Monday, 10 August 2009

Weir Wood

Sunday 9th August - A late afternoon visit to Weir Wood where the 5 Wood Sandpipers were still showing nicely on the wet mud in front of the hide. Also 2 Common and 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Greenshank and a Common Tern. Just a Sparrowhawk and a Grey Wagtail at the dam end though an Osprey was seen after I'd left.

Peregrine and Sparrowhawk seen from the back garden.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

July update

Thursday 30th July - A guided walk on the Selsey peninsular. First stop was Sidlesham Ferry where there were 3 Dunlin, 54 Redshank, 2 Common Sandpipers and a juv Med Gull. A careful search through the gulls on the Bracklesham Bay RSPB reserve turned up ca. 20 Yellow-legged Gulls (all adults), 4 Med Gulls (in a variety of plumages including an adult summer), a Little Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper. Church Norton provided a welcome respite from the blustery SW wind (though clouds of dust were blowing across the harbour from the nearby fields) and also great views of 2 Peregrines, one of which caught a Wood Pigeon which it then started to pluck out on the mudflats. Over on the east side of the harbour the Breech Pool held 3 Tufted Duck ducklings (no sign of any adults), 11 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper, two Common Terns and a few Sand Martins passing through. A Buzzard was perched on a fencepost at the back of the pool.

Tuesday 28th July - A pair of Buzzards over the Friston Forest Project area and a clouded yellow (my first site record). Also a Hobby over the edge of Lullington Heath.

Thursday 23rd July
- Two Little Egrets and a pair of Mute Swans with 4 well grown cygnets at Widewater. A pair of Ringed Plovers on the beach.

At Pulborough Brooks in the evening: Ruff, Greenshank, 6 Green Sandpipers and 1 Common Sandpiper on the north brooks. Still one Nightjar churring rather half heartedly on Wiggonholt Common at dusk but not seen. At least 3 Tawny Owls calling but they too refused to show themselves. All rather frustrating.

Tuesday 21st July - Five Egyptian Geese and a pair of Black Swans on Benbow Pond between Petworth and Midhurst.

Thursday 16th July - A Peregrine and a Rock Pipit on the cliffs at Splash Point. My usual circuit round the Friston Forest Project Area turned up a young Tawny Owl which was heard calling in the SW corner and a singing male Greenfinch - my first site record! At Beachy Head the two Lizard Orchid spikes were almost over. Good numbers of Chalkhill Blues and a few Marbled Whites by Horseshoe Plantation.

Wednesday 15th July - A Peregrine over Buckingham Park, Shoreham. Also in the park recently 2 singing Stock Doves, Great Spotted Woodpecker and 3 Jays.

Saturday 11th July - My first local Grey Wagtail of the 'autumn' over Buckingham Park, this evening. Also a singing Blackcap there.

Friday 10th July - A quick look at Arlington Reservoir from the north end of the dam produced a Little Egret, 3 Common Sandpipers, a 'purring' Turtle Dove and a Grey Wagtail. Another Turtle Dove seen as I was walking back across the fields to Arlington Church.

An evening walk at Pulborough Brooks turned up a male Pintail, Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Greenshank and 2 Green Sandpipers on north brooks but there was no sign of Thursday's Temminck's Stint. Despite the rain, 2 Nightjars were heard churring on Wiggonholt Common at dusk and showed fairly briefly in flight. Also a Tawny Owl heard calling and a close view of a Roe Deer.

Saturday 4th July - Several Little Terns over the fenced enclosure at the end of Church Norton spit viewed from Pagham spit. Later a female Red-crested Pochard with Mallard on the Breech Pool at Pagham Harbour. Also 16 Teal.

Friday 3rd July - At least 3 churring Nightjars from about 21.45 along the eastern edge of Old Lodge NR - one perched on a branch giving good scope views. Also at least Woodcock roding over the NE corner of the reserve showing exceptionally well. Two singing male Tree Pipits near the car park.

Monday, 15 June 2009

June update

Tuesday 16th June - A pair of Common Terns at Arlington Reservoir and a Turtle Dove purring from the car park.

