Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Around Shoreham (17-21 September)

Tuesday 21 September. I took Cookie up to Beeding Hill and we walked our usual circuit, partly in low cloud which didn't fully clear until we were leaving Truleigh Hill for the final leg. I recorded 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 BuzzardsGreen Woodpecker, 2 KestrelsPeregrineRaven, 4 Skylarks, 30 Swallows, 5 House Martins, 8 Chiffchaffs, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, 2 Stonechats, 6 Wheatears, 170 Meadow Pipits and 30 Goldfinches. A nice selection of migrants although fewer, at least in terms of numbers, than on my previous visit. Nessa was returning to London so I combined dropping her at Shoreham Station with taking Cookie for a late afternoon walk down the river over the Rec and back by the airport. I saw 8 Oystercatchers, 11 Lapwings, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits (two N of the railway and the other by the houseboats), 14 Redshank, 6 Grey Herons, 8 Little Egrets, Sparrowhawk, 4 House Martins, a Wheatear, 24 Pied Wagtails, 4 Meadow Pipits and 8 Linnets.

Wheatear on Beeding Hill
and Meadow Pipit
Buzzard in the clouds on Truleigh Hill
Spotted Flycatcher on Truleigh Hill
Meadow Pipit in the clouds on Truleigh Hill
Meadow Pipit in the sun above Room Bottom

Stonechat near Room Bottom
Bar-tailed Godwit in the houseboat channel
washing its prey

Comma on Adur Rec

Monday 20 September. Mill Hill was very autumnal in a cold NNW wind and I was pleased to have a fleece in the car. I wandered about for just over 90 minutes before being joined at 09:00 by Megan and Cookie. By then it had warmed up a bit, but not enough to take off my gloves, and the sun even came out briefly. We walked around for another 90 minutes although bird activity had dropped right off. On/over Mill Hill I saw 3 Stock DovesBuzzardSparrowhawk, 60 Swallows, 70 House Martins, 9 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcaps, 3 Whitethroats, 2 Mistle Thrushes, 12 Meadow Pipits, 7 Linnets and 9 Goldfinches. Plans to cycle down to the Adur Saltings for high tide didn't quite work out as planned. I was late leaving and then discovered my front tyre was completely flat. Pumping it up revealed a major puncture so, with time against me, I transferred to my old bike. It is a bit wobbly these days, but I forgive it having clocked up 45,000 miles of commuting without too much trouble. I arrived at the RSPB viewpoint with the tide higher than I'd hoped, few waders in evidence and into the sun. It was then I realised that my light tripod was still attached to the bike I'd left behind. Hand holding a scope and looking into the sun was not ideal but I did see a Bar-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, 27 Redshanks, 18 Little Egrets and 4 Grey Herons. Back home three attempts to repair the puncture failed and I accepted defeat and fitted a new inner tube. I also switched the new bikes front tyre for old bikes rear which I replaced with a used spare. Both bikes now have matching front and back tyres. I can't remember why they ended up not matching, probably due to the spares I had at the time. Late afternoon, with the tide falling, I took Cookie to the Adur to look for waders opposite the airport. We saw 10 Ringed Plover, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 6 Dunlin, 40 Great and 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 6 Little Egrets.

Rock Pipit at Harbour Way
Bar-tailed Godwits on the Adur

Sunday 19 SeptemberAnother late start with Megan, Nessa and Cookie. We walked from Harbour Way to the Adur Ferry Bridge and back along the boardwalk to the Fort. Expectedly quiet with a Rock Pipit the highlight. Also 18 Turnstone roosting on the inner jetty and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull west.

Saturday 18 September. After a late start Megan, Nessa, Cookie and I went up to Mill Hill. It soon warmed up with most passage having probably already petered out. I saw 3 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels, a Jay, 15 Swallows, a singing Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats, a Whinchat, Meadow Pipit, 2 Linnets and 4 Goldfinches. Butterflies included a Clouded Yellow and the Autumn Ladies Tresses were all but over.

Whinchat on Mill Hill
Whinchat on Mill Hill

Friday 17 September. Cookie and I met David Buckingham at the Beeding Hill car park and walked SE towards Thundersbarrow, N to Truleigh Hill and back skirting Room Bottom and the quarry - the usual triangle. I saw Buzzard, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Kestrels, 3 or 4 Peregrines, 2 Ravens, over 500 hirundines, 21 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap, 2 Whitethroats, 2 RedstartsStonechats, 2 Whinchats, 24 Wheatears and 130 Meadow Pipits but only 40 Goldfinches. I also heard a Yellow Wagtail (DB saw it and heard others). The hirundines were mostly Swallows with at least 30 House Martins and a Sand Martin identified amongst them. Not  a bad return for a local walk.

Wheatears on Beeding Hill
Whinchat on Beeding Hill
Whinchat on Truleigh Hill

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