Lewes Brooks and Swanborough

The footpath between Iford and Lewes isn’t one I’m familiar with, so with the nearby RSPB reserve looking productively soggy I thought it was time for a visit.

View over Lewes Brooks from Swanborough

There are decent views (if not smells) from the path where it runs behind the sewage treatment works at Swanborough. From here most of the flood can be scanned.

There wasn’t actually much on it today, but as one of the only serially wet bits of the Ouse Valley, it’s only a matter of time. In the surrounding pasture there were 30+ Lapwings and a brief Peregrine overhead.

Around the (mainly frozen) fishing lakes in between the path and the brooks, quite a lot seen or heard: 1-2 Cetti’s Warblers, Water Rail, 2 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 45 Mallard and a Snipe.

A constant chuckling soundtrack was provided by a couple of hundred Fieldfares in the trees, while on the sewage works there were 10 Moorhens and singles each of Pied and Grey Wagtail – the latter hitching a ride one of the rotating arms.

A quick look at Firle Beacon on the way the home was worth it for the drive up to the top. Around 25-30 Chaffinches were feeding on the road, joined by a male Reed Bunting and 2+ Yellowhammers. The Bramblings seen two weeks ago in nearby game cover didn’t appear, but could well do with a longer look.

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Avocet at Cuckmere Haven

Avocet Royal Mail stampAn Avocet seen on the scrape at Cuckmere Haven this afternoon, along with 60 Snipe and incredible count of 4,000 Great Black-backed Gulls in fields on the west side of the valley. (Bob Izzard, SOS sightings).

Yesterday, a Knot there, with five Brent Geese, Raven and Rock Pipit (Matt Eade, Sussex Birding)

Snipe + buntings at Alciston

DSC00699A late-afternoon visit to my old patch at Alciston made me happy – in the tiny reedbed I used to keep an eye on, a single Common Snipe, at least a dozen Reed Buntings going to roost, and half a dozen Yellowhammers in the nearby hedgerows (with perhaps twice that number in surrounding fields). Good to see that it’s still, in relative terms, a prime spot.

Elsewhere around the fields to the east of the village, quite a few Common Gulls, plenty of Pheasants, and not much else.

On The Street, near where it meets the Old Coach Road, our car disturbed a Sparrowhawk which had been busy disembowelling a Woodpigeon.

Ouse Estuary 6th Jan.

I paid an early afternoon visit to the viewing screen at the Ouse Estuary project, lots of Teal on show, a couple of Snipe at the back in the short reeds, a brief dash from a Water Rail along the right hand edge,a female Kingfisher swaying on a reed stem, a Sparrowhawk rushed past along the back of the reeds, a Little Egret dropped in looking very smart, plumes and all, (does’t it realise its only early January and freezing cold). No sign of any Bearded Tits though.pict0059-2pict0053-2

Glynde Reach and Levels

Glynde Reach, from the bridge in Glynde, 4 Jan 2009No report of the Great Grey Shrike at Glynde Reach since Friday, but continued attention to the area has turned up some other good birds (if not all as remarkable as the Great White Egret on New Year’s Eve).

Today, Paul S and I saw a male Blackcap beside Glynde Bridge, and a Common Snipe and two pairs of Stonechats along the Reach (via Firle Birds).

Meanwhile, there were 60 Golden Plover and a Barn Owl seen on Glynde Levels by Alan Kitson and Miou Helps (via SOS site).

Rodmell Brooks

A  flushed Green Sandpiper along the channel next to the main path ,which in turn set up a Snipe.