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.

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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.

Red-throated Diver at Arlington

A Red-throated Diver showing at Arlington Reservoir today (Alan Kitson and Miou Helps, SOS site).

Also, a few reports belatedly reproduced here: On New Year’s Eve, nine Waxwings were at Exceat (Karen Anne Cooper, via SOS) and a Little Gull at Cuckmere Haven on New Year’s Day (Joanne Chattaway, also SOS).

Yesterday, the Bearded Tits were seen again at the Ouse Estuary Project, by Paul James – for a full trip report see his new blog.

sightings 10/12/08

The two pairs of Bearded tits were showing reasonably well from the viewing screen at the Ouse Estuary today, the males looking particularly smart in the bright sunshine, also present a female Kingfisher and at least sixty Teal snoozing around the margins of the pool.Female-KingfisherMale-Bearded-Tit1Female-Bearded-Tit

Ouse estuary and Rodmell levels

The 4 Bearded Tits (2 m. 2 f.) were still showing fom the screen on the Ouse estuary project – plus 2 Merlin (1 m. 1 f.) on Rodmell levels ,but no sign of the Hen harrier that was reported yesterday.

Round-up

A few long-staying birds:

Four Bearded Tits remain on show at the Ouse Estuary Project.

The Great Northern Diver was reported again on Friday, on the scrape at Cuckmere Haven.

The Firecrest was seen again at Rodmell.

Also some good seabirds seen from Seaford on Friday by Bob Self:

“After a few utterly futile attempts to find anything on the sea at Splash Point recently, a two hour bitterly cold vigil in excellent light and wind conditons proved remarkably productive with one Black-throated Diver (briefly landed on the sea before going west at 10.40); one Great Northern Diver fairly close inshore going east (possibly two); 4 Red-throated Diver; 14 Diver sp.;12 Brent Geese; 11 Common Scoter; several Fulmar; one Auk sp. and 6 Gannets. In addition, on the beach beneath the cliffs at Splash Point I recorded an adult Yellow-legged Gull and what appeared (to my untutored eye) to be a recently deceased Dolphin around 70 cm in length.”