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09 Dec 2019Merlin hunting over Storrington

To add to Andrew's Red Kite over Storrington, I had a Merlin hunting over the town at Chimney Pot height, yesterday. I would now say that Red Kite, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Peregrine and Hobby all regularly hunt over the town - with Merlin, an occasional addition. Grey Wagtails do nest on the river Storr, about two miles outside the town centre. Whether there is a pair nearer I do not know, although there was a pair at Chantry Mill years ago (and for all I know, they may still breed there).

posted by Martin Kalaher on 08 Dec 2019 22:08

07 Dec 2019Red Kite over Storrington

A Red Kite was flying over the centre of Storrington village at about 11.30. I know they are often seen in the surrounding countryside and over the Downs, but this was right over the village - and quite low. While writing, I will mention that I also regularly see and/or hear one or more Grey Wagtails in the centre of Storrington, by the stream leading to the mill pond. I am pretty sure they nest in the vicinity

posted by Andrew Armitage on 08 Dec 2019 20:18

07 Dec 2019Arundel WWT

I hadn't been following what has been happening at Arundel WWT so I was all the more excited to go down there for my first time and see 4 Marsh Harrier, 1 Hen Harrier, 3 Cattle Egret, 1 Water Rail, 1 Firecrest, Bullfinch, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Pochard, Shelduck, Shoveler and Gadwall

posted by Paolo Oprandi on 08 Dec 2019 17:32

07 Dec 2019House Martins in Battle in December

At the east end of bridleway Uckham Lane in Battle astounded to see 2 House Martins near Coarse Barn. Also upward of 60 Pied Wagtails and 2 Grey Wagtails around the sewage works and stubble field to the north. Bird watching training for the 7 year old nephew needs some work as when I said "Look there's a Grey Wagtail" he replied "That's lovely... when can we go?!"

posted by Tom Forbes on 08 Dec 2019 12:02

08 Dec 2019Ardingly at dawn

I returned before dawn to same place as mentioned in my post yesterday in the hope of seeing a Hawfinch returning to feed and indeed there were two perched up for four minutes at 07:45 (i.e. before sunrise). They then vanished and did not reappear. An immature female Goshawk then appeared at 07:50 at the edge of Wakehurst Place, panicking the Woodpigeons and being mobbed by two Crows.

posted by Mark Mallalieu (mallalieum@gmail.com) on 08 Dec 2019 09:44

07 Dec 2019SOS Field Outing - Dungeness

The weather was extremely kind to us as 15 members of the Society met in the ARC Car Park for the annual early winter Dungeness Field Outing. We firstly made our way towards the Hanson Hide adding a few bits and pieces on route including a small flock of Redwing and the first of many Marsh Harriers. In the hide we soon had a lovely male Goldeneye along with the usual Pochards and Tufted Ducks and a large number of Gadwall. A female Marsh Harrier decided to perch in the reeds across from the hide which attracted the attention of a small flock of birds which, viewing through the scopes, turned out to be a group of 8 Bearded Tits. A Great Egret was located at the far end of the pit and was the first of 3 of this species seen by our group today. In the wood behind the hide we found a small tit flock which contained a good number of Goldcrests and a few Chiffchaffs but, best of all, a pair of Firecrests which showed extremely well. We then wandered round to the screen were we had further good views of a drake Goldeneye and added Reed Bunting to our day list.

Back at the cars we headed in to the main reserve stopping at the entrance in a vain attempt to find any Tree Sparrows. There were, however, plenty of House Sparrows and a good few Greenfinch. Checking in at the Information Centre we had a couple of fine drake Goosander pointed out to us and then there was a scramble to see an adult Caspian Gull which decided to hide itself behind a shingle bank and just would not budge. We moved on to Firth Hide were we found another adult Caspian Gull which spent most of its time asleep but eventually showed well to all. We also found a further pair of Firecrests which, again, showed really well. Between here and Makepeace Hide we added good numbers of Shoveler and a few Teal before locating another gull which took a lot of scrutiny but, after a bit of research at home, turned out to be further adult Caspian Gull. All ‘gulled out’ we moved on where, in Christmas Dell, we had a male Sparrowhawk and the only Little Grebe of the day.

Round at Denge Marsh hide there were brief encounters with both Egyptian Goose and Bittern before we strolled around to the reed bed lookout. A Common Buzzard could be seen distantly along with the usual flocks of Lapwing and Stock Doves. We returned to the cars for a bite to eat and ended the day on the Denge Marsh Road watching a pair of Whooper Swans in the lovely late afternoon sun.

Our tally for the group today was 65 species but, as usual with Dungeness, it’s not the quantity it’s the quality!!! Thanks to everyone who attended a thoroughly enjoyable day.

posted by Derek Barber on 08 Dec 2019 09:32

07 Dec 2019Amberley Wildbrooks

At first light along the Wey South Path from Amberley: a Barn Owl out hunting, 16 Black-tailed Godwits around the swamp amongst the Wigeon and Teal, a Short-eared Owl quartering over the Rackham side, and a Black Swan that seems to appear now and again in the Arun Valley.

posted by Paul Davy on 07 Dec 2019 22:30

07 Dec 2019Summerfields Wood, Hastings

A male Firecrest sometimes near, crest feathers raised, foraging about Ivy close to a Goldcrest. A Chiffchaff heard but not seen. There are good glades of Holm Oak here and also Holly, Laurel, Japanese Spindle and Pines, all providing shelter between deciduous trees. A flock of Long-tailed Tits kept high up in the canopy, feeding about the twigs of Oaks where the buds are growing. I noticed a good flock of Long-tailed Tits doing this in a St Leonards park recently and they could be overlooked to some extent in the winter gloom.

posted by Andrew Grace on 07 Dec 2019 19:34

07 Dec 2019Ardingly Reservoir

Visited the res late afternoon (3:15) in the hope of roosting birds and wasn't disappointed. I counted a total of 57 Reed Buntings flying to roost in the central reedbed, but the actual figure is likely higher as I got there a bit late. I was surprised by a flock of approx. 700 Starlings that started murmurating above me then after 10 mins dropped into the reedbed to roost - had no idea they roosted here. Several thousands gulls built up in a large roost in the centre of the reservoir, being about 70/30 Black-headed and Herring Gulls with a sprinkling of Common Gulls too. Also seen were a Kestrel and a Mute Swan - the latter oddly the first I've seen here since early summer. Otherwise very few waterbirds about.

posted by Elliot Chandler on 07 Dec 2019 18:41

07 Dec 2019Arundel Marsh Harriers

3 Marsh Harriers at dusk - 1 male.

posted by Tim and Paula Berry (tmberry@fairmileltd.co.uk) on 07 Dec 2019 18:05

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