Wednesday 10 April 2024

2 Hoopoes at Hankham near Pevensey in Sussex

8th April 2024

A quick visit to Hankham, a small village between Eastbourne and Pevensey, to twitch the hoopoes.  Right on cue, both birds were showing well, enjoying the sun on the grassy field adjacent to the road.



On the way home I called in at Iford Brooks near Lewes to look for a garganey.  Alas I failed but I did record my first common whitethroat of the year.


9th April 2024

I went back again today, this time with Martin who didn't get my message in time yesterday.  Sadly one of the hoopoes had left but the other one provided us with cracking views.

Courtesy of Martin Jeffree


2024 species count=151


RSPB Pulborough Brooks for Nightingales and White-tailed Eagle with the Ashdown Bird Group

7th April 2024

Our most recent outing took us to Pulborough Brooks in West Sussex where the focus was on seeing early migrant birds.  

  • We heard 2 nightingales near the Visitor Centre.  At Fattengates Courtyard we heard and then got a glimpse of a 3rd as it flew round the corner into the scrub.
  • Also seen were my first blackcaps of the year - they were all over the site.
Courtesy of Phil Aylen

  • There were a couple of house martins and swallows over the brooks.

  • After lunch we relocated to the Rackham raptor view point where we were lucky to get cracking flight views of the resident white-tailed eagle.

Courtesy of Phil Aylen



2024 species count=149



Saturday 30 March 2024

Ring Ouzel and First Swallow of 2024

Weir Wood Reservoir, Sussex

Incredibly the ring ouzel stayed a fourth day at Weir Wood Reservoir - a testimony to the very poor weather lately. 

  •  After a couple of early reports on WhatsApp, Martin and I went down late morning to have a look.  We joined another 3-4 birders but could not locate the bird.
  • Bob S, one of our working party, had  posted this super image of the bird in the trees in the horse paddock area.  What I would give to get a similar one!



At 3.45 pm another positive report came through so we tried again. This time luck was on our side.

  • After quite a long search, Martin spotted the bird high in the tall birch tree near the water treatment building beside the horse paddock.
Courtesy of Martin Jeffree



SUCCESS!



  • While we were searching for the ring ouzel, Jonathan, who we had joined, pointed out a solitary swallow flying over the dam wall - our first of the year.


2024 species count=145




Thursday 28 March 2024

Ring Ouzel at Weir Wood Reservoir

Wednesday 27th March 2024


I picked up a WhatsApp message from Jonathan about a male ring ouzel at the dam end of the reservoir.

  • When I arrived the bird was showing well on the grassy area behind the dam. At the time there were 3 of us present but none of us had a camera.  Thankfully the bird was still there in the afternoon when Alastair called in after work and his picture is shown below.
Courtesy of Alastair Gray



Thanks Jonathan, Alastair C and Alastair G



2024 species count=144


Tuesday 26 March 2024

Dungeness with the Ashdown Bird Group

 Sunday 24th March 2024

I was back at Dungeness again - this time with 6 of my friends from the Ashdown Bird Group.  Thankfully it was dry and mild but there was quite a stiff breeze.

  • A great northern diver was still present on Burrowes but the other one had left overnight with the black-throated diver and a visiting Slavonian grebe.
Courtesy of Phil Aylen


  • There were 2 little gulls flying around and we got good views from the Firth Lookout.
Courtesy of Phil Aylen

  • We saw 2 splendid black-necked grebes on the ARC pit from Hanson Hide.  Yesterday there were 3 but one had departed overnight.

 

Courtesy of Phil Aylen

 

Courtesy of Phil Aylen

         

  • Those of us who had visited the reserve earlier in the year were disappointed not to see the glossy ibis.  That was not the case today.  As we were walking between Christmas Dell Hide and Dengemarsh Hide the bird flew in and landed in the Hayfields area - right in front of us.
Courtesy of Phil Aylen

Courtesy of Ian Hodgson

Courtesy of Martin Jeffree

  • A “booming” bittern and a stunning male reed bunting provided the main memories of our stop at the viewing ramp on the main reserve. 

  • My own particular favourite and, I suspect, that of some other members was provided by the goldeneye with well into double figures sighted around the reserve. 

Courtesy of Phil Aylen



We finished the day seawatching over by the power station.  By now the breeze had eased considerably and the sea was relatively calm.

  • Phil spotted a peregrine near the top of one of the pylons close to the car park.

  • Pick of the birds on the sea was a red-throated diver.
Courtesy of Phil Aylen

  • A second species of diver, probably a black-throated, was also seen.
  • There were also several guillemots.
Courtesy of Phil Aylen


  • We had several glimpses of the harbour porpoises that were patrolling the sea close to the shore.
Courtesy of Phil Aylen



A fitting end to another very good outing!


2024 species count=143

Friday 22 March 2024

Update on recent activity

Monday 18th March 2024

Warnham NR, Horsham, Sussex

A flying visit to Warnham NR to look at the birds on their feeders yielded my first siskins of the year.


Tuesday 19th March 2024

Weir Wood Reservoir, Sussex

Whilst working at the reservoir today 3 mandarins flew by.


Wednesday 20th March 2024

Uckfield, Sussex

Got my first migrant bird of the year - a chiffchaff.


Thursday 21st March 2024

Rye Harbour, Sussex a.m.

Yet more migrant birds - this time wheatears (x4) and sandwich terns (at least 25)


Courtesy of Martin Jeffree


Thursday 21st March 2024

RSPB Dungeness, Kent p.m.

Another visit to Dungeness produced much the same birds as last time with the exception of a very welcome black-necked grebe.



2024 species count=139

Saturday 16 March 2024

Dartford Warblers on Ashdown Forest

Saturday 16th March 2024

Ashdown Forest


I went with Martin to his patch on the Ashdown Forest.

  • It didn't take long to see our first dartford warbler.  One was showing well at the top of a bush a few metres ahead of us.  It was associating with the nearby stonechats.





  • Not long afterwards we came across a second bird in almost identical circumstances.








Thanks Martin - my first dartford warblers of the year.




2024 species count=133