Saturday, 3 January 2009

East Sussex

A very cold but brilliantly sunny day spent with Dave Green and Gareth. Our first destination was Glynde Reach which was almost entirely iced over, an increasingly rare sight in Sussex. The Great Grey Shrike present since 27th December failed to show though we did see a couple of Kingfishers (one of which showed very well by the bridge), 2 Buzzards, a Kestrel and a Stonechat not to mention a Mink that ran across the iced up river and 2 Brown Hares together. A brief stop at Arlington Reservoir produced 6 Pintail and a feral Barnacle Goose with the Canadas. A stomp round a wet area in the Cuckmere Valley failed to dig out any Jack Snipe though we did flush 15 Common Snipe while 2 adult Peregrines shrieked noisily overhead. A Rock Pipit was the only bird of note at Splash Point so we quickly moved on to the Ouse Estuary Project where a hunting Kestrel prompted the Bearded Tits to start calling from the reeds. It took us a while to get good views but we eventually saw three birds (two males and a female) feeding quietly on reed seeds. Also there were ca. 80 Teal, Little Egret, Water Rail (heard), 4+ Common Snipe, a Kingfisher that posed superbly almost the whole time we were there, and Green Woodpecker. A walk round Newhaven Tidemills produced nothing more than 10 Sky Larks and 4 Stonechats so we quickly moved on to Glynde where the shrike continued to be uncooperative with none of the other birders present having seen it. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over. We finished the day at Rodmell with 3 Little Egrets, Kestrel, Green Sandpiper, Stonechat and a handful of Redwings on the way out to the river where a Peregrine cruised past heading south. It was nice to see good numbers of farmland birds in the stubbles: 40+ Sky Larks, 50+ Reed Buntings, 60+ Corn Buntings and a big flock of Linnets. A calling Water Rail was glimpsed in the ditch by the block house.

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