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)

Rodmell Brooks

As well as the numerous flocks of buntings and  skylarks that have maintained good numbers over the cold snap,there was the welcome return sighting of the male Merlin this afternoon.Also of note a  small flock of about 30 Golden Plovers flew over west to east.

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.

Ouse estuary and Rodmell levels

The 4 Bearded Tits (2 m. 2 f.) were still showing fom the screen on the Ouse estuary project – plus 2 Merlin (1 m. 1 f.) on Rodmell levels ,but no sign of the Hen harrier that was reported yesterday.

Hen Harrier @ Bo Peep 27.11.08

“This afternoon in the valley south of Bo Peep at least 3 Common Buzzards, possibly 5, a probable Merlin chasing the Finches and a superb ringtail Hen Harrier over the maize.” (Bob Eade, via SOS site)