Tuesday, February 28, 2023

February 2023

2nd Feb 2023, Southwick Beach & Canal: A walk with Dad produced a single Purple Sandpiper on the rock revetment on the east side of Shoreham Harbour East Arm. Other birds noted included four Turnstone, 54 Common Gulls, two Great Black-backed Gulls and a Pied Wagtail. Southwick Canal was very quiet and held two Mute Swans and 10 Mallard

4th Feb 2023, Falmer Pond & Amex Stadium: The drake Red-crested Pochard was still present on Falmer Pond before Brighton played Bournemouth. During the football, a Peregrine flew over the away end just before half time. 

7th Feb 2023, Isle of Wight: Working on the east side of the Isle of Wight produced a booming Bittern, a ringtail Hen Harrier, a Cattle Egret, two Water Pipits and a White-tailed Eagle

Cattle Egret on east side of Isle of Wight - 7th February 2023

8th Feb 2023, Southmoor Nature Reserve, Hampshire: On the way home from the Isle of Wight, I called in to have another look at the adult Sabine's Gull which was still performing superbly. Also noted was the two Long-tailed Ducks, single Black-necked Grebe and three Greenshank.  

Adult Sabine's Gull and me at Southmoor Nature Reserve in Hampshire - 8th February 2023

9th Feb 2023, Highdown Hill: An afterwork walk around Highdown Hill produced two Bramblings, 165 Chaffinches, nine Greenfinches, 75 Linnets and five Yellowhammers feeding in a set aside strip south of Highdown Copse at TQ09428 05044. Other birds noted on my walk included 30 Redwing, single Mistle Thrush and 425 Common Gulls flying south to roost. 

11th Feb 2023, Fishbourne Creek, Westdean Woods, Burton & Chingford Ponds & Black Rabbit at Arundel: Dad and I led a walk at Fisbourne Creek & Westdean Woods. At Fishbourne Creek, we recorded 53 species including 600 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 200 Wigeon, four Pintail, 50 Teal, four Goldeneye, five Red-breasted Mergansers, 150 Black-tailed Godwits, two Spotted Redshanks, three Greenshank, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and singles of Cetti's Warbler, Grey Wagtail and Rock Pipit. At Westdean Woods, the highlights were seven Hawfinches along the Monkton track, 150 Redwing, 20 Fieldfare and single Marsh Tit. After we had finished our guided walk, Dad and I went to Burton & Chingford Ponds where we found two Egyptian Geese, 22 Gadwall, 19 Pochard, 43 Tufted Duck, a sinensis Cormorant and single Firecrest. One last final stop at the Black Rabbit at Arundel yielded four Marsh Harriers going into roost at the Arundel WWT. 

12th Feb 2023, Angmering Park Estate & Patching Pond: A mid-morning walk around the Angmering Park Estate with Sophie produced two Stock Doves, four Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two Ravens, a Coal Tit, single Firecrest, two Mistle Thrush and 30 Redwing. A quick pit stop at Patching Pond on our way home produced a drake Tufted Duck, three Coot and a Great Crested Grebe

13th Feb 2023, Highdown Hill: An afterwork walk around Highdown Hill produced 250 Common Gulls flying south to roost, a Buzzard, two Kestrels, a Goldcrest, a Treecreeper, three Mistle Thrush, 50 Redwing and three Bullfinch. Sadly, the large flock of finches recorded on 9th were no where to be seen. 

18th Feb 2023, Falmer Pond: Drake Red-crested Pochard still and a Chiffchaff at Falmer Village Pond before Brighton played Fulham. 

19th Feb 2023, Arundel Waterwoods, Rewell Wood, Arundel WWT & The Burgh: Dad and I started the day with a long circular walk with Dad from Arundel Waterwoods through to Rewell Wood which was disappointing. Birds of note included seven Firecrests, a Grey Wagtail, six Coal Tits, two Marsh Tits and two Yellowhammers. The day improved once we arrived at Arundel WWT where we found nine Shelduck, 14 Shoveler, 44 Gadwall, single Wigeon, 50 Teal, 16 Pochard, 13 Tufted Duck, Water Rail, Oystercatcher, 110 Lapwing, 11 Snipe, 65 Mediterranean Gulls, 500 Common Gulls, single Great White Egret from Scrape Hide, five Cattle Egrets from Ramsar Hide, Red Kite, two Kingfishers, Peregrine, two Chiffchaffs and singles of Cetti's Warbler, Firecrest and Grey Wagtail. We finished the day with a circular walk around The Burgh seeing eight Grey Partridge, 70 Stock Doves, 1000 Common Gulls, two Marsh Harriers, 30 Red Kites, two Barn Owls, male Merlin, single Raven, seven Yellowhammers and a flock of 50 Corn Buntings.

20th Feb 2023, Ferring Rife: An afterwork walk along Ferring Rife produced 19 Moorhens, a Green Woodpecker, two Song Thrush and nine Greenfinches.  

21st Feb 2023, Victoria Park, Haywards Heath & Southwick Canal: On the way to the office in Victoria Park was two Coal Tits and a Song Thrush. After I had finished work for the day I visited Mum & Dad and a brief visit to Southwick Canal in fading light produced a Little Grebe and a Stonechat. At dusk, a Sparrowhawk flew over Mum & Dads house. 

22nd Feb 2023, Durrington: A Coal Tit made a brief appearance on the feeder in the back garden today.

24th Feb 2023, Iford Brooks: After some training in East Sussex with work colleagues, I had a walk out onto Iford Brooks. Species present included 10 Shoveler, 50 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 250 Lapwing, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Barn Owl, Cetti's Warbler and 45 Pied Wagtails.  

25th Feb 2023, Madehurst, Arundel WWT & Ferring Beach: An excellent morning with Dad  around Madehurst produced four Woodlarks, female Goshawk, Tawny Owl, five Mediterranean Gulls, 170 Stock Doves, three Red Kites, four Ravens, three Marsh Tits and a Siskin. Afterwards we headed to the Arundel WWT where we recorded two Egyptian Geese, 11 Shelduck, 11 Shoveler, 40 Gadwall, 14 Wigeon, five Teal, 103 Lapwing, 12 Snipe, 12 Mediterranean Gulls, nine Cattle Egrets from Ramsar Hide, three White-tailed Eagles flew overhead, Raven, Marsh Tit, two Cetti's Warblers, four Chiffchaffs and two Grey Wagtails. After Dad dropped me home, I went for a look at the sea off Ferring Beach and found 46 Red-breasted Mergansers, five Great Crested Grebes, 29 Mediterranean Gulls, 11 Common Gulls and single Gannet flew east. 

26th Feb 2023, Climping & Cissbury Ring Car Park to No Man's Land (circular walk): I spent the morning at Climping and recorded single Jack Snipe, 20 Red-breasted Mergansers, 13 Grey Plover, 21 Ringed Plover, 35 Turnstone, 30 Skylarks, two Stonechats and 120 Linnets. An afternoon walk from the car park at Cissbury Ring to No Man's Land produced 75 Corn Buntings, 15 Yellowhammers and five Stonechats along the Monarchs Way also in the area was six Red Kites, three Buzzards and a Raven. 

27th Feb 2023, Highdown Hill: An afterwork walk around Highdown Hill produced two Canada Geese, a Red Kite, three Buzzards, two Mistle Thrush, seven Linnets and a Yellowhammer

Not as much coverage as January although I still managed to record 101 species in the Arun District In February. Highlights for the month included Brambling, Great White Egret, Merlin, Corn Bunting, Egyptian Goose, Goshawk, Woodlark & Jack Snipe. My Arun District year list at the end of February stands at 127 species. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January 2023

1st Jan 2023, Hiorne Tower Track: A late morning walk up the Hiorne Tower track from London Road produced 27 species. Highlights included a single Hawfinch near the Training Gallops, 10 Yellowhammers, two Firecrests, single Raven & Red Kite

2nd Jan 2023, Pagham Harbour (east side): The first half of the day was spent on the east side of Pagham Harbour with Mum & Dad which produced 56 species. Highlights included a single Pale-bellied Brent Goose with 250 Dark-bellied Brent Geese in White's Creek, drake Pochard on Pagham Lagoon, two Red-breasted Mergansers, single Slavonian Grebe in the harbour, 55 Grey Plover, 50 Golden Plover, single Bar-tailed Godwit, 750 Black-tailed Godwit, single Mediterranean Gull, two Peregrines hunting over Pagham Spit, single Rock Pipit, the long-staying Snow Bunting on Pagham Spit and four Yellowhammers near the caravan park. The second half of the day was spent dipping the LITTLE SWIFT at Sovereign Harbour found by Dave Thorns. 

