|male Black Redstart on Shoreham Fort
Sunday 23rd. Keen to try my new telescope on more gulls I took Cookie to the Cuckmere as the morning tide was a high one. It was misty from Newhaven and coming down from the barn the roost fields were quite flooded with gulls roosting in several scattered flocks. I could find nothing amongst the smaller more southern flock, likewise the central ones but the biggest flock was a little further north and gave a good side on angle of most birds. Even then it took almost an hour to find an adult Yellow-legged Gull and another 30 minutes before seeing a first-winter Caspian Gull. I spent almost three hours in the Cuckmere, part with Mike O'Shea, seeing two Caspian Gulls (first and second winters), three Yellow-legged Gulls (two adults and a second-winter), at least three adult argentatus Herring Gulls and two adult Mediterranean Gulls. There was also another gull I thought looked quite good for another second-winter Caspian Gull but views were inconclusive. Frustratingly I'd left my digiscoping camera at home and phone-scoped images left something to be desired (likely more to do with the phone or the operator than the telescope).
|misty Cuckmere from Harry's Bush
|the same bird phone-scoped making it appear less contrasting and more coarsely marked above
|it had a pale underwing, not that this image quite reveals it
|large, long-billed second-winter Caspian Gull in the Cuckmere (bridge camera at 104x)
|phone scoped and the bill appears even longer, almost unreal
|the coverts contrasted more than appears to be the casein these images, the black tail made me happy it was a second rather than third winter
|this images shows the contrasting coverts better, and the long thin legs
|not looking quite so large in this image
|this bird looked quite interesting but didn't show long or well enough for me to convince myself what it was
|adult Yellow-legged Gull in the Cuckmere
|zoomed to the limit, and beyond
|argentatus Herring Gulls in the Cuckmere (rear bird). The right hand bird looked a good contender too
Friday 21st. I stayed in all morning waiting for a new telescope to be delievered. By the time it came there wasn't enough time to visit the Cuckmere so I took Cookie down to the Adur hoping there might be some colour-ringed gulls to try and read. The tide wasn't really low enough and 10 Lesser Black-backs were the most interesting gulls present but I was happy with the scope.
|first digiscoped image through my new Swarovski ATS80. I could have read most colour-rings if it had one.
Sunday 16th. Hard going locally with a Rock Pipit at Shoreham Fort and 40 Lesser Black-backs on the Adur the best by far. Later Megan and I (and of course Cookie) picked up Ruth and Izzy in Hove and met Anna and Ian at Pyecombe. We walked up to Wolstenbury and enjoyed the view while remembering our parents at one of their favourite places. Thirteen Fieldfares were the only birds seen. We returned to the family home in Hove for the last time, removed a few more items we probably didn't have room for and departed together. Very sad.
|Anna, Ian, Megan and Ruth at Wolstenbury
|goodbye to the family home of over 50 years