Zino's Petrel off Madeira - June 2018

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Thursday, 10 January 2019

Hume's Leaf Warbler - Newhaven 10/1/18

A local birder found a delightful Hume's Leaf Warbler just before the new year, and despite thinking it had disappeared from the area straight away, the same birder fortunately found it again in the same area of scrub just across the river from the Newhaven Incinerator.

Just before travelling up to Heathrow for my flight to India, I nipped down and soon found the bird feeding actively and calling frequently. To the courtesy of the finder, news wasn’t broadcast widely initially, but thankfully (in my opinion) news was widely broadcast on the 12th Jan and hopefully many people can now see this Siberian gem.

This represents my third in Sussex, and my first away from Belle Tout Wood!

Hume's Leaf Warbler
in Newhaven

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

West Rise Marsh 8/1/19

A call from David Campbell had me rushing over to West Rise as he had found a very nice female Ring-necked Duck. It showed well enough for the time I was present (10 minutes) and was a very welcome county tick having not gone for the long staying Weir Wood Reservoir bird way back in 2007. Hopefully the year can continue on this trend, although the last year I scored a county tick with a Duck (American Wigeon), it turned out to be the only tick of the year.

Afterwards I met a friend up near Gatwick, and so I gave myself a spare 15 minutes to find five Ring-necked Parakeets (two Ring-necked species in a day!) a few metres within the Sussex boundary...….although I promise I'm not yearlisting!

The Duck was very nicely timed as I'm off to Northern India on Thursday for a few weeks.

1w fem Ring-necked Duck
at West Rise Marsh

Sunday, 6 January 2019

West Sussex 6/1/18

Another long day like yesterday was the plan for today, with many hopeful targets scattered around various coastal sites in the west of the county.

As per the norm, I begun the day at Arundel WWT which is a great site to catch up with Bewick’s Swan and Woodcock before the light emerges. Both of these were seen with ease, and nearby at Swanbourne Lake a couple of Firecrest and two pairs of Mandarin were also relatively straight forward.

From here on in, the day slowly went downhill with the next few sites failing to produce the goods, namely the Red-necked Grebe at Climping, Waxwings at Southbourne and Spotted Redshank at Fishbourne, however a Jack Snipe showed superbly in flight at the latter site.

Down at Selsey I then somehow failed to find a Great Northern Diver offshore, but thankfully Church Norton revived the situation with plenty of Slavonian Grebes offshore and some Knot were found among the roosting Dunlin and Grey Plover. Inland was equally disappointing where West Dean Woods failed to produce the Owls or Hawfinches one would expect to see, and only Red Kites were the only noteworthy addition here.

The last couple of hours I spent around Burpham and The Burgh, with the former having many Chiffchaff around the water works, and the ten Bewick’s Swans were out on the meadows. The Burgh held its usual coveys of Grey Partridge and to put an end to the constant dipping, a fine ringtail Hen Harrier ended the day as it hunted the closer hedgerows before heading up the valley.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Rye area 5/1/19

With being at work since the new year I was desperate to get out birding. I was however unsure in which direction to travel, with there being some good birds at either end of the county. I opted on the east and ended up having an excellent day from dawn to dusk.

I started the day before first light at the Castle Water viewpoint in the hope of a Bittern. I had what was probably this species before it got light but views were beyond awful. I was pleased to see five Great White Egrets leave their roost in a tight pack heading east. My main reason for heading out this way was to hopefully see the trio of Twite on Flat Beach, despite them being extremely mobile and erratic in their appearances. Sadly the early morning attempt didn't succeed.

I was keen to keep heading east where I came across a single Tree Sparrow, and then the two Whooper Swans at Scotney that were easily viewable from the double bends.

Heading back towards Rye the Twite had been seen again and so I rushed down to Flat Beach and after a short wait the trio of Twite were spotted on the fence and then happily feeding on the edge of the saltmarsh. Only my second sighting of this species in Sussex.

Next up was Pett Levels where I failed to find any Velvet Scoters offshore, although plenty of Common Scoters were present. There were plenty of Divers and Auks moving as well but the main interest was on the fields where I could only find eight White-fronted Geese among the Greylags, and after some effort five Ruff and a single Black-tailed Godwit were found among the Lapwing and Curlew. A distant Great White Egret was also present, now my sixth of the day.

Back at Rye, I walked from Winchelsea to Long Pit where initially all I could find were two Black-necked Grebes. Then amazingly out of nowhere, four stunning Goosanders (including three drakes) dropped in for only 15 minutes. A cracking drk Goldeneye was also found.

With the day coming to a close I spent the last hour at the viewpoint again and was rewarded with a male Marsh Harrier, a Green Sandpiper and a great count of eight Great White Egrets coming into roost.

Twite on Flat Beach

Goosanders on Long Pit

Black-necked Grebe on Long Pit

Great White Egret at Castle Water
A minimum of nine seen today.