Back in harness

A significant improvement in my neck & shoulder, and a few birds have meant that I’m back walking seriously for the first time in a while.  On Monday we made use of the bank holiday to walk to Climping for the Little Stints, which showed ridiculously well.  I ended up taking 1400 pictures, and over 1000 of them would have been worth keeping – much agonising and deletion needed.  (Most of the pictures here have had their resolution significantly reduced to go onto the website.)  Unfortunately, the Rose-coloured Starling on the way in Rustington disappeared shortly before we arrived and reappeared shortly after we left on the way home.  It hung around, so on Friday I had the dubious pleasure of a long and tedious high-speed walk for a few minutes with a pretty dull bird, and then a dash back to go out to dinner.  Still, it’s a rarity and a new bird for the on-foot list.

Meanwhile in the brooks behind us the Wasp Spiders are still around, and they are creating egg balls.   Looks like we might see a significant increase in numbers again next year.

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Little Stint
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Eurasian Starling and Rosy Starling
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Clouded Yellow
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A dodgy neighbourhood for a Common Blue
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A proud Wasp Spider mother
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Green Leafhopper

Same again

Our first morning walk up to Cissbury Ring for a while started well with a report of a Wryneck showing well just as we headed up the downs.  “Showing well” was very suggestive of a different bird to the nightmare bird in mid-week.  Whinchats, a Wheatear, Spotted Flycatchers and Yellow Wagtails as we walked along Lychpole Hill towards Cissbury was a promising start, with a few more Spot Flies and many Blackcaps added as we neared the Ring.  Arriving at the Yew, it wasn’t a long wait before the Wryneck turned up and sat in the sun, posing for photos. This does look like a different bird – the line on the side of the neck was much more striking on the first bird, and the elongated stripe through the eye was also longer.  A few more good views over the next couple of hours, and the addition of Tree Pipit to the on foot-list sent us homeward happy.

The journey back took longer than expected when we walked into a small flock, which were mainly Pied Flycatchers (I’ve never seen more than one on passage).  There were at least three, but possibly as many as six, as well as a couple of Spotted Flies.  Not a bad walk at all!

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A cooperative Wryneck for a change
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One of the Pied Flycatchers
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Pied and Spotted Flycatchers
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Not going awry

Not much action from us over the bank holiday weekend, but we got the traditional passage of migrants through the field behind us, with Whinchat, many Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher (briefly) Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, the occasional flyover Yellow Wagtail, as well as all three Hirundines, but strangely no Redstarts yet.  A Reed Warbler in the pond today was a pleasant surprise.

A bad shoulder limited my activity over last weekend, but we managed to get up to Cissbury and picked up not much, with the only notable on-foot birds outside my limited range.  A return to work on Monday changed everything with a Black Terns in Shoreham and a Wryneck at Cissbury while I was at work.  Grrrr!

Fortunately, the Wryneck was found again today and I was able to dash up after work.  The bird showed for about 10 s shortly after I arrived, but after that I just had glimpses of it: crazily elusive.  That 10 s were enough for a few pictures, though.

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Common Darter enjoying the return of water to the pond
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Spotted Flycatcher on the wires at the end of the garden
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Dinner is served
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A real bruiser of a Sparrowhawk
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This young Great Spotted Woodpecker knows what to do with his nuts.
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Lesser Whitethroat
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Roe Deer