Thursday, July 9, 2020

9th July 2020 - Church Norton, West Sussex

After the highs of yesterday morning it was back to normal procedure this afternoon. News broke of a Roseate Tern at Pagham Harbour mid-afternoon so I jumped straight in the car and headed down for it. I was particularly keen as it was in Sussex and would be a county tick!

I arrived at Pagham within 45 minutes after the news had gone out however despite a very careful scan of the harbour there was no sign of it, in the hour and a half I spent looking. There was plenty of Sandwich including many juveniles, Common and I counted 12 Little Terns although there was probably more hiding away. Also plenty of Mediterranean Gulls kicking around. The tide was very high and the harbour was pretty much full so there was little else to see. A frustrating afternoon and my second dip of this species at this site in consecutive years!

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

8th July 2020 - Sandy Point, Hayling Island, Hampshire

I've been desperately unlucky in recent years trying to see a Roseate Tern so when I saw that two were lingering offshore at Sandy Point with the moulting Black Tern last night there was only one place I was heading this morning.

Upon arrival I found the feeding flock of terns with no problem, almost instantly I picked out the Black Tern. The feeding flock was impressive with around c50 Common Terns as well as a few Sandwich Terns and Mediterranean Gulls thrown into the mix. After 20 minutes of scanning I picked out one Roseate Tern which I had in the scope for around 2 minutes before I lost it again. I then picked it up again briefly before losing it again. It was great to finally put my biggest bogey bird to rest!

I also noted c20 Common Scoter flying west offshore as well as a few Linnets and a male Stonechat on Sandy Point Nature Reserve.

View off Sandy Point, Hayling Island

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

7th July 2020 - Oare Marshes NR, Kent

I ventured off to Oare Marshes late morning in search of the returning Bonaparte's Gull which if I'm not mistaken is the 8th year in a row this bird has returned to this site. I deliberately timed my visit to coincide with high tide as this is when the birds are pushed off The Swale and move onto the East Flood. Upon arrival the Bonaparte's Gull was showing very nicely close to the road associating with roosting Black-headed Gulls. Nearby in one of the bordering reedbeds, a family party of four Bearded Tits gave nice views. 

The East Flood had many others birds present and the highlights were as follows: c750-1000 Black-tailed Godwit, 56 Avocet, a Spotted Redshank, 128 Redshank, three Dunlin, a Greenshank, four Oystercatcher and 11 Lapwing. Around the footpath, I added c10 Yellow Wagtails, another four Bearded Tits, two Reed Buntings, several singing Reed Warblers, lots of Linnets and a hunting Kestrel

Bonaparte's Gull, Black-headed Gulls, Avocets and Lapwing at Oare Marshes, Kent

Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin at Oare Marshes, Kent

Yellow Wagtail at Oare Marshes, Kent

Golden Samphire at Oare Marshes, Kent

Monday, July 6, 2020

6th July 2020 - RSPB Pulborough Brooks and RSPB Medmerry

I woke up to a text message that the Spoonbill was back on the North Brooks at Pulborough so I tried again and yet again upon arrival it had gone missing - very frustrating. Birds on the the North Brooks consisted of much of the same as the previous afternoon except for a roosting adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.

After finishing up at Pulborough, I headed down to Medmerry. At the Poplers a Common Tern fishing over the creek as well as 21 Redshank and a Greenshank roosting on the muddy edges. Between here and the Stilt Pool I added four Reed Warblers, two Little Egrets, six Yellowhammers, a Kestrel, three Swifts, 12 Canada Geese, three Coot, a Moorhen, two Stock Dove, two Reed Bunting and a Shelduck. The ponds that border the lower path had lots of noisy Marsh Frogs calling from within.

The Stilt Pool held a Mute Swan family with one juvenile, 18 Black-tailed Godwit, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a Ringed Plover, 14 Canada Geese, six Tufted Ducks, five Lapwing, three Gadwall, 46 Black-headed Gulls, a Little Egret, eight Herring Gulls, four Cormorants, three Coot and eight Mallard.

Stilt Pool, RSPB Medmerry, West Sussex

Sunday, July 5, 2020

5th July 2020 - RSPB Pulborough Brooks

This afternoons outing took Sophie and I to Pulborough Brooks in search of the adult Spoonbill which has been present a couple of days. We walked to The Hanger and upon arrival it was obvious the Spoonbill wasn't there however we still managed to find 68 Black-tailed Godwit, seven Avocet, 15 Sand Martins, a Grey Heron and a Buzzard. On the way back to the car we stumbled across lots of Marbled Whites, a few Small Skippers, Red Admirals and Peacocks and a single Comma. When we got back to the car we walked to Hail's View where we found two Lapwing and a Green Sandpiper
Small Skipper, RSPB Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex

Saturday, July 4, 2020

4th July 2020 - Selsey Peninsula

A dismal day weather wise but with near gale force south-westerlies, I headed to Selsey Bill for a seawatch to try and add Balearic Shearwater to my Sussex list. The previous day there had been 171 east past Portland so I thought I was in with a chance of scoring.

I started from the car park at the end of Hillfield Road due to the conditions being abysmal with rain swirling in off the sea and visibility very poor with the mile basket not being visible. Early signs weren't good with very little moving other than a few Gannets, Sandwich Terns and five Common Scoter. Slowly the weather improved so I moved round to the Bill tip and sheltered down behind a wall but there was still very little happening with the highlights in the next period being a Kittiwake west and an adult Mediterranean Gull heading in the same direction. At 08:45, I had enough and packed up and headed to Church Norton, only 14 minutes Selsey Birder tweeted: "Balearic Shearwater W 08:59", I was gutted!! Oh well, teaches me a lesson to not give up!

At Church Norton there wasn't much going on, there was lots of Sandwich Terns including several young birds which was encouraging to see as well as a few Little and Common Terns thrown into the mix. Waders comprised of a few Redshank, Curlew and Ringed Plover but otherwise there was very little doing.

Last stop of the day was the North Wall, the Breach Pool (looking more like a duck pond) held 24 Black-tailed Godwit and a couple of Tufted Duck and a lone Teal. Whilst out in the harbour was a few Grey Plover and Lapwing.

A cold and windy Selsey Bill accompanied by a lone Black-headed Gull.

Monday, June 29, 2020

29th June 2020 - RSPB Pulborough Brooks

A Temminck's Stint was found on the North Brooks early evening. Sophie and I were eating dinner when the news filtered through and I managed to convince her to come along and have a look. We bumped into Matt Phelps in the car park on arrival, who was just getting back, he informed us that there was no sign of it. We took a stroll along the trail out towards The Hanger which was very quiet apart from a singing Chiffchaff and three flyover Greenfinches. Upon arrival there was another birder also looking who hadn't seen it. A careful scan of the North Brooks produced a Common Sandpiper, a Green Sandpiper, two Little Ringed Plover, a Redshank, the Avocet family, seven Black-tailed Godwits, a female Mandarin and six Egyptian Geese. Roughly around 30 Sand Martins were hawking all over the place with a few Swifts thrown into the mix and a Buzzard made a brief appearance. We stayed up until around 9pm and disappointingly never managed to find the Stint.

Sunsetting at RSPB Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex