Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Green light for Surveys (18-19 May)

Tuesday 19 May. I have participated in the Woodcock Survey since its inception in 2013. A nice forecast suggested this evening would be suitable. Before that Megan and I too Cookie to West Mill. We walked out to the Downslink and came back via the edge of Small Dole. We heard 3 Nghtingales and a Cetti's Warbler and saw a distant vocal Cuckoo, 7 LapwingsRed Kite, 2 Buzzards, 4 Sky Larks, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, 3 Whitethroats, a male Yellowhammer and 2 male Reed Buntings. My Woodcock Survey is at Lavington, the disadvantage of a sunny evening being nearly blinded a few times on the journey there. I had three Woodcock encounters, twice seeing and hearing a single bird and once just hearing one. They probably all related to the same individual and on the evidence of my first visit the dramatic fall in encounters witnessed in 2018 does to appear to have been reversed. I also saw 2 Egyptian Geese, 3 Nightjars (and 2 more heard), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Wood Lark, 3 Dartford Warblers (and 2 more heard), 3 Stonechats and a Yellowhammer and heard at least one Cuckoo and a Tawny Owl.
Reed Bunting at West Mill

Wood Lark at Lavington
Stonechat at Lavington
Dartford Warbler at Lavington
Monday 18 May. For several years I have visited TQ0310 as part of the South Downs Farmland Bird Initiative. This square lies between the Burgh and the Arun and a stop on the way produced Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 7 Lapwings, 2 Sedge, a Reed and a Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Whitethroats and 2 Greenfinches. Cuckoo, Cetti's Warbler and Nightingale were also heard. During my survey I saw a Red-legged and 3 Grey Partridges, 11 Swifts, 3 Stock Doves, a Lapwing, 3 Red Kites, a Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Jays, a Raven, 2 Sky Larks, 13 Whitethroats, 22 Blackbirds, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 8 Dunnocks, 8 Linnets and a male Yellowhammer. Best of all were 2 Hobbies seen after the survey finished.
Sedge Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler
Red Kite over TQ0310
with sheep's wool
another Red Kite
Chiffchaff in TQ0310
Sunday 17 May. Megan and I took Cookie to Mill Hill where there were very few birds (distant Cetti's Warbler heard the best) and a few butterflies, most too fast for me to see well.
Adonis Blue on Mill Hill
female Adonis Blue (thanks to Matt and Bob Eade for identifying it)
Dingy Skipper on Mill Hill
Cookie on Mil Hill
Dunnock on Mill Hill
Kestrel on Mill Hill, new central tail feathers barely half grown

a rare sight these days

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