Slavonian Grebe at Pagham Harbour - 2nd January 2023

6th Jan 2023, Isle of Wight: Working on the east side of the Isle of Wight produced a ringtail Hen Harrier and a Water Pipit

7th Jan 2023, Goring Gap, Arundel (Mill Road Watermeadows, Offham Viewpoint, Arundel WWT & Peppering Triangle) & Patching Pond: A quick stop at Goring Gap in the morning before heading onto Arundel later in the day produced 11 Turnstone, 24 Sanderling, a Dunlin, 500 Common Gull, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 21 Great Black-backed Gull and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. The rest of the day was spent birding around Arundel, highlights included: single Cattle Egret at Mill Road, two adult Bewick's Swans from Offham Viewpoint, Water Rail at Arundel WWT and a ringtail Hen Harrier & White-tailed Eagle from Peppering Triangle. On the way home, quick stop at Patching Pond produced a Great Crested Grebe and two Coot

8th Jan 2023, Goring Gap, Arundel (Mill Road Watermeadows & Swanbourne Lake) & Littlehampton & Rustington Beach: A quick stop at Goring Gap before heading onto Arundel produced seven Brent Geese moving east, 18 Turnstone, 86 Sanderling, a Dunlin, three Mediterranean Gulls, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, seven Great Black-backed Gull and 11 Skylarks. It was quiet around Arundel however I did find 62 Gadwall, a Shoveler and two Firecrests at Swanbourne Lake. On the way home, I visited Littlehampton Gas Tower where the Black Redstart was still present and a quick stop at Rustington Beach produced 43 Oystercatchers, two Mediterranean Gulls and a Red-throated Diver offshore. 

9th Jan 2023, Arundel (Swanbourne Lake, Burpham & The Burgh): Swanbourne Lake produced a drake Mandarin, 53 Gadwall, 44 Tufted Duck, two Little Grebes, four Goldcrests, two Firecrests, two Treecreepers and a Mistle Thrush. Moving onto Burpham, the two adult Bewick's Swans were still present on the water meadows and a circular walk around The Burgh produced the ringtail Hen Harrier, 48 Red Kites, two Barn Owls, a Short-eared Owl and 19 Yellowhammers

15th Jan 2023, Binstead Woods & Barnham Brooks: A circular walk around Binstead Woods and Torrington Common produced eight Stock Doves, a male Sparrowhawk, a Raven, eight Coal Tits, six Marsh Tits, four Goldcrests, four Firecrests, four Treecreepers, three Redwings, a Nuthatch and a flock of 40 Skylarks in an arable field on the edge of Binstead Woods. Afterwards, I went and explored a very wet and flooded Barnham Brooks where I recorded 44 species, highlights at this site included: 100 Lapwing, a Snipe, single Mediterranean Gull, two Marsh Harriers, two Chiffchaffs, two Grey Wagtails and a flock of 100 Chaffinches

16th Jan 2023, Black Rabbit (Arundel): A visit to the Black Rabbit after work produced six Marsh Harriers, a Barn Owl, a Tawny Owl, a Cetti's Warbler and 43 Pied Wagtails

20th Jan 2023, Goring Gap: A quick look at Goring Gap yielded a single Red-breasted Merganser, three Great Crested Grebes, 16 Grey Plover, five Mediterranean Gulls, two Red-throated Divers and a Grey Heron on the beach. 

