Thursday, 3 January 2013

3 Jan- Cuckmere and Ouse Estuary

The Cuckmere was lifeless by any normal standards. The six waxwing and possible Scaup reported yesterday (per SOS), failed to materialise, and nothing of note could be found among the gulls today. Only birds of note were 800+ Common Gull, 2 Kingfisher, 1 Rock Pipit, 17 Little Grebe and the Canada x Bar-headed Goose Hybrid. Numbers of most birds seem generally low, there were very few passerines about, bar Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails, and of ducks, I recorded just 5 Shelduck, 15 Teal and 21 Wigeon. I also saw 4 new species for the patch this year, Woodpigeon, Moorhen, Kestrel and Kingfisher, bringing me up to 52 species from two visits.

We then checked the Ouse Estuary Project, in the hope of a decent gull. I did find one interesting Argentatus type, in almost every respect looking typical for a classic, apart from it's argenteus like primary spots when perched. I didn't see the full wing pattern, as it never flew or even stretched out, but I've heard that intergrades between the two races occur along the North Sea  coast of Europe, from France-Denmark. Perhaps these birds account for some Herring Gulls, like this, that are difficult to assign to either race?

The Ouse Estuary did have a lot more birds than the Cuckmere though. the gulls included about 300 Common, 200 Black-headed, and double-figure counts of Herring, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed. about 200 Lapwing in the flooded fields were accompanied by 20 Dunlin, while a wisp of 20 Snipe also did a brief flyby. two Water Rails were heard squealing from the reeds, but the most exceptional record was of 2-3 Bearded Tits, heard only, but only my second record for the local area, after finding the lovely long-staying group here in 2007/08.

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