Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Little change around Shoreham (21-27 January)

Wednesday 27 JanuaryMegan and I took Cookie to Widewater and walked along to Lancing Beach Green and back. The wader roost opposite Eastern Sands comprised 46 Ringed Plover and 172 Dunlin and we also saw 2 Teal, 4 Little Grebes, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Kingfisher on the lagoon. It was mild (and murky with little wind) but was still a surprise to hear one of the Little Grebes singing and chasing another. At home I rescued an 'Ashy' Wood Pigeon that had fallen down our chimney and flew off strongly when released in the garden. I hope it learnt its lesson. Very little on the Adur late afternoon, not helped by the presence of two bait diggers. I saw 2 Oystercatchers, a Grey Plover, 7 Redshank and Little Egret.
Kingfisher on Widewater
Dunlin roosting on the beach
and Ringed Plover

Tuesday 26 JanuaryMegan and I took Cookie to Harbour Way, walked to the Adur Ferry Bridge and back via the boardwalk and Shoreham Fort. One of the Purple Sandpipers was feeding briefly under the west arm before flying to join a Turnstone the wooden jetty. An auk and 15 Gannets were seen off-shore. Late afternoon on the Adur with Cookie I saw a Little Grebe, just one Grey Plover, 3 Redshank and over 2000 gulls. A smart first-winter Mediterranean Gull flew south down the river but didn't stop. Otherwise going through the roosting/bathing gulls in a gusting wind, intermittent drizzle and fading light was disappointing. No colour-rings, no more Meds, poor views of a potential first-winter Yellow-legged Gull, 3 Lesser and 10 Great Black-backs, 300+ Black-headed, 450 Common and 1400 Herring Gulls.
Purple Sandpiper under the western arm of Shoreham Harbour

Monday 25 January. Megan and I took Cookie up to Mill Hill on a clear frosty morning. We saw 16 species including a Stock Dove, 13 Song and a Mistle Thrush, 13 Robins and a male Bullfinch. Later on the Adur with Cookie I saw c100 scattered Lapwings, 5 Grey and 41 Ringed Plovers, 102 Dunlin and 12 Redshank.
Robin at Mill Hill
one of thirteen Song Thrushes seen at Mill Hill

Sunday 24 January. I sea-watched from Widewater in unpleasant conditions - strong SE from which it was hard to shelter from and persistent rain. In 90 minutes I saw 4 Brent Geese, a Teal, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, Great Crested Grebe, Oystercatcher, 17 TurnstonesKittiwake, 28 unidentified auks, a Red-throated and 3 unidentified divers, my first Fulmar of the year and 48 Gannets.

Saturday 23 January. Cookie and I met David Buckingham at Steyning Round Hill and we walked down to No Man's Land and on towards Cissbury returning along the Monarch's Way. Some nearby shots on the way back had Cookie pulling me up the hill in her haste to return to the car. Until that point an enjoyable walk with decent number of small birds around. I saw 2 Stock Doves, 21 Lapwings, 2 Buzzards, a Merlin, 2 Kestrels, a Raven, 36 Sly Larks, 2 Fieldfares, 2 Redwings, 11 Stonechats (7 males), 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Chaffinches, 60 Linnets, 14 Corn Buntings and 23 Yellowhammers.
Stonechat at No Man's Land

Friday 22 January. Megan and I took Cookie to Dacre Gardens and walked up along the river to Bramber and back via Beeding Hill car park. Few birds were around although I saw 11 Sky Larks, 7 Stonechats and a Grey Wagtail. Later 5 Turnstones and a Purple Sandpiper but there was no sign of the New Salts Farm Barn Owl between 16:20-17:05 when I cycled home just making it before a following rain cloud.
Stonechat near Bramber

Grey Wagtail at Dacre Gardens

Purple Sandpiper at Shoreham Fort

Thursday 21 January. After an unsuccessful look for the New Salts Farm Barn Owl I visited Widewater seeing 3 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Kittiwakes, 3 Razorbills and 12 unidentified auks, 23 Gannets, 3 Cormorants and a Red-throated Diver. A colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gull was at Harbour Way (Nick Bond seeing it and another later), Sparrowhawk and Black Redstart at the Sailing Club but nothing at the Fort. I counted 139 Lapwings and 5 Grey Plover opposite the airport during a quick look at the Adur on my way home, both were my highest counts there this year. 
Great Black-backed Gull 628, ringed as a chick at Portland on 28 June 2016 and subsequently seen at Boulogne-sur-mer in April 2018, Portland during October-early December 2018, the Axe Estuary in mid December 2018 and Portland again in April 2020.
Black Redstart in Shoreham Sailing Club

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