Sunday 14th June - The strange sight (at least for here) of a Barnacle Goose and 11 Canada Geese heading NE over Phoenix Way, Southwick early evening.

Earlier in the day a walk out across Horse Eye Level from White Dyke Farm turned up a Hobby, 3 Yellow Wagtails and a singing Cetti's Warbler.

Friday 12th June - My second timed tetrad visit to TQ01W (Storrington) today added a handful of additional species taking my total for the two visits to 47. Highlights included singing male Grey Wagtails at two sites, a pair of Corn Buntings and a couple of Lesser Whitethroats, one of which was very agitated. My guess is that there can't be many tetrads in the county that hold both breeding Grey Wagtail and Corn Bunting!

Thursday 11th June - My final visit of the spring to the Knepp Estate and, as always, some nice birds. Pick of the bunch were a Barn Owl that flew out of a nest-box, a Turtle Dove disturbed from a pheasant bin and a Cuckoo.

Sunday 7th June - A rare trip out of the county to The Brecks for Golden Oriole and Stone Curlew. We left Brighton at 05.00 in torrential rain and arrived at Lakenheath RSPB reserve three hours later having been delayed for 40 mins on the M11 due to an accident. Although it was cool and cloudy at least it was dry so we headed west along the river bank to the poplar plantations. A Common Tern flew past, a pair of Marsh Harriers were quartering the reedbeds and a Bittern showed very well in flight. At first it seemed that Golden Oriole was going to be 'a needle in a haystack' bird though our hopes were raised slightly when we saw a small group of birders in the distance with their scopes pointing in the general direction of the third plantation. At first they were not particularly forthcoming with information though after a short wait I found a male near the top of a tree which posed nicely in the scope. After a while it became apparent that they were looking at a nest; through the scope we could see that it contained a female and was constantly moving from side to side in the increasing wind. From here we headed back to the car park stopping at one of the hides where several Bearded Tits gave good views.

Our arrival at Weeting Heath coincided with the arrival of a coachload of 30 people from Stourbridge. With only two hides to choose from, things were always going to be uncomfortable especially as the Stone Curlews were not on view. A family party of stoats were doing their best to decimate the local rabbit population and eventually a Stone Curlew did show though the views were brief before it soon disappeared. It then started raining heavily so we had lunch in the car before returning to the west hide. This time our luck was in with both pairs of Stone Curlew giving good views and at one point interacting with each one. Sadly both had lost their chicks in the last few days - the reason for this are not known though perhaps the stoats had something to do with it!

Friday 5th June - An overcast and windy evening at Old Lodge failed to produce sight or sound of any Nightjars - all rather disappointing! Some compensation was provided by at least two roding Woodcock, several sightings of Redstarts (including a pair with fledged young) and brief views of Crossbill and Redpoll. Several groups of Fallow Deer as we walked round the nature trail.

Friday 4th June - Purring Turtle Doves at Arlington by the church (2) and the reservoir car park (1). Another seen in flight near Chilver Bridge Farm.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Red Kite

Tuesday 26th May - A Red Kite near Chanctonbury Ring - always a great bird to see but increasingly regular in Sussex these days.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Wednesday 6th May - The 3 Dotterel first found yesterday afternoon were still showing fairly well in a bare field on the N side of the South Downs Way between Chantry Hill and Kithurst Hill mid morning. Also 2 Buzzards, a pair of Red-legged Partridge, a singing Corn Bunting and 3 Brown Hares.

Survey work at Knepp earlier in the day turned up a few surprises including a pair of Mandarins along the stream in Alder Copse, a pair of Hobbies (the first I've seen on the estate) and a singing Wood Lark over a stubble field a couple of miles to the north of last year's site. Also Cuckoo, Nightingale, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Bullfinch etc.

Tuesday 5th May - An evening walk round Pulborough Brooks turned into quite an eventful one with a police helicopter circling overhead looking for a man reported to be 'suicidal and full of drink'. It was hardly a surprise with all the noise that the reserve was quiet except for 2 male Shoveler, a male Pintail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Willow Warbler and Nuthatch. Even the Nightingales were stubbornly quiet though eventually three put on a fine vocal performance, one singing its head off despite 13 people standing only a few yards away! We then headed for the Rising Sun where the big screen confirmed that Arsenal were on their way out of the Champions League losing 3 - 1 to Man Utd.

