Monday 29 August 2022

Staying local (22-29 August)

Monday 29 August. Mill Hill 07:10-09:10 produced Sparrowhawk, 14 Swallows, 2 Chiffchaffs, 25 Blackcaps, a Lesser and 9 Common Whitethroats, 5 Whinchats and 7 Wheatears. Yesterday's Hummingbird Hawk-Moth was again attracted to our Buddleia as was a Comma and Painted Lady. An early evening cycle down to the Adur, to coincide with low tide, produced a Greenshank at Town Quay, 8 Dunlin, 52 Great Black-backs and Herring Gull A6XY south of the Old Toll Bridge and a Common Sandpiper to the north. A6XY was rehabilitated from Southwick in July 2010. It is now 15 years old and I've seen it on the Adur 20 times since its release.

Clouded Yellow on Mill Hill
Comma on our Buddleia

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth still visiting our Buddleia

Painted Lady in our garden

Sunday 28 August
. Mid morning we took Anna and Ian to Cissbury Ring where we saw Redstart and Wheatear. In the afternoon Anna spotteed a Hummingbird Hawk-Moth in our Buddleia.

Anna and me walking south from Cissbury

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth on our Buddleia

Red Admiral on our Buddleia

Saturday 27 August. Mill Hill 06:35-10:35. My best visit (hopefully so far) this year with 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Sand and 20 House Martins, 40 Swallows, 3 Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Lesser and 16 Common Whitethroats, 4 Spotted and a Pied Flycatcher, Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail. We met my Anna and Ian at Wolstenbury (where we'd scattered some of our parent's ashes) and wandered around enjoying the superb views (but me seeing only Swallows and Meadow Pipits) before returning to ours.

Spotted Flycatchers on Mill Hill

Pied Flycatcher on Mill Hill

Friday 26 August. Cookie and I met David Buckingham at the Beeding Hill car park and walked our usual triangle. It was fairly quiet although we did see 2 Sparrowhawks, 2 Ravens, 3 Sand and 100 House Martins, 200+ Swallows, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Willow Warblers, 11 Whitethroats, 7 Whinchats, 7 Wheatears, 20+ Yellow Wagtails, 5 Corn Buntings and 6 Yellowhammers

Wednesday 24 August. Widewater 07:15-09:15. At least 1000 gulls were feeding along the shore or within 100m of it, some in tight feeding frenzies. With raw sewage being discharged along the Sussex coast I assumed that was what they were feeding on but watching through a telescope revealed that they were picking small sprats from (just under?) the surface. The vast majority were Herring Gulls with several (10s not 100s) Great and Lesser Black-backs, 2 juvenile Commons and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull. About 30 Gannets were seen offshore. I met Megan and Cookie at the end of Harbour Way and we walked to the Adur Ferry Bridge (2 Greenshank and 20+ Redshank on the Saltings), on to the beach and back along the boardwalk to the Fort (17 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin roosting on the beach, 6 Turnstones and a Common Sandpiper below the inner jetty and 2 Wheatears, a Rock Pipit and 3 Wall Lizards on/around the Fort).

gulls feeding on sprats

Greenshank and Redshank from Adur Ferry Bridge
Wall Lizard at Shoreham Fort
Wheatear on Shoreham Fort

Tuesday 23 August. Mill Hill 06:05-08:55. Peregrine, 2 Swallows, 5 Blackcaps, a Lesser and 10 Common Whitethroats and 10 Goldfinches. I returned home and took Cookie to the Sussex Pad from where we walked up to the Lancing Ring car park, across to Cowbottom and Coombes and back along the Adur to Cuckoos Corner. It was rather disappointing other than a flock of at least 1200 Linnets feeding on the stubble on Lancing Hill. Also seen were Red Kite, 5 Swallows, 8 House Martins, Green Woodpecker, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, 3 Whitethroats, 35 Goldfinches and a Reed Bunting. An Adur Birding WhatsApp message from Matt Palmer who'd found a Caspian Gull at Town Quay had me grabbing my binoculars and cycling down there but I was too late, the gulls had been disturbed by a Grey Heron and while most returned it didn't. I cycled up to the Old Toll Bridge but couldn't refind it there although Matt followed later and had 3 different juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls that I'd doubtless overlooked (not packing a telescope in my rush to depart for the Caspian is my excuse although I do find juvenile Yellow-legs difficult/confusing/tricky). Waders seen on the Adur were 8 Oystercatchers, 61 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, 2 Turnstones, Sanderling, 14 Dunlin, 24 Redshank and 2 Greenshank while a Sparrowhawk shot by as I was cycling.

part of the large Linnet flock on Lancing Hill
when I took these images I estimated I was capturing about half the flock

I printed this one out, ruled it into segments and counted 688 birds!

Monday 22 August. Mill Hill 06:10-11:00, the last part with Megan and Cookie). Jay, 8 Swallows, Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcaps, Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser and 13 Common Whitethroats, Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher and 16 Goldfinches.

Firecrest on Mill Hill (patch gold for me)

Sunday 21 August 2022

Lacking motivation despite a local Caspian Gull (10-21 August)

Sunday 21 August. Mill Hill 06:05-08:55: 2 Stock Doves, Peregrine (on cement works chimney), Willow Warbler, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Lesser and 13 Common Whitethroats, 2 Spotted Flycatchers and 16 Goldfinches. Also my first Autumn Lady's Tresses this year. Later a Raven was heard as we walked to our allotment.

