Having led a tour in Northern Spain last week and being generally knackered since returning early Friday morning, I was more than keen to have a chilled out day touring a few sites in western West Sussex, starting first at East Head, West Wittering. This was my first bit of birding in the county since 02 Oct when the Leach's past.
Despite beating the dog walkers to the north end of East Head, frustratingly I couldn't find the buntings, nor little else, though a Firecrest was in the pines by the car park and seven Sanderlings were great to see along the shoreline. Next, I drove to the end of Ellanore Lane and scoped the two fantastic Velvet Scoters in the harbour there. Three Common Scoters, a Razorbill and 13 Bar-tailed Godwits were also present.
Next was Sidlesham where I soon found a flock of 24 Cattle Egrets. I couldn't be bothered to wander further south so I drove up to West Dean Woods where I spent an enjoyable 90-minutes, easily finding Hawfinches, three Bramblings and other commoner species. One Hawfinch showed very well through the scope as it perched atop a conifer... some of the best views I've had in Sussex and I could even make out its pale iris.
Last up was Heyshott Common, but all I could find were three obliging Dartford Warblers, with the 'psshing' technique working very well.
|Cattle Egrets at Sidlesham
|Two Velvet Scoters at Chichester Harbour
|Dartford Warbler at Heyshott Common
|Firecrest at West Wittering
|Mediterranean Gull at West Wittering
|Hawfinch at West Dean Woods