Up on the downs

A quieter day bird-wise, as we walked up to Cissbury Ring after a bit of work on the pond at home.  Nothing particularly exciting, but we had a few nice birds and it was a glorious day.



A walk on the beach

A walk down to Brooklands Park and Widewater this morning, in search of Wheatears.  We had none at Brooklands, but the Black Redstart that has been on the beach finally cooperated and the willows around the lake were full of Chiffchaffs.  Bird of the day was found when scanning the sea: a summer plumage grebe that I assumed was Slavonian, as it’s the more likely here.  Only after I had put the word out did I realise that this was a Black-necked Grebe (and then Birdguides got the location in Goring, 4 miles away, so not the best effort at publicising the bird).  Too far away to photograph and it quickly drifted away.

Down at Widewater we had a total of seven Wheatears, but not much else.  On the Adur estuary the tide was high so there was a selection of waders on an island.

Back at Lancing Green we ate our lunch and looked at the sea, which was slow but excellent, with a couple of Slavonian Grebes (definitely this time and in winter plumage), a small flock of Shoveler passing, a Black-throated Diver  and our first Sandwich Terns of the year.  Throughout there was a steady trickle of Meadow Pipits coming in off the sea.

8 birds added to the on-foot bird list, taking it to 112.


Home and away

A week on, the Cetti’s Warbler is still hanging around.  It’s now in full song, rather than the chuntering subsong that we had last week.  It has made a few brief forays into the garden, inspecting the pond, but never in good light, so the photographic evidence is weak.

Meanwhile, our fox becomes more blasé by the day.

Out and about today we had our first Adders of the year at Church Norton and a nice Curlew showed well.  A group of Cattle Egrets by the road flew off just as we arrived.


A good hare day

We had a windy walk up on the downs today, up to Cissbury Ring and then along the Monarch’s Way.  Not much to speak of bird-wise, but a pair of Hares were followed by another single, that just came running towards us.

Spring’s springing

It was a red letter day at home yesterday, when I opened the window, thinking there might be a migrant or two about, only to hear a Cetti’s Warbler singing at the end of the garden.  A new bird for the house list, which briefly showed itself.  They breed in the reedbed near us, so it’s not too much of a surprise, but to actually see it rather than hear a distant song is.

Today we had a look at the reedbed and the brooks next to us, with the highlights being a couple of Water Rails that eventually showed themselves and a much hoped-for Woodcock: my hundredth bird for my on-foot year list.

Of course they didn’t hang around to be photographed, but some insects showed that spring is coming.