Snow Petrel - Antarctic Ocean 2016

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Newhaven Harbour 18/1/17

With reports of a severe RTC in Seaford my plans for visiting the Cuckmere were ruined, so I went to Newhaven Harbour instead finding yet another first-winter Caspian Gull on the beach. Very little else about.

a very leggy first-winter Caspian Gull at Newhaven Harbour late morning

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Splash Point 17/1/17

An ok seawatch this morning between 8.15-9.15 produced the following going east unless otherwise stated:

Auk sp - 545 
Razorbill - 180 
Guillemot - 2
Common Scoter - 18
Red-throated Diver - 3 + 12W
Brent Goose - 7
Gannet - 9

Monday, 16 January 2017

Newhaven Tide Mills 16/1/17

I had just arrived at the Cuckmere and started scanning a small group of Gulls when Paul James kindly phoned me saying he had re-found the male Serin at Tide Mills. I quickly gave up on the Gulls (nothing there) and headed straight there seeing it straight away. The bird was constantly singing and seen showing well on the deck.

male Serin at Tide Mills

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Pett, Scotney & East Grinstead 14/1/17

A semi-relaxing day with Paula was planned in the east of the county, but as usual the birds ruled the day and it turned into a bit of a rush. Pett Levels was first where the normal Geese were present. News then came through of a single Waxwing at Fairlight, and despite getting there 10 minutes later there was no sign so we continued onto Scotney. More Geese and a Black-necked Grebe at the Sussex end, and annoyingly a Great White Egret was just inside the Kent border.

Back at Northpoint news came through of a flock of Waxwings in East Grinstead. We contemplated the idea over a sausage sandwich and hot chocolate at a café in Rye Harbour. I cracked and 90 minutes later we were watching a superb flock of Waxwings, that roughly half hour later took off not to be seen for the rest of the day. A walk around Gill's Lap after produced just a few Redpolls.

Highlights today are:

Taiga Bean Geese - 5
White-fronted Geese - 15
Marsh Harrier - 1

Scotney GP
Tundra Bean Geese - 3
White-fronted Goose - 18 (17 on back pit)
Black-necked Grebe - 1
Great White Egret - 1

East Grinstead & Gill's Lap
Waxwing - 33
Redpoll - 7

 2 Tundra Bean Geese at Scotney
 single White-front & Beans at Scotney

33 Waxwings at East Grinstead - surely not the last flock this winter, but good to get them out the way

Friday, 13 January 2017

Splash Point & Lower Cuckmere 12/1/17

After the school run I went down Splash Point for my first seawatch of the year. It wasn't too bad but I was hoping for some cold weather movement or at least a white-winged Gull.

Totals between 9.05-10.05 Wind SW 3-4:

Common Scoter - 15E
Auk sp. - 144W (all very distant)
Red-throated Diver - 4E + 10W
Gannet - 56W

Afterwards I decided to check if there were any Gulls in the Cuckmere. Approaching from Chyngton Farm I was pleased to see a large gathering in front of me, and was even more pleased when I found a juvenile Glaucous Gull mixed in. Setting up the scope a further scan produced 2 Caspian Gulls (1w & 2w), but then all the Gulls got flushed and most headed inland, some out to sea with only a couple of hundred remaining, that included the second-winter Caspo. I didn't see the Glauc again, but thankfully ADW found presumably the same bird at Arlington roughly half-hour later.

On the 11th I was on standby and decided to wait up at LGW right on the Sussex border. I found a pair of Ring-necked Parakeets straight away but they were in a tree bang on the border and the branch they were on seemed to be overhanging into Surrey. My best attempts couldn't get them to fly south, so I had to keep on walking around. Fortunately it didn't take too long before another pair done the decent thing and flew into Sussex.

 juv. Glaucous Gull in Lower Cuckmere
2w Caspian Gull in Lower Cuckmere (apologies for two horrendous phone-scoped pics)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

West Sussex Birdrace 7/1/16

A day out with Bob Self where we managed to record a total of 108 species including 3 'heard only'. Every site we visited we were greeted with plenty of luck, including only spending five minutes at Lavington getting Dartford's and Crossbills straight away without any effort required. One of the top birds for the day was a stunning drake Goosander at Petworth Park. The many highlights are listed below.

Barn Owl - Shoreham
Bewick's Swans, Mandarin, Firecrest - Arundel WWT
Great Grey Shrike - Coldwaltham Brooks
drk Goosander - Petworth Park
Dartford Warbler, Crossbill - Lavington Common
2+ Hawfinch - West Dean Woods
4 Spotted Redshank, Water Pipit - Fishbourne
Scaup, Long-tailed Duck - Ivy Lake
Great Northern Diver - Selsey
3 Long-tailed Duck, 15 Slavonian Grebe - Church Norton
11 Avocet, 5 Knot - Pagham Harbour

Hawfinch at West Dean Woods - very few photos taken today due to rushing around, but thankfully I had the camera for this beauty that showed within 10 minutes of being on site. Atleast two birds were along the road leading up the hill between Stapleash and Moncton Farm.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Newhaven Harbour 6/1/17

Two visits to this site today thankfully yielded in the end a stonking first-winter Caspian Gull. It remained on site for over an hour as the tide slowly came in. Further scans produced a presumed second-winter, though a couple of features leave me in some doubt, though at the time this bird looked very promising.

Earlier in the week I managed to get over to the east of the county with the following highlights seen:

Red-necked Grebe - Camber
Hen Harrier - Scotney GP
Tree Sparrow - 20 at East Guildford
Taiga Been Geese - 5 at Pett
Pink-footed Geese - 4 at Pett + Barnacle Geese & Ruff
Cattle Egret - 2 at Tarring Neville

a huge first-winter Caspian Gull that showed well for over an hour

presumed second-winter Caspian Gull - the pale iris and shorter-legged appearance is slightly concerning but in the field the profile looked very promising. Yellow-legged Gull is the other option.