It is always nice to be home but I find it increasingly hard to be too enthused by local birding although, as I was soon to appreciate, it has it moments!
Thursday 20 October. Mill Hill with Megan and Cookie. 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 25 Redwing, Bullfinch (heard) , 4 Linnets and a Clouded Yellow.
Friday 21 October. Mill Hill with Cookie. Kestrel, Peregrine, Chiffchaff (3 heard) and 2 Goldfinches.
Saturday 22 October. As soon as I knew it was still there I went over to Beachy to see the Radde's Warbler found the previous day above the Whitbread Hollow. It gave surprisingly good views considering the route of the Beachy Head marathon went right past the bushes it was in. It didn't seem too concerned by the runners although most of the time I was there was during the lull between the slower 10k runners and first full marathon competitors. Simon gave me a lift to Shooter's Bottom where we stumbled across Sara who had just found another Radde's. This one wasn't anything like so obliging and I only saw it twice in flight and heard a couple of calls in over an hour although perhaps I should have persevered. Birds seen at Beachy (rides above Whitbread Hollow and Shooter's Bottom only) were Sparrowhawk, Raven, 2 Radde's Warblers, 4 Stonechats and 15 Goldfinches.
|Radde's Warbler above Whitbread Hollow, Beachy Head|
Sunday 23 October. Megan and I took Nessa and Cookie to Pulborough where we walked the woodland fungi trail. I saw 2 Redwings and 3 Nuthatches.
Monday 24 October. I seawatched from Widewater for an hour or so seeing 4 Brent Geese, a Red-breasted Merganser and 23 Gannets before meeting Megan and Cookie at Harbour Way. Walking to the Ferry Bridge and back by the Boardwalk and Fort I saw Common Snipe, 2 Turnstones, 7 Little Egrets and 20 Greenfinches.
|Little Egret opposite Harbour Way|
Tuesday 25 October. Between 09:25-12:15 Cookie and I walked the Beeding Hill triangle seeing 2 Ravens, 23 Skylarks, 2 Redwings, 26 Stonechats, 31 Meadow Pipits, 5 Linnets, 38 Goldfinches and 3 Yellowhammers.
|Stonechat along the Monarch's Way|
|Stonechats at Truleigh Hill|
Wednesday 26 October. Megan and I took Cookie to Lancing Ring and walked around Steepdown seeing Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Skylark, Swallow, House Martin, 4 Meadow Pipits and a Corn Bunting. The hirundines were my first for a month, not having seen any on Shetland. The very low Corn Bunting count might have been due to almost complete scrub clearance on the eastern side of Steepdown.
|Buzzard at Steepdown|
Thursday 27 October. I was at Beachy from 07:30-13:00 visiting Shooter's Bottom (Ring Ouzel), the Cliff Path, Cow Gap, Whitbread Hollow (a Swallow and 2 Firecrests), the Hotel Garden, the Old Trapping Area (3 Goldcrests), Birling Gap, Michel Dene and Belle Tout Wood (3 Goldcrests). During that time I also saw 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Peregrines, 2 Jays, 2 Ravens, 8 Stonechats, Rock Pipit, 4 Linnets and over 900 Goldfinches. I returned via Cuckmere Haven were 2 hours with the gull flock produced 2 Brent Geese, 76 Wigeon, 700+ Great Black-backed, 50+ Herring, 2 Caspian, 3 Yellow-legged and 50+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Chiffchaff, Stonechat and 50 Goldfinches.
|Green Woodpecker at Beachy|
|Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the Cuckmere|
|adult Yellow-legged Gull in the Cuckmere|
|first-winter Caspian Gull in the Cuckmere|
|it quickly walked behind a Great Black-back,|
|and looked around before sitting down and going to sleep|
|15 minutes later an adult appeared by it|
|at the time, based on structure and mantle colour, I thought the right-hand bird most likely a 3w Caspian Gull but took my eye of it and it promptly disappeared|
|I 'found' it again that evening at the edge of a subsequent image which rather reinforced my initial feelings|
Friday 28 October. I took Cookie up to Mill Hill where we saw Peregrine, 2 Ravens, Chiffchaff, Mistle Thrush, 2 Meadow Pipits and 13 Goldfinches. We continued to the Beeding Hill car park and walked down into Anchor Bottom where we saw 3 Ring Ouzels (and probably heard a fourth), Sparrowhawk, Red Kite, Raven and Stonechat.
|Ring Ouzel in Anchor Bottom|