Thursday 30 July 2020

Forays into East Sussex (29-30 July)

Thursday 30 July. I took Frank Lambert over to Beachy, arriving at 06:15. We spent an enjoyable six hours there, mostly at the eastern end of the head but also walking from Birling around Belle Tout. By then it was very hot and quite busy, and seeing little we called it a day. We saw a pair of Red-legged Partridges with 6 young, 4 Swifts, juvenile Yellow-legged Gull (flying west below Icky ridge), 2 Buzzards, 2 Peregrines (one carrying a feral pigeon), 20+ Sand Martins, 2 Swallows, Chiffchaff, 11 Willow Warblers, 3 Grasshopper Warblers (all seen well in Frances Bottom), 2 Reed Warblers, Blackcap, 2 Lesser and 30 Common Whitethroats, 2 Redstarts (Belle Tout and Frances Bottom), 11 Stonechats and a Corn Bunting. Lots of Chalkhill Blues, several Walls and a Silver-spotted Skipper were the main butterflies seen. At home the 2 young Herring Gulls were seen.
Grasshopper Warbler in Frances Bottom
too slow with the camera again
the same bird in the next bush

Redstart in Frances Bottom
Peregrine carrying off unfortunate feral pigeon

Stonechat at Beachy

Wednesday 29 July. I saw 2 Oystercatchers, 3 Dunlin and 3 Little Egrets on the Adur and 15 distant House Martins over Lancing College before David Buckingham took me over to the Cuckmere. We walked down to the sea and were very surprised to see the river didn't reach it. It was rather quiet although we eventually saw 19 Dunlin, Common and Green Sandpipers, Redshank, 25+ Little Egrets, Buzzard, Peregrine, Green Woodpecker, 2 Ravens, 55 Sand Martins, 2 Swallows, Reed Warbler, 3 Whitethroats, 3 Stonechats and 6 Rock Pipit. Walking back to the car David found a Southern Migrant Hawker at a small pool. We went on to Windover Hill and Deep Dean, stopping to look unsuccessfully for Cattle Egrets on the way. Views fro Windover Hill were superb and at Deep Dean we saw about 10 Graylings (the day's target), a smart Silver-spotted Skipper and hundreds of Chalkhill Blues. Also 2 Swifts, Green Woodpecker, 6 Kestrels, 3 Ravens, 2 Willow Warblers and a Wheatear. Back home the 2 young and 2 juvenile Herring Gulls were seen as were 2 Swifts.
Little Egret showing off in the Cuckmere

Cuckmere Haven, tide about half way out
the River Cuckmere
where the River Cuckmere ends
Stonechat at Cuckmere Haven
Whitethroat in Cuckmere
Ruddy Darter
Common Darter
Emerald Damselfly
Southern Migrant Hawker
a new dragonfly for David (most we saw were new for me, a complete novice)

Deep Dean

a bit of colour as one flew out of shot

Silver-spotted Skipper at Deep Dean

looking N from Windover Hill

Chalkhill Blues on Windover Hill

Tuesday 28 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Lancing Ring and Steepdown. For the first visit in ages we neither saw nor heard a Sky Lark. A flock of at least 40 Corn Buntings included many juveniles and we also saw 65 Swifts flying west, 3 Buzzards, 3 Willow Warblers and 2 Whitethroats. At home the 2 young Herring Gulls and 3 Swifts were seen.
part of the Corn Bunting flock with a Starling
Corn Bunting

Wall at Steepdown
rounding up sheep

one of the young Herring Gulls

Monday 27 July 2020

Cuckmere waders and Shoreham (24-27 July)

Monday 27 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Harbour Way, walking to Shoreham Fort and along the boardwalk and a bit of the beach, as the tide allowed. Despite blustery weather nothing was noted on the sea although a smart first-summer Mediterranean Gull flew overhead and inland, too quickly for me to react with the camera. Few other gulls were seen with a single Lesser Black-back the most interesting. The 2 young Herring Gulls were seen on our side of the roof behind us but there was no sign of the juvenile Herring Gulls which might have been taken to the coast.

Sunday 26 July. Megan and I took Cookie to Mill Hill where we saw 14 Swifts, 2 Peregrines taking a Wood Pigeon, Chiffchaff, 5 Whitethroats and 2 Yellowhammers. The 2 young Herring Gulls were seen on our side of the Glebelands roof. Mid afternoon I drove to Seaford parking by Chyngton Farm and walking down into the Cuckmere to look along the east side for the Wood Sandpiper and Little Stint found there the previous day by Matt Eade (WS) and Brian Cox (LS). Also seen were 3 Red-legged Partridges, 3 Swifts, 11 Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, 15 Little Egrets, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20+ Sand Martins and 2 Swallows. On the way home I called in at Splash Point to catch up on one of the things I'd most missed during lockdown - the noisy Kittiwake colony. At least 150 birds, mostly juveniles, were on the cliffs. Very smart although being mostly silent took a bit of the edge off it atmospherically. At home I saw one Swift from the garden in deteriorating weather.
Whtethroat on Mill Hill
Chalkhill Blue (our first of the year)
Peregrine over Mill Hill
one of the young Herring Gulls
the other
Dunlin beside the Cuckmere at high tide
Little Stint in the Cuckmere
no longer something I see every year

Wood Sandpiper in the Cuckmere
the best view I can remember for a long time

Kittiwakes at Seaford

Saturday 25 July. Megan, Josh and I took Cookie for a very blustery walk along Worthing seafront where I saw a Sandwich and 2 Common Terns. The 2 young and 2 juvenile Herring Gulls were seen from the garden but no Swifts, most likely due to the weather.

Friday 24 July. Megan and I took Cookie around the Adur seeing 2 Whimbrel, a Turnstone, an adult Mediterranean Gull (flying over the Rec) and 2 Little Egrets. The 2 young Herring Gulls were seen on our side of the Glebelands roof while the two juveniles making quite a noise on our flat roof, rolling or kicking around a large pebble which I meanly removed. In the evening 6 Swifts were seen from the garden.
the footpath along the west bank of the Adur is again closed, for at least a year, having been officially opened in March 2019 after several years of disruption. Before then Sedge Warblers regularly bred in this ditch ...
According to the Environment Agency "The works involve partial demolition and realignment of the recently constructed Environment Agency Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls scheme which provided permanent improved flood defences in this area. The existing defences need to be removed to accommodate a new pumping station which will take the majority of surface water run-off from the new Ikea store and New Monks Farm developments, and pump it into the River Adur."
pity nobody thought this might need doing a couple of years ago but in the banana-republic our country seems to have become little really comes as a surprise
on a happier note here is Cookie at our allotment
one of the two young Herring Gulls