Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Week in Sussex- 24-30 September 2012

records gathered mainly from the Sussex Ornithological Society Website (stated if otherwise)

the week started with very poor weather conditions, that sea-watchers hoped would bring in the goods. Sadly their was little to be excited about. Selsey scored poorly on Monday the 24th, and only a Sooty Shearwater saved some grace the following day for a few hardy observers. Splash Point fared marginally better, a Garganey was a good bird for an autumn seawatch on the 24th, though it was only really propping up some otherwise dismal totals for the time of year. the 26th saw a Balearic Shearwater and a few Great Skua, while Arctic Skua were a feature of both sites in small numbers all throughout the wet and windy period.

The rest of the county's birders fared little better. Warnham LNR retained it's Red-crested Pochard on the 24th and the Opsrey was seen again here the following day (for it's 47th day in the Adur Valley!); While the Spoonbill remained in the Rye Bay area throughout the week. A very late Wood Sandpiper was also hanging on nearby at Northiam until at least the 29th, with 3 Green Sandpiper for company. An Osprey flew over Salehurst on the 26th, but the only other interesting birds of the first three days of the week were in gardens; a Nightjar in an Eastbourne garden and a Turtle Dove in Burgess Hill.

The 27th saw the first Ring Ouzels of the autumn at Beachy Head, (and on the same day, myself and Jake had a possible at Lewes Railway Land), a possible Marsh Warbler at Sidlesham Ferry, a possible Corncrake at Steyning Roundhill and a Pied Flycatcher at Seaford Head. Garden Nightjars seem a regular but still unpredictable staple of autumn, with another in Birdham also on the 27th. There seem to be at least 3-4 records a year, but when you consider how many garden birders we have it's still fair to call them a garden mega! I often dream of one sitting incongrously on our garage roof one morning though.

the 28th was crap beyond belief- the only report of note was that the Spoonbill had moved from Pett Level to Rye Harbour for the day!  

For it's 51st day in the area, the Osprey was seen at Shoreham on the 29th. Thrushes appeared to arrive in a small influx; Ring Ouzels at Warren Glen, Hastings (per Wild Hastings Facebook group), and Edburton, and a flock of Redwing (the first of the autumn I believe), heard calling over Hove after dark. the Hastings area had a decent day, with a Dartford Warbler at Hastings Country Park arguably the days best bird. Though possibly a commoner sight on migration these days, I feel the Honey Buzzard over Littlehampton probably steals it's crown however!

The 29th was also a glorious day which saw some decent numbers of common migrants. Many thousands of Swallows and House Martins were all along the coast, with a few hundred Sand Martins and 27 Yellow Wagtails at Seaford Head. I personally saw 10 more heading south of the Cuckmere in md-afternoon, and I'm sure many more weren't recorded. a few Redstarts, Whinchats, Spotted Flycatchers, Willow Warblers, Wheatears, Siskins and Tree Pipits were also reported, and a Hobby was at Firle Beacon. Another Hobby was at Whitbred Hollow the following day, which also saw the bulk of the migrants with 500 Blackcap and 200 Sand Martin the pick, plus a late-ish Lesser Whitethroat. Elsewhere on Beachy Head was a Merlin near Belle Tout, and 15 Jays in Horseshoe Plantation. Are these birds fresh in from the continent? do they single a large-scale movement of Jay's? should I be on the look out for a Nutcracker in the coming weeks?????

Elsewhere today, another Spoonbill turned up at Pagham Harbour, and probably the rarest bird of the week turned up at Pulborough- a difficult to see Pectoral Sandpiper. That this is the rarest bird seen in a week during the peak time of autumn really signifies how dire this week was. Here's to hoping things liven up and the winds change around!


  1. Hey what are you doing you cheeky beggr? Im suppose to collate this for the newsletter!! :)

  2. he already decided on that plan of action Dave ;)