Sussex Ornithological Society News up to 15 January

Tuesday 15 January 2002

SOS Conference catering
If you have booked for the SOS Conference and could offer to prepare and cut 8 lbs. of carrots for the lunch email Audrey at and she will ring you.
Note: Conference is fully booked -sorry no vacancies.

Tuesday 15 January 2002

Red-billed Gull again at Arundel WWT briefly at 1.25pm - first seen there yesterday am + drake Goldeneye

Red-throated Diver still at Brighton Marina (Richard Ives)

News for 14th January 2002

Black Brant at Pagham Village Hall til dusk. Also Glaucous Gull and 5 Med Gulls in the hbr (Ben Rackstraw)

Five Snow Buntings at Pett Level at top of beach

The massive movement of Red-throated Divers continues as the following reports show:

From Andrew Grace in Hastings: A large movement of Divers, all heading West again. 43 unidentified. 194 Red-throated Divers and 3 Black-throated Divers. Total of 240 Divers flying West in 45 inutes. Also 6 Auks West. An oiled Razorbill coming in on the sea. A noticeable Westerly drift of Black-headed Gulls again

From Ian Standivan at Bexhill: R-t Diver- 15 offshore+869 west+ 190 East, most were so close that I was picking them up with naked eye first. A lot seemed to fly in stages, landing offshore then moving on. I wonder if this means that there is a big flock around here moving about?
Also seen today.-
Black throated diver.- 1 offshore+2E. Great crested grebe.- 24 offshore. Slav grebe.- 1 offshore.
Long tailed duck. - 1W. C scoter.- 4offshore+88W+24E. Velvet scoter.- 1W. RB merg-5W.
Goosander.- 1 female type W. Purple sandpiper.- 3. Arctic skua.- 1 dark phase hitting the gull flocks.
The adult Med and Little gulls are still about.Razorbill- 1 offshore.
Also there was one common seal.

From Paul Troake at Rye Hbr: 835 Red-throated Divers counted heading west off Pett Level between c.0930 and 1100 hrs this morning. Over 600 of these were seen dispersing from a flock settled on the sea, by another observer just east of Winchelsea Beach, not long after the fog cleared. Smaller numbers were arriving from the east, with 60 counted between 1000 and 1030 hrs off Rye Harbour.
Also c.300 Great Crested Grebes off Winchelsea Beach, good numbers of Common Scoter off Pett Level and 5 Snow Buntings still on the sea bank there.
At Rye Harbour Nature Reserve - Lapland Bunting flew from Wader Pool towards Camber pits and 2 drake Pintail at Ternery Pool.

News for 13th January 2002

Male & female Red-crested Pochard + redhead Smew - Scrapyard Pit, Chichester Gravel Pits. Adult Med Gull (colour ringed - green) on adjoining pit.
2 adult & 2 first-winter Med Gulls - Selsey.
Adult Glaucous Gull - pagham Harbour, off Church Norton.
Whimbrel & Spotted Redshank - Sidlesham, creek running into harbour from Ferry Pool. (all Andy Cotton)

6th Jan. 2002 Lewes railway land LNR: Chiffchaffs 2, Grey Wagtail 2, Kingfisher 1. On the R. Ouse v. close to town centre, male Wigeon with Mallard (8th Jan.). Pair of L.B.B. Gulls on rooftop in Hanover area of Brighton - have been there every yr. for about last 5 yrs. (15th Jan.) From Dave Boddington.

Tuesday 15 January 2002

Can somebody help Nigel?:

Adult Ring-billed Gull on and off from the In Focus shop between 11:10am and 12:00pm. Also drake Goldeneye still.
Can anyone give me directions to the Hawfinches at West Dean Arboretum? I'm new to the area. There may be an in focus discount at stake?! E-mail me on

Nigel Voaden

Monday 14 January 2002

SOS outing to Dungeness
Awful weather conditions did not deter 30 SOS members - a record number - from seeing some excellent species at Dungeness yesterday (30th Jan.)
Led by Bernie Forbes and assisted by Richard Ives and Chris Wright, the day started on the beach looking for the Iceland Gull which had recently been seen. Regrettably the misty rain obscured most birds but Gannets, Red-throated Divers, and an Auk or two and Kittiwake were just seen in blustery damp conditions.
Looking through the birds on the ARC and long pit groups of Smew were observed several with the white Males. A group of Goosanders with the spectacular white male were found and a pair of Long Tailed Duck looking fabulous. Into the Reserve for lunch, after which we broke into two groups. Plenty of Ruddy Duck, Coot, Goldeneye and more Smew (male & female) Pochard, Little Grebe etc. and for one group a Bittern which flew across to land in trees on one of the islands and stay for some time before sliding into deeper branches. A Slavonian Grebe, plus Pintail and Red-throated Diver etc
were soon on our lists.
A convoy of 15 cars then headed towards Denge Marsh where Whooper Swans, Red-legged Partridge and a small flock of Barnicle Geese were observed. The afternoon ended with a small number of members looking for the Bitterns at Castle Water. Unfortunately due to the increasingly poor light conditions two birds went to bed early before we got there, but one waited for us and showed briefly in the mist as it dropped in.

Sunday 13 January 2002

Phil Stidwell is looking for photos of the Semipalmated Sandpiper that visited Rye in August last year. If anyone can help him please email

A plea for help from Moshe Nathan, a Ph.D. student at Bar-Ilan University:

Our Egret mating system collapses, help us to help the egrets.

Ethology research is taking place at the life science faculty at Bar-Ilan University. Our goal is to learn about the ability of chick and parent to recognize each other, within cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) breeding colony. Twenty-five egrets had been captured and placed in 30 cubic meter cage, but while we expected them to breed, they had other ideas and they didnít. We are most depresssed by the situation and would like to solve the unwillingness problem. Advice of any kind could be very helpful and may have a crucial contribution on our research. We would appreciate any of your assistance.

If anyone feels they may be able to help please email Moshe at

Sunday 13 January 2002

Peregrine flying from pylon to pylon by R Ouse just south of Southease bridge: also Kingfisher there. (Michael Hawkins).

News for 12th January 2002

At Pagham Hbr 2 BLACK BRANTS in field behind Pagham village hall + Glaucous Gull roosted in the hbr. Also Med Gull at Church Norton and 2 Red-necked Grebes reported offshore

Two Red-crested Pochards on Ivy Lake in SE corner + Smew on Runcton Lake

Eight Little Stints at East Head at high tide

At Rye Hbr 4 Smew (2 drakes) at Castle Water

No-one watched at Splash Point on Friday, but this morning - Saturday- in 45 mins before the fog arrived, in a light Southerly breeze, I had 72 divers East (including a loose flock of 17) and over 100 auks. Where are all the other watchers?? (Dick Gilmore)

Minimum of 3 Short-eared Owls at Thorney Great Deeps this afternoon, plus 11 Avocets in Thorney Channel. (Adrian Thomas)

About 700 R-t Divers heading west this morning and over 100 east. Having delved in to the Birds of Sussex, and subsequent Sussex Bird Reports I can find no previous record exceeding 423.
Also over 100 Razor/Guillies on the move plus several R-b Mergansers and Gannets.
4 Smew at Castle Water (2 drakes). (Paul Troake)

News for 8th January 2002

Amongst a flock of various BH Gulls LBB Gulls and GBBGulls at Shoreham Harbour, lunchtime1230-1300,saw some 50+ Gannets diving and feeding,along with diver sps 6+ and 2/3 cormorants (Marc Granville)

Saturday 12 January 2002

In the Cuckmere Valley 22 White-fronted Geese with Canadas just south of Litlington + Little Egret

Redhead Smew and Little Egret at Northpoint GP + 3 Goldeneye

55 Red-throated Divers west at Norman's Bay in 10 minutes from 10.50am + 7 auks west

Bittern and 20 Little Egrets roosted at Castle Water, Rye

News for 11th January 2002

Report of a Dartford Warbler killed last week when it flew into the windows of Kings House, Hove, now in the Booth Museum. (Adrian Thomas RSPB)

From Paul Troake at Rye Hbr:

Thur 10 Jan
An impressive passage of R-t Divers - 522 counted, all heading west, mostly between approx 0900 and 1030 hours. When I started watching, the passage was in full flow so I probably missed many, but it had reduced to a very slow trickle by the time I gave up. I'm interested to know whether any movement was seen elsewhere at the same time, or was it foggy everywhere else (as at Dungeness)? Also, can anyone confirm whether this is a county record?
Also 4 R-b Mergansers, 7 Gannets and a first-winter Little Gull along the shore.

Other recent stuff - in the first few days of the month Castle Water was the place to be, with record numbers of Gadwall (SSSI total of 203 - previous record 133), 8 Smew (2 drakes), Spotted Redshank, Jack Snipe (in full view in front of hide), 9 White-fronted Geese and our best number of Wigeon (950) for several years. The Long Pit held record numbers of Shoveler (over 300 - previous best 220). Mute Swans are also present in record numbers, with up to 133 seen arriving at Castle Water at dusk.
Still at least 2 Bitterns present, but Little Egret numbers have dropped off - only 11 seen leaving roost this morning. A few Smew have remained on Castle Water, whilst the wood has produced two site scarcities in the last week - Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch. A young Common Seal has been around the Rother mouth.

Friday 11 January 2002

A reminder that there is an SOS outing to the Dungeness Area & RSPB Reserve, Kent on Sunday. Details and map on the diary page.

Friday 11 January 2002

Thursday 10th Jan mid-week SOS outing to Selsey Peninsular was a fantastic start to the year. 10 members led by Bernie Forbes had a cracking morning with Med Gull, Common Gull, Scoter, Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver and Great Northern Diver and really close views of an adult Little Gull looking splendid in the sunshine.
Moving to Church Norton after lunch the usual harbour birds were found including 8 Avocets in the distance. Walking along the shoreline more species were seen including a very white Black-headed Gull. Inside the harbour two Kingfishers were seen To end the day we stopped at Ivy Lake to admire the spectacular number of birds on the lake which was an incredible sight and found the pair of
Red-crested Pochard then the red-headed Smew. A total of 60 species made for a very good day.

Friday 11 January 2002

Common Sandpiper still on R Ouse between Southease and Piddinghoe, but I haven't seen the little egret there this year and, for the first time this winter, no little grebes (but river was very low and tide running out fast). (Michael Hawkins)

News for 10th January 2002

Two Glaucous Gulls, Iceland Gull and Yellow-legged Gull reported in Pagham Hbr. Also 4 Slavonian Grebes, 19 Avocets, 3 Spotted Redshanks and 1 ad Mediterranean Gull (Nick Paul)

Two Red-crested Pochards on Ivy Lake and Smew on Scrapyard Pit at Chichester GP

From Dick Gilmore: In less than nine hours over the past four days some 140 divers and 1300 auks have passed Splash Point flying east. Almost all the identified divers were, of course, Red-throated, but Razorbills outnumbered Guillemots about 4 to 1 in those specifically identified. This is a complete reverse of the usual proportions. Dick also reports a Bonxie at Seaford on Xmas Day

47 (16 imm) Bewick's Swans at South Stoke on Arun floodplain. 17 Ruff + 1 Dunlin at Pulborough Brooks (Nigel Voaden)

News for 9th January 2002

A Red Kite at Barcombe (also seen on 7th)

Newhaven Harbour 09.20-10.45

2 Red-throated Divers flew east, 7 Brent Geese flew east, 3 Purple Sandpipers on East Pier, 1 sickly Razorbill in harbour, and a sickly Guillemot on rocks at the end of West Pier. (Nick Pope)

News for 5th January 2002

Cuckmere/Exceat Bridge (AM)

3 Red-throated Divers on sea, 4 White-fronted Geese N. of Exceat Bridge (inc. 2 juvs), 1ad male Peregrine flew down the valley (Nick Pope)

Friday 11 January 2002

From Andrew Grace in Hastings:

Walking up to Hastings Harbour at 1005 today I saw a Great Northern Diver,
flushed by an incoming fishing smack, lift off from the sea and fly West.
There was a lot of sea mist and the seaward horizon was obscured. As I
watched a loose flight of about 20 Divers passed abt 100 mtrs out, all
flying West. Between 1005 and 1050 I counted 85 Divers flying West - at
least 60 of these were Red-throated Divers. The only Black-throated Diver I
saw was the only Diver flying East. 3 Sinensis-type Cormorants and 3 Auks
also flew West, and there was a noticeable westward movement of Black-headed
gulls. I missed quite a few divers i am sure because I had my dog with me,
but we were also distracted by finding an entire, fairly freshly dead Great
Skua lying on the beach at the last high tide mark, a rare opportunity to
appreciate just how large,predatory, and beautifully plumaged this species

Thursday 10 January 2002

from Brian Fellows THURSDAY Jan 10
Ivy Lake was a breathtaking sight - absolutely full of birds everywhere you looked. This was very special so I decided to do a count, despite the onset of light rain.
On Ivy Lake alone I counted over 1,700 birds and the total for all the lakes south of the A27 came to an astonishing 2,946 (not including Mallard, Cormorant, Moorhen and gulls which I did not count).
The species that certainly stood out were Coot, Gadwall and Mute Swan which far outnumbered any I have previously recorded here and are higher than the WeBS counts over the past 5 winters as
recorded in the Sussex Bird Reports. Somewhat suprisingly, numbers of Tufted Duck, Pochard and Shoveler were relatively modest in comparison with previous years.

The total species counts were as follows with comparisons with the WeBS counts over the past 5 winters:
Coot 2140 - Previous best was 1,204 in Jan 1997.
Gadwall 368 - Previous best was 289 in Feb 2000.
Mute Swan 115 - The previous best was 68 in Nov 1998, though
Laurence Holloway counted 134 on Jan 5.
Tufted Duck 168,
Pochard 80,
Shoveler 46,
Wigeon 10,
Canada Goose 50,
Great Black-backed Gull 19.
The redhead Smew was easy to find on Runcton Lake, but there was no sign of the Red-crested Pochard pair or the Egyptian Goose that had been reported recently.

Thursday 10 January 2002

News for 9th January 2002

Two Black Brants in fields adj to Pagham village hall with Brent flock

Smew still on Scrapyard Pit + pair of Red-crested Pochards.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Water Rail at Burton Mill Pond

At Brighton Marina the Guillemot and Red Throated Diver are still looking pretty poorly inside the Marina but I didn't see any Shags. Huge auk movement with 145 auks E, 45 W between 7.30-45, 2 Common Scoter W, 35 Gannets W, 1 N over Brighton, 2 Rock Pipts, 20 Kittiwakes. Yesterday 4 Shags and 5 Purple Sandpipers (Richard Ives)

Little Egret at a small pond alongside the road at Merston, a hamlet which lies half a mile off the A259 Bognor to Chichester Road. (Ian Taylor)

Ambersham Common today produced a flock of 12 to 15 Common Crossbill, one Woodcock and 5 Marsh Tits. (Mike Snelling)

Tuesday 08 January 2002

Report from Peter Whitcomb/Ian Lawes/Michael Wilsdon from Brighton. SOS Bird Race 5 Jan 2002

Started from Brighton Marina at first light, where failed to connect on Purple Sandpiper. The recent shoals of sprats continue and good numbers of auks and Gannets were close offshore.

We mopped up all the expected species at Arundel, with Water Rail, Siskin, Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher, Ruddy Duck, Mandarin and many woodland species. This area on the fringes of Swanbourne Lake has always been a good winter stop with a good variety of species in a relatively short walk. A Little Grebe was rather unexpected near the trout farm!

Pagham was next stop and best birds here were Spotted Redshank in the creek behind the Information Centre; Avocets and Little Egrets in the harbour; and Black throated Diver and an adult Med Gull from the beach at Church Norton. No luck on either the Dartford Warbler or the Red necked Grebe reported earlier.

We couldn't find the redhead Smew on Chichester GP either but managed to tick the Little Gull on Ivy Lake.

Up-country we were running out of time but found Woodlark and Bewick's Swan at brief stops late afternoon.

Total 94 species

Dipped on the day - House Sparrow, Jay, Skylark and Goldfinch, and where were all the Fieldfares!

Tuesday 08 January 2002

News for 7th January 2002

Five Smew (1 drake) at Northpoint Pit, Rye

Smew still at Chichester GP, scrapyard pit + pair of Red-crested Pochards but no sign of the Eygptian Goose (Steve Morgan)

Willow Tit at the feeding station at Weir Wood Res + several Mandarins

At Brighton Marina - 4 Shag, 2 Guillemot, 1 winter plumage Red-throated Diver. c.20 Brent Goose flew East (Andy Cotton)

Male Blackcap Garden Ditchling Rd. Brighton. (Ray Dray)

Along Underhill Lane, Ditchling, in the morning half-light at 7:45 today, a Merlin chasing and catching a blue tit for breakfast as I followed it in my car. Magic! (Neil Merchant)

News for 6th January 2002

1 drake Goldeneye Arundel WWT for 2nd day.
Up to 63 Bewick's Swans (19 juvs) roosting nightly on Arundel WWT but not viewable during opening hours. They often feed on the nearby River Arun flood plain. (Nigel Voaden)

Tuesday 08 January 2002

Managed to catch up with 3 Hawfinches at West Dean, which eventually showed well from tree tops after flying around a while. Viewable from the bend in the road near the house (if you know the site!) where they usually get seen. Perfectly viewable from public road. Arrived 0815 but no sign of them, lots of chaffinches, but they flew in about 0900hrs and performed on and off for about half an hour. Little else of note in the area - Little Owl, Marsh Tits, usual woodland stuff and some Red-legs.
As a matter of interest the road is VERY MUDDY and your car will get filthy, as tractors are up and down all day with manure for the fields. Also got some uneasy looks from a gamekeeper or two - nothing said or done, just a less than warm feeling - though they did have a pheasant shoot on today. No sign of ravens!! Owen Mitchell

Tuesday 08 January 2002

From Dave Green:

Sunday 6th January saw Mark Bowler and myself, Dave Green, try a relaxed
bird race around West Sussex punctuated by coffee and cake at Pulborough
Brooks restaurant. We managed to see 85 species in the day but the mist
never lifted of the sea or some of the gravel pits so it could have been
much better. Of the more interesting birds there was the ever present
Whimbrel in Pagham, along with 4 Avocet, 3 Spotted Redshank, Water Rail and
Kingfisher. The Dartford Warbler was still around the West Side but

There were some very large Tit flocks around Swanbourne Lake including a
few Marsh Tit, and at Coldwaltham Brooks there were a couple of
Treecreeper. Finally, in the evening, there were 2 Purple Sandpiper at
Shoreham Harbour.

The ones we missed, Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Skylark, GBB Gull or any Auks,
but it was still an enjoyable day. We did start to worry though when we
hadn't seen any House Sparrow by 2:30!

Finally, many thanks to Richard Prior for finding us 5 extra species in
about 5 minutes!.

Tuesday 08 January 2002

A new regular update from Darren Fry at Pulborough Brooks Reserve

Bird sightings for Pulborough Brooks R.S.P.B
Reserve for December 2001.

It has been an unusually cold and clear for the region (as no doubt most of you would have noticed) which has made a difference to our normal sightings. Bewick`s swans have been seen throughout the month with peak counts being 33 on the 31/12, white-front geese have been recorded on the reserve early in the month with a maximum of 18 on the 10/12, duck numbers have been severely reduced during the winter freeze but we still have regular flocks of wigeon, shoveler, teal, and pintail. Regular sightings of peregrine (up to 4 located in the valley on the Webs count) and sparrow hawk, with merlin also present. Woodcock have been recorded from the reserve from various places as have water rail with two being recorded on the 28/11. There have been jack snipe recorded on the north brooks on the 15/22 & 22/12, although only one from the hide. A black-tailed godwit and a few dunlin have been present on most days, with a ruff roost of up to 8 birds in November. Lesser-spotted woodpecker have been recorded regularly around the reserve. Fieldfare and redwing have been moving through with also large numbers of song thrush, and blackbird. A couple of brambling have been seen at the visitor centre feeders although they are usually elusive. Regular reed bunting, yellowhammer, and bullfinch are also brightening up the hedgerows, a woodlark was also present on the 13/12.

Other birds in the Valley

Main figures on Decemberís Webs for Arun valley were; wigeon 3089, teal 2194, mallard 600, shoveler 114, lapwing 1152, snipe 166. Redpolls have been regularly seen in the alders on Amberley Wildbrooks, with occasional reports of short-eared owl from the same site.

Stop press!

Bewick`s on 4/01,Thrush movement on 2/01/02, merlin on the 2/01/02, 2 brambling on the 2/0102 & 4/01/2002, peregrine on 3/01 & 5/01, 1600 wigeon on 5/1, water rail on 6/01, dunlin 5/01, lesser-spotted woodpecker most days.

Darren Fry ( reserve asst.)

Monday 07 January 2002

From Nigel Voaden news of a Dipper on the Mill Stream at Arundel on the 20th December. Seen well but briefly and not relocated in extensive search. [The first since 1964 I think. CDL]

Sunday 06 January 2002

Glaucous Gull at Pagham Hbr from east side 12.00 - 3.30 at least

Great Grey Shrike again in Ashdown Forest TQ425310. Park in Long car park 1/2 mile south of Wych Cross on A22 and walk NW to view - seen am only

At Scoteny GP 6 Whooper Swans, 2 Scaup, Red-throated Diver and Goldeneye

Brighton Marina:
1 Red-throated Diver in marina entrance; 4 Shags including one with large green ring on left leg, number 'D11'; 5 Purple Sandpipers; 1 each of Razorbill and Guillemot in marina (both oiled and shaking) and several more auks of both species out on sea; 55 Ringed Plover on marina beach; 1 Black Redstart (Adrian Thomas)

Newhaven Tidemills:
1 Little Egret; 1 Water Rail; 76 Dunlin, 17 Curlew; 1 Shoveler; 1 Gadwall;
Song Thrushes still very abundant (Adrian Thomas)

News for 5th January 2002

1+ Mealy Redpolls at Burton Mill Pond + number of Siskins and a couple of Bramblings. Also 3 Crossbills and 3 Dartford Warblers at Ambersham Common (Richard Ives)

2 Goldeneye on Brooklands this morning and a Kingfisher there (Richard Ives)

Hen Harrier ringtail at Ambersham Common

Smew at Chichester Gp on scrapyard pit (the middle of the three along Peckhams Copse Lane)

Two adult Med Gulls at Mewsbrook Park, Littlehampton

There was a single Grey Wagtail along the stream in the middle of Hassocks this afternoon. Although not the first time this species has been seen here, it is quite unusual. (Peter Watson)

Cuckmere Valley north of exceat bridge 13.30 - 15.00 p.m. - Still four White fronted Geese, two adults and two juveniles, amongst large Canada goose flock grazing in fields approx. 200 mts north of Exceat bridge, a single dark bellied Brent goose five feral Greylags and a feral Barnacle goose also with Canada flock. (Les Bird)

Common sandpiper on R Ouse near Southease bridge (Michael Hawkins)

News for 4th January 2001

A solitary Razorbill on the spring flood tide mid-afternoon near the railway viaduct brudging the River Adur in the centre of Shoreham-by-Sea (Andy Horton)

Smew and Eygptian Goose at Chichester GP (Andrew House)

Sunday 06 January 2002


Colin Upton
Group Leader
Brighton RSPB Group

At Widewater this morning[Sunday] 52 Pochard & pair Gadwall, 31 G.C.Grebes on sea Grey Plover flew by as I counted them 3 Purple Sandpipers at harbour entrance.

On 18th January 2001 I received a call from a group member [ Angela Bibby ] who had a Ring Ouzel in her garden [ Rosebarn Close, Burgess Hill ] She took a photo. which she later showed to me. I thought this unusual sighting should not go unrecorded.

The next Brighton RSPB Group meeting is on Tuesday 22nd Jan, at St Peters Church Hall, London Road, Brighton at 7-30 pm. The speaker is Tim Loseby who will speak on 'The Birds of Bharatpur'

S.O.S. Members are most welcome.

Sunday 06 January 2002

Anyone help Pat Williams??

I wonder if you can help me. I am not a twitcher, just somebody who enjoys
watching the birds in the garden. (I feel I need to explain this as my query
may sound odd to you experts).
I live near Lewes. Yesterday I was watching the usual gaggle of birds on the
nutfeeder and noticed there were a pair of birds I couldn't identify nor were
they in any of my birdspotting books.
Their head and body were about the size of a large sparrow. They had broad
brown black and white stripes from head to tail. But the thing that drew my
attention to them was their tails. Long black and white tail feathers. About
as long as a wagtail, but twice as wide.
Please can you identify them?
Pat Williams

Sunday 06 January 2002

I live in the village of Blackham and we have a pair of Long Tailed Tits visiting our garden bird table, which we read is unusual as they usually stay in wooded areas even if it means they suffer through the harshness of winter.

Sheila Wellstead

Tel: 01892 740484

Sunday 06 January 2002

Rye Bay Wildlife - December 2001

Rye Harbour SSSI - Highlights included two Bitterns all month, with up to
four (31st). Little Egret numbers peaked at 29 at the Castle Water roost
(17th). Seven species of raptor included Peregrine on six dates, a male
Goshawk at Castle Water (31st) and an unseasonal Marsh Harrier (21st). Hen
Harrier was scarce with just one sighting at Castle Farm (7th). A
Short-eared Owl was at Narrow Pit at dusk (9th). The most notable
passerines were Cetti's Warbler at Corner Pool (21st), Firecrest and Snow
Bunting (both on three dates).

Many wildfowl and waders were present in good numbers. The Long Pit
produced a fine selection from mid month, with two Scaup (13th-27th), four
Bewick's Swans overhead (17th), Black-necked Grebe (17th-29th; 2 on 21st),
Slavonian Grebe (18th-29th) and redhead Smew (from 23rd). Elsewhere, up to
eight White-fronted Geese were noted on three dates, and a Pink-footed Goose
was at Castle Water (25th) before heading east. Offshore highlights
included a Velvet Scoter (17th) and 30 Red-throated Divers heading SW
(24th). A drake Goosander flew up the Rother (24th) and Mute Swans
continued to roost at Castle Water overnight - a record 133 were counted
arriving at dusk (31st). Waders included a Purple Sandpiper at Ternery Pool
and two Spotted Redshank at the Quarry (both on 7th) and Little Stint at
Castle Water (23rd & 30th).

Rye Bay - An impressive gathering of Great Crested Grebes on the sea, mainly
off Pett Level, increased from 160 (2nd) to 500 (31st), along with up to 215
Common Scoter (23rd), several Velvet Scoter (31st) and about 200
Red-throated Divers moving through (31st). The Snow Bunting flock remained
along the sea bank there, with generally five or six present. Scotney Pit
yielded 125 White-fronted Geese late in the month and Northpoint Pit
produced three Smew.

Paul Troake and Barry Yates
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
East Sussex
01797 223862 mobile 07715812503

Friday 04 January 2002

Four Mealy Redpolls reported 1/2 mile E of Cowfold at Cowfold Water Meadow TQ220228

At Scotney GP 3 Smew, 2 Scaup, and 2 Red-throated Divers

News for 3rd January 2001

Black Brant and 4 probable hybrid young still at West Wittering + 8 Little Stints at East Head

At Amberley Wild Brroks Hen Harrier, Merlin, 3 Short-eared Owls and a Barn Owl

Long-tailed Duck and Great Northern Diver past Selsey Bill

60 Bewick's Swans between Offham and South Stoke viewable from the high point on road

Female Blackcap again in my Lewes garden. R/n Parakeet still at the Pells, Lewes, and Wigeon on R Ouse there (only second I've seen there). (Michael Hawkins.)

Shoal of fish around Brighton Marina still attracting large number of Cormorants, Gulls. including juv. Kittiwakes, and 60+ Gannets, plunge diving into sea. 1 Red-throated Diver, 2 Shags and 8 Purple Sandpipers. 2 Little Gulls a bit further out. (Audrey Wende)

News for 2nd January 2001

Three Crossbills (2 males and one female) at usual copse at Coates Common (SU996173) this afternoon. (Jim Steedman)

Still 12 Avocets at Thorney Channel,but flew over to Chidham at high tide to roost.
13 Greenshank and 1 Spot-shank on the Great Deeps west side.
One Barnacle feral with Canada Geese.
15 Little Egrets went into roost at dusk,at the Great Deeps roost.
Also Woodcock and 2 Short-eared Owls (all Barry Collins)

News for 1st January 2001

Another large Cormorant count - between 130 and 140 in one group flew east over Newhaven at about 10.00 (Colin Brooks)

Friday 04 January 2002

1st January 2002- from Marc Granville
A beautiful day for birding;

0745:- -3c Sun rising over Belle Tout and the bay
Cuckmere Haven:
Beneath the cliff at Hope Bay (GR ) on frozen shingle Notable species include:
Rock Pipits 3 Cormorants 4 Little Plover 4 Curlew 1 Heron 2 Redshank 1 Dunlin 12
On the river near the mouth of the bay:
Dabchick 1 Wigeon 20+ (split 50/50 m & f) Rock Pipit again, (one was later seen skating on the small lagoon nearest the cottages). 4 Herons were seen basking in the early sun standing like sentries on the frozen ground

1035:- 0c -Still beautiful
Tidemills Newhaven
On the channel to the RightHS of the bridge approaching the beach * Star bird of the day* - a single *Purple Sandpiper* feeding on the incoming tide, with its head swinging from side to side beak slightly open,( a bogey bird put to rest), with 4 Redshank.Two other Redshank seen later on the brackish water on LHS of the bridge.The only raptor seen that day was a Kestrel feeding on the ground.Dogs and their walkers cut short my stay.

1230 :- +3c -
Pett Pools
Notable amongs the BH gulls and 70+ Coot, Mallards and Teal (spectacular in their short flights) were a Grey Plover, a Curlew, a Dunlin, Redshank 4, Turnstone 8, all feeding on the grass behind the Pools, which were mainly frozen.

1400 Rye Harbour (Shortwalk round Ternerey and Wader Pools)
Notable Species: Shoveler males 12 on frozen T. pool amongst Mallards and jostling for a place on the small melted part of the pool.Green Woodpeckers 2 on walk from Caravans to the T.Pool. On walk back a single Shelduck Little Plover 4 and Brent Geese 3 feeding on the field opposite Lime Kiln Cottage.

A great day to be out.

Anyone interested in taking part in the Green Bird Race 2003 or other days out birding, especially in Mid Sussex,drop me a line @

Wednesday 02 January 2002

News for 1st January 2001

1 adult Glaucous Gull within Pagham Harbour with gull roost. Also 1 White-fronted
at the north wall.[Philip Thompson]

12 Avocet at Thorney Channel today,and 12 Greenshank on the Great Deeps on the west side,also 1 Barn Owl,3 S E Owls hunting at dusk over the Deeps (Barry Collins)

1 male Firecrest at Burton Mill Pond

Wednesday 02 January 2002

From Adrian Thomas & Peter Francis:

31/12/01 Crossbill singing at Ambersham Common, plus several others more
intent on eating! Several Dartford's churring bravely through the frost.

01/01/02 Pannel Valley - Bittern rose from the reedbed in full daylight,
cronking loudly, before dropping back in again.
10+ Tree Sparrows in barley field east of Elms Farm with 30+ Reed Bunting and
10 Yellowhammer
The scoter/ great crested grebe spectacle in Pett Bay is excellent - 2 velvet
scoters loosely associating with common scoters, plus 11 eider.

