Wednesday 22 May 2024

West Sussex Commons and Knepp (20-21 May)

 Monday 20 May. After a night in the car I was up at 05:00 and wandering around Heyshott and Ambersham Commons. A nice morning with lots of birdsong and in 7 hours I saw 3 Cuckoos, 3 Red Kites, 2 Buzzards, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 8 Coal Tits, 5 Woodlarks, 2 Swallows, 5 Willow and 3 Dartford Warblers, 2 male Redstarts, 4 Stonechats, 5 Tree Pipits, 8 Chaffinches, 13 Linnets, flocks of 4 and 9 Crossbills, 4 Siskins and 7 Yellowhammers. I came back via Ambersham spending an hour each around the Plantation (not that many conifers remain) and on the Common. I heard Cuckoo and saw Coal Tit, Woodlark, Dartford Warbler, Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher and 5 Stonechats.

Redstart on Heyshott Common

Tree Pipits on Heyshott Common

Common Crossbills on Heyshott Common
most welcome, not having seen any Crossbills in 2023 and my only Crossbills in 2022 were 2 Parrots I helped Dave Cooper find on Unst

Common Crossbill on Ambersham Common
Dartford Warbler on Heyshott Common

Dartford Warbler on Ambersham Common

unusual to see a Dartford Warbler 25 feet up in a pine tree
Golden-ringed Dragonfly on Heyshott Common
Woodlark on Ambersham Common

unidentified raptor over Ambersham

Rhododendrons coming out of the pines at Lavington like a tsunami, perhaps a reason why the area no longer appears to have breeding Woodcock?

Tuesday 21 May. Knepp (South Section) 08:40-13:20, dull with persistent drizzle. I wandered around trying to track down distant/intermittently calling Cuckoo and Turtle Dove with mixed success. I heard Cuckoo and Nightingale and saw 2 Turtle Doves, 3 Great Spotted and 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Jays and Lesser Whitethroat.

Linnet at Knepp

a pair of Turtle Doves at Knepp
they were more interested in chasing each other than me

stunning birds when seen well but one I rather took for granted in the 70s and 80s

I was surprised how tatty their tails appeared although maybe they were wet?

one feels they are hanging by a thread and fear they may be gone in five years
introduced storks are hardly a substitute

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