An early start to school, and I was a free man today by 12:00! Lewes Railway Land beckoned me first. The afternoon's are never brilliant around here, but at least the weather was still nice, for the hour or so I was here!
Birdwise- a small amount of vismig, with 7 Swallow, 4 Siskin, and singles of Meadow Pipit and House Martin heading south. there were still quite a lot of Robins (I'd guess 25), and 12 Chiffchaff. Plus 2 Treecreeper, a Jay, and a Kingfisher around the heart of reeds. Patch bird no.55 was heard only, 2 PEREGRINE calling distantly over the cliffs. I also saw the remarkable spectacle of a Speckled Wood flying into a spider's web, getting trapped and devoured, and then rolled up into a neat, silk-wrapped parcel. I chose the wrong day not to bring a camera! As I sat for 30 minutes waiting for the train, an estimated 300 hirundines passed over Lewes Station in a constant stream, seeming to consist primarily of Swallows.
On the way home I called into Newhaven, trying to relocate a Wryneck reported yesterday on RBA. I failed in this assignment, but there were a few good birds in the area;
- a SHAG was offshore, fishing to the east of the pier about 100 metres o/s. My first in Sussex since 1 September 2011 surprisingly!
- a small flock of waders flew down to bathe in the puddles immediately south of the industrial land, about 100 metres NE of Newhaven East Pier. They consisted of 17 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin and 2 Turnstone. Turnstone is a fairly unusual bird for Tide Mills in my experience, bizarrely I have only seen them here three times previously!
- 2 Wheatear. One at Tide Mills showed a bright supercilium, long primary projection and uppright, dick's pipit like stance, typical of GREENLAND WHEATEAR (oenanthe oenanthe leucorrhoea), while one, perched on the viewing screen at the Ouse Estuary Project, looked a much more typical 'british' Wheatear.
- 1 YELLOW WAGTAIL, my latest ever and first ever record for October! it called three times as it headed over
However, whether it was worth the soul-chilling south-westerlies and the dismal rain is another matter! The highlight of the day was probably the GREENLAND WHEATEAR, great birds that still feel like a bit of a rarity, depsite being pretty regular. Slightly commoner stuff included 30 Lapwing and 20 Curlew, a handful of Gibbugs (Great Black-backed Gulls), my first Common Gull for a few weeks in Sussex, and a handful of Chiffchaff. The tide on Mill Creek was sadly too high for the Pectoral/Buff-breasted Sandpiper that hasn't arrived yet...