Tuesday 30 June 2020

Still no birds around Shoreham (25-30 June)

Tuesday 30 June. Megan and I avoided most of the morning rain taking Cookie around Buckingham Park but the only birds seen were 8 Swifts there and three on the way home. A low-tide visit to the Adur was significantly wetter and no better for birds with 2 Oystercatchers3 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 5 Little Egrets. Both Herring Gull chicks were seen from the garden but again no Swifts during several short looks in the evening. The first half of June had been great but it has gone steadily down since then, hopefully reaching an all time low today.
fallen tree in Buckingham Park
Monday 29 June. Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands on the off-chance a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull might have been brought in by the strong winds. Nothing stood out with 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls as good as it got. Also the Mute Swan family with 6 fully grown youngsters and 3 Reed Warblers. Later I took Cookie down to the Adur on the same YlG quest, with the same result. Two juvenile Black-headed Gulls were present, always a nice plumage to see, 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a Sandwich Tern, 2 Swifts, an Oystercatcher and 5 Little Egrets. The two Herring Gull chicks on the roof behind us looked to be growing, possibly helped by one of the adults stealing four eggs from a box left on our doorstep. Something the crows have done in previous years until we left a crow-proof box out but they've not been in evidence this year and we've become a bit lax as a result. No Swifts were seen over the house during a couple of short looks in the evening but a male Sparrowhawk zipping over at head height was decent reward.
juvenile Black-headed Gull on the Adur
my first fledged juvenile gull of the year

striking in flight even when not in focus
Sandwich Tern on the Adur, only my second here this year
the Herring Gulls from our garden
Sunday 28 June. I took Cookie up to Beeding Hill and in strong winds we walked the triangle towards Thundersbarrow, up to Truleigh Hill and back to the car park. As expected few birds were seen, the most notable being a Green Woodpecker (on the way), 8 Sky Larks, 3 Whitethroats, a flock of 1000+ Starlings (checked unsuccessfully for pink ones), 2 Corn Buntings and 2 Yellowhammers. Not even a Kestrel, the Red-foot seems a long time ago now. Just 2 Swifts were seen over the garden on a very rough evening.
part of the large Starling flock on Beeding Hill

a high percentage appeared to be juveniles

Corn Bunting near Truleigh Hill
female Yellowhammer near Truleigh Hill
Saturday 27 June. Megan and I took Cookie to the Adur where a Grey Heron with a flat-fish was the highlight. We also saw a Buzzard, 24 Swifts flying west and a Corn Bunting. Three Swifts were over the garden in the evening and the one adult Herring Gull and two chicks on the roof behind us.
Grey Heron with flat-fish
not easy to deal with
washing it may help

Friday 26 June. Megan and I took Cookie to Mill Hill where we saw 2 Swifts, a Red Kite, Buzzard, an early/late migrant Reed Warbler, 3 Whitethroats and a Mistle Thrush. Five Swifts were over the garden in the evening and the one adult Herring Gull and two chicks on the roof behind us.

Reed Warbler on Mill Hill
presumably a migrant
Coastguard Rescue flew over Mill Hill twice
Chaffinch at Mill Hill
Red Kite over Mill Hill vinyard
not often seen from above

Herring Gull chicks
Thursday 25 June. Megan and I took Cookie to Rackham where we saw an Egyptian Goose, a distant Red Kite, 2 Buzzards, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, 4 Coal Tits and  a Treecreeper. Two Nuthatches were also heard. Twelve Swifts were over the garden in the evening, the most so far this year, and the Herring Gull sitting on the far side of the roof behind appeared with two small chicks. I've not seen a second adult there although there are often one of two on other rooves including ours.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Lavington and Knepp (23-24 June)

Wednesday 24 June. I took Cookie to Knepp, my first visit there for three weeks. Very little bird activity in comparison although I did hear two Turtle Doves and saw one of them, also seen were 2 Stock Doves, 2 Buzzards, Green Woodpecker, Coal Tit, 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Whitethroats and a Treecreeper. The free-flying White Storks were in evidence with one sat on last year's nest, five flying around and a pair with three now almost full grown young. Of the two other nests I'd seen on earlier visits one appeared deserted while our route did not pass the other. I also saw 5 Purple Emperors, two were kindly pointed out to me by other visitors, the other three I bumped into without really looking. Seven Swifts were over the garden in the evening.
Turtle Dove just outside Knepp, just one seen this visit
White Stork on last years nest
one adult in one of this year's nest trees
the other adult, no room in the nest
three close to full grown youngsters
GB5H to the left, GB3H to the right

no surprise the other is GB4H, good luck to them all, not that I support their introduction
Purple Emperor at Knepp
another Purple Emperor at Knepp
enticed onto a finger (not mine)
another Purple Emperor 

Tuesday 23 June. I took Cookie to Cuckoos Corner and we walked up towards Dacre Gardens and back. Birds seen included 19 Swifts, 7 Little Egrets, 2 Buzzards, 5 Sky Larks, 15 House Martins, 12 Sedge and 3 Reed Warblers, 3 Whitethroats, Stonechat and 7 Reed Buntings. In the evening I went to Lavington for my final Woodcock survey this year. I wasn't expecting to do very well for this declining species having had three then two encounters on my earlier visits this year. Flushing a Woodcock off a muddy path before the survey started was a good sign, although I was cursing not having seen it on the ground. Expecting that might be it I was very pleasantly surprised to have six more encounters between 21:33-21:55 probably involving three birds. I also saw three Nightjars and heard a couple more, at least two distant Tawny Owls and two Dartford Warblers.
Reed Bunting north of Cuckoos Corner

startlingly Black and White Bunting from below

Reed Warbler north of Cuckoos Corner

another equally obscured Reed 

Sedge Warbler north of Cuckoos Corner

distant Stonechat
Whitethroat north of Cuckoos Corner
metal ring not seen well enough to read
Nightjar at Lavington
a fly past at 21:32

Woodcock over Lavington, 21:37

how anyone can shoot any birds for fun is beyond me, particularly something as wacky as a Woodcock