November 2018

Beachy blues (21 October-3 November)

I was away for the middle of October during which time it was very quiet in Sussex. Worst autumn ever was the view of many. Sadly things didn't improve much, at least not for me, after I returned.

Saturday 3 November. A return to Birling to look for the shrike in the hope it might still be around. It wasn't and if possible Frank and I saw less than we had on Wednesday. Another nice walk around and enjoyable visit to Roger and Liz (who we'd missed previously). Another 7+ hours produced a Red-throated Diver, 2 Sparrowhawks, 8 Stock Doves, Great Spotted Woodpecker, male Peregrines, 8 Sky LarksGrey Wagtail, 4 Stonechats, a Goldcrest (heard),  2 Raven and Corn Bunting (heard)
nice as Stonechats are this was not the species we were hoping might be sitting out in the sun

Beachy Head Lighthouse
Friday 2 November. After dropping Megan at Shoreham Station Cookie and I spent a couple of hours at Brooklands seeing 4 Little Egrets (one with colour rings), 11 Teal, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest. News of an Isabelline Shrike at Birling (nice find Chris) had me heading there but I arrived half an hour too late seeing just 2 Stonechats between then and dusk.
Grey Wagtail at Brooklands
colour-ringed Little Egret

red Z, dark blue T

Wednesday 31 October. Frank Lambert was over in Brighton and we went to Beachy. On a sunny day it is always a nice place to walk around and we called in on RHC for a chat and saw a Firecrest. However it, 3 Goldcrests, Buzzard, 2 excellent Peregrines, 2 Stonechats, a tumbling Raven, 40 Goldfinches and 4 Corn Buntings didn't seem a lot of reward for over seven hours walking around, especially in a SE wind. Later I took Cookie to Buckingham Park seeing Mistle Thrush, 3000 Starlings heading to roost and 60 Goldfinches.

Sunday 28 October. Megan and I took Cookie to Pulborough and walked around the woodland fungi trail. Two fine Fly Agarics were the highlight, and a distant Ruff from Hayle's Viewpoint.
Fly Agaric at Pulborough, possibly the best examples I have seen

Pulborough West Brooks
Saturday 27 October. A Curlew was the only notable bird on the Adur while Brooklands was better with 5 Little Egrets, 7 Chiffchaffs and 18 Long-tailed Tits.

Friday 26 October. With Sussex so poor the temptation of the long staying Grey Catbird proved too much for Matt and ADW and I were more than happy to go with him to Lands End to look for it. We saw it briefly several times while there but effectively only in flight as the strong wind blowing up the valley made viewing very difficult. A disappointing return for 13 hours in the car - five there and eight back - but many thanks to Matt for excellent driving and he and Andrew for their company. While there we saw a Sparrowhawk, Andrew pointed out a Great White Egret on the Hayle as we drove along the by-pass and I saw 8 Golden Plovers fly up from a ploughed field on the way down.

Wednesday 24 October. Mill Hill with Cookie produced 2 Stock Doves, 2 Sky Larks, a Chiffchaff, 23 Goldfinches and 15 Linnets.

Tuesday 23 October. A female Pheasant by Sussex House as I was chaining up my bike.

Sunday 21 October. Megan and I took Cookie to Cissbury. Best bird was a Red Kite flying west over the A24 on our way. Once there we saw Stock Dove, 8 Meadow Pipits, a Stonechat and 2 Chiffchaffs.

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