Goosander at Arlington

Two redhead Goosander reported from Arlington Reservoir today “from the hide early afternoon” (via Birdguides). Four were seen there on 10th January.

Sunset over South Downs, as viewsed from Chapel Cross

Continuing the sawbill theme, there have been two drake Goldeneye on the River Cuckmere, around Exceat, in recent days.

Around Firle, birds seem to be getting back to normal – no Snipe in the park since Wednesday, and quite a few resident birds singing again. In the nature reserve/cricket pitch area, at least one Goldcrest and two Treecreepers appear to have survived the worst, with plenty of Great and Blue Tits singing this morning, plus Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush and Green Woodpecker heard.

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Alciston 12.10.08

A warm misty morning, with the prospect of the sun burning through at any moment. In the end, it didn’t do so until the very end of our hour-long walk in Alciston.

The village street was quiet, with House Sparrows and Goldfinches most obvious, plus a ragged male Blackbird bathing noisily in a trough at the stableyard.

Up onto the Old Coach Road, we turned left towards Berwick, where the track runs deep between the hedges. As always, there were small birds here, including a singing Dunnock.

Where the hedge then disappears, suddenly the vista is wide open. Wide unploughed field margins have been established here for years, but this year there appears to be an innovation: a further wide strip of standing wheat. Through the mist, more small birds could be seen diving in and out of this promising-looking area.

A circuit of the large field, back round towards the church, revealed my first Redwing of the autumn, feeding in a favoured spot along one of the ancient hedgerows. Good numbers of Yellowhammers and Skylarks were heard all around the perimeter, with occasional Linnets and Meadow Pipits, and a solitary Kestrel.

On the field edge that leads directly back to the church, vines thick with red berries could be seen in the hedgerow – can anyone identify them for me? [*see comment below*]

Then back to the paddocks near the church, where Mistle Thrushes clattered amonst the trees, along with more discreet Goldcrests, as the low cloud finally gave way to the sun.