Sunday 31 July 2022

West Sussex (24-31 July)

Sunday 24 July: Red Kite, Green Woodpecker, Peregrine and Raven from Mill Hill with Josh, Megan and Cookie.

Josh training Cookie on Mill Hill
Mute Swan family from Mill Hill

Monday 25 July: 40 Swifts flying west, 13 Skylarks and 2 Corn Buntings while walking the Beeding Hill triangle route with Cookie.

looking north from Beeding Hill
Meadow Pipit on Beeding Hill

Tuesday 26 July. A Turtle Dove, 6 Sand Martins and 6 Bullfinches (heard) at Knepp with Cookie. Later a summer-plumaged Curlew Sandpiper and 54 Mediterranean Gulls at Medmerry, the White-rumped Sandpiper having disappeared an hour or so earlier. Fortunately the other White-rumped Sandpiper was still showing quite nicely (through a telescope) on Sidlesham Ferry along with the summering Brent Goose, 6+ Little Ringed Plovers, a Green Sandpiper and a Greenshank. In the evening 2 Swifts were over our garden, the last I was to see in July.

Turtle Dove at Knepp, one of the two seen on my first visit.
much harder to find at Knepp this year with 3 individuals seen and 1 heard over 6 visits to the south section (2, 1, 0, h, h & 1). This compares with 6 in 6 visits last year (2, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1) and 7 in 6 visits in 2020 (3, 3, 3, 4, 1, 2). Not good.
Cookie and cat at Knepp. The cat sat tight as Cookie cautiously walked past keeping me between them

Wednesday 27 July. A Stonechat and 3 Corn Buntings at Steepdown with Megan and Cookie. At low tide a Little Ringed Plover was briefly on the east bank of the Adur opposite the airport, my first sighting here and only the second locally. Also 2 Whimbrel and 2 Dunlin.

Corn Bunting at Steepdown

Stonechat at Steepdown

Thursday 28 July. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew N over our Middle Road allotment while a low tide visit to the Adur produced the Whimbrel, a Peregrine (on Lancing College roof) and 90+ House Sparrows (with another 35-40 regularly feeding on our back garden).

the Mute Swan family from the Old Toll Bridge

Friday 29 July. The 2 Whimbrel on the Adur with Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, 16 House Martins, 2 Sedge and 5 Reed Warblers seen on a walk up river to Applesham and back with Cookie.

Reed Bunting near Cuckoos Corner

probably a different Red Bunting in the same area a bit later

Saturday 30 July. A Sandwich Tern in the entrance to Shoreham Harbour.

Sunday 31 July. Early evening on the Adur a Whimbrel and my first sighting of the yellow-flagged Curlew.

Curlew on the Adur, almost certainly PO, the yellow-flagged individual released near the Burgh in early July and seen on the Adur several times since


Monday 25 July 2022

Minehead (15-22 July)

Megan and I took Cookie to Minehead where we stayed in a cottage for a week. We stopped at Ham Wall RSPB on the way, disturbing a juvenile Tawny Owl sat in the middle of a very narrow road as we tried to find it. We visited North Hill, Dunster (twice), Horner Woods, Selworthy and Watchett. The later on the West Somerset Railway to Washford, returning by bus. More notable birds seen were Dippers (at Dunster and Horner), Coal Tit, House Martin, Stonechat, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Grey Wagtail and Mediterranean Gull

Dipper near Dunster Mill on our first visit

juvenile Robin at Dunster
Cookie at Dunster
Megan and Cookie in Minehead
Bristol Cannel looking east from above Minehead
our cottage in Minehead, thankfully cool downstairs despite 33C heat

Dipper in Selworthy Woods

Silver-washed Fritillary in Selworthy Woods

remains of Bury Castle, an ancient hill fort near Selworthy
Megan at Bury Castle
Selworthy village
Minehead from afar
Dipper near Dunster Mill (same bird as our first visit)

preserved tile floor at Cleeve Abbey

Thursday 14 July 2022

Pulborough, Knepp and around Shoreham (01-14 July)

Friday 01 July. A Rock Pipit was seen on the eastern arm of Shoreham Harbour.

Saturday 02 July. 2 Swifts, a Buzzard, Cetti's Warbler (heard), 2 Skylarks and a Yellowhammer at Mill Hill with Megan and Cookie.

