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.

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Still Plenty at Rodmell

Lots of the good stuff still at Rodmell this afternoon, in a biting easterly.

First up, a Buzzard, a Mistle Thrush and a few Fieldfares around the car park at Monk’s House, then a pair of Peregrines chasing down (but failing to catch) an unidentified wader – the female bird was later seen making off with a largish, dark-looking item of prey (Moorhen? Jackdaw?), followed by the male.

The stubble field north of the track that has been so productive this winter was still abuzz with little brown jobs – c. 50-60 Corn Buntings, with smaller numbers of Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings and Linnets. Difficult to be sure of the numbers, with small groups rising and dropping and coming in and out of the area all the time.

Watching over proceedings, a minimum of 23 Magpies included around half of that total in one small bush.

At the river, a Kingfisher dashed from one of the ditches, there were good numbers of Snipe feeding in the wetter flashes, and a male Sparrowhawk sneaked through.

Coming back along the track, a flustered group of several dozen Lapwing gave away the fact that a Peregrine was hunting again, this time harried by a much smaller falcon – a male Merlin, which then settled briefly on a succession of bushes before heading off towards Southease.

A male Stonechat, a confiding Little Egret and plenty more buntings and thrushes rounded off the aternoon.

With large numbers of Starlings, Woodpigeons and assorted gulls, this section of the Ouse valley is alive with birds.

(Charlie Peverett and Paul Stevens)

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

Rodmell Brooks

Between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. :- plenty of Corn Bunting, Redwing, Meadow Pipits and Yellow hammer around the stubble field and in the hawthorns on the north side of the path to the river.Also around Stonechat, Common Buzzard, Little Egret, Fieldfare and a not very showy ringtailed Hen Harrier a couple of hundred metres north over the reed beds.Still no Short Eared owls.

Mid-week SOS walk, Cuckmere Haven 11.11.08

Sixteen people joined me on the best morning for weather we have had for a bit, although there still was some strength in the south-westerly wind to say the least. This would keep most birds heads down for the whole morning but it was not quite as bad as I had expected 24 hours earlier.

It was a straightforward walk from the carpark to the sea and back on the eastern side. The birds along the way included a difficult to see Ring Ouzel that only really let itself be known when it gave out two sharp ‘taks’ when it flew off, 1 Redwing, several sightings of Kingfishers, 2 pairs of Stonechats, Kestrel, Redshank, Curlew, Greylag Goose, Tufted Duck, a flotilla of 17 Little Grebes and Little Egret.

A sea-watch was virtually impossible due to the head wind so a quick about turn and back to the carpark with the wind and light behind us which produced excellent views of a Peregrine coming towards us from the north, over our heads and then continuing still fairly high south-west.

A good morning’s walk with one or two nice birds thrown in all made even bettter by everybody’s good mood. Thirty-seven species were seen.

Glynde Reach in the gloom

Glynde Reach, looking to Laughton

A couple of hundreds Lapwings, lots of thrushes, 4+ Common Buzzards, Wigeon and Little Egret. Full report on Firle Birds.