Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Seaford seawatches (29 and 30 April 2019)

Tuesday 30 April. I met JK in Seaford and we seawatched from Splash Point from 06:20-12:00, most of the time with SL with others. During this period I saw the following flying east: 3 Canada Geese, 7 Shoveler, 337 Common and 2 Velvet Scoter (@ 06:40), 4 divers of which 2 were identified as Red-throated and 1 as Black-throated), 10 Gannets, 10 Avocets (4 @ 07:09 then 2s at 07:11, 09:02 & 09:42), 36 Whimbrel, 270 Bar-tailed Godwits (4 landing on the beach near us until I reached for my camera), single Curlew, Turnstone, Knot, Sanderling and Dunlin, a close juvenile Little and 13 Mediterranean Gulls (5 adults, 3 second-summers and 5 first-summers), 118 Sandwich, 25 Little, 290 Commic and 4 Black Terns, 7 Arctic Skuas (1 pale & 6 dark-morphs) and a Guillemot. The Surf Scoter seen at Selsey might well have past in a distant flock (all scoter flocks were distant by the time it would have gone by) but they were too far out to get an accurate count let alone spot one with small white patches. If so it would be the second spring running SL, JK and I failed to pick a Surf Scoter out of a passing flock. The 4 Black Terns were superb and the highlight of the watch, nice and close at 08:06. Also 5 Common Sandpipers and 8 Oystercatchers were seen on the groynes. Later Megan and I took Cookie to the Adur where a Whimbrel was feeding on the mud at low tide, otherwise 2 Oystercatchers were the only waders seen - a low return given the wader movement witnessed at Seaford.
Kittiwake cliffs at Seaford Head
Arctic Skua passing Splash Point, Seaford

Whimbrel on the Adur
Monday 29 April. I seawatched at Splash Point from 05:30-12:30, more in hope than expectation, the last half with SL which made the time pass quicker. I saw the following flying east: 19 Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver, a distant Manx Shearwater (ME's normal range!), 2 Great Crested Grebes, 19 Gannets, 14 Whimbrel, 46 Bar-tailed Godwits, 6 Mediterranean Gulls (4 adults and 2 first-summers), just 6 Sandwich Terns and 3 Arctic Skuas (1 pale & 2 dark-morphs). One of the first birds seen was a Great Skua flying west and later in the morning over 20 hirundines came in, mostly Swallows but also 2 House Martins. Later I took Cookie to Cuckoo's Corner and we walked north. We heard a Lesser Whitethroat and saw a Sedge Warbler but the ditches where I was hoping to find Reed Warbler were very sparsely vegetated. At least they were still there, unlike the airfield side of the Adur.
first-summer Mediterranean Gull at Splash Point

Sedge Warbler at Cuckoo's Corner
Sunday 28 April. A morning at Greatham and then Pulborough produced a good selection of commoner warblers even if more were heard than seen. Also several Nightingales (1 seen and 2 heard at both sites), a distant Cuckoo heard briefly at Greatham, Marsh Harrier, Little Ringed Plover and Common Swift at Pulborough. Later Megan and I took Cookie to Southwick Canal where we saw Lesser Whitethroat.
Nightingale at Greatham

Saturday 27 April. Megan and I took Cookie to Cissbury where we saw 2 and heard a third Lesser Whitethroat in very windy conditions. Later I took Cookie to the Adur where we saw North Thames Herring Gull X9TT. 

Herring Gull X9TT, one I thought I'd seen on the Adur in August 2018 but hadn't been sure.
Friday 26 April. I seawatched at Widewater from 06:00-07:30 and saw 25 Common Scoter, 2 distant divers, 13 Gannets, a Whimbrel, 40 Bar-tailed Godwits, a second-summer Mediteranean Gull, 12 Sandwich Terns and 2 Great Skuas (one quite close). In addition I heard different Whimbrel and Mediterranean Gull. Later Megan and I took Cookie to Wolstenbury but saw little.

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