21st Jan 2023, Southmoor Nature Reserve, Hampshire: A day off patch to go and enjoy the long-staying adult Sabine's Gull in Hampshire which was my fourth in the UK. Other notable birds recorded at this site included nine Goldeneye, two Black-necked Grebes, single Long-tailed Duck and two Greenshank

Adult Sabine's Gull at Southmoor Nature Reserve in Hampshire - 21st January 2023

22nd Jan 2023, Pagham Harbour (east side), Westdean Woods, Burton & Chingford Ponds and Waltham Brooks: I went out for the day with Dad and one of his work colleagues. We started the day on patch on the east side of Pagham Harbour where highlights included four Goldeneye, single Slavonian Grebe, 16 Mediterranean Gulls and the long-staying Snow Bunting still present on Pagham Spit. Afterwards, we moved out of the Arun District and onto Westdean Woods which produced reasonable views of six Hawfinches at Stapleash Corner. At Burton & Chingford Ponds we saw a Little Owl and a Great White Egret. Final stop of the day was Waltham Brooks where we found a Cetti's Warbler and 40 Linnets

Snow Bunting at Pagham Spit - 22nd January 2023

24th Jan 2023, Ferring Rife: A pre-work walk along Ferring Rife produced 27 species including a Kingfisher, a Reed Bunting, a Little Egret and a Grey Heron. A quick scan off the Bluebird Cafe at the southern end of the rife produced seven Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea. 

25th Jan 2023, Highdown Hill: A pre-work walk around Highdown Hill produced two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, three Buzzards, three Goldcrests, two Firecrests, a Bullfinch and 15 Linnets

26th Jan 2023, Ferring Rife & The Burgh: A pre-work walk around Ferring Rife produced two Little Grebes, a Snipe, a Grey Heron, two Redwing, a Grey Wagtail and a Reed Bunting. After work, I headed to The Burgh with Sophie where we saw 20 Red Kites, a Barn Owl, a Short-eared Owl and 12 Grey Partridge

28th Jan 2023, Climping and Pagham Harbour (east side): I started the morning at Climping where I found a Great Northern Diver, 2 Red-throated Divers, 13 Red-breasted Mergansers, 32 Sanderling, 38 Turnstone, 13 Grey Plover and 102 Mediterranean Gulls. Afterwards, I moved onto the east side of Pagham Harbour and it was alive with birds including 800 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 103 Shelduck, 650 Wigeon, 185 Pintail, 260 Teal, 10 Shoveler, two Gadwall, three Goldeneye, five Red-breasted Mergansers, 10 Oystercatcher, 135 Grey Plover, 150 Golden Plover, 750 Lapwing, 30 Ringed Plover, 90 Curlew, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 750 Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Turnstone, 100 Knot, 250 Dunlin, 60 Snipe, Kingfisher and 40 Redshank. Offshore from Pagham Spit on a flat calm sea were two Long-tailed Ducks, two Eider, a Slavonian Grebe, four Great Northern Diver plus one east, 35 Common Scoter, two Sandwich Terns and two Red-breasted Mergansers. Other sightings at Pagham included the long-staying Snow Bunting, three Marsh Harriers and three Rock Pipits.

29th Jan 2023, Falmer Village Pond: A day off patch to watch Brighton v Liverpool in the FA Cup at the Amex which saw Brighton dispatch Liverpool through a spectacular last-minute winner from Karou Mitoma. Before the game, a quick visit to Falmer Village Pond produced the drake Red-crested Pochard along with three Greylag Geese and two Canada Geese.

I finished January seeing 117 species in the Arun District with highlights for the month including Hawfinch, Slavonian Grebe, Snow Bunting, Cattle Egret, Bewick's Swan, Hen Harrier, Black Redstart, Mandarin, Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, Tawny Owl, Goldeneye, Great Northern Diver, Eider, Long-tailed Duck & Sandwich Tern. Additional taxa not included in my totals for the month included White-tailed Eagle and Greylag x Canada Goose hybrid.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

