Clock that!

While dashing up to Cissbury Ring to catch up with the Ring Ouzel that had been reported (it turns out that there were two, but they were incredibly distant), I came across my first Cuckoo of the year.  It called a couple of times, but moved along the edge of the wood with me, and occasionally posed nicely.




An early walk on Sunday had a nice fall of migrants including our first Willow Warbler of the year.  A male Black Redstart was a new bird for the location. Walking down to the sea produced very little.  This afternoon the wind turned south east, so it looked like the sea was the place to be.  3 miles later, the glorious sunshine at home turned into thick sea mist.  If the tide had been out I wouldn’t have been able to see the sea.  A walk along the coast and back home through the wetland produced nothing at all, until in one corner of a field there were 6 Wheatears, a different Black Redstart and our first Common Redstart of the year.   Of course, having set out for a seawatch, I was carrying my telescope instead of my SLR, so the pictures are just phonescoped.

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The first Reed Warbler of the season
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Black Redstart and Reed Bunting
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Seawatching is rather difficult if you can't even see the sea.
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A different Black Redstart two days later and 100 yards from the first
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One of 6 Wheatears
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Female Redstart

Larking about

On the way back from visiting Karen’s dad in Liphook we stopped off at Iping Common and had our first Tree Pipit and Woodlark of the year, it’s a great place, but way too far to walk to.  This evening a walk to the wetland behind us found me a Green Sandpiper and on the way back a Badger was so busy feeding that it ignored all of my attempts to get it to look up.

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A busy Badger

Morning glory

A 5:30 start today in the hope of catching up with the Nightingale, which has been at Cissbury Ring for the last few days, before work.  After a couple of minutes debating where the bird was meant to be, it settled the argument by launching into seven minutes at full rawp.  Quite magnificent!  The Whitethroat singing quietly to itself on the way back was a new bird for the year, but was no comparison.

Dirty twitchers

Well lockdown’s over and we can travel a bit more, and fortunately the birds have been saving themselves for us.  On Thursday we had a big surprise when the long-staying Northern Mockingbird in Devon pitched up in Pulborough.  A quick dash out after work gave us good views and a few phonescoped photos that were way better than I expected (doesn’t make them good, though).

Unfortunately it didn’t hang around on Friday, although I still dashed over on Friday afternoon and added Pied Flycatcher and Redpoll to the on-foot list.  Today we toured the other Sussex rarities that have been hanging around during the lockdown, both a bit too far to walk to.  At Warnham the Little Bunting eventually turned up after a couple of hours waiting and over at Barcombe Cross the White-throated Sparrow played hide and seek with us, but gave reasonable views eventually.

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Our earliest Slow Worm at home
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Northern Mockingbird
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Marsh Tit
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Bank Vole
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Little Bunting
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Not rare, but still magnificent
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White-throated Sparrow