Welcome to the first real posting on this blog! I thought I'd begin with the last time I did some birding in Sussex, namely yesterday!
With sixth from finishing at 3.20 yesterday, I took advantage and took a walk around the Railway land with Jake Gearty. It being the afternoon there wasn't a lot about. However the resident tit flocks included Coal (new patch bird for Jake) and plenty Long-tailed, along with an estimate of 5+ Chiffchaff and 10+ Blackcap. A few of the latter gave great views, but most were heard only or briefly fly-catching out of bushes and disappearing back into them. We also got two brief, but intriguing fly-by's from a fairly large, brown warbler with pale-looking flanks. Maybe a Blackcap, but something about it made me think Garden Warbler or Reed Warbler. It was certainly too big for a phyllosc, but not quite big enough to string it into a Barred! One that'll get away I guess.
However, an altogether more frustrating on-that-got-away was a Thrush that flew out of a bush alongside the river, giving us only the briefest glimpse of what looked like the scaly wings of a RING OUZEL. Jake thought he saw the bird one more time, but I didn't. We did, however, see a lot of Blackbirds in the same area, and based on our view you couldn't quite rule out a blackbird caught in the light. I never heard any 'chacking' calls distinctive to the species either, but I am sure one will turn up here eventually this autumn!
One of two new birds for this patch was however, a Thrush. Jake picked up a Mistle Thrush calling, and we quickly got semi-decent views (OK they were crap, but still identifiable!) as it powered overhead, towards the railway line. The other new bird patch was slightly more underwhelming. It's a bit embarrassing that in three weeks of checking this place, this was the first Swallow I'd seen flying over! They took my 'school terms yearlist' up to 53 species though still eight ahea of Jake!
It's also the time of year some of our commoner birds may start coming in from further afield. I've already mentioned an increase in Blackbird numbers, and I got some prolonged views of a Robin that seemed to be showing characteristics of a continental bird, but I'll need to read up on that a bit before I try and claim any with confidence!