2023 - the year of birding the Arun District

The year of 2022 was a moderately successful year for me in terms of birding. I finished the year on 240 species seen across the country. Highlights throughout the year included American Robin at Eastbourne, Hume's Warbler at Eastbourne Promenade, Shorelark at Pevensey Bay, Green-winged Teals at Rye Harbour & Dungeness, Desert Wheatear at Goring Gap, Purple Heron at Charleston Reedbed, Iberian Chiffchaff at Otterbourne, Eleonora's Falcon at Worth Marsh, Red-footed Falcon at Worth Marsh, self-found Black Kite at RSPB Brading Marshes, Bee-eaters at Trimingham Quarry, Great Reed Warbler at Snettisham Coastal Park, White-rumped Sandpiper at Sidlesham Ferry, Squacco Heron at Pagham Harbour, Cirl Buntings at RSPB Labrador Bay, self-found Wryneck at Beachy Head, Pectoral Sandpiper at Dungeness, Red-necked Phalarope at Spurn, Citrine Wagtails at Spurn, Pallid Harrier at Spurn, Long-tailed Skua at Spurn, Temminck's Stint at Spurn, Grey Phalarope at Spurn, Red-backed Shrike at RSPB Medmerry, Buff-breasted Sandpiper at RSPB Medmerry, Barred Warbler at Climping, Sabine's Gull at Dungeness, Radde's Warbler at Beachy Head & the Penduline Tits at West Rise Marsh. 

In 2022, I started the year with every intention of doing a local year list around Worthing however my enthusiasm soon dwindled and I had given up by late April. At the turn of 2023, I really wanted to have another go at doing something local so I studied local maps and come up with the idea of doing an Arun District year list. This area covers some good birding areas and whilst it's extent is large for a patch, I'm hoping it will hold my interest for the year. The extent of the Arun District can be seen in the map below, it's western most extent being the east side of Pagham Harbour up to Owl Copse whilst the eastern most extent is Highdown Gardens & Goring Gap. The northern boundary takes in Houghton Forest to the north-west of Arundel and then follows a zigzagged line all the way over to Steyning. The best sites in the patch would be the east side of Pagham Harbour, around Arundel & Climping. 

Map of Arun District 

Rather than doing individual write ups every time I go out, I have decided to post monthly blog posts about highlights throughout the month. 

Friday, May 14, 2021

14th May 2021 - Longham Lakes, Dorset

Managed to pop down to Longham Lakes in Dorset in the afternoon to try for the Whiskered Tern which has been present for around a week. After parking the car (not easy around there) and finding the footpath to the lakes, I located the bird within 30 seconds of arrival. It was sat on a yellow buoy near the Northern end giving nice views. It remained on the buoy for the next 15 minutes before going for a fly around and at times getting quite close. The bird always returned to the yellow buoys! A particularly easy twitch and a bird I was very happy to catch up with after dipping the Dungeness bird in May 2019.

Whiskered Tern, Longham Lakes, Dorset

Thursday, May 6, 2021

6th May 2021 - Goring Gap

Quick pit stop at Goring Gap produced excellent views of the male Whinchat also two Wheatears and a Whitethroat.

Monday, May 3, 2021

3rd May 2021 - Rochford, Essex

Dad and I ventured into Essex mid-morning for the adult male Woodchat Shrike. Unsurprisingly, the site was busy with other birders but upon arrival the bird was sat out on a bramble bush adjacent to the horse paddock showing really well. This has been a bird, I was very keen on seeing in the UK for a long time so to twitch this bird was a no brainer. On the way home, we stopped at another site in Essex where we had reasonable views of Grasshopper Warbler although the ever increasing windspeed did not help our cause. When I got home the windspeed was near gale force so I headed down to Goring Gap. I was very happy when a Manx Shearwater flew east at 15:58, an excellent end to a very good day. 

Woodchat Shrike, Rochford, Essex

Friday, April 30, 2021

30th April 2021 - Puttenham Common, Surrey

Excellent trip across the border into Surrey for the Wood Warbler. Upon arrival the bird was singing and was extremely active affording really good views. I watched the bird for the next 30 minutes or so before going to explore other areas. This proved successful and I found a Woodlark, two Garden Warblers, a Dartford Warbler, three Redstarts and a Tree Pipit

Wood Warbler, Puttenham Common, Surrey