Alpine Swift etc – Weekend roundup

A rush of activity around the Ouse this weekend, worthy of a roundup.

Highlight was the ALPINE SWIFT seen at Rodmell this morning – the first locally since the twitchable Lewes bird two years ago.

Also reported today from Lewes Brooks: two White Wagtails (Andrew and Ian Whitcomb), two Med Gulls, a pair of Garganey and a Wheatear (Alan Kitson, SOS sightings).

Viewing screen at the OEP

At the Ouse Estuary project yesterday, a GLAUCOUS GULL, five Med Gulls and two drake Garganey (How many seen in the Ouse Valley already this spring? Six? Ten?). Today at least two Med Gulls still there, as well as my earliest ever Common Tern*, at least seven Chiffchaffs and a Cetti’s Warbler. Good to see the water levels here looking wildlife-friendly (for years it looked like someone had forgotten to put the plug in).

Wheatears were seen widely, including several at Tidemills and ten on Seaford Head, where there was also a Black Redstart reported (Derek Barber & Tracey Lambert, SOS sightings). Movement offshore has also livened up, with plenty of Brent Geese yesterday from Splash Point, amongst other birds (see Liam Curson’s report for more detail).

Meanwhile a Firecrest by the cricket field in Firle yesterday was my first in the village for three years, and a day in advance of the first singing Chiffchaffs.

Bring on the rest of Spring.

* it seems this is the joint earliest Common Tern ever recorded in Sussex [see Liam’s comment and link]

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Alpine Swift

An Alpine Swift in the Ouse Valley this morning. watched in the region of Piddinghoe for a few minutes at around 10.30 *UPDATE* the bird was actually found by Andrew Whitcomb at Rodmell village for about 20 mins before it headed South (see Kemp Town Enclosures) – not reported subsequently as far as I’m aware.

This morning there were lots of birders out at Tidemills/Ouse Estuary Project looking for it, and yesterday’s Glaucous Gull and Garganey. The best  we could manage at OEP was a Common Tern, a couple of smart adult Mediterranean Gulls, at least seven Chiffchaffs and a Cetti’s Warbler.

Hen Harrier, Med Gull at Rodmell

An adult male Hen Harrier seen at Rodmell Brooks yesterday, giving “prolonged views” around the Mound around 3.30pm.

Also an adult Mediterranean Gull flew south with Black-headeds, and a Water Rail showed well in its favoured spot, the stream just down from Monk’s House car park. (all Simon Linington, SOS sightings).

Separately, a possible Cattle Egret reported “in field immediately south of Rodmell with sheep ” (Birdguides).

Slav Grebe at Arlington

A Slavonian Grebe at Arlington Reservoir today, near the hide, plus adult Mediterranean Gull in the roost and Peregrine over (Chris Ball, via SOS site)