Monday, 6 May 2019

Knepp Estate (06 May 2019)

Monday 6 May. With winds still northerly I took Cookie back to the southern section of the Knepp Estate where we spent 3.5 hours. I saw 5 Buzzards, 2 Cuckoos, 2 Swifts, a superb Hobby, 3 Jays, 6 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 4 Garden Warblers, 2 Lesser and 4 Common Whitethroats, a Nightingale, 3 Bullfinches and a pair of introduced White Storks at a nest. Several more of each of the warblers were also heard as was another Cuckoo and Nightingale but we failed to encounter any Turtle Doves, hopefully we were still a shade early and they are still to arrive (I saw 4 there on 9 May 2018). Later Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill where several Chiffchaffs and Whitethroats were seen or heard and a Mistle Thrush was the highlight.
Garden Warbler playing peek a boo
Introduced White Storks in the Knepp Estate. With no documented previous breeding records of this hard to overlook species in England, let alone Sussex, it is hardly a re-introduction
Mistle Thrush with lunch
varied wildlife in the Knepp Estate
Sunday 5 May. Still unfavourable winds so I spent a couple of hours before breakfast at West Mill where I saw 4 Lapwings, 2 Whimbrel (flying N), a Turtle Dove, 12 Long-tailed Tits, Blackcap, Lesser and Common Whitethoats, a Nightingale (and 3 heard), 3 Yellowhammers and a Reed Bunting. Much later I took Cookie to the Adur for low tide but rather wished I hadn't bothered with just a Little Egret and 2 Oystercatchers seen.
Turtle Dove at West Mill, a brief appearance following two isolated bursts of purring.
Saturday 4 May. Another uninspiring weather forecast. Megan and I took Cookie up onto the Downs above Shoreham seeing 3 Whitethroats and 2 Corn Buntings.

Friday 3 May. We drove to Birling Gap where we hadn't been for some time and walked towards Shooters Bottom. Beachy appeared to be very quiet and seeing RHC and MEC sitting out at Hodcomb we diverted, first telling Cookie to be on her best behaviour! We had a nice chat swapping stories of Arctic Norway (ours from earlier in the year and 2016 and theirs two overland camping trips in the 1970s). Walking back through Belle Toput we learned there had been a Wood Warbler present but it had stopped singing and unfortunately we were now short of time and so didn't wait. We saw a Red-legged Partridge, 6 Swallows (3 Hodcombe breeing birds), a Whitethroat , 5 Stonechats and 5 Corn Buntings. We'd not been there early but the lack of birds remined me why I hardly visit Beachy in the Spring.

Red-legged Partridge at Birling
enhancing its chance of survival by deserting the release site 
Stonechat at Beachy
Corn Bunting at Beachy
Thursday 2 May. I took Cookie to the southern section of the Knepp Estate where we spent 2.5 hours. No sight or sound of Turtle Doves, most likely too early although others had been reported in Sussex. We saw 2 Cuckoos, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Jays, 3 Swallows, a Nuthatch, Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcaps, 5 Garden Warblers, 3 Lesser and 8 Common Whitethroats and 2 Nightingales. Several more of each of the warblers were also heard as was another Cuckoo and 2 Nightingales. Later a visit to the Adur with Megan and Cookie produced 3 Whimbrel.
Two of the three Whimbrel on the Adur
April Grasshopper Warblers.

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