Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year's Day

A leisurely start to 2009 with a look round the local area with Bridget. Another very cold day (4C) with variable amounts of cloud and a light NE wind. At Widewater the resident Water Rail was showing well on the tamarisk island having earlier flown and then swam to the north bank of the lagoon. Also of note were 3 Teal, 6 Little Grebes, 2 Little Egrets, Ringed Plover, a superb Kingfisher perched on a wall at the far end of the western lagoon next to one of the Little Egrets, and a pair of Stonechats (though the Black Redstart that was associating with them yesterday did not show). On the beach there was a mobile flock of Sanderling and Turnstone while on the sea close in was a Red-throated Diver. Three Purple Sandpipers were on the inner arm and a Great Crested Grebe in the harbour mouth at high tide. Southwick Canal was very quiet as was Hove Lagoon where there were 19 Mute Swans and several Black-headed Gulls coming into summer plumage. A male Sparrowhawk over Southwick was my second of the day having earlier seen a female from the bedroom window.

A late afternoon visit to Beeding Hill was rewarded with 9 Corn Buntings resting on the wires above the cement works quarry with a large mob of Starlings. We then went to a downland coombe where we have seen Long-eared Owls in the past but, despite staying until dusk and hearing a lot of Blackbird alarm calls, we drew a blank. Three Roe Deer were on the slopes below us and Bullfinch and Sparrowhawk gave brief flight views.

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