Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Shoreham birding (05-12 January)

Tuesday 12 January. Megan and I took Cookie for a walk around the Adur seeing just 2 Teal, 8 Oystercatchers, 11 Redshanks, 2 Ringed Plover and some uninspiring gulls. Better news was that my broken telephoto lens had been repaired and will hopefully be back with me at the end of the week. I've missed it, not that there has been much recently to use it on. 

Monday 11 January. It's starting to feel like Groundhog Day every day. A walk with Megan and Cookie around Shoreham Sailing Club, Shoreham Fort and the boardwalk produced 8 Turnstones, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 4 Gannets, 54 Cormorants, Black Redstart, 7 Greenfinches and 25 Goldfinches. On the Adur I saw 40 Lapwings, 13 Ringed Plovers, 3 Dunlin, 8 Redshank, 560 Herring Gulls and a Kingfisher. The Herring Gulls included three with unreadable North Thames colour-rings.

Pied Wagtail along Harbour Way
Puma HC2 arriving at Shoreham Airport
bringing vaccines or reinforcements for the Albion?
the second HC2 was close behind
sunset at Shoreham Airport

Sunday 10 January. Despite it being quite foggy there were a lot of people out on Sunday morning. I cycled to Shoreham Sailing Club and Shoreham Fort seeing 17 Brent GeeseRinged Plovers, 10 Turnstones, 2 Purple Sandpipers (success on my seventh attempt), 4 Gannets, 22 CormorantsBlack Redstart, 4 Greenfinches and David Buckingham. On the Adur on the way home I saw a Grey Plover, 12 Ringed Plovers and 11 Dunlin but very few gulls.

Purple Sandpiper at Shoreham Harbour
it was at the base of the west arm giving much better views than usual

the sun was struggling to break through the fog
dredger leaving harbour

Turnstone on the West Arm

Saturday 09 January. Megan, Nessa and I took Cookie up to a very frosty Mill Hill. At times we were in low cloud, although the river looked foggy too. It was very atmospheric and I could almost imagine being back in the Himalayas 40 years ago. Unfortunately the Himalayan feeling didn't extend to the birds seen - 10 Blackbirds, 9 Redwings, a Song Thrush, 8 Robins, 2 Meadow Pipits, 30 Linnets (my first of the year) and 5 Goldfinches. With the lens of my camera in for repair and my old Olympus SX60 misbehaving I'd ordered a Lumix bridge camera as a backup a couple of days ago and was pleasantly surprised when it arrived after we returned home. 

view south from Mill Hill

Robin at Mill Hill

thawing icicles
fairy apartment block in Mill Hill wood surrounded by icicles fallen from above
Megan and Nessa at Mill Hill
Cookie at Mill Hill
Redwing at Mill Hill, the last photo taken with my Olympus SX60

trying out my new Lumix FZ82 in the garden
Herring Gull on the roof opposite
House Sparrow on our fat-balls

Friday 08 January. Megan and I drove to Dacre Gardens with Cookie, crossed the Adur and walked up to Bramber and from there up to the Beeding Hill car park and back down the South Downs Way. We saw 18 Fieldfares, 9 Redwings, 10 Blackbirds, Song Thrush, 4 Stonechats, 16 Meadow Pipits and 2 Corn Buntings.

Thursday 07 January. I cycled down to Shoreham Beach where impressive numbers of auks, gulls and Gannets were feeding at some distance offshore to my east, presumably on a large shoal of fish. I moved east in small increments but didn't get any closer, or improve the light. If anything birds were moving further away and after half an hour I cycled to Shoreham Fort but the shoal was no longer in view with just a few stragglers remaining. I estimated I saw at least 1850 auks (on the sea and constantly flying east) although only identified 7, all Razorbills, the rest were too distant or against the sun. Also around the shoal were 400 Herring Gulls, at least 300 Gannets and a flock of 66 Cormorants. A flock of 7 White-fronted Geese appeared over the beach and headed inland, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 5 Red-throated Divers were on the sea. A Kingfisher flew under the Adur Ferry Bridge as I was crossing and the Adur produced 6 Oystercatchers, 40 Lapwings, 2 Grey and 29 Ringed Plovers, 11 Turnstones, 3 Dunlin, 10 Redshank, 100+ Herring Gulls, 3 Little Egrets and 7 Meadow Pipits.

Wednesday 06 January. I cycled to Brighton for a dental appointment seeing my first Greenfinches of the year alongside Southwick Canal on the way and a Shag and 6 Cormorants on outflow by Southwick Power Station. Later I took Cookie for a walk to Shoreham Fort/Boardwalk seeing a Kingfisher, Dartford Warbler, Black Redstart and 7 Greenfinches. The Dartford thanks to sharp-eyed Tim and Jenny Holter who happened to be looking when I walked past.

Tuesday 05 January. I cycled around Shoreham, mainly hoping to see yesterday's Caspian Gull again. I did, on the Adur by the airport on my first port of call, but only briefly. I saw it, scoped it, confirmed it and then foolishly went for my phone to put out news rather than my camera to digiscope it. I immediately realised my error when after texting I looked back and found it had gone. With no image did it really happen? I checked the Adur up as far as A283, and cycled back down to Coronation Green and across the Adur Ferry Bridge. I continued along to Lancing Sailing Club and then to Shoreham Fort before returning home somewhat tired. During the morning I saw 2 Egyptian Geese (near Botolph's), 52 Teal, 17 Oystercatchers, 4 Grey Plover, 21 Ringed Plover and 24 Dunlin (on the beach at Eastern Sands), Kingfisher (Dacre Gardens), a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull (Harbour Way), Red Kite (Botolph's), 70 Gannets, a Fieldfare, 45 Redwings, 6 Song Thrushes, 20 Blackbirds, 2 Stonechats (Botolph's) and 5 Goldfinches. The thrushes were feeding along the Downslink. No big groups of gulls were present but a quite distinctive but very rough looking Herring-type by Ricardos had (and still has) me scratching my head. 

a puzzling gull on the Adur, it flew but I only had a good view of its underwing which was dark
I wondered if it might be a Caspian x Herring Gull, Caspian being on my mind and with that bill although it was suggested the bill looked more elongated as the bird was missing feathers at its base
other credible suggestions were Yellow-legged Gull (pure or otherwise) or Scandinavian Herring Gull.  Posting an image on Twitter failed to elicit any suggestions
a reminder of the first-winter Caspian Gull, image from yesterday

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