Saturday 27 July 2019

Sussex doldrums (11-27 July)

Saturday 27 July. A visit to the Adur in poor weather produced 3 Little Egrets, 4 Oystercatchers, a Whimbrel and 2 returning Turnstones. At home the now almost fully grown young Great Black-backed Gull was on its roof, as it had been all week, always with one parent in attendance, sometimes with both.
young Great Black-backed Gull learning that sticks are not good to eat
Friday 26 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Mill Hill where I saw 2 Reed Warblers, my first 'returning' warblers of the autumn. Also 17 Whitethroats (more than usual), 2 Blackcaps, a Green Woodpecker and a juvenile Bullfinch.
Reed Warbler at Mill Hill, always nice to see acros in bushes
Whitethroat at Mill Hill
Thursday 25 July. I cycled over to Worthing calling in at Brooklands on the way where a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull was my first of the season. On the way back 3 Redshanks were visible in the creek by the Adur Houseboats. Later Megan and I took Cookie around Buckingham Park where a Mistle Thrush was the only bird of note.
Widewater car park completely full, although some cars could have closer. Unfortunately due to the warmest day of the year rather than a new bird for Britain 
juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull at Brooklands
hot on the roof
Wednesday 24 July. I took Cookie to Brooklands seeing 2 Grey Herons, Stock Dove, 2 Common Sandpipers, 5 Swifts, Green Woodpecker, single House Martin, Reed Warbler (and others heard) and a distant probable juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. On the way home was called in at the Adur seeing 4 Stock Doves, 4 Oystercatchers, 6 Mediterranean and another distant probable juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. Three of the Mediterranean Gulls were juveniles which was nice, they are also easy to identify!
three Mediterranean and a Black-headed Gull on the Adur
zooming in on the adults

the other three Mediterranean Gulls with another Black-headed

juvenile Great Black-backed Gull
Tuesday 23 July. I took Cookie to West Mill where a vocal Turtle Dove was the highlight (at least for me). We also saw Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, 2 Whitethroats, a Greenfinch, 2 Bullfinches, 2 Yellowhammers and 2 Reed Buntings
Turtle Dove at West Mill

Yellowhammer on the levels
juvenile Great Black-backed Gull starting to look mean
Monday 22 July. Megan and I took Cookie along the beach to Lancing but didn't quite make it to Brooklands. As expected we saw very little, single Sandwich Tern east and adult Mediterranean Gull SW. Later a Sparrowhawk flew over th eOld Shoreham Road in Southwick.
juvenile Great Black-backed Gull resting
Sunday 21 July. I took Cookie to the Adur and up to Cuckoo's Corner. We saw 2 Little Egrets, 2 Oystercatchers, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull flying south down the river, 3 Swifts and 20 House Martins over Lancing College and a Whitethroat. Reed Warblers and Buntings seem to have stopped singing now.
Great Black-backed Gull family
Saturday 20 July. Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill where we saw Buzzard, 5 Swifts, Peregrine, 2 Whitethoats, male Bullfinch and Yellowhammer. We heard a Sky Lark singing for most of the time we were there but failed to see it as is often the case there.
Yellowhammer on Mill Hill
juvenile Great Black-backed Gull resting
Friday 19 July. A walk along Worthing seafront in poor weather produced the first fledged juvenile Great Black-back Gull I've seen this year and a lot of young Herring Gulls but nothing that stood out amongst them.
juvenile Great Black-backed Gull off Worthing seafront
ours still has a long way to go

Thursday 18 July 2019

Americans at Oare (18 July 2019)

Thursday 18 July. DB drove JK and me to Oare where we had a very enjoyable visit, despite a couple of blustery showers. In over six hours we had good views of the two main birds we had come to look for: Bonaparte's Gull and Lesser Yellowlegs. We also saw 2 Marsh Harriers, 48+ Avocets, 2 Golden Plover, 3-4 Whimbrel, 500+ Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Ruff, 8 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, 450 Common and a Spotted Redshank, 4 Greenshank, a smart Wood Sandpiper, a single Mediterranean Gull, 2 Little Terns, 3 Turtle Doves, 30 Swifts and 3 highly desirable Bearded Tits. Back home the Great Black-backed Gull family was on the roof behind us as they had been all week.
Bonaparte's Gull at Oare
its head had a slight brownish tinge in some lights and was certainly not Med Gull black
it was finding plenty of worms

noticeably smaller compared to Black-headed Gull

excellent spotting from DB later in our visit
Bonaparte's Gull at Oare
showing bright red legs ans thin black bill

Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets at Oare
Lesser Yellowlegs at Oare

Ruff at Oare
Golden Plover at Oare
Wednesday 17 July. Cookie and I walked up the Adur from the airport to Cuckoo's Corner. The highlight was a colour-ringed Black-headed Gull which I have on good authority is likely to be from a Latvian scheme although I'm awaiting confirmation. Also by the airport a Common Sandpiper and a juvenile Peregrine which flew slowly up river flushing everything and several times appearing as if about to land until it reached the Old Toll Bridge and flew back equally slowly and erratically. 3 Swifts and 20 House Martins were over Lancing College. Later I cycled to Worthing stopping at Brooklands on the way (no interesting gulls, just Reed Warbler heard). Three Little Egrets were on Widewater and 2 Sandwich Terns offshore and 7 Swifts over Eastern Avenue.
Black-headed Gull KFN8 on the Adur

Tuesday 16 July. I took Cookie to Knepp where we spent a couple of hours seeing 4 Buzzards, 3 Stock and 2 Turtle Doves, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 5 Chiffchaffs, 2 Garden Warblers, 14 Whitethroats, 11 Wrens, Nuthatch, 3 Bullfinches and 2 Yellowhammers. I used to enjoy wandering around at Knepp but on recent visits have felt quite unwelcome with a proliferation of No Entry, Wildlife Only signs and this time camera traps beside public footpaths.
Camera trap on a public footpath on the Knepp Estate.
Stage three of the Estate Plan now underway - the unwelcoming, following on from Stage one the rewilding (few would disagree with this) and Stage two the dubious introductions
another camera trap, smile please
Fox at Knepp
Tamworth at Knepp, potentially dangerous introduced animal on a public footpath, doubtless he camera traps ensure they behave 
Holly Blue
young Great Black-backed Gull starting to look like a Dodo
partial eclipse
Wednesday 15 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Cissbury seeing 4 Green and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 4 Sky Larks, 2 Ravens, 2 Whitethroats, Nuthatch, Meadow Pipit, 5 Yellowhammers and an unidentified crest (poorly in flight).
Wolstenbury and Truleigh Hill from Cissbury
Chanctonbury from Cissbury
Gatekeeper at Cissbury
Yellowhammer at Cissbury

Tuesday 14 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands where 2 juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were the highlight. Later a Swift flew over the garden and the Great Black-backed Gull was fed.
juvenile Mediterranean Gull at Brooklands
two juveniles
young Great Black-backed Gull
starting to flap its wings

accosting a recently returned parent

rather persistently
homing in on the red spot
it had the desired result
even if the fish was too big to easily manage


Monday 13 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Lancing College and we walked up towards the ring seeing 6 Swifts, 3 Sky Larks, 3 Swallows, 20 House Martins and 2 Corn Buntings. Later 20 Swifts were flying around the Eastern Avenue/Middle Road junction while we were at the allotment.
Great Black-backed Gull youngster looking alert
Sunday 12 July. Mill Hill and Widewater with Megan and Cookie were very quiet with a Yellowhammer at the former vying with 15 screaming Swifts chasing over the garden for the most notable sighting. The Swifts have it.
young Great Black-backed Gull having a nap
Saturday 11 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Lancing Ring and walked around Steepdown seeing 4 Sky Larks, 6 Whitethroats, a Meadow Pipit, 11 Corn Buntings, lots of common butterflies and a Hummingbird Hawk Moth. At low tide I followed the Adur up to Cuckoo's Corner seeing 4 Mediterranean Gulls 92 adults and 2 second-summers) and 20 House Martins. Most of the latter were over Lancing College but four were flying over the river.

poppy field on the way to Steepdown
Corn Bunting in poppies
in less colourful surroundings

view East from Steepdown
Sky Lark at Steepdown