Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Beeding Brooks

The cold spell continues with the overnight temperature at Portslade down as low as -5C (-11C at Guildford) and large stretches of the Adur towards Stretham Manor frozen over. This morning Bridget and I walked from Upper Beeding along the Adur and across the frozen fields to Stretham Manor and back. Almost immediately we saw a Fox but birdwise it seemed generally quiet. We did however eventually end up with a reasonable species list including 3 Greylag and 4 Canada Geese, 4 Wigeon with 60 Mallard on an unfrozen stretch of the river, male Gadwall, 17 Teal and 2 Little Egrets at Stretham Manor, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, ca. 210 Lapwing, 12 Snipe, 15 Meadow Pipits, male Stonechat, a handful of Fieldfares and Song Thrushes (but no Redwings), 2 Jays, 8 Bullfinches (more obvious in the cold weather?) and 4 Yellowhammers.

Hove Lagoon was still completely frozen over early afternoon though the usual gang of 20 Mute Swans was there waiting to be fed. Two Ringed Plover and a Turnstone were feeding along the margins of the lagoon while further evidence of the stresses that waterbirds face with the cold spell was provided by the sight of ca. 70 excessively tame Dunlin feeding on the mud in the inlet by the Dogs Trust at Shoreham. Twenty Teal were on the opposite side of the road and a couple of tame Lapwing on the grass verges adjacent to the A259. At Widewater I saw neither the Water Rail nor the Black Redstart (again) though both were reported to still be around. I did manage 2 Little Egrets, Kestrel, 2 Meadow Pipits and a female Stonechat and a couple of Sanderling feeding with the Turnstone on the strand line along the beach. A quick look at the gulls on the Adur by the orange windsock produced 6 adult Lesser Black-backs and 2 adult argentatus Herring Gulls, one of which stood out like a sore thumb and the other rather more subtle. Two Snipe were along the edge of the airfield just inside the fence by the road.

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