Autumn Lady's Tresses on Mill Hill

Saturday 20 August. 2 adult & 8 young Mute Swans, a Lapwing, 32 Ringed Plover and 2 Dunlin on the Adur with Megan and Cookie. The footpath is finally open (again) on the airport side.

Friday 19 August. I walked the Beeding Hill triangle with David Buckingham and Cookie seeing 7 Stock Doves, 3 Kestrels, Peregrine, 4 Swallows, Chiffchaff, 5 Whitethroats, male Redstart, 4 Whinchats, 4 Wheatears, Meadow Pipit and at least 16 Corn Buntings. On the way home 18 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel and Dunlin but only a dead stork under the railway bridge (the flock of 19 were there before our visit when one was hit by a train, later the remaining 18 were back on the Adur briefly and the next day they departed south from Dungeness).

Whinchat on Beeding Hill

Purple & Gold on Truleigh Hill

Thursday 18 August. Mill Hill 06:10-09:00: 2 Greylag and 35 Canada Geese (at Cuckoos Corner), Green WoodpeckerPeregrine (on cement works chimney), 2 Jays, 2 Willow Warblers, ChiffchaffBlackcap, 2 Garden Warblers, 2 Lesser and 13 Common Whitethroats and 2 Linnets. After a brief return home to collect Megan and Cookie we saw the 2 adult & 8 young Mute Swans, 14 Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Dunlin and 29 Turnstones on the Adur and 11 Ringed PloverWhimbrel, 2 Dunlin, 3 Turnstones, 26 Redshank, Greenshank and Sandwich Tern at Town Quay/Coronation Green. Early evening Richard Allen posted news of 19 released White Storks to the Adur Birding WhatsApp group and I hurried down seeing them from the Old Toll Bridge. Part of the Knepp Introduction but quite spectacular despite their plasticity.
Greylag (front & back) and Canada Geese at Cuckoos Corner
Garden Warbler on Mill Hill

Mute Swan family on the Adur

19 released White Storks on the Adur
all appeared to have Knepp rings but only this one was readable (GB9V)

Wednesday 17 August. Mill Hill 06:10-08:30: Sparrowhawk, 6 Willow Warblers, 7 Whitethroats, Spotted Flycatcher and Wheatear. Later a Sandwich Tern off Worthing with Megan and Cookie.
looking SW from Mill Hill

Tuesday 16 August. Mill Hill morning & afternoon visits: 2 Green Woodpeckers, Willow Warbler, 11 Whitethroats and 15 Swallows.

Orange Swift in our garden

Monday 15 August. Mill Hill 06:10-08:30: Sparrowhawk, 2 Willow WarblersBlackcapGarden Warbler, a Lesser and 4 Common Whitethroats and 2 Goldfinches.

Sunday 14 August. Mill Hill 06:10-08:25: 11 Willow Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 2 Lesser and 14 Common Whitethroats, 5 Spotted Flycatchers, a Redstart and 2 Yellowhammers. Later Megan and I took Cookie to Lancing Ring where we saw 2 Willow Warblers, a Whitethroat and the Long-tailed Blue but failed again with Brown Hairstreak.

Spotted Flycatcher on Mill Hill

Yellowhammer on Mill Hill

Saturday 13 August. I caught up with Long-tailed Blue at Lancing Ring. It took 2 minutes to find in exactly the same spot I'd spent an hour at yesterday. It was much smaller than I was expecting and its erratic flight wasn't easy for me to follow. I also saw 2 Willow Warblers, a Lesser and 3 Common Whitethroats and Spotted and Pied Flycatcher.  

Long-tailed Blue at Lancing Ring

Spotted Flycatcher at Lancing Ring

Friday 12 August. I took Cookie up to Lancing Ring from Sussex Pad. We saw Red-legged Partridge, Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzards, a Swallow, 20 House Martins and a female Bullfinch. We couldn't find the Long-tailed Blue despite about an hour in the area it had been seen, no luck with Brown Hairstreak either.

Topiary Cat near Lancing College Equestrian Centre

Thursday 11 August. Willow Warbler at our allotment.

Wednesday 10 August. Megan and I took Cookie to Pulborough and walked around the woods (nice and shady) and out on the footpath towards the riverbank (very hot in the sun). From there I dived onto the reserve and saw the Wood Sandpiper from Jupp's Viewpoint while Megan took Cookie back to the car. Back home a mid afternoon call from Matt Palmer to say he had a juvenile Caspian Gull on the Adur at Town Quay. I grabbed my bins and camera and arrived on my bike 10-12 minutes later. Fortunately Matt was still watching it (without him I'm sure I would have overlooked it). An interesting looking bird and not an age I was familiar with but fortunately it stayed for half an hour before flying off down river. I took some convincing but it seemed to show the requisite features (see images below).
Wood Sandpiper at Pulborough
juvenile Caspian Gull from Town Quay showing typical tertials
long legs and some venetian blind effect in the stretched wing
pale head
long thin structure and uniform greater coverts
whitish underwing and pale inner primaries
small head and longish bill
solid black tail band and paler edges to inner primaries