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.



Two Short-eared Owls at the Ouse Estuary Project, Newhaven yesterday afternoon. (Peter Wilson, per SOS sightings).

Also recently, up to four Goldeneye at Arlington Reservoir (along with double figures of Wigeon and Shoveler) and a (presumed escape) Swan Goose on Lewes Brooks.

Great White Egret at Lewes Brooks

A Great White Egret reported on Lewes Brooks today (via Birdguides) – anyone have any further details?

Assuming this is the same bird that was seen in the area around New Year, and then again a couple of weeks later, it makes you wonder where it’s been all this time.

Goes to show that there’s plenty of space for birds to go missing, even in our relatively densely populated corner of the world. Now where’s that shrike…..?

Grey geese influx

Three Tundra Bean Geese on Lewes Brooks (in an area with no public access) yesterday and today, five White-fronted Geese seen on Glynde Levels today, and two juv White-fronts reported amongst a mixed group of geese reported in the lower Cuckmere (all via SOS).

Elsewhere, an Eider at Arlington Reservoir on Boxing Day (see photo on SOS site) and the Bearded Tits still at the Ouse Estuary Project (along with a ringtail Hen Harrier).

Rodmell Brooks

3.pm. – 4p.m. A quiet overcast afternoon, very atmospheric, was lightened by the ever expanding flock of buntings around the stubble fields. Over 120 Corn Buntings in a mixed flock of 200+ birds,that were constantly being disturbed by a Kestrel and female  Merlin (the first I have seen of this bird for over a week). Also Kingfisher along the brook next to the path. All this brought to a halt by a 4 car shooting party.

Rodmell Brooks

Late afternoon over a very cold and dreary brooks – 1 Common Buzzard sitting as usual on the telegraph poles leading northwest,60+ Corn Bunting,Yellow  Hammer,Reed Bunting,Linnet,Redwing and Stonechat around the stubble field and the male Merlin moving over the area northof the path.

Rodmell – Lewes levels

Mid day over the levels -a very mixed bunch of birds feeding on the ground and in the hawthorns next to the track consisting of mainly Reed Bunting (20), Yellow Hammer (9), Fieldfare (1), Song Thrush (2), Blackbird (1), and Robin (1),until a Sparrowhawk came along and that was that. Also 2 Common Buzzard and 1 Kestrel.