Friday 30 October 2020

Dusky Warbler and Grey Phalarope (25-30 October)

Friday 30 October. David Buckingham and I went up to Bewbush and spent over four hours looking for and intermittently seeing and hearing the Dusky Warbler . It was rarely still, at times creeping around on or near the ground in the base of willows and others feeding around ivy in the tops of trees. Views were brief but better than previously and eventually I was fortunate to manage an lmost identifiable photo. Also present was a Chiffchaff, about 8 Long-tailed Tits and 2 Goldcrests. A great find for Tony Cook on his way to the shops and it was nice to see him and other old friends, some I'd not seen for a long time. We came back via Henfield walking down the old railway line and cutting back along the western footpath. Dave soon found the Grey Phalarope feeding along the near edge of the flood and by choosing a suitable position it came very close although by then it was raining quite steadily. Another day returning home wet but it was definitely very worthwhile being out today.

Dusky Warbler at Bewbush

it was only in view for a moment

Grey Phalarope on Henfield Levels

at times it ended up with muddy patches on its breast and flanks from when it was feeding on the muddy margins, they soon washed off

it appeared to have a deformed left foot and walked with a pronounced limp

Thursday 29 October
. Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands where between showers we saw the adult and 4 juvenile Mute Swans, 2 Teal, a Pochard, a Little Grebe and 5 Goldfinches. Later a wetter visit to the Adur with Cookie produced 30 Common, 2 Mediterranean, 25 Great Black-backed and 400+ Herring Gulls and a Kingfisher.

North Thames Herring Gull Y4NT on the Adur, ring read (just) on the third day of trying

Kingfisher on the Adur, sat on the same discarded tyre as the previous evening

one of two Mediterranean Gulls on the Adur, the other was a first-winter

Wednesday 28 October. Megan and I took Cookie to Pulborough where we walked the fungi trail, taking it in turns to stay outside with Cookie where it went into the no dogs enclosure at Hale's Viewpoint. We saw all the fungi for which there were helpful labels although the only one we could identify didn't have one. A Jay was the only bird seen. Later a frustrating and wet visit to the Adur at low tide an unreadable North Thames ring was on a Herring Gull and a Kingfisher was perched on an old tyre.

Fly Agaric just off the fungi trail at Pulborough

Tuesday 27 October. A very wet day. A low-tide visit to the Adur produced 13 Ringed Plover, a Dunlin, 8 Redshank and 25 Great Black-backed and 250+ Herring Gulls. An only partially readable North Thames ring (Y??T) was seen on a Herring Gull. Not worth getting wet for.

Monday 26 October. I took Cookie around Buckingham Park seeing a Mistle Thrush and 12 Goldfinches. Later Frank and I went up to Bewbush where we saw the Dusky Warbler found the previous day by Tony Cook. I heard it once on over three hours and saw it briefly three times. My attempts at photography were hopeless although I did see it, out of focus, in the viewfinder once.

Mistle Thrush at Buckingham Park, it did not like the Blackbirds in its territory

Sunday 25 October. Megan and I took Cookie to Brooklands where a Grey Wagtail was the highlight. Chiffchaff and Green Woodpecker were heard.

Saturday 24 October 2020

Mill Hill and Cuckmere gulls (23-24 October)

Saturday 24 October. Megan and I took Cookie to the end of Harbour Way and walked back along Sussex Wharf to Emerald Quay and the boardwalk back to the Fort. The tide was low and we saw an adult Mediterranean Gull roosting on the beach at the start, 15 Turnstones and 11 Greenfinches by the Fort and the same or a different Mediterranean Gull at the end. In the afternoon David Buckingham and I spent a couple of hours with the gull roost in the Cuckmere. Amongst about 1150 Great Black-backed Gulls we picked out three Caspian Gulls, 2 presumed female first-winters and a large presumed male adult, and a second-winter Yellow-legged Gull. Most of the Great Black-backs were sitting but amongst the closest standers 3 or 4 with colour-rings were seen briefly. Only one was read, a Norwegian bird I'd seen there last December. It was ringed as a pullus at Ballastholmen, Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway in June 2008 and seen at Dungeness in October 2008, Mandal April-June 2012, May-Aug 2013, Apr-Aug 2014, 02/05/15, May-Jul 2016, Apr-Aug 2017, Mar-Sep 2018, Mar-Aug 2019 and Cuckmere 26/12/19.

Mediterranean Gull at Harbour Way when we arrived

Mediterranean Gull at Harbour Way 80 minutes later, hard to be sure if its the same

about to fly off as dog walkers we approaching along the beach

first-winter Caspian Gull in the Cuckmere

the other first-winter Caspian Gull seen

at the range we saw them it was hard to tell the difference between the two so it was just as well that both were present, in different parts of the flock, at the same time

adult Caspian Gull in the Cuckmere. This bird had been asleep with its bill tucked away for sometime before revealing itself although its mantle colour made it worth continually rechecking

it was a long-legged bird but unfortunately they were camera shy

second-winter Yellow-legged Gull in the Cuckmere

Friday 23 October
. Putting out some recycling prior to taking Cookie up to Mil Hill I saw what turned out to be an Egyptian Goose flying my way and continuing west. I don't keep a garden list but I've not seen one here before. At Mill Hill 4 Crossbills flying west where the first vismig birds there that I've seen any colour on - at least two being orange. Also at Mill Hill were 17 Stock Doves (flying E), Buzzard, Cetti's Warbler (heard distantly), 2 Chiffchaffs, male Blackcap, female Bullfinch, 7 Linnets (flying E) and Siskin (heard). A visit to Buckingham Park with Cookie produced a Mistle Thrush, about the best one can hope for there.

Chiffchaff at Mill Hill

having caught a fly

now where's the next one?