Sunday, 31 March 2019

My Wheatear wait is over (March 30-31)

Sunday 31 March. Two hours seawatching at Splash Point, Seaford from 07:05 had just about enough to keep my interest but nothing of any consequence. I saw 28 Brent and 5 Greylag Geese, 2 Pintail, 165 Common Scoter, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Red-throated Divers, 39 Gannets, a Little Egret, 5 Sandwich Terns and 22 auks. A smart White Wagtail was briefly on the groyne and what looked good for another flew in. I went over to Beachy seeing two Swallows fly north up the Cuckmere on the way. Five Wheatears were west of Birling keeping low in what was now a fairly strong NE wind. Another Swallow flew north and there were 2 Chiffchaffs in the wood, otherwise it was very quiet. Later Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill where I heard a Chiffchaff.

Saturday 30 March. I arrived at Shoreham Harbour at 06:45 to find the gate to the west arm locked allowing no possibility of seawatching from there. I relocated to Shoreham Beach but nothing was moving in a cold north wind although my attention was soon drawn to some Wheatears on the beach. I counted ten and followed them as they moved steadily west along the beach towards Widewater. Males were outnumbered by females but still a very nice sight, although somewhat later than usual as Megan and I had been in Finmark for a week. Feeling on a bit of a roll I took Cookie up to Ashdown Forest looking for the wintering Great Grey Shrike and for the second time failed to see it. Later a distant Goshawk was some compensation. Cookie and I finished the day on Beeding Hill seeing four Stock Doves.

Wheatear on Shoreham Beach
one of ten seen, a decent fall
Friday 29 March. An early trip to Shoreham Fort, Beach and Widewater hoping for a not so early Wheatear produced nothing. I then took Cookie to Charleston Reedbed where after an hour the pair of Garganey performed a prolonged flypast with a sizable flock Teal. The floods north of the reedbed held a selection of wildfowl including an adult Lesser White-fronted, two Barnacle and two Egyptian Geese.

Thursday 21 to Thursday 28 March. Megan and I were in Finmark which I hope to blog soon.

Wednesday 20 March. Megan and I flew from Gatwick to Oslo, arriving late morning. We caught the train into the city, booked into our hotel and spent the afternoon seeing a few sights including the Vigland Sculpture Park, Royal Palace, Cathedral, Harbour and Akershus Fortress. Avian highlights were four Goldeneye, 25 Hooded Crows, 30 pale Nordic Jackdaws and four Tree Sparrows, the latter in complete contrast to their status in Sussex.
still snowy in southern Norway

Tree Sparrow in Oslo
Vigeland Sculpture Park


Goldeneye in Vigland Park
Oslo City Hall
Oslo Harbour
Akershus Fortress

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