Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Around Shoreham (11-19 February)

Wednesday 19 February. I took Cookie to Shoreham Fort where we saw 11 Turnstones, 4 Purple Sandpipers and a Rock Pipit. There were decent numbers of Herring Gulls on the West Arm and along the beach but nothing stood out amongst them. Absolutely nothing was moving off-shore. Later a trip to the Adur produced nothing at all out of the ordinary despite decent gull numbers. Nine Redshanks were the most notable sighting.
Herring Gulls at Shoreham Harbour



Rock Pipit at Shoreham Harbour
Tuesday 18 February. I took Cookie to Lancing Ring and we walked around Steepdown. After the recent wet and windy weather it was nice to see the sun for a change. There were  Sky Larks singing almost continually, 14 was a conservative estimate, and the occasional Corn Bunting (we saw 7 although 4 were just fly-overs). We also saw Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker (at Lancing Ring), Stonechat, 4 Chaffinches and 11 Linnets. Later I took Cookie to the Adur for the not very low tide. Again no sandbars but about 250 Common Gulls included two with colour-rings (Norwegian and Estonian) were by Ricardos while one of the 75 Black-headed Gulls there had a Dutch colour ring. Apparently there had been 500 Common and two Mediterranean Gulls present earlier and when I left fewer than half those I'd seen were still present.
Corn Bunting on Steepdown
Stonechat on Steepdown
free-range sheep
Lancing College and Shoreham Power Station from Steepdown
Common Gull JL207 on the Adur
A female ringed as an adult at Engervannet, a lake about 10km west of central Oslo, Norway on 17 April 2019. This is the first sighting of it since.
Common Gull P43N on the Adur
ringed as a chick in the Kakrarahu colony, Matsalu Nature Reserve, Estonia on 07 June 1997, she was fitted with a colour ring when breeding there in 2002 and has bred every year since (to 2018, no field work was done in 2019). In 2010 she was seen at two nests but we won't dwell on that!  She is now on her third white colour ring (PP70 from 2002-2008, P4J4 to 2016 and P43N since). Plastic rings don't last as long as metal ones which perhaps explains why I've recently seen as many small gulls with just a metal ring as with a colour-ring too. This is the first sighting of her away from the Kakrarahu colony which is perhaps surprising given that she has been wearing a colour-ring since 2002. She is in her 23rd year although has a long way to go to match Estonia's oldest Common Gull "Marta" which lived for 34 years! 
Black-headed Gull EH9M. Ringed as nestling at Griend, The Netherlands on 01 July 2016 and seen there between mid April and late June 2018 and on 12 April 2019
Monday 17 February. Another grim day. Hardly any gulls on the Adur at low tide, the lack of any exposed sandbanks not helping but none by Ricardo's either. Megan and I took Cookie around the houseboats luckily dodging the showers and seeing the wintering Greenshank in the process.
Sunday 16 February. A visit to Widewater during abysmal weather produced four Red-breasted Mergansers (a pair and two males) and a Little Grebe. Harbour Way and the Adur were devoid of gulls.

the two male Red-breasted Mergsansers
the first I've seen at Widewater this year despite several visits in poor weather
smart birds when seen well
Saturday 15 February. A visit to the Adur at low tide to go through the gulls. I saw two adult Mediterranean Gulls, 10 adult Lesser Black-backs and 1000+ Common Gulls . The latter included a brief, unreadable view of one with a red ring and one seen at the start of the year with colour bands.
Mediterranean Gull on the Adur



another Mediterranean Gull on the Adur
this Common Gull's right leg is the interesting one, appearing to only have a pink ring in this image
white and pink now?
or perhaps a pink ring over a metal one?
Friday 14 February. Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands where we saw the male Pochard and three Little Grebes and heard a Cetti's Warbler. Later with the tide coming in I watched the Adur saltings from opposite the houseboats. The tide, at 6.1m, wasn't high enough to cover all the saltings so some birds, particularly snipe, remained hidden. I saw 23 Teal, 128 Lapwings, a Whimbrel, 17 Common Snipe, 55 Redshank, the wintering Greenshank, Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk and 9 Linnets.
Greenshank roosting on the Adur saltings.
this Whimbrel was unexpected, more so as the wintering Curlew was not to be seen

  

Thursday 13 February. Just 40 Lapwings and 8 Redshanks on the Adur with few gulls and an adult Lesser Black-back the most interesting I could see amongst them.


Wednesday 12 February. Back to the Adur with Cookie seeing 95 Lapwings, 10 Redshank and 200 Common Gulls including Norwegian J1Z5. Later, with the tide coming in, Megan and I took Cookie to Shoreham Fort and walked along the boardwalk. At least 2 Purple Sandpipers were on the wooden jetty and 2 Turnstones on the beach.

Norwegian Common Gull J1Z5 again on the Adur
it has a broken colour ring, explaining why I'd had great rouble reading the last character., the "5" can only be seen from the other side
two of about 250 mainly Herring Gulls dodging waves to feed on the tideline
Tuesday 11 February. I took Cookie to the Adur at low tide. We saw 92 Lapwings, two adult Mediterranean Gulls, 200 Common Gulls (including a poor view of a Norwegian colour-ringed bird I suspected was JJ242 but wasn't 100% sure) and 5 Linnets
Mediterranean Gulls on the Adur (extreme left and right)
starting to show some summer plumage

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