Wednesday 02 January 2002

From Andrew House:

Fantastic start to the year!
Pagham Hbr
redhead Goosander, Red Throated and Black Throated Diver (+ several diver spps flying), 2 Shags, 5 Gannets, 20+ Slavonian Gebes, 2 Common Scoter, I Eider from Church Norton spit. Peregrine, Whimbrel, 4+ Goldeneye, 4 Avocet in hbr. Tree Creeper in churchyard
1 White-Fronted Goose(apparently 12 seen earlier) behind North Wall. Also a Buzzard, Kingfisher and 4 Snipe there
Apuldram SF
1 Water Pipit (2 have been seen there) 8 Rock Pipit, 6 Grey Wagtail, 4 Snipe, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Stonechat
Thorney Island
1 Barn Owl, 2 or 3 Short-Eared Owl, 1 Barnacle Goose, 12 Avocet + Fieldfare & Redwing in an adjacent orchard
I saw 91 species during the day, despite not starting till 9.30 and coming home for an hour at midday.
Amongst the species that I shouldn`t have missed - Reed Bunting, Sparrowhawk, Goldfinch, Shovelar and Med Gull.
A hundred birds is achievable. Maybe next year!

Wednesday 02 January 2002

From Cliff Dean:

Tues 01 Jan '02

Distance: 37km
(Pett 0815-1315: 12km on foot; Rye Harbour 1400-1700: 14km by bike; car link 11km)

Number of species: 92 + Feral Rock Dove & Chiloe Wigeon

Good birds: Little Egret, Med Gull, Green Sand, Snow Bunting, White-fronted Goose, Black-tailed Godwit, Cetti's W, Woodcock, Brambling, Smew, Bittern.

Dipped: Velvet Scoter, Kittiwake, Rock Pipit, Kingfisher, Bearded Tit

Birds of Shame: Linnet, Yellowhammer, Marsh Tit.

First: Tawny Owl @ 0100 while retrieving vomiting son from would-be revelry
Last: Bittern @ while 1645 jostling for a place behind Bourne's

Features: perfect weather- bright and cold, little wind; BUT much water iced up, leading to departure of hoped-for BN & Slav Grebes; HOWEVER loads of Water Rails out in the open, including gorse patch & dung heap; masses of birds on the sea; very few raptors (only one each of Sparrowhawk & Kestrel)

Cliff Dean

Wednesday 02 January 2002

From Richard Ives:

! I did the usual run around today for the SOS and I could find no sign of any geese at Henfield - bad luck or have they gone? Bets birds of the day included 16 bewick's Waltham, Hen Harrier Upwaltham, 2 Whooper Swans NE over North wall, 1 Firecrest in Norton car park, Jack Snipe near the horse fild Norton (excellent views of a bobbing bird), Egyptian Goose on Ivy lake, Siskins and Redpolls Rackham. Absolutely no auks off shore today - what a bugger just when I needed them toprop up the numbers. We did manage 100 species which took some doing I can tell you!!

Wednesday 02 January 2002

From Andrew Grace in Hastings:

Notable presence of Song Thrushes including 15 stubble field nr Home Place
Farm, actually flying in flocks/ Many warm above as west european Clarkei,
others greyer above with dark spotting on cold white underparts.
Yellowhammer widespread (cf CHD Birds of Shame). 5 Reed Bunting and 30
Chaffinch also on stubbles. f10 Meadow Pipit. 120 Jackdaw fs on stubble, f60
Goldfinch on uncultivated flax, Helipad.

My first Purple Sandpiper of the winter on Hastings Harbour Arm.

Wednesday 02 January 2002

We have assembled a selection of old photopraphs of Rye Bay.
They clearly show some of the great changes that have taken place in our
Even photos taken 20 years can show some significant changes...

If you have any such photos please would you consider loaning them,
so that we can scan them and add them to the collection.


Some of these photos will be available soon on a Touch Screen presentation
at Lime Kiln Cottage.


Dr Barry Yates
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
East Sussex
01797 223862 mobile 07715812503

Wednesday 02 January 2002

A 1st winter drake AMERICAN WIGEON in Pagham Hbr - viewable late morning from the shingle spit at Church Norton. Also Goosander and 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese.

Tundra Bean Goose still at Scotney GP with White-fronts.

Bittern 1.5 miles SE of Hailsham on Down Level on frozen dyke viewed from minor road by Slyes Farm

At Scotney GP Tundra Bean Goose with 200 White-fronted Geese and a Little Stint

Tuesday 01 January 2002

Two Peregrines on the Shoreham power station chimney at dusk + Dabchick on the canal.

At Pagham 2 Pale bellied Brent geese in hbr, Goosander, Whimbrel. Also a Red-Throated Diver inside hbr around hbr mouth, 20+ Slavonian Grebe, 50+ RB Mergs offshore. 2 Spotted Redshank in channel by Ferry Long Pool

At Coombe Haven Dartford Warbler, 2 Little Egrets, Green Sandpiper, several Water Pipits and 20+ Bearded Tits

No sign of any Bean or White-fronted Geese at Henfield Levels.

A flock of at least 21 skylarks in a corn field about ½ mile south of Plumpton Racecourse

News for 31st December 2001

Two Bramblings and a Fieldfare in a Henfield garden

From Cliff Dean:

Sea crowded with birds: there must have been c500 Great Crested Grebes - 220 just opposite the Beach Club, a larger flock opposite the pools and yet more further towards Rye; a couple of hundred Common Scoter. someone else saw several Velvets, c200 Rt Divers on the move and a small group of Bewick's Swans briefly on the sea.
6 Snow Buntings now on the seawall, 26 Brents on the marsh and a m Chiloe Wigeon the only new thing at the pools.

Castle Water
as usual wonderful at dusk, with 24 L Egrets and up to 4 Bitterns (though I only saw one)

Happy New Year everyone

Cliff Dean

Monday 31 December 2001

News for 30th Deecember 2001

At Henfield Levels 2 Taiga Bean Geese with 26 White-fronted Geese. Also 3 Little Egrets, Green Sandpiper, Merlin and Kingfisher.

Egret sp (probably Little) 1 mile north of Cuckmere Haven.

Newhaven Tidemills: 1 Black Redstart near old timber yard. 1 Kingfisher on tidal creek.

Newhaven Harbour: 1 Red-throated Diver in harbour at river mouth at 1300, with 1 Guillemots also in harbour and 5 more just off shore.

Ashdown Forest: 1 Great Grey Shrike seen at 1600 in the Crows Nest area (TQ480293). (John Gowers)

Smew at Northpoint GP (3 on 27th) + Barn Owl

Barn Owl recently at Ebernoe Common

Monday 31 December 2001

Happy New Year to all visitors of the SOS site!

Sunday 30 December 2001

Off Southwick 70 Razorbills, 4 Guillemots, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Shag, 3 Great Crested Grebes + Peregrine on power station and 3 Purple Sandpipers at Shoreham Hbr on the eastern rocks.

40 Bewick's Swans roosting each evening at Arundel WWT - best viewed from R Arun footpath early am.

News for 29th December 2001

Black-necked Grebe close offshore at Selsey Bill + 4 Slavonian Grebes, Great Northern Diver, 2 Shags, 6 Razorbills and 5 Med Gulls + Red-necked Grebe and Black-throated Diver flew west.

At Pett Level G C Grebe: 370 on sea, R T Diver: c20 on sea; 1 on pools, Golden Plover: 700 on field at E end. Med Gull: ad again on fields at Chick Hill (Cliff Dean)

News for 28th December 2001

Little Gull past Worthing beach + 3750 auks (mostly Razorbills), 900 Gannets, 950 Kittiwakes, 200+ Cormorants (including a flock of 115!) between 8.30am - 11.00am. Also a further 1500 auks after 11.00. (Richard Ives and Dave Smirth)

2 adult Bewick's Swans on Henfield Brooks south of Rye Farm at 11am TQ204146. Also 1 Little Egret in the same area and probably the same bird having earlier flown over the A281 near Woodmancote. (Philip Thompson)

News for 27th December 2001

2500 Razorbills between Widewater and Shoreham Hbr + 4-5 Shags

1000 Razorbills off Goring + 3 Red-throated Divers and a Shag

From Barry Collins at Thorney:

10 Avocets on the mudflats on the east side of Thorney,but numbers vary from day to day,the 7 Barnacle Geese were disturbed by walkers and flew over to east Hayling Island,and a Coal Tit in the church yard was a rarity for this site.
Two adult Mediterranean Gulls were at Slipper Pond in Emsworth

Sunday 30 December 2001

From Mike Hall:

Friday 28.12.01 Watching from Shoreham Fort /harbour then from beach at Widewater
From 11.00 - 12.15 Wind N 6 with gusts which made standing difficult.

Razorbill - very numerous, impossible to estimate birds flying E and W from close in, near the beach to horizon. Parties 2 - 20 approx all over the sea. Must have been several hundreds ( 500+ would not be exaggeration)
Guillemot - 10 approx
Gannet - 30+
Red T Diver 2 on sea, none seen in flight
Brent Goose 2 on sea
Great Crested Grebe close raft of 50 +/-
Red Breasted Merganser 5
Plus uncounted Kittiwake adults and imms. (50 +/-)
Gulls apparently stretching to Worthing
Cormorants in 1s and 2s some stabbing up at the gulls as they tried to settle on the sea or take food from the surface
Most birds, apart from Razorbills in bay west of Widewater, (Lancing)
Razorbills appeared everywhere

I apologise for these rather vague figures but the wind and sea condition made observation difficult, particularly of birds on the sea.

Sunday 30 December 2001

From Ewan Urquhart::

27 December 2001

West Wittering 0800-1200

1300 Dark-bellied Brent geese. Included in this flock were 02 adult Pale-bellied Brent and 01 adult Black Brant with four juveniles.The juveniles showed indications of two diagnostic features of Black Brant - namely prominent white neck ring which appeared to circle the neck entirely apart from a small gap on the hindneck -much more prominent and extensive than on any of the surrounding juv Dark-bellied Brent and a similar to the adult though more subdued pattern of brown and white on the flanks with the rear flanks showing much more white than is ever found on juv Dark-bellied Brent. However the overall colour of the mantle and scapulars appeared somewhat pale although still slightly darker than juvenile Dark-bellied Brent.I have not seen a juvenile Black Brant on my travels in the USA so cannot be sure as to what the normal colour of these plumage areas is. Unfortunately there did not appear to be a second adult present with these individuals although I suspected at one stage that there was a Dark-bellied Brent but with 1300 geese milling around it is very difficult to tell. The four juvs were however definitely attached to the Black Brant and the easiest way of locating the adult was to locate these four distinctive juveniles.
If a local bird photographer could take some pictures of these birds I could scan them and email them to my contacts in the American Museum of Natural History to get their verdict.If anyone is interested please contact me.My home address is The Old House,Church Street,Kingham Oxon OX7 6YA Tel 01608 659703

West Wittering
Further to my comments about the adult Black Brant with four juveniles it would appear that these are hybrid youngsters from a pairing of Black Brant Branta bernicla nigricans x Dark-bellied Brent Branta bernicla bernicla.I found a very informative article in Birding World (2001) Vol 14 (2) pp 66-68 with photos of adult Black Brant with hybrid young from Norfolk in Jan 2001,Netherlands Jan 1992 & Thorney Island Feb 1989.The juv birds from Norfolk and Sussex had both parents in attendance so there was no doubt about their parentage.
All appeared to show similar prominent neck collars and flank patterning to those present at West Wittering and were also as with the West Wittering birds slightly darker and browner on the body than nearby juvenile Dark-bellied Brent.

