Friday, 31 May 2019

May slips away

Friday 31 May. I took Cookie for a walk from West Mill to the old railway line seeing 4 Lapwings, 4 Swifts, a flock of 9 Blue Tits, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Blackcaps, 6 Whitethroats, 2 superb Nightingales, Grey Wagtail (only my second this year), 3 Yellowhammers and 4 Reed Buntings. I'd hoped to see Turtle Dove again but had to settle for hearing one closely several times from areas it was not possible to look into. My fifth visit this month and I've seen Turtle Dove twice, heard them on two other visits and drawn a complete blank once. In the afternoon Megan and I visited the Eastern Arm of Shoreham Harbour, rather distressingly finding a recently guillotined Great Black-backed Gull on the beach below wind turbine Spinny. Rather sinisterly it had been removed by the time we walked back. We need green energy but there is a price to pay and coming face-to-face with it makes me wonder how many birds are killed by Rampion's 116 turbines. Being off-shore we'll never know. The Great Black-backed Gulls demise had the potential to become more personal when I returned home to find just the sitting bird on Glebelands and still no sign of its mate as I write this nearly three hours later ... Off now for my Woodcock survey.
Reed Bunting at West Mill

Jellyfish in Shoreham Harbour
wind turbines Gusty and Spinny at Shoreham Harbour
we need green energy but it comes at a price
this adult Great Black-backed Gull had very recently been chopped in two
it had been removed when we walked back which struck me as rather sinister, how many bird deaths are there?
Thursday 30 May. I took Cookie for a walk from Cuckoo's Corner to Dacre Gardens. Despite the name of our starting point seeing a Cuckoo flying across the Adur near there was a surprise. More expected were 9 Little Egrets, 4 Swallows, 9 Reed Warblers and 3 Reed Buntings although just one (silent) Sedge Warbler was a disappointment. Later Megan and I took Cookie up onto the Downs and saw some orchids. The pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were on the roof at Glebelands and a Sparrowhawk and 2 Swifts flew over the garden, the latter heading east. 
Reed Bunting near Cuckoo's Corner
Reed Warbler near Cuckoo's Corner

Butterfly Orchid

Man Orchid, I don't recall having seen one before
White Helleborine
Wednesday 29 May. I completed my South Down Farmland Bird Monitoring Survey on the edge of the Burgh. During just over two hours of the survey I recorded 30 species, the highlights being 9 Grey Partridges, 2 Red Kites, 3 Buzzards, Cuckoo, Jay, 10 Sky Larks, 3 Lesser and 12 Common Whitethroats, 12 Linnets and 7 Goldfinches. On a slow walk back to my car via the Burgh I added single Red-legged and Grey Partridges, female Marsh Harrier, another 3 Red Kites, 3 Lapwings, 15 Swifts and a Swallow (the only hirundine seen). For the first time in 10 surveys no buntings were recorded and no Carrion Crows for only the second time. I called in at Amberley on the way home and walked out on the the Wildbrooks hoping to see a Sedge Warbler in the ditches but they didn't look that suitable. A Cuckoo flew over and a patch of woodland held pairs of Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. The pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were 'sitting' on the roof at Glebelands.
Grey Partridge near the Burgh

Linnet on the Downs, rather smart when seen well

Red Kites at the Burgh

Reed Bunting on Amberley Wild Brooks
Tuesday 28 May. I took Cookie to Knepp where we wandered around for over four hours . During this time I only heard one Turtle Dove despite covering the areas I'd seen them on 10th and 15th - numbers seem down on last year. Two Cuckoos and two Nightingales (with 2 more heard) were some compensation and I also saw Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Mistle Thrushes and a Spotted Flycatcher. The pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were 'sitting' on the roof at Glebelands and 5 Swifts were flying around over the road at mid day but were not seen subsequently reinforcing my belief that the council flats they bred in are no longer suitable. Not somewhere one wants to be seen examining the upstairs of with binoculars.
juvenile Nightingale at Knepp
an adult was singing strongly nearby
Monday 27 May. I took Cookie to West Mill and walked to the old railway line seeing 3 Lapwings, 7 Sky Larks, a flock of 23 Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Warblers, a Lesser and 9 Common Whitethroats, Nightingale, 2 Reed Buntings and a Yellowhammer. No sight or sound of any Turtle Doves in the area two had been a week earlier. Later a flock of 7 Great Tits on Adur Rec and the pair of Great Black-backed Gulls 'sitting' on the roof at Glebelands.
Cookie starting to show her age, not the only one in our house that applies to
juvenile Long-tailed Tit along the old railway line, moving too fast for me to do any better
Whitethroat at West Mill
male Yellowhammer with caterpillar at West Mill
Sunday 26 May. Cookie and I visited the Adur and walked up towards Cuckoo's Corner seeing Sparrowhawk, 7 Ringed Plover, a Dunlin, 9 Swallows, 15 House MartinsReed Warbler and a Reed Bunting. At home the pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were 'sitting' on the roof at Glebelands but no Swifts were evident overhead
Shoreham Airshow memorial
Saturday 25 May. Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill seeing a Spotted Flycatcher and Yellowhammer. The pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were 'sitting' on the roof at Glebelands and 2 Swifts flew over heading SW.
great to see a Spotted Flycatcher on Mill Hill
Thursday & Friday 23-24 May. Not feeling well I didn't go out other than to check whether the Great Black-backed Gulls were on the roof at Glebelands (they were) and to fail to see any Swifts.
Great Black-backed Gulls at their nest (last year's with a few more sticks)
Wednesday 22 May. Cookie and I visited the Adur. Twenty-four Ringed Plover, a Dunlin and a first-summer Mediterranean Gull were by the airport and walking around the Rec and up towards Cuckoo's Corner added 2 Swifts, 2 Swallows, 25 House Martins, 8 Reed Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Reed Bunting. At home the pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were on the roof at Glebelands but no Swifts were evident overhead.

Mediterranean Gull and Ringed Plovers on the Adur

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