Crane departed?

Several observers saw the Piddinghoe Crane fly off strongly to the North at around 10.30 on Saturday morning, and it wasn’t reported again all day. Will those of us who left our pilgimage to see it a little late (in my case about 2.5 hours after the last sighting) regret it?

The Ouse valley can seem rather birdless: a walk from Southease up to Rodmell and back for Paul Stevens and me on Saturday afternoon produced five Common Buzzards in the air at once, a single Corn Bunting and one Cetti’s Warbler (in the usual spot at Beddingham) but not much else.

In partial compensation, plenty of reports of Red Kite over the past few days, from Firle, Glynde and Lewes.

Cattle Egret at Southease

After yesterday’s Crane, another good report for the lower Ouse – a Cattle Egret, seen from a train in fields south of Southease, and reported to Birdguides.

After a rash of records between Piddinghoe and Lewes in the last decade, this bird will, if confirmed, cement the area’s claim to be among the best in the UK for the species.

*UPDATE*

Liam Curson was the egret finder – eventual reward for having spent most of Saturday’s daylight hours in the field looking for Friday’s Crane.

Also of note, 4 Green Sandpipers, Chiffchaff, Peregrine and 1000+ Lapwings along Glynde Reach, with Common Sandpiper just south of Lewes. (all via SOS sightings)

Black Redstart in Lewes

Another Black Redstart in Lewes, on houses betwee South Street and the Ouse, on 2 Jan. Also a common seal in the river opposite Cliffe Industrial Estate (Jeremy Patterson, via SOS sightings).

Humming-bird Hawk-moth in Lewes

A Humming-bird Hawk-moth feeding on buddleia just off Cliffe High Street in Lewes this morning.

My first of the year – surprising, considering what a good summer it seems to have been for migrant butterflies and moths.

Ouse Valley, Tuesday

A good selection of birds between Southease and Lewes a couple of days ago (reported by Jeremy Patterson, via SOS sightings):

Cetti’s Warbler and Chiffchaff heard at Southease. Passerine flock still evident at Rodmell with good numbers of Corn and Reed Buntings and Sky Larks. Male and female Merlin there with up to 4 Common Buzzards, 11 Little Egrets and 17 Grey Herons. Elsewhere, pair Stonechat, several Redshanks, 2 Oystercatchers, 1-2 Green Sandpipers, 1 Curlew over, 1 Common Sandpiper below A27 bypass and 106 Common Gulls in field south of A27.

Male Hen Harrier, Ouse Valley

An adult male Hen Harrier reported yesterday between Southease and Lewes (Andy Wright and Jon Devito, via SOS sightings). Is this the same bird seen on and off throughout the winter (including up at Bo Peep in the autumn)? Also 70 Corn Buntings noted.

Floods early this week around the train track at Glynde disappeared quickly, but there’s a great deal of surface water on the levels nearer Lewes, and a lot of gulls using it.

Caburn Raven and Glynde White-fronts

A walk between Lewes and Glynde today was almost birdless, but a Raven acrobatically outmanoeuvring the local Jackdaws was good.

On Glynde Levels, six White-fronted Geese were reported (Alan Kitson, SOS site) – presumably an augmented version of the party of five seen there and at Arlington Reservoir sporadically over the past three weeks.