Monday 15 April. I arrived on the arm at Splash Point at 06:10, half an hour after Matt but just in time for a male Scaup tagged on to a flock of scoter. We stayed to 13:40 being joined on the front row by a not so early DB. It was a very enjoyable seawatch although it died off to a certain extent mid-way through when the company was greatly appreciated. During my 7.5 hours I recorded 56 Brent and a Barnacle Goose, 10 Shelduck, 4 Garganey (2 males with a female and two initially misidentified Teal at 08:50 and another male at 09:47), 14 Shoveler, 10 Gadwall, 40 Teal, 8 Velvet Scoter (flocks of 3 and 5), 1089 Common Scoter, 20 divers of which 9 were identified as Red-throated and 9 as Black-throated, 292 Gannets, 3 Manx Shearwaters (2+1), 17 Grey Plover, 65 Whimbrel, a Curlew, 13 Bar-tailed and 2 summer-plumaged Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, 21 Little and 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Great and 10 Arctic Skuas, 55 Sandwich and 37 Commic Terns (all identified being Common) and 94 auks (Guillemots outnumbering Razorbills 4:1 of those identified). Two Swallows came in and the female-plumaged Black Redstart was singing occasionally.
Sunday 14 April. DB joined me on my South Downs Farmland Birds survey near the Burgh. He was much quicker picking up calls than I was and doubtless a few birds wouldn't have been recorded without his help. Highlights were a slightly disappointing 10 each of Grey and Red-legged Partridge, 5+ Red Kites, 5 Ravens, 17 Sky Larks and 2 Yellowhammers. Later Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill and heard Sky Lark and Chiffchaff.
Saturday 13 April. Megan and I took Cookie up to Chantry Hill but she wasn't getting out of the car due to not too distant shooting. We continued on to Houghton Forest where a two hour walk produced Swallow, Chiffchaff and Blackcap but only one of each seen.
Friday 12 April. DB drove us over to Rye where the three Twite were still hanging on. We also saw a superb adult Little and 60 Mediterranean Gulls, the rather dull plumaged male Ring-necked Duck, a pair of Marsh Harriers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 50 Avocets, a Whimbrel, 50 Sand and a House Martin, single Yellow and White Wagtails, 6 Wheatears, a Whitethroat and 95 Linnets. We came back via Pett Level walking along the side to the Pannel Valley. There we saw 50 Mediterranean Gulls, another pair of Marsh Harriers, 2 more Little Ringed Plovers and 4 Avocets. Two of the Mediterranean Gulls were colour-ringed, PPJ9 ringed as a chick at Wojcice, Opolskie, Poland in June 2015 and not seen since and 2J19 ringed as an adult at Great Yarmouth in November 2014 and seen there in successive winters to December 2017, at Southend Pier in June 2017 and Hayling Oyster Beds in February and April 2018.
|Little Gull on Castle Water|
|Mediterranean Gull 2J19 near Pannel Valley|
Thursday 11 April. My last day at work although officially I don't retire until the end of the month. I was given a decent send off at work which just about met the no-fuss definition I'd asked for. A Peregrine was on Southwick Power Station on my cycle there.
|another Mediterranean Gull on Pett Level|
Tuesday 09 April. A Peregrine was on Southwick Power Station on my cycle to work.
Monday 08 April. A Peregrine was on Southwick Power Station on my cycle to work with two Wheatears on Southwick Beach on my return.
Sunday 07 April. An early visit to Shoreham Fort with Cookie produced single Little Egret, Sandwich Tern and Mediterranean Gull (heard). The Adur was even worse with just 2 Oystercatchers. Later we went to Greatham but it was little better with three Stonechats best - a pair and what looked good for a continental male.
|ordinary looking male Stonechat|
|a much paler bird with extensive white on neck, wings, belly|