Spent the afternoon in a garden just south-west of Arlington Reservoir, to a constant soundtrack of Nightingale, Linnet and Common Whitethroat. 

These were briefly joined by Turtle Dove and Lesser Whitethroat, and late in the afternoon a Green Sandpiper flew over, heading East.


Purple Heron at Southease

A Purple Heron at Southease late this morning, found by Steven Munday.

Apparently it was last watched heading North and appeared to drop down on the Beddingham side of the Ouse at Rodmell.

Also an Osprey at Michelham Priory today.

Thanks to Jacob Everitt for both reports.

Goosanders at Arlington, injured LEO, Green Sand at Glynde

A drake and two redhead Goosanders at Arlington Reservoir today, plus the drake Goldeneye (Jacob Everitt).

Last Monday, an injured Long-eared Owl was picked up on the road between Rodmell and Piddinghoe – taken to Buckinghamshire (top picture over on the Sussex Ornithological Society site).

Last weekend, a Green Sandpiper, two Peregrines and eleven Snipe along Glynde Reach. (via Firle Birds)


Piddinghoe Pond etc….

A redhead Smew still on Piddinghoe Pond this afternoon, which Jake and I found yesterday morning ,with a supporting cast of the long staying redhead Goosander, a drake Pochard, three Wigeon and a Great crested Grebe, four Bearded Tits seen, two pairs, of which one of the females was a dark streaked headed variant that was also present yesterday, a much improved size flock of Corn Buntings totalled at least 73 birds, only 10 yesterday, by far the best count of this winter to date.

Bittern, Bewick’s, Waxwing, Egyptian Goose

New reports over the last couple of days have included:

6 Bewick’s Swans over Lewes (Matthew Silk), last seen heading in the direction of the Brooks,

a Bittern flushed yesterday at Glynde (Andrew and Diane Lusted)

a single Waxwing reported in Mill Lane, Ringmer (James Grover, via SOS sightings)

Egyptian Goose and 2 Goosander at Arlington Reservoir this morning (Jacob Everitt)

Happy New Year!

A morning around the Ouse and the Cuckmere

An excellent few hours around the Cuckmere and the Ouse with Paul Stevens this morning.

It didn’t start well – we drew a blank on Waxwings at Lewes Tesco – but the Brooks at Iford were busier. On the flood as viewed from Swanborough we could see hundreds of Lapwing and Wigeon, with a few Gadwall and the odd Shoveler. A couple walking their dog very close to the flood flushed many of the birds, including a dozen or so small waders (presumably Dunlin) and four probable Black-tailed Godwits, seen just too briefly for me to be 100%. A Water Rail squealed from one of the fishing lakes, and there was a Grey Wagtail on the treatment works.

From there to Piddinghoe, where a walk along the river produced the redhead GOOSANDER, two Little Grebes and a neat Grey Plover – not a bird I recall ever having seen along the Ouse before. A male BEARDED TIT crossed the river and dropped into the reeds at Piddinghoe Pond, finally giving great close views.

The Ouse Estuary Project was (again) bereft of Waxwings, so we quickly shifted to the Golden Galleon at Exceat, where the WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were feeding just north of the bridge – we counted 65 (some ten down on yesterday’s report) with the Canadas, Wigeon and Curlew.

South of the bridge there was a great selection of duck on the meanders, including a pair of GOLDENEYE, 3 male PINTAIL and four Pochard. A brief scan of the marshes on the west side revealed plenty of large gulls and Shelduck, but no Barnacle Geese.

Having dipped WAXWING twice already during the morning, we dropped in on Vale Close, Seaford and found an obliging and apparently fearless bird tucking into the apples; it was also being enjoyed by several photographers and some intrigued local residents.

A brief stop at Litlington Bridge just north of Alfriston produced three more Little Grebes and a couple of Kestrels but not much else, so we called it a day, having clocked a respectable-for-this-bit-of-Sussex total of 60 species.

Bearded Reedlings at South Heighton

Up to four Bearded Tits have been present in reeds on the east side of the river Ouse opposite Piddinghoe Pond since at least last Wednesday which were found by Steven Munday who also saw another small group nearer to Southease on Friday.

Lovely close views of these birds which fed endlessly picking at the seeds on the reed heads, on more than one occasion they dropped onto the ice below the reeds and could be watched running around the reed stems.