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Goring, 14th January 2018

1.5 hours of seawatching this morning produced a pair of westbound Velvet Scoters, 30 Red-throated Divers, 21 Red-breasted Mergansers, nine Dark-bellied Brent Geese, six Gannets, a Kittiwake, four Great Crested Grebes, four Razorbills and 12 very distant auks. Other than 22 Ringed Plovers, the high tide wader roost didn't really materialise for some reason or other but seven Mediterranean Gulls were strewn among the loafing gulls: four adults, two second-winters and - most interestingly - a first-winter bearing a white darvic ring on its left leg with the black code '332H'. Thanks to information from Camille Duponcheel, the bird was ringed as a pullus at Anterwerpen, Belgium, on 17th June last year. Sanderlings, Dunlin, Turnstones and Grey Plovers were present but not fully counted. The improving conditions encouraged a Buzzard to soar over the area and other sightings included a Chiffchaff, one of the wintering Stonechats, five Skylarks and a Kestrel. Last but not least, I finally logged a patch Jackdaw - heard calling beyond the north side of the Gap.

2cy Mediterranean Gull '332H'

Goring/Ferring, 12th January 2017

Red-breasted Mergansers and Great Crested Grebes increased slightly this morning, with 32 and 14 noted respectively. Otherwise, there was little action at sea other than five Red-throated Divers (including three settled quite close in), a Razorbill and a flock of 21 Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Waders included 50 Grey Plovers, 26 Ringed Plovers, a Redshank, 90 Sanderlings, 180 Dunlin, 81 Turnstones and 64 Oystercatchers. 12 Mediterranean Gulls (10 adults and two second-winters) were in the fields. A Kestrel was my first for Goring Gap, all three wintering Stonechats remained and other sightings included a Skylark, a Fieldfare, 11 Redwings, 25 Pied Wagtails, two Green Woodpeckers and 20 Greenfinches.

Ferring Rife added a Buzzard (patch tick), two more Stonechats, 10 Meadow Pipits, a Skylark, a Little Egret, two Grey Herons, three Moorhens, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and two Grey Wagtails - one, I reckon an adult female, was bearing a BTO ring but despite trying to photograph it from many angles I don't think I got the full code, though there are definitely two '4's! I do wonder where it was ringed...

adult female Grey Wagtail with BTO ring
Red-throated Divers
2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull
Kestrel

Goring/Ferring, 11th January 2018

The clear highlight of the day's patch birding was an energetic male Firecrest feeding on the edge of the holm oaks on Ilex Avenue, a site first for me. Just over an hour of seawatching - joined for a while by Gareth J - produced 53 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, three Common Scoters, 19 Red-breasted Mergansers, six Great Crested Grebes, seven Red-throated Divers, two Razorbills and seven distant auks. 13 adult Mediterranean Gulls were in the fields and towards dusk in excess of 2,500 Common Gulls roosted on the sea. Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Grey Plovers, Sanderlings, Turnstones and Oystercatchers were all present but not fully counted today. Other birds included two Fieldfares, 11 Redwings, seven Skylarks, a Moorhen, a Green Woodpecker, three Great Spotted Woodpeckers (including two in a drumming contest, giving a slight spring-like feeling!) and 19 Greenfinches. A cursory look at the lower part of Ferring Rife produced just another Green Woodpecker to add of any note.

♂ Firecrest
Fieldfare

Arundel WWT, 9th January 2018

A lovely stroll around Arundel WWT in the early afternoon with Ingrid was made all the better by seven Hawfinches and a very showy Firecrest.

Canons Farm and Beddington Farmlands, 8th January 2018

A stroll around Canons this morning was fairly uneventful, save for a flock of 18 Skylarks, a Mistle Thrush, two Meadow Pipits and a modest mixed flock of Redwings and Fieldfares.

In the afternoon I joined Kojak in the hide at Beddington, picking out two Caspian Gulls (a first-winter and a second-winter) and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull. Roy W later turned up for another go at the Twite and, thank goodness, we located it with the 60-strong Linnet flock, albeit briefly. Seven Snipe and 52 Lapwings were present, along with three Shelducks, three Egyptian Geese, 45 Shovelers and four Pochards. Other bits included a good count of 52 Lapwings, a Chiffchaff, two Reed Buntings and a Cetti's Warbler.

Twite at Beddington
second-winter Caspian Gull at Beddington
first-winter Caspian Gull at Beddington
first-winter Yellow-legged Gull at Beddington

Beddington Farmlands, 7th January 2018

An afternoon search for the Twite with Christian C and Roy W wasn't successful but the wind didn't help. Sightings included a few Snipe, 20 Lapwings, a Meadow Pipit and a couple of Reed Buntings...

Broxbourne Woods, 6th January 2018

Kevin and I had another stab at the Parrot Crossbills in Broxbourne Woods but unfortunately we went home empty handed once again... It was nice, however, to see a couple of Hawfinches fly over the site.

Goring/Ferring, 5th January 2018

This particular patch visit was enlivened by the company of Ian J, down from Surrey to check out my new stomping grounds. We started with a seawatch, which produced a Velvet Scoter, six Pintails, two Mute Swans, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, two Red-throated Divers, six Great Crested Grebes, 11 Gannets and 14 Red-breasted Mergansers. Small numbers of Turnstones, Sanderlings and Oystercatchers were along the shore, though we didn't manage meaningful counts of these species. Later, in the roost field at high tide were 330 Dunlin and 73 Ringed Plovers, while four adult Mediterranean Gulls were in the area. Other sightings at Goring Gap included the wintering Stonechat pair, a Fieldfare, a Redwing, four Skylarks, a Green Woodpecker and a Grey Heron.

A quick walk up and down Ferring Rife added two Grey Herons, three Moorhens, a Kestrel, a Redwing and a Green Woodpecker.

Goring, 4th January 2018

Poor visibility made seawatching even more challenging today, although clearly very few birds were offshore anyway. All I noted was two Great Crested Grebes and eight Red-breasted Mergansers. At high tide, the roost field contained 234 Dunlin, 17 Ringed Plovers and 16 Sanderlings, these scattered at one point by a 2cy Peregrine. Four adult Mediterranean Gulls were in the area. One of the male Stonechats was seen, along with two Skylarks.

Goring, 3rd January 2018

Wind and rain continued to make birding a struggle, even the sea remaining relatively lifeless. Six Common Scoters flew east and two Red-throated Divers, 15 Red-breasted Mergansers, five Kittiwakes, a Gannet and an auk sp were noted. A mass of 820 Common Gulls was the highlight of the day and six adult Mediterranean Gulls were around. The roost field contained 424 Dunlin, 42 Ringed Plovers and five Sanderlings at high tide, while 28 Turnstones were between there and the shore, where the sea was spilling onto the coastal path. All three wintering Stonechats were noted and a Moorhen was also present.