Saturday 29 December 2001

A request for help from Mark Pinches

I am organising a project to monitor the incidence of Salmonella on bird tables beginning this New Year. The project will investigate whether Salmonella outbreaks in wild garden birds are in part responsible for some of the falls in bird numbers that have been observed. I need to recruit around 100 people to swab and monitor the species visiting their bird tables for the project to be statistically correct.

I am based at the Institute for Zoology at London.

If you are interested please visit for more details and contact me with your details at


Mark Pinches BVSc

Thursday 27 December 2001

200\300 Guillemots and Razorbills on sea at ferring together with Red throated Diver and 50 plus Gannets following shoal of fish (Malcolm and Brenda Upstone)

Yesterday I saw in West End Park, Bognor Regis, what I assume was an escaped immature Harris' Hawk. It did not have jessies but had a grey ring and allowed me to approach to 10 yards (I didn't have bins). (Chris Seaton)

News for 26th December 2001

8 Buzzards seen from Barcombe Reservoir (James Grover)

Taiga Bean Goose is still present South of Rye Farm, Henfield, with White Fronts, Greylags and Canada Geese

At Scotney GP 100+ White-fronted Geese + Hen Harrier and Brent Goose

Thursday 27 December 2001


Could anyone sending their subscriptions for 2002 please send them to 141 Greenacres, Shoreham-By-Sea, rather than 141 Greenways which was the address given on subscription form.

Many thanks.

Dave Green

Wednesday 26 December 2001

News for 24th December 2001

Taiga Bean Goose still on Henfield Levels

A second winter Ring-billed Gull at Chichester GP on put between Vinnetrow Road and Scrapyard 11.45 - 2.00pm when flew off.

Egyptian Goose at Ivy Lake

Common Sandpiper still by R Ouse just south of Southease bridge (Michael Hawkins)

News for 23rd December 2001

From Cliff Dean at Pett Level:

Med Gull: ad on fields @ Chick Hill
Snow Bunting: 5 on sea wall - very confiding; watched down to 4m.
Peregrine: sitting on fields - it's always worth scanning the fields behind the pools -Peregrines often sit about there.
Black-tailed Godwit: 2 Pannel scrape
G C Grebe: 115 on sea
Com Scoter: 215 on sea
R T Diver:1
Increased numbers of Song & Mistle Thrushes on the frosty hillsides, but all the Fieldfares are in the Icklesham orchards.
Dabchick also increased: 3@ Alice Brook, 2/3@Pools, 4/5@Pannel/Canal junction.
Water Rails feeding out in the open in the Pannel area.

PS The "Snow Goose" I reported the other day on the basis of a quick glance seems to be yet another domestic variant joining the motley flock of odds & ends making Pett Pools like a duck pond.
It looks fat though..........

From Paul Troake at Rye Hbr:

The increase in Song Thrush numbers has been evident here at Rye Harbour as
well. I first noticed it on 15th, when birds were presumably fleeing the
sub-zero temperatures on the continent. I get the impression Water Rails
have also been influenced in a similar way.
Slav, Black-neck and 2 Scaup still on Long Pit today, plus redhead Smew new
in. Also Little Stint and a flock of 18 Barncacles at Castle Water hide.

From Andrew House:

Purple Sandpiper on Pagham Spit by hbr mouth
Also a Short-eared Owl, flew into harbour, where the two resident Peregrines mobbed it ferociously - in fact I thought they might even try to bring it down, before flew off high West.
Also 7 Goldeneye in hbr and 3 foxes sat together in the sun ina sheltered spot on N side of Pagham Lagoon

Little Egret sighted pm at Ferring Rife 200m north of Cafe. (M.Potter.)

From Tom Howard Jones at Weir Wood Res:

2 kingfishers - giving long views while studying their fishing sites.
Grey wagtail
Several siskin
Pair bullfinches
5 male mandarin
March tits

Amberley Wild Brooks: 2 Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Redpoll,
but most impressive was the number of Song Thrushes, outnumbering all other
thrushes. I estimate a minimum of 50 seen on a 4-mile walk, including a
gobsmacking 25 in one small field alone (Adrian Thomas)

Female blackcap in a Lewes garden + male on 25th. (Michael Hawkins)

News for 22nd December 2001

Common Buzzard high over Buxted (TQ 502238.) (Arthur Kennedy)

Short-eared Owl still opposite Newhavens Sainsbury's at dusk (Adrian Thomas)

Sunday 23 December 2001

SOCIABLE PLOVER still present in fields north of Norman's Bay railway station + 18 White-fronted Geese flew over and 3 Bewick's Swans. TQ684056

Taiga Bean Goose still present on Henfield Levels south of Rye Farm (first reported yesterday) with 12 White-fronted Geese and 30 Greylags. Also Little Egret and Green Sandpiper.

At Pagham Hbr still 2 Black Brants and 5 Pale-bellied Brents north of Pagham church in cereal fields

1 common buzzard soaring over Lower Standean and drifted off towards the Chatri Memorial. TQ307108.

Two Bitterns at Castle Water this evening

News for 22nd December 2001

Still 18 White-fronted Geese at Cuckmere Haven north of Exceat Bridge + Red-throated Diver on the river.

Two Snow Buntings still at Pett Level

Common Buzzard in a roadside tree in the cutting on the A27 E of Glynde @479800

News for 21st December 2001

Common Buzzard on Downs south of Clayton near A23,

Saturday 22 December 2001

SOCIABLE PLOVER still at Pevensey Levels between Rockhouse Bank at the railway line at TQ677055

News for 21st December 2001

125 White-fronted Geese at Scotney GP + 4 Red-throated Divers

Common Sandpiper just south of Southease bridge on R Ouse.

At Rye Hbr:

No less than six Red-throated Divers on the SSSI today (3, Long Pit; 2, Castle Water; 1, Ternery Pool). Nice to get good views but unfortunately they've been brought in by oil contaminated plumage. Of a more healthy nature - now 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 2 Scaup on Long Pit.
Juv Peregrine over Beach Reserve then perched on Camber Sands.
Firecrest by Bournes Viewpoint at dusk and two Bitterns in to roost there. Marsh Harrier there this morning.

At Northpoint Pit - 2 redhead Smew; 1 Spotted Redshank on saltings by river.

News for 20th December 2001

Male Goosander at Warnham Millpond near Horsham

Thursday 20 December 2001

Two Red-throated Divers on the river at Cuckmere Haven

SOCIABLE PLOVER 1w still at Pevensey Levels in field between Rickhouse Bank and railway.TQ677055 (this is generally accepted as being the bird that was at Pett Level in October)

At Church Norton this pm 30+ Slavonian Grebes offshore (Tim Edwards reckoned 44), 12+ Eider, 1 Velvet Scoter, 50 RB Mergansers. Also 1 redhead Goosander in harbour at high tide

News for 19th December 2001

Two Black Brants at Pagham Hbr - NE of Pagham Church + 4 Pale-bellied Brents and up to 39 Slavonian Grebes off Church Norton

Still 15 Little Stints at East Head, west of West Wittering. Also at West Wittering Black Brant with 4 juv Black Brants or hybrids at SZ775980.

Up to 115 White-fronted Geese at Scotney GP + 4 Brent Geese

At Streatham Manor near Henfield 12 Whitefronts (ads & juvs), 35 Grey Lags, 30 Canadas, Little Owl, 4 Bullfinch, 2 Nuthatch, 2 Great Spots, 2 green woodpeckers, 1 Siskin, 1 Chiffchaff

Five Snow Buntings at Pett Level

At Rye Hbr 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Slavonian Grebe, a partially oiled R-t Diver on the bank, 2 Scaup and 7 Goldeneye

N ews for 18th December 2001

Pair of Red Kites circled over Stanmer Park (Brighton) then flew towards Ditchling Beacon

A Red Kite on the upper Adur levels flying towards Ashurst at 14.40

Red-throated Diver on the River Ouse about 1 km south of the by-pass bridge. Seems very tame and approachable. Some evidence of oiling on its breast. Also in the same area, an overwintering Common Sandpiper.

News for 17th December 2001

Hen Harrier and Snow Goose at Pett Level

At Chidham a Black Brant + 12 Avocets at SZ797033

News for 16th December 2001

A walk along the R.Arun Bet. Ford-Arundel produced 3 wintering Common Sandpipers, 2 Little egrets, and a herd of 70 Mute Swans

Thursday 20 December 2001

From Colin Stuart Kerr:

We live in Kingsford which is a small village, or less than that, on the Dorking Road north west of Horsham town by say 4 miles in West Sussex.

For the last 6 weeks we have had the joy of watching a large Buzzard which has decided to take up residence in a huge tree
behind our bedroom window. Getting up to make tea in the early morning one is concerned to see if 'Berty' the buzzard is still there,
however once the sun rises sufficiently to allow take off, he is away on the hunt.

At first we thought it could have been a Rough Legged Buzzard and we did all possible to try and convince ourselves that we were right in this identification. Regrettably after calling our local ornithological expert from the village of Warnham we were advised that it was after all an ordinary buzzard. When the bird did eventually turn his back to the sun for a bit of warmth, we noticed that his all important tail feathers were to be seen as dark brown and black barred stripes with no white tip. So it isn't a rough legged after all, boo hoo, disappointed. However we are not sorry, for he is still there and we can enjoy his flights and preening every day.
We say " he " but it could be her after all, but think he's to big for that.

Love to hear you views,
Bird Watcher.

Thursday 20 December 2001

While the recent sightings service will continue over the Christmas period I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the many birders who have emailed their sightings over the year. The site receives over 1000 'hits' a week so the news is well received.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year

Tony Wilson

Tuesday 18 December 2001

News for 17th December 2001

Sociable Plover still present at Rockhouse Bank, Pevensey Levels

Black-necked Grebe off Rye Hbr + 10 Eider, 175 Common Scoter, Velvet scoter, 280 Great Crested Grebes, 15 Red-throated Divers. Also Black-necked Grebe at the Long Pit, 4 Bewick's Swans over the Ternery Pool, 2 Bitterns and 29 Little Egrets at Castle Water.

Five Snow Buntings still at Pett Level

Now 18 White-fronted Geese in the Cuckmere Valley, south of Charleston reedbed

The 13 White fronted geese still present in field adjacent to Ferry Pool this am
Also 1 Velvet Scoter E & on sea from Church Norton, 22 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Eider and 1 ad Med Gull there and a tree-creeper in churchyard

Black-throated Diver at Goring + 45 Great Crested Grebes

News for 16th December 2001

Three Tundra Bean Geese at Grange Farm by the Severals, Pgahm Hbr + Black Brant and 2 Pale-bellied Brents. Also 13 White-fronts at Ferry Pool + Peregrine, 2 Spotted Redshank, Whimbrel, 175 Knot, 12+ Avocet in harbour

An Egyptian Goose on Ivy Lake, 60+ Shovelers around Chi pits

Tuesday 18 December 2001

From Barry Collins:

Friday 14th Dec,13 White-fronted Geese flew north-west over the Great Deeps and Emsworth Hbr towards Langstone Mill Pond at 1000am,and 15 Avocets are still in Chi-Hbr there were 24 here on 11-12th Dec,2 Short-eared Owls were hunting over the east side of the deeps mid-afternoon,and a treecreeper was a nice find only the second record for Thorney Island.
Saturday 15th Dec,c45 White-fronted Geese flew east over Pilsey at 1030am,and were probably disturbed from the airfield,one Guillemot in Thorney Channel and still 15 Avocets present. Other highlights from the wader counts were 16 Greenshank and one Spot-shank at Th-Deeps,plus 57 Sanderling at Pilsey Sands.
Sunday 16th Dec,5 Grey Geese sp flew south-west over Wickor point towards Hayling Island at 1245pm,7 Barnacle Geese comprising of 5 adults and 2 juvs, were feeding in a wheat field on the south-west corner of Th-Island this afternoon,2 Whimbrel were also on the west side of Thorney,15 Avocets were on the Chidham side of the Hbr today sheltering from the strong north-east winds,at Pilsey Sands there were 968 Bar-wits one in summer plumage and another starting to moult into summer plumage,and 63 Lesser Black-backed Gulls plus 140 Great Black-backed Gulls,all the dog walkers must have gone Christmas shopping,I hope their Christmas lasts another 52 weeks,and my birds can have some peace and quiet like it used to be.
One Barn Owl was hunting over the Deeps at dusk

Tuesday 18 December 2001

The SOS is always on the look-out for helpers. We currently need a Treasurer and a Conference Organiser. If you are willing to help please contact us.

Sunday 16 December 2001

SOCIABLE PLOVER still on Pevensey Levels showing well from road in fields by Rockhouse Bank at TQ677057 (it appears to have a broken right leg). First seen yesterday.

15 White-fronted Geese at Cuckmere Haven with Canadas north of Exceat Bridge.

News for 15th December 2001

At West Wittering a Black Brant with Brents in fields by the entrance to the car park - likley to be different from the Pagham bird. Also 15 Little Stints at East head and 2 Greenshank at Snow Hill marsh.

Red-necked Grebe and Velvet Scoter at Selsey Bill.

Red Kite over Barcombe Res at 1045hrs - had orange wing tags

Six Common Sandpipers reported at Beeding cement works in the evening. Ringtail Hen Harrier at Chilgrove.

Saturday 15 December 2001

Black Brant at Pagham Hbr + Pale-bellied Brent and 13 White-fronted Geese at the North Wall

12 White-fronted Geese and 3 Bewick's Swans on Henfield Levels south of Rye Farm. Nearby 3 Common Sandpipers on the R Adur at Beeding cement works. Velvet Scoter past Widewater and Peregrine on the Southwick Power Station chimney.

At Rye Hbr:

Sat 15 Dec
At Pett Level today, 3 Snow Buntings on top of the sea bank adjacent to the pools. Between three and six have been present here since late November, sometimes moving NE along the sea bank. Also there today - 1 Merlin and 7 Brents out on levels, 207 Wigeon, 186 Teal and one Common Scoter on pools.
At Rye Harbour - 405 Oystercatchers, 106 Gadwall, 170 Shoveler (mostly Ternery Pool), 2 Scaup and 3 Goldeneye on Long Pit, 1 Bittern behind Bournes, Chiffchaff and Merlin at Narrow Pit.

The rest of December so far
Only one or two Bitterns regular behind Bournes, although four at start of month. About 27 Little Egrets still using roost there. Only one sighting of Hen Harrier - a ringtail hunting at Castle Farm (7th). Other species of note - Black-tailed Godwit over Castle Water (12th), 2nd or 3rd year 'Caspian' Gull on Camber Sands (3rd), Firecrest (1st & 7th), Spotted Redshank (2 on 7th), Purple Sandpiper (Ternery Pool, 7th), Short-eared Owl (Narrow Pit, 9th), White-fronted Goose (3 on 9th plus a few probables overhead in last few days).

Saturday 15 December 2001

News for 14th December 2001

Marsh Harrier at Scotney GP

At Warnham Millpond: 1 ad.winter Little Gull amongst large numbers of other gulls, mainly Black-headed, and reportedly 2 Water Rail and Kingfisher

From Andrew Grace: An influx of wildfowl this morning with small numbers of Great Crested
Grebes, Red-throated Divers
and unidentified wildfowl all feeding actively
100 metres or more offshore from Hastings Beach this morning. A flock of 19
Grey Geese moving NE a long way out at 0915 hrs.

Up to 20 Carrion Crows have been feeding on Mussels on the beach since the
Southerly gale recently.

Blackbirds have stripped many of the coastal hawthorns of their berry crop
and are visiting Cotoneasters and Pyracanthas in gardens etc. Only small
numbers of Redwing present, e.g. up to 4 a day in the Ore Valley.

News for 13th December 2001

Between Widewater and Shoreham Hbr - Arctic Skua, 5 Red-throated Divers, 7 Shags, 40 Razorbills, 15 Guillemots, Common Scoter and 100 Kittiwakes + 5 Purple Sandpipers at the hbr

Red-necked Grebe off Goring-by-sea + Peregrine at Southwick Power Station

News for 11th December 2001

I encountered a Cetti's Warbler in a dich alongside the RM Canal this morning @894144.
Maybe it was on its winter way to Toot Rock, but the one I saw at the pools on Sunday was also in a narrow reedy ditch. It's the first time I can recall seeing them at Pett away from dense blackthorn scrub & reedswamp. (Cliff Dean)

Saturday 15 December 2001

Rye Bay Wildlife - November 2001

Rye Harbour SSSI
The mild October weather continued in to early November enabling many
insects to remain active. Common Darter and Migrant Hawker dragonflies were
still flying in good numbers on sunny days and Red Admirals were fairly
common, with one or two still taking flights late in the month. Bats were
also on the wing until late in the month, including a Noctule at Castle
Water (12th) and a Marsh Frog was coaxed in to 'song' at Ternery Pool (4th)
as the mild days lingered. Many plants still held on to their flowers
including Yellow-horned Poppy, Common Storksbill and Viper's Bugloss. A
Common Seal was hauled out on the shore (11th).

A more wintry flavour dominated the avian world: a drake Ferruginous Duck at
Long Pit and Castle Water was only seen on three dates and was likely to be
the same one that was present last winter. A Yellow-browed Warbler in the
wood (5th) was equally elusive, being seen only briefly as it followed a
roving tit flock. The most notable event of the month was the small influx
of Little Auks blown down by northerly gales in the North Sea. Singles were
sighted daily (12th - 16th) but at least five were seen (14th). Most were
seen close in along the shore although singles also appeared on Ternery
Pool, Castle Water and the River Brede. Also associated with this influx
was confiding young Shag at the river mouth (14th). A Red-necked Grebe was
on the sea (6th) and a Black-necked Grebe paid a brief visit to Castle Water
(12th). Bitterns were present there all month, with four in the last week
and Little Egret numbers were variable, but peaked at 33 in the first week.
Passerine highlights included Firecrest on four dates (3rd - 7th), Lapland
Bunting at Harbour Farm (1st) and Snow Bunting on three dates over the Beach

Twenty species of wader included five Avocets (14th), Little Stint (13th),
four Jack Snipe, two Woodcock (28th), Spotted Redshank at the quarry (24th &
26th), two Greenshank over Harbour Farm (2nd) and one or two Green
Sandpipers on five dates. An impressive 1200 Golden Plover at Castle Farm
(3rd) was a record count. Also present in record numbers were Mute Swans
with 117 at Castle Water (25th). Bewick's Swans were also noted on three
dates (max 7, 4th). Seawatching produced seven Scaup flying west (29th),
Eider on three dates (max 5, 12th), Velvet Scoter (11th-14th) and Little
Gull (30th). Castle Water attracted up to four Bearded Tits until 4th and
Long-eared Owl (12th). Other notables included three unseasonal sightings
of Marsh Harrier, first-year Mediterranean Gull on the beach (15th),
Short-eared Owl on three dates, and a few Bramblings overhead until 15th.

Rye Bay
Long-tailed Ducks at Jurys Gap and Scotney Pit (10th) were probably
different individuals. At least four Hen Harriers were present around
Walland Marsh and Pett Level. The latter site also yielded Black-tailed
Godwit and three Snow Buntings whilst a Common Sandpiper at Northpoint Pit
was perhaps set to spend the winter there.

Paul Troake and Barry Yates
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
East Sussex
01797 223862 mobile 07715812503

Friday 14 December 2001

Woe, Woe and thrice Woe, the end of the year is nigh! The time has come for all of you have not been dutifully sending in your reports to our illustrious Recorder (John Hobson), to get scribbling. I have no doubt that, having produced the 2000 report in such a timely manner, the worthy team of scribes is eagerly awaiting your input so they can get started on the 2001 report.
Just in case you think you can get away with the excuse that you have run out of report forms I have put copies of both the normal report form and that for scarce species (those requiring a description) on the web site. These are pdf files that can be printed out, filled in and posted off to John (see the newsletter for the address).
If, when you click on the link above, your computer does not seem to know what to do with the pdf documents, you will need to download the free Acrobat Reader from There is lots of stuff on Adobe's web site, do not be confused by other bits of the Acrobat software, it is the free Acrobat Reader that you want.
I would like to be able to provide the facility for entering reports online, but at the moment that is not possible. An alternative (possibly better) is to use the Cobr-Aid software to enter the records onto your PC and then send the resulting data in by email. That saves a lot of ink, and makes it much easier at this end also, as the files can be input straight into the database. Anyone who is interested should contact John Newnham who will supply the software.

Thursday 13 December 2001

News for 12th December 2001

At Sesley Bill 2 Red-necked Grebes, 2 Great Northern Divers, 10 Shags, 28 Red-throated Divers, 18 Common Scoters, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Med Gulls + Marsh Harrier in off the sea.

At Pagham Hbr 46 Little Egrets roosted at the North Wall

1 common buzzard in woodland [mobbed by crow] between High Park farm and
Stanmer Down TQ337112 at 3pm

News for 11th December 2001

Chiffchaff singing at Beaconsfield Villas Brighton

Single little egret stll on Steyning levels just off Kings Barn Lane.

News for 10th December 2001

At Scotney GP 9 White-fronted Geese and a Red-throated Diver

News for 9 December 2001:

Green Sandpiper flew north over Darvell, at 15:45.

Wednesday 12 December 2001

From Dick Gilmore
There has been a bit of activity off Splash Point over the past two or three days in light NE winds:
22 divers east and 8 west, a shag, sundry duck including a Tufted and drake Goldeneye, but with most movement being in the auk family.
Fair numbers of both guillemots and razorbills feeding in the bay and some 350 auks (spp) flying east and 20 west.
Fulmars have been around for several weeks after a very short absence.

Monday 10 December 2001

SOS Outings Reports
21 members & friends had excellent conditions for their boat trip around Chichester Harbour yesterday. The exposed mud at low tide was full of Brent Geese, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher & Shelduck etc. Other birds seen were Eider, numerous pairs of Red-breasted Mergansers, Curlew and flocks of Golden Plover. Spectacular flying displays of Dunlin in the sunshine were much appreciated, as were good views of a Peregrine on the concrete bunkers of Stakes Island.
Peter Adams who runs the Chichester Harbour Water Tours served us excellent tea and coffee (laced with rum- wow!!), and with a small flock of goldeneye flying overhead, a good morning was had by all.
After lunch, we finished with a walk around Snowhill Marsh. Snipe, Greenshank, Teal, Wigeon, Little Egret & Wigeon were added to our list. The massed flocks of Golden Plover & Brent Geese in the late afternoon sunshine were a wonderful finale to the year's SOS Outings.

The mid week walk at Henfield on Thursday 6th Dec. had also been enjoyed by 15 members. Val Bentley took us south along the Old Railway line. In some places the fields were quite flooded, and had drawn in large numbers of lapwing and a group of snipe. Most of the woodland birds were noted, including Fieldfare & Redwing and there was still plenty of time to talk and exchange notes among the very friendly group.

To all those members who have been on our walks throughout the year, and to those who hope to join us next year - Happy Christmas - and don't forget to have a go at the Birdrace at the beginning of January (Details with your next Newsletter)
Of course if you are not already a member details of how to join us are on this SOS website.

Sunday 09 December 2001

Sandwich Tern off Selsey Bill + 50 Red-throated Divers (Richard Ives)

At Pett Level 73species included:
Whitefront: 3 (2ads, 1imm) >N then W up Pannel Valley @ 10.00
Little Egret 1, Hen Harrier 1f,
Pools: Wigeon c100, Pochard 39, Ruddy Duck 3 (1m 2f), Cetti's Warbler 1
Sanderling c30 on beach - unusual at Pett (all Cliff Dean)

News for 8th December 2001

Cricketing Bottom, west of Southease - a fine male Hen Harrier flew south at 08.22 + Little Egret still on the pond by the Lewes-Newhaven road in Piddinghoe Village (Colin Brooks)

At Climping 350 Brent Geese, of which 15% juvs, 23 Grey Partridge, 1 Red-throated Diver on sea with 6 Great Crested Grebes (Adrian Thomas)

Merlin at Shoreham Airport

News for 7th December 2001

5 Little Egrets & 10 Grey Herons following EA dredgers along the RM Canal + Green Sandpiper 1, Peregrine 1 (Cliff Dean)

20-30 Bramblings and 30+ Yellowhammers in a big mixed finch flock near Stapleash Farm, West Dean, feeding on a game cover crop. Also 100+ Fieldfares there (Andrew House)

10:15am there was a Common Buzzard over the A23 between Pyecombe and Patcham, circling low and being mobbed by rooks (Neil Merchant)

A wholly white blackbird has been frequenting my and my neighbours' gardens in the last few days. Ringmer churchyard: Common Buzzard over at 12.30 p.m.: also treecreeper and great spotted woodpecker there. (Michael Hawkins.)

At Arlington Res around 250 wigeon; also 5 shoveler, 3 tufted duck (Tony Kingston)

Little Egret in cabbage field behind Goring railway station + 30 Lapwing (Paul Donaldson)

7 Common Buzzards seen together just above woodland between Ringmer and Glynde, mid-day (TQ 458/109) (Derek Pritty)

Bexhill garden single male Blackcap (Derek Crawley)

News for 6th December 2001

Scaup at Pett Level

Thursday 06 December 2001

News for 5th December 2001

Four Bewick's Swans at Amberley on floods

Newhaven Tidemills: 10 purple sandpipers on east pier: redshank flock at least 61 and greenfinch 200+.

Peregrine roosting on Southwick Power Station

Two Blackcaps in South Way, Lewes

News for 4th December 2001

At Pulborough Brooks RSPB 2 Short-eared Wols, 28 Bewick's Swans, 18 Lesser Redpolls, 278 Pintails, 2 Little Owls, 18 Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Stonechats

A Common Crane flewover Arundel WWT at 4.00pm

A Brambling and a Firecrest in Vale Walk, Worthing

Four Little Egrets and 2 Green Sandpipers at Pett Level

Little Egret between Steyning and Streatham Bridge

News for 3rd December 2001

Red Admiral in Ditchling Road, Brighton

News for 2nd December 2001

A Little Auk past Selsey Bill at 8.20am + 6 Med Gulls, 2 Little Gulls, 19 Shags and 28 Red-throated Divers

At Pett Level 7 Red-throated Divers, 160 Great Crested Grebes, 100 Common Scoter, Hen Harrier and 2 Bearded Tits.

At Newhaven 8 Purple Sandpipers, 2 Black Redstarts and 2 Little Egrets

Thursday 06 December 2001

From Nick Gray:

My wife and I were sitting at breakfast today watching the usual frenzy of
House Sparrows feeding at our bird table which is situated on our patio
about eight feet from our full length glass door.

You can imagine our surprise, and our mixed feelings of horror and delight,
when a Merlin dashed down from above, grabbed one of the House Sparrows and
dropped to the ground outside the window. The Merlin (an adult female)
looked at us defiantly for a few moments before flying off with its quarry
over the rooftops in a westerly direction towards Snow Hill Marsh.

We have been told of a female Merlin (possibly the same bird) seen mantling
over a dead Wood Pigeon on a driveway nearby. I confess to being a little
surprised that such a relatively small bird would take such large prey,
however I myself have recently seen a Merlin in hot pursuit of a Collared

I would be interested to know, Has anyone else has seen or heard of such
occurrences before?

Kind regards,

P.S. This bird is a regular in the West Wittering area. Anyone attending the
bird watching trip at West Wittering this weekend has a good chance of
spotting her. You may also wish to look out for the two Peregrines which
frequently hunt around the harbour and are likely to be the same birds that
have recently taken to roosting on the spire of Chichester Cathedral.

40 Summerfield Road
West Wittering, Chichester
West Sussex PO20 8LY
United Kingdom
(+44 (0)1243 514093
(+44 (0)1243 514102

Wednesday 05 December 2001

In January 2003, the Shoreham District Ornithological Society (SDOS) is to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of its inauguration in 1953. Among the activities that the SDOS Committee is planning to commemorate this event are the publication of an 80-page booklet tracing the Society's history and the organising of a small related exhibition to tour the local libraries.
We are anxious to contact any birdwatchers who may have memories and/or photographs of the early days of the Society and its activities, particularly those who are no longer members (for one reason or another). Of especial interest to us are birdwatcher's memories of the nine years before the SOS itself came into existence in 1962.
Anyone who can help please contact our Chairman/Secretary:
Mrs Brianne Reeve, The Old Rectory, Coombes, Lancing, West Sussex, BN15 0RS. Tel: 01 273 452 497.
Many thanks,
Jim Steedman

Monday 03 December 2001

SOS Outing Saturday 8th December
Boat Trip around Chichester Harbour. Leaving Itchenor Jetty at 10.30 am for a two hour tour. There are plenty of spare seats, so please just turn up ready to leave at 10.30 am. Wrap up warmly. £5.50 per head. (Coffee is sold on board)
As we are going out at low tide, there should be plenty of birds to see on the mud.
Depending on conditions, the afternoon can be spent at Snowhill Marsh, down at West Wittering.

REMINDER -This Thursday 6th December SOS mid-week walk at Henfield. Meet at 9.45 am Old Railway Tavern car park, West End Lane, Henfield. Half day.

Sunday 02 December 2001

A Merlin persistently chasing a passerine for several minutes over Castle Hill NNR (East of Brighton) this morning. Several times I thought the Merlin had given up as it glided away from its quarry for a few seconds, only to turn and resume the dramatic tussle. When last seen they were both hurtling earthwards as they disappeared from sight behind a brow and did not reappear.

Also seen in the area was a large falcon initially assumed to be a Peregrine. It was very large, I initially thought a Kestrel harrasing it was the Merlin back again. However, though the light was not good (is it ever?) it came close enough that I expected to be able to detect something of the face pattern, but could see no hint of it. In addition as it accelerated away in a shallow dive it did not show the classic anchor shape that I was expecting. (Colin Law)

Sunday 02 December 2001

Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker showing well at Pulborough RSPB

At Powdermill Res recently - Golden Pheasant male, Hen Harrier >S, 4 Woodcock last week (Cliff Dean)

News for 1st December 2001

Firecrest at Arundel WWT from In Focus shop

At Darwell Reservoir, between 14:15 and 15:30 on Saturday, 1 December 2001: 24 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Goosander (redhead ?), 11 Mandarins, 294 Mallards, 5 Gadwalls, 7 Pochards, 6 Cormorants + 7 in from east at about 15 minutes before sunset, 1 Goldeneye (?). There was also 1 Barn Owl hunting over marshy field near Glottenham Farm at sunset (15:45), it was still quite light so some very good views for about five minutes before it was chased off by Carrion Crow. (Francis Köppschall)

Seaford Head: fulmar prospecting the cliffs (and another- dark phase- at sea, also several gannets and 2 brent geese going west). Also Southease: swallow (flying north (!) towards Rodmell) and 1 little egret. A peregrine over my Lewes garden. (Michael Hawkins)

News for 30th November 2001

At least 2 pairs of Fulmars have taken up residence on the cliffs to the west of the harbour, with a few others flying about. Little Egret flew west along the shore line. First I have seen at this location.
Female Stonechat under the cliffs. (Robin Pepper)

Friday 30 November 2001

From Andy Horton news of two Shelducks on Widewater Lagoon, he says that Shelducks, the largest of the British ducks, feed on molluscs and crabs which are not to be found in any quantities in Widewater Lagoon.