Saturday 2nd May - My first Swift of the year over Phoenix Way and a Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk over Upper Shoreham Road. A couple of circular walks later in the day, the first to see the Early Spider Orchids at Castle Hill and the second near Adversane taking in North Wood and the Wey and Arun Canal. No birds of note at Castle Hill, a pair of Lapwings and a Cuckoo by the Arun.

Friday 1st May - A sea fret over Friston Forest made walking the butterfly transect a waste of time though compensation was on hand in the form of a singing male Wood Warbler along the north edge of the Forest next to Lullington Heath. Always a nice bird to see especially as I didn't catch up with one in 2008.

Saturday, 18 April 2009


The Dotterel found earlier in the day at Climping was still showing reasonably well early afternoon when we got there frequenting a large ploughed field behind the sea wall. Unfortunately it was probably the dullest plumaged Dotterel I've ever seen in spring but still a nice bird. Also 2 Wheatears there. Later at Pulborough Brooks a splendid Red Kite (untagged) flew past The Hanger at 16.40 disturbing all the ducks on the north brooks before departing east. Not much else to get excited about - a Nightingale singing in the hedge by the zig-zag path, a few Swallows and Sand Martins, and 2 male Shoveler on the north brooks.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

This week

Friday 17th April - A Chiffchaff singing in Kingston Lane and a Stock Dove on the roof of Southwick Church.

Thursday 16th April - An hour or so spent seawatching at Splash Point was largely disappointing despite the seemingly promising conditions. The highlight was a dark phase Arctic Skua but otherwise not much - 2 Teal, Red-throated Diver, 10 Whimbrel, 2 adult summer Med Gulls and a trickle of Brent Geese, Common Scoter, Commic and Sandwich Terns. A Sparrowhawk was over the Friston Forest Project Area and a Nightingale was singing at Waltham Brooks after dark.

Wednesday 15th April - A misty start at Old Lodge but eventually the sun came out. There was no sign of the Little Bunting but compensation was provided by a Cuckoo, Wood Larks in song in 5 different areas of the reserve, at least 3 singing Tree Pipits, 3 singing male Redstarts (one of which posed nicely in the scope), a pair of Stonechats, Willow Warbler, and a Crossbill and several Redpolls that flew over calling. Also 3 Fallow Deer.

Tuesday 14th April - A beautiful spring morning at Knepp and far more birds in song than a week ago including my first Cuckoos of the year (2) and at least 4 Nightingales (one of which gave excellent prolonged views). Also a Barn Owl, several Whitethroats and Blackcaps, 4 Redpolls in an oak tree, a Bullfinch, a Reed Bunting and at least 3 (probably 5) Roe Deer.

Monday 13th April - A late start at Selsey Bill revealed that there was virtually nothing moving except 2 Mergansers, 1 Fulmar, 1 Gannet and 1 Sandwich Tern. Three Great Northern Divers and an adult summer Med Gull were on the sea, a Sparrowhawk flew out high to the south and a few Swallows were coming in. At East Beach there was a Wheatear on the shingle and 4 Willow Warblers and a Chiffchaff in the trees by the pond. A couple of visit to the RSPB reserve at Bracklesham Bay were well worthwhile turning up 45+ Shelduck, single pairs of Gadwall and Tufted Duck, a surprise in the form of a male Garganey, a pair of Grey Partridge, a Little Egret, single pairs of Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover, 2 Ruff, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 3 Med Gulls, a Sand Martin and 2 Wheatears. A Buzzard flew N over Selsey pursued by the local gulls - shame it wasn't a Black Kite though we did see a Red Kite briefly near Goodwood on the way home.

Saturday 11th April - A walk in the rain north from Mile Oak Farm towards the South Downs Way turned up my first Common Whitethroats (2) of the year and a Buzzard that flew out of a tree with a large nest in it.