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.