Monday, 30 March 2015

Two Sand Martins over Tangmere Airfield lagoon this morning and now I hear of more and two Swallows at Ivy Lake! It's all go now!

At Lidsey SF, plenty of Pied Wagtails on the pans and Chiffchaffs in the hedge and not a lot else but over at Sack Lane by the railway crossing were the four-strong Whooper Swan family looking well:

Whooper Swans:

In the picture of the four Swans together some speckling on the neck appears to show on birds 1, 2 and 4 suggesting that these are the the youngsters, presumably coming up to being 2W birds. I would think they'll all be off to pastures new shortly.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

An Alpine Swift was well found by Alistair Gray in Crawley on Saturday and was still present on Sunday. After a bit of the usual dilly-dallying around a few likely spots the bird eventually gave itself up back at the Virgin Atlantic building in Fleming Way; it had probably been here all along, should have listened to the security guard who said as much! The bird has roosted there this evening so should be on show tomorrow (Monday) again. Difficult to photograph in flight with a bridge camera so this was the best I could do. Also one of it having a quick roost for an hour under the eaves.

Alpine Swift:

Three year ticks for me on Friday, Fulmar at Selsey Bill, Little Ringed Plover at Medmerry and Blackcap at Church Norton, and although it does seem a bit quiet perhaps things will start going in the right direction after the forecasted storms this weekend; a few Manx Shearwaters too on the move at the Bill so who knows maybe it's all about to happen!

Little Ringed Plover at Medmerry, thanks to AH for info.:

Blackcap, Church Norton:

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Five Firecrests, a Treecreeper, two Nuthatches, and a drumming Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was not bad for an hour out in the woods with my son! Location withheld obviously. At Medmerry, plenty of quantity but not much of any quality, being picky. Most entertaining birds were probably the four Teal on the sea that had me thinking they must surely be Scoter, Wigeon, Eider or some such thing before I scoped them.

Sea Teal:

Linnet at Medmerry:

Hybrid Mallard-type (or Leucistic it has been suggested):

Friday, 20 March 2015

Surprised to say that the Newhaven Richard's Pipit was still there today, showing really well pre-eclipse on its favoured grassy bank at the Ouse Estuary Project at Denton. Thanks to the birder who pointed it out to me after I'd told him where to look...I was of course scanning the other way...ahem.
Really good scope views for at least half an hour were had but it was difficult to photograph as its camouflage is so good, if you took your eye off it for a minute it seemed to fade into the foliage. However, the pale lores were obvious as was the creamy white supercilium and buff to the tertials and wing bars (I can do this properly occasionally ;-) ). Later at Tangmere SF, a Grey Wagtail and a cracking Mistle Thrush and at Medmerry, a few Avocets.

Richard's Pipit:

Grey Wagtail:


A few days in Norfolk yielded Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting, Twite, Iceland Gull and Richard's Pipit but didn't have time to go for the White-Tailed Sea Eagle unfortunately!

The Lapland & Snow Buntings showed in a field along the cliff top at Weybourne as did the Iceland Gull although the latter was far more mobile; I saw more Skylarks here than I've ever seen elsewhere, the sky was thick with them and their calls, fantastic! And so on to Salthouse where after a bit of to-ing and fro-ing we latched on to at least 22 magnificent Twite, with a few Reed Buntings, that gave good views including some really close aerial manoeuvers.

The following day at Breydon Water (Suffolk I believe), one of the two Richard's Pipits was less than obliging but did stick its head out for five minutes. We'd heard that the Eagle was in the area but when you've got to go...

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

In my former guise as wild plantsman extraordinaire I was always pleased to see that herald of Spring known as Coltsfoot (Tussilago Farfara) and it was great to see some today at Ivy Lake, albeit a few weeks later than is usual:


Sunday, 8 March 2015

I don't really do much sea-watching apart from a little in the Spring but went down to Selsey Bill today. Pleased to see Great Northern Divers, Red-Throated Divers, the female Eider and a few other bits and pieces. Four Wheatears today on the east side of Pagham Harbour but I went to Medmerry again where there seemed to be much more general activity in the relative warmth. Skylarks, Reed Buntings, Stonechats, Yellowhammers and Meadow Pipits all put in an appearance and the Spoonbills and Avocets were still on the pools:



Three Spoonbills & Little Egret:

On Friday I had a look for the geese at Summer Lane in Pagham but none there at all; I've never had much luck here, I think they may just dip in and out for a day. At the nearby SF a real rarity in Sussex no Siberian Chiffchaff! or any Chiffchaffs for that matter, just a few Pied Wagtails, two Reed Buntings and a Grey Wagtail. On to Easton Lane and Medmerry where the three Spoonbills were present on the pools along with half a dozen Avocets and a Red-Breasted Merganser:

Grey Wagtail:

Mediterranean Gull nearby:


Red-Breasted Merganser:


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Good to see the "Siberian" Chiffchaff that I found on February 13th at Lidsey SF is attracting the birders. Worth having a look at if your interested in the salient points of Chiffchaffery.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

"Interesting" debate on a Facebook group over what actually counts as "rare" as far as posting to the group goes ie: someones patch rarity is not necessarily a national rarity etc., which eventually led to a "scarce" group being created presumably to appease the nay-sayers...and in the "scarce" group all must be well I hear you say? not really...there's now a debate over what is "scarce" me...I feel I'm sometimes ploughing a lone furrow in actually enjoying this for what it is, the chance to see some great things and to go to new and sometimes even lovely places. No lists, no masters, no bullshit!

Soldiering on, a Barnacle Goose was a nice surprise this morning at Lidsey along with plenty of Teal, Wigeon and Shelducks. The four Whooper Swans were also present briefly. At the sewage works (what did I say about lovely places??!!), the Siberian Chiffchaff at last showed really well in the elder bush at the end of the path before re-joining its more common Chiffchaff friends on the far filter bed. Lots of Pied Wagtails there too.

Barnacle Goose:

At East Trout Lake on Saturday, the Tundra Bean Goose was still there with the Greylag Geese:

Tundra Bean Goose & Greylag Goose:

Gadwall on Nunnery Lake: