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18 Dec 2018Winter at Cuckmere Haven

Sunrise until 2:45pm birding predominantly the lower Cuckmere, followed by an hour on the upper portions. Strong F7 S wind made observation of the giant gull flocks difficult. Notable species, in a largely quiet day included two Brent Geese flying over the river at 10:45, two feral Barnacle Geese, and a single Greylag Goose among the swathes of Canada Geese. Four Snipe were accidentally flushed in the lake behind the shingle bank. One Water Rail was visible there too. A single Grey Plover on the mudflats of the main river. A female Peregrine was seen several times disturbing the gull flocks. On the upper Cuckmere, a single Yellowhammer, 52 Wigeon, a Kingfisher and a Reed Bunting wrapped up the day.

posted by Peter Nason on 18 Dec 2018 23:15

18 Dec 2018Pulborough Brooks

A bit dreary with the occasional drizzle, but much better than I expected from the forecast. Since it has re-filled, West Mead now seems to have a resident Little Grebe and early on the pool was stuffed with Wigeon and Teal. Two Peregrines circled below a flock of Lapwing but one of them must have noticed something as it dropped like a stone only to disappear below the river bank. As it did not re-appear perhaps it did get something? A very well marked male Marsh Harrier and two Red Kites gave good displays before they drifted in different directions. Close to the hide a male Kestrel caught a vole and proceeded to ..... well you get my drift! From Nettleys there did not seem to be as many as yesterdays reported 670 Black-tailed Godwits - perhaps 400, but they were frequently disturbed, splitting up with some going South. Three Ruff and one Dunlin were also present.

posted by Gary Trew on 18 Dec 2018 18:18

18 Dec 2018Tristis

Siberian Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita tristis is a lovely and interesting bird and yesterday's posting by David Campbell (see below) had me paying a visit to Burpham sewage works today and, lo and behold, there among some eight or so Common Chiffchaff was this outstanding tristis (pic), very white below, grey mantle and crown, green edges to flight feathers, all in all very much like a Bonelli's Warbler! Also here single Goldcrest and Grey Wagtail and, distantly in the water meadows, the six Bewick's Swan.

posted by Alan Kitson on 18 Dec 2018 15:02

18 Dec 2018Latest SOSRC and BBRC Decisions

The latest Sussex record decisions from the SOSRC and BBRC (updated 18th December 2018) are available in the Records section of the site.

posted by Mark Mallalieu (mallalieum@gmail.com) on 18 Dec 2018 14:16

18 Dec 2018Little Egrets

Just west of the Faygate roundabout in farmland north of the main road are at least half a dozen Little Egrets milling about among the cattle.

posted by Barry Clough on 18 Dec 2018 12:12

16 Dec 2018Mistaken identity

Found it on iPlayer. It was after Hazard’s goal, and don’t tell me it’s a Herring Gull?

posted by Paul Moore on 18 Dec 2018 07:21

16 Dec 2018Peregrine and Seagulls

Armchair Ornithologist. On Match of the Day 2 (BBC2 Sunday night) just after Pedro’s opening goal for Chelsea at Brighton’s Amex stadium, the resident Peregrine swoops across the wide view on the replay, presumably returning to its usual roost high in the West Stand.

posted by Paul Moore on 18 Dec 2018 07:11

17 Dec 2018In and around Arundel WWT

Part-day visit of 6 hours produced 74 species. Started clear and sunny, but clouded up steadily. Started from Black Rabbit car park, where a redhead Goosander flying up Arun and a Short-eared Owl hunting meadows on far bank got things off to a good start. Much of the day was spent staring at birds in Guelder Rose bushes. The copious fruit displays attracted a variety of passerines. Overall, visits by seed predators outnumbered seed dispersers (mainly Song Thrushes and Robins). An aggressive male Blackcap at one bush in the WWT car park drove off the two species of seed thieves that it met: Marsh Tit and Bullfinch. A Blackcap at another bush failed to deter a Hawfinch which threatened it very briefly with its bill before taking the seeds. A Redwing taking Guelder Rose berries was the only one seen during visit; but small groups of Fieldfares across site.

Other interesting passerines included a pair of Stonechats, two Siskins, two Firecrests and a Chiffchaff. Fourteen species of wild wildfowl (mainly Teal), four of diurnal raptors (Marsh Harrier), three of owls (Tawny Owl), three of gulls (Black-headed Gull), two of waders (Common Snipe).

Cetti's Warblers becoming very vexed with Blue Tits working reed stems for food. One along Mill Road repeatedly drove two Blue Tits back into Offham Hanger, only for the intruders to sneak back within minutes.

posted by David Harper on 17 Dec 2018 20:47

17 Dec 2018Pett Level & Winchelsea Beach

Highlights at Pett were at least 40 White-fronted Geese in the fields at the eastern end, about 30 Golden Plovers and 3 Ruff with the Lapwings, and a single Great White Egret. Offshore, 200 Great Crested Grebes, 150 Common Scoters and a Red-throated Diver. Over at the Long Pit a single Black-necked Grebe (see photo, too far away for anything more than a poor record shot!)

posted by Chris Barfield on 17 Dec 2018 19:15

17 Dec 2018Last of the year?

After another very wet weekend I was lucky to be able to get out onto Black Down today, possibly my last visit of 2018 and almost certainly the last sunny one! It was a slow start despite the sunshine - a single Stonechat was drying out on the heather, small numbers of Bramblings and Crossbills called overhead and a couple of Blackbirds perched up in one of the rowans. It took until about 1030 for the Buzzards to finally get above the canopy - six seen in total, and just one Kestrel. The hoped-for highlight was announced by the flocks of Woodpigeons flushing wildly from north to south down the west side of the ridge, as a male Goshawk (at least a 2nd winter bird but maybe older) flashed over the Cotchet Farm valley and piled into the woodland at the south end. Heading back north a distant flock of about 50 finches may have been mostly Bramblings; one more Stonechat showing well (the Dartfords resolutely refused to) and a flock of 25 Fieldfares flew north.

posted by Dave Burges (dave.burges@gmail.com) on 17 Dec 2018 17:22

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