Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Knepp, Rackham & Steepdown (20-26 May)

Tuesday 26 May. I spent all morning at Knepp seeing 2 Cuckoos, 4 Stock and 3 Turtle Doves, free-flying/introduced White Storks, Red Kite, 2 Buzzards, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 6 Jays, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcap, 4 Garden Warblers, a Lesser and 7 Common Whitethroats and 3 Misle Thrushes. Two Nightingales were the only good birds heard but not seen.
Garden Warbler at Knepp
Turtle Dove at Knepp
one of three seen today
probably one of those seen on earlier visits (13 & 21 May) but it is likely one of the others wasn't
free-flying White Storks at nest
free-flying White Stork on remains of last year's unsuccessful nest (the camera seems to be an addition this season). Not being used (yet?) this year but clearly of interest as two other storks were also flying around it
free-flying White Stork at Knepp
the left hand bird with the 'shot' wing looks very much like that seen on 21st
second free-flying White Stork nest, not as obvious as the first but still easily seen despite keeping to footpaths 
third free-flying White Stork nest, another very obvious one, one chick visible
Monday 25 MayMegan and I took Cookie to Rackham. We walked our usual circuit and were going to go on into Parham Park but it was rather hot in the sun for Cookie so we returned by a slightly different route. Great move as a Tawny Owl flew in to give me a once over (I was pishing, never worked on a Tawny Owl before), landed for a micro second and continued. I could hear a Blackbird alarming so didn't think it had gone far but a couple of walkers appeared ahead of me before I could search for it. It was the first Tawny Owl I'd seen for over two years. Quite a contrast from my youth when I tracked down calling individuals in St. Annes Wells Gardens in Hove. Also seen were 4 Greylag and an Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Buzzard, Red Kite, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Coal Tits and a Blackcap. My ears just about picked out a singing Goldcrest, Firecrest might now be beyond me, but I only saw a shape.
Cookie hiding under my chair, not at all keen on a nearby neighbour jet-washing their car
Sunday 24 MayMegan and I took Cookie to Lancing Ring and Steepdown seeing 11 Sky Larks, 3 Swallows, a Chiffchaff, 4 Whitethroats and 15 Corn Buntings. We also heard a Quail which at the time as it was in a cereal crop I thought best to be very vague about the location of. Someone else had no qualms reporting it from Steepdown so I can come clean.
Corn Bunting at Steepdown
another Corn Bunting at Steepdown

Saturday 23 May. I took Cookie to Cuckoos Corner and we waked up to Dacre Gardens and back. The wind was quite strong keeping birds down and we heard as much as we saw (Cetti's, Chiffchaff, Reed & Sedge Warblers). Just one juvenile Grey Heron and no Little Egrets were seen in the Coombes 'heronry' although the adjoining rookery seemed well populated with about 200 Rooks. 4 Little Egrets were in the valley and I also saw 4 Sky Larks, a male and juvenile Stonechat, 3 Greenfinches and a Corn and 5 Reed Buntings.
Little Egret on the Adur at Cuckoo's Corner
its caught something
Stonechat near Coombes

Friday 22 May. Megan and I took Cookie to Mill Hill. It was expectedly quiet with 4 Swifts, a Peregrine (just visible on Beeding Quarry chimney) and a Jay.
Adonis Blue at Mill Hill

Lancing College, Steepdown and a field of buttercups from Mill Hill
Peregrine on Beeding Quarry chimney
Thursday 21 May. I took Cookie to Knepp where we saw 3 Turtle Doves (one most likely one of the three seen on 13th), 2 Red Kites, 2 Buzzards, 7 free-flying White Storks, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, 7 Jays, Treecreeper, Mistle Thrush and 2 Bullfinches. We also heard Cuckoo and Nightingale. In the evening 2 Swifts flew over our house.
Turtle Dove at Knepp

brilliant that they are hanging on here, but for how much longer
free-flying White Stork at Knepp, give me a Turtle Dove any day
this one looks as if it has experienced a 'Maltese moult'
Wednesday 20 May. A quiet seawatch from Shoreham Beach in a very light NE wind produced 4 Swifts, 4 Sanderling, 5 Sandwich Terns, a Fulmar, 7 Gannets and a Swallow. Five Oystercatchers were on  the Adur on my cycle home

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