Saturday, 10 January 2009

Winter wonderland

The postponement of Harlequins game against Worcester due to a frozen pitch (the first time in 12 years) resulted in an unexpected opportunity to go birding. A Grey Wagtail flew over the house as I was clearing the ice from the car windscreen. An early morning visit to Widewater found the Adur Valley covered in thick haw frost, a stunning sight especially with fog lingering over the river. The Black Redstart eventually showed itself (at the 5th attempt) on the beach just west of the beach huts along with a pair of Stonechats down to a few feet, a couple of Meadow Pipits, a Grey Plover on the beach, and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers (1 adult male) and a Great Crested Grebe on the sea.

Later Bridget and I went over to Ferring Rife where a Jack Snipe flew up from one of the marshy areas, showed nicely by circling round a couple of times before returning to the same spot. Also 2 Common Snipe, a Grey Wagtail flying over and 2 Stonechats.

At Swanbourne Lake at least 8 Mandarins showed well round the island on the south bank. Also 4 Shelduck and 2 male Shoveler plus lots of Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Coot. As usual there were Black-headed Gulls perched in the trees on one of the islands, something I can't recall seeing elsewhere in Sussex. Very few small birds however.

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