Saturday, 21 May 2022

West Sussex between trips (16-21 May)

Returning from Costa Rica on the evening of 14 May I had just a week before going away again. Not an ideal situation on any level but it did reduce a backlog of Covid-delayed trips.

Monday 16 May. South Downs Farmland Bird Monitoring. My second visit to Lancing Hill, a new square for me, produced my first Swifts (2), Swallows (13) and House Martins (7) of the year. Also 11 Skylarks, a Lesser Whitethroat and 5 Corn Buntings with my first 2 Reed Warblers just outside the square. Cookie came too.

Corn Bunting on Lancing Hill

Tuesday 17 May. I visited Knepp with Cookie seeing Cuckoo (and hearding 2 others), 2 Turtle Doves (along SW border), Garden Warbler, Treecreeper and Nightingale (plus 2 heard).

Turtle Dove at Knepp

Nightingale at Knepp

Wednesday 18 May. Jay and Reed Warbler were the highlights of a walk around Brooklands with Megan and Cookie.

Thursday 19 May. Two Whimbrel and 15 Turnstones were seen with Megan and Cookie on the Adur between the A259 and A27. Later a Cuckoo, Barn Owl (my first snce January 2021) and Sedge Warbler were seen at Greatham but my Woodcock survey at Lavington drew a blank. There I heard 3 Nightjars (seeing one), Cuckoo, Tawny Owl and Dartford Warbler. No Woodcock was very disappointing and brings home the decline they are facing. As recently as 2017 I had 9 and 10 encounters on successive surveys although maybe only 2-3 birds were involved.

Whimbrel on the Adur

Friday 20 May. Hopes of completing my South Downs Farmland Bird Monitoring at TQ0310 (west of the Burgh) were dashed by early rain. When it cleared Megan, Cookie and I went up to Mill Hill where a Jay was the only sighting to make it into my notebook.

Saturday 21 May. Another poor forecast booted my second and final South Downs Farmland Bird Monitoring into the second half of June. Megan, Cookie and I again went up to Mill Hill seeing 2 Peregrines, a Swallow and 2 Whitethroats. I caught a bus at lunchtime heading back to Heathrow ...

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