Also from Andy that a web site specific to Adur Valley Wildlife, into which records can be entered directly, is to be found at

Friday 30 November 2001

4 little egrets by R Ouse between Southease and Piddinghoe (Michael Hawkins).

Friday 30 November 2001

News for 29th November 2001

Grey Phalarope on the sea off Selsey Bill at 11.50 but not since + 3 Med Gulls, Long-tailed Duck, 2 Shags, Great Northern Diver, Goosander and 6 Red-throated Divers.

Red-necked Grebe past Goring at 8.25am

News for 28th November 2001

Black-necked Grebe off Church Norton + 18 Slavonian Grebes, Red-necked Grebe, 3 Goosanders

Thursday 29 November 2001

The consultation documents for the South Downs National Park are now available at This includes detailed maps of the proposed boundary.

Monday 26 November 2001

Of 39 species seen on walk by R Ouse from Southease to Piddinghoe, the following were of some interest: 1 little egret, 1 knot, 1 green sandpiper, and 1 jack snipe (both flushed from ditches by dog), 1 little grebe, 25+ fieldfares, 1 grey wagtail, c 30 corn buntings, 1 green woodpecker. (Michael Hawkins)

1 Merlin at Fort Shoreham 1230 today; also 17 Pochard Widewater, and 1 Red throated Diver off Lancing. (Stanley Allen)

Monday 26 November 2001

From Barry Collins for Thorney Island:
Friday 23rd Nov,one second winter Med Gull at Emsworth Hbr,and 2 Short-eared Owls hunting over the east side of the deeps,plus 5 Avocets feeding on the mudflats.
Saturday 24th Nov,2 adult Med Gulls at Emsworth Hbr,12+ Avocets roosting on the mudflats late afternoon,plus 1 Short-eared Owl hunting over the marsh,still a few butterflies about 8 Red Admiral and 1 Painted Lady.
Monday 26th Nov,one adult Med Gull plus 2 Greenshank and 1 Spot-shank at Emsworth Hbr,20 Avocets on the east side of Thorney Island between Thornham Point and the security gate feeding on the mudflats,best viewed 2 hours either side of the high tide period,also good numbers of Knot in this area.Just over the border in Hants today there were 17 Black-necked Grebes off the oysterbeds at Hayling Island.
PS A bit of late news I had a Speckled Wood at Thorney on 15th Nov my latest ever for this site

Monday 26 November 2001

From Brian Taylor: Red Admiral Butterfly in Lindfield garden, Sunday 25th November

From Luke Frankland: Sunday 25/11, Widewater Lagoon, Shoreham;
15 Pochard, 2 Dunlin, 2 Redshank, 1 Stonechat.

From Andrew Howard for Petworth Park: A drake scaup and a flock (of say 12) siskins noted at the north end of the main lake (the lake nearer the House) at 10.00 on Saturday 24th November 2001.

Sunday 25 November 2001

There have been up to 4 redhead Goosanders in Pagham harbour over the weekend (and a male flew W over Ferry on Friday). Also a Purple Sandpiper was present yesterday and today around harbour mouth, a Goldeneye and a Med Gull this afternoon from Pagham spit, and 4 Pochard on Pagham Lagoon.

From 24th
1 Swallow over Bulverhythe and 2+ House Martins over Bexhill made winter still feel a long way away! Also 1 Little Egret at Arlington Res

On 24/11 there was a massive pre-roost flock of c.300 Pied Wags at Parish Lane, Pease Pottage in fields by the roundabout, while near
Faygate a tandem pair of common darters was ovipositing in a flooded ditch--and there were flocks of up to 35 skylarks, 25 linnets, 55 lapwings and a common snipe plus a few reed buntings present. Previously, on 11/11 a grey wagtail was frequenting the rooftops in Queens Square, Crawley. Bullfinches and marsh tits have been observed at several Faygate localities recently (James Havers)

Saturday 24 November 2001

From Rye Hbr:

Fri 23 Nov
Juv Marsh Harrier over Castle Water this morning and a Bittern watched for half an hour basking in the early morning sun perched up in the reedmace fringing the pit. Two Bitterns have been seen regularly in the evenings in the usual place behind Bournes.

Other recent sightings have included a Snow Bunting over the Beach Reserve and Common Sandpiper at Northpoint Pit (both on 19th) and a Shag at the river mouth on 16th. The Ferruginous Duck has been seen twice at Castle Water this month, so may still be hiding there somewhere.

From Graham Roberts:

Chiffchaff calling outside Chichester library at 1pm today (Friday 23rd Nov). It then burst into quite loud song for several minutes.

The pair of Peregrines which roost nightly on Chichester Cathedral spire are currently arriving shortly after 1630hrs to settle on higher latticework of spire. On Tuesday (20th) the male arrived at 1632hrs & the female at 1638hrs. She displaced him from his roost & there was a 5 minute overhead display of circling & calling (much to the surprise/confusion of several people waiting at the bus stop!).

Friday 23 November 2001

News for 22nd November 2001

A Penduline Tit seen twice briefly between Sidlesham Ferry and Church Norton

Friday 23 November 2001

If you have seen any mink in the Rye area during 2001 please can you send me
details - date, location.

It is for a water vole project.



Dr Barry Yates
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
East Sussex
01797 223862 mobile 07715812503

Wednesday 21 November 2001

Great Northern, 3 Red-throated and a Black-throated Diver off Churhc Norton + 6 Slavonian Grebes, 3 Eider, 2 Firecrests and 14 Avocets

News for 20th November 2001

A Serin in a Cooden (near Bexhill) garden briefly for its 2nd day.

News for 19th November 2001

Med Gull at Arundel WWT

News for 18th November 2001

Two Great Northern Divers off Selsey Bill + Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Med Gull + House Martin

10 Crossbills at Sutton Common near Coates Common

Little Stint at Sidlesham Ferry + a report of a possible Franklins Gull there

News for 17th November 2001

Hen Harrier at Church Norton + Merlin and 4 Firecrests. Also Black-throated Diver, 7 Eider offshore and 2 Goosanders, a Ruff, 17 Avocets, 10+ Black Tailed Godwit, 100+ Golden Plover and Whimbrel in hbr.

News for 16th November 2001

12 Slavonian Grebes off Church Norton + Shag and a Treecreeper in Churchyard

Little Auk on sea off Selsey Bill

Wednesday 21 November 2001

A very smart drake Hooded Merganser on the River Ouse (no doubt an escapee, as
there is one known to to be in ths locality). Viewed from Barcombe Reservoir
on Saturday 17th Nov. As a point of interest, I had seen eclipse/juvenile male
there about six weeks earlier - could this be the same bird? Any thoughts
James Grover

Wednesday 21 November 2001

October 2001

Rye Harbour SSSI - Mild conditions and regular southerly winds encouraged
many summer migrants to stay later than usual, with Wood Sandpiper
(16th-27th) at Castle Water hide and juvenile Curlew Sandpiper (24th-26th)
in meadows at Castle Farm, both the latest ever. Also very late were
Sandwich Tern (until 10th), Black Tern offshore (15th), Marsh Harrier (23rd)
and Little Stint (three at Castle Farm, 26th). In the third week there were
still several Wheatears and Whinchats around, along with quickly diminishing
numbers of Swallows and House Martins. Stonechats were in good numbers and
there were many sightings of Black Redstart and two of Ring Ouzel (21st &
23rd). Many finches were also on the move, with widespread flocks of
Goldfinches and Greenfinches, and occasional good movements of Siskin (up to
190) and Redpoll (max. 55). Warbler highlights were a Cetti's Warbler (1st)
and a Dartford Warbler in the Lime Kiln Cottage garden (21st). Only two
Firecrests were noted (1st & 27th).

The strong southerly winds of 7th pushed a Sooty Shearwater within sight of
the nature reserve - only the third record here. Seawatching late in the
month produced Little Gull on two dates, notably 12 (26th), when a
Mediterranean Gull and the first of three Great Skuas were also seen.
Little Egrets numbered 32 coming in to the roost at Castle Water in mid
October. The increasing area of reedbed at Castle Water encouraged a few
Bearded Tits and a Bittern from 24th. Other winter visitors included an
early drake Goldeneye at Long Pit from 18th, Water Pipit (22nd) and six Jack
Snipe (31st).

The mild weather has also encouraged large numbers of Red Admiral
butterflies to remain active, in addition to a few Painted Ladies and, in
the first week, Small Copper, Green-veined White, Small White and Speckled
Wood. Good numbers of Common Darter and Migrant Hawker dragonflies were
also enjoying the warm weather through to the month's end, when bats were
still on the wing including two Noctules at Castle Water, and Dark Bush
Crickets could still be heard on calm evenings. Migrant moths were also
encouraged by the warm weather including the Gem and several Delicates.
Scarlet Pimpernel and Vipers Bugloss were among the plants still in flower
all month.

Rye Bay - Plovers were certainly the flavour of the month. The juvenile
Sociable Plover remained at Pett Level for the first few days of the month.
They are not normally seen alone, as their name suggests, and this bird
chose a flock of Lapwings for company. Only 40 or so have been seen in
Britain before so it attracted crowds of admirers from all parts of the
country throughout its stay. Another rare plover was a Dotterel found in
fields near Northpoint Pit (22nd). It remained for at least a week, hiding
amongst more than a thousand Golden Plover.

Paul Troake and Barry Yates
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
East Sussex
01797 223862 mobile 07715812503

Wednesday 21 November 2001

The next meeting of Rye Natural History Society is on 23rd November

LAND OF THE POLAR BEAR by Ian Rumley Dawson

meetings are held at the Adult Education Centre, Lion St, Rye at 7.30pm.

Dr Barry Yates
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
East Sussex

Wednesday 21 November 2001

The Friends have produced a new Christmas card for this year;

A Frosty Camber Castle by Colin Page

Packs of 5 for £2.50, available form Lime Kiln Cottage, or by post (with A5
sae please).

You can see the image on the "noticeboard" page of the web site.


Dr Barry Yates
Rye Harbour Nature Reserve
East Sussex
01797 223862 mobile 07715812503

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