Song Thrush on Mill Hill

Sunday 03 July. The 3 cygnets with the pair of Mute Swans at the western end of Widewater had grown significantly in the two weeks since our last visit. The pair on the island at the eastern end still appeared barren. Early evening at Pulborough Brooks produced 19 Lapwings, a Little Ringed Plover, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Snipe (!), 3 Redshank, a Green Sandpiper, 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 2 Barn Owls, 3 House Martins and a Nightingale. On the adjoining heath I saw 7 Nightjars and heard a distant Woodcock once.

Great Black-backed Gull at Widewater, probably a very pale second-summer

too late with the camera for this Barn Owl at Pulborough

too dark for this Nightjar on Wiggonholt Common

Tuesday 05 July. Cookie and I spent nearly 4 hours at Knepp hearing a Turtle Dove (they seem to have nose-dived here) and seeing Red Kite, 2 Green Woodpeckers, Swallow, Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Mistle Thrushes and 3 Bullfinches. In the evening 7 Swifts were seen over our garden.

Purple Emperor at Knepp. I later had a brief view of what I thought looked like a Large Tortoiseshell but assumed I was imagining things. I now find out they are being seen there so perhaps was right

Wednesday 06 July. Skylark, Chiffchaff and Lesser Whitethroat were heard at Mill Hill with Megan and Cookie. 

Gatekeeper on Mill Hill

Thursday 07 July. I saw my first Sand Martins of the year (a flock of about 20) at Cuckoos Corner with Megan and Cookie. Also 15 Little Egrets, Peregrine, 5 House Martins, 2 Sedge Warblers and 4 Reed Buntings. Early evening at Pulborough Brooks produced 2 Egyptian Geese, 4 Avocets, 10+ Lapwings, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Green Sandpipers, 3 House Martins, Nightingale (heard) and 3 Bullfinches. On the adjoining heath I saw 3 Nightjars and heard a distant Tawny Owl.

Sedge Warbler at Cuckoos Corner

juvenile Sedge Warbler

Nightjar on Wiggonhalt Common

Friday 08 July. At West Mill with Cookie I saw 3 Stock Doves, 2 Buzzards, 3 Skylarks, a Sedge and 6 Reed Warblers, male Stonechat, 3 Yellowhammers, 2 Reed Buntings and 2 Bullfinches. In the evening 4 Swifts were seen over our garden. This has been a fairly reliable site for Turtle Doves in recent years even if I've not always found them easy to see. Seemingly none there this year. The first part is also very overgrown with stinging nettles making wearing shorts an unwise choice.

male Stonechat at West Mill
Reed Warbler at West Mill
looking a bit worn

Saturday 09 July. A Buzzard, 2 Kestrels, 9 Skylarks, 7 Linnets and 2 Corn Buntings were seen at Lancing Ring/Hill with Cookie.

Corn Bunting near Lancing Ring

Sunday 10 July. In the evening 4 Swifts over our garden.

Cookie on the allotment

Monday 11 July. A Hummingbird Hawk-Moth at Shoreham Fort and 2 Sandwich Terns from the boardwalk with Megan and Cookie.

Tuesday 12 July. Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Goldcrest and Bullfinch were the best I saw in 3 hours with Cookie at Knepp. Nightingale and a distant Turtle Dove were heard. I've averaged seeing 0.6 Turtle Doves per visit at Knepp this year (3 seen in 5 visits) compared to 1.67 in 2021 and 2.67 in 2020. I wouldn't bet on there being any Turtle Doves at Knepp in 5 years time but hope I'm being unduly pessimistic. Needless to say 11 free-flying storks were little compensation.

Fox at Knepp
with a large cub

Wednesday 13 July. A flyover by the South Korean Black Eagles display team was the most notable sighting at Mill Hill. An early evening visit to the Adur produced a Whimbrel and a Polish Black-headed Gull opposite the airport with 2 Peregrines on the roof of Lancing College chapel and a few Swifts and House Martins overhead.

South Korean KAI T-50 Black Eagle display team on its was to RAF Fairford in
Black-headed Gull TUXR on the Adur. A Polish bird I'd seen here 6 times previously since 2019, all between September and March

Thursday 14 July. Brooklands with Megan and Cookie was very quiet with a Reed Warbler seen and another heard, as was a Blackcap, Green Woodpecker and Mediterranean Gull. In the evening 7 Swifts were over our garden.

dead gulls on one of the rafts at Brooklands, likely victims of Avian Flu
Mallard with at least 20 ducklings at Brooklands, presumably acting as mum and foster mum