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

I found this Buzzard sat out in a field and then perched in adjacent tree near Southease as I headed along the C7 towards Rodmell.
Two Water Rail and a Kingfisher seen in the brook alongside the path, a Buzzard was perched on a bush top looking back towards the village a Sparrowhawk on a fence post also in this area, the stubble fields and adjoining bushes were alive with Corn & Reed Buntings, Yellowhammers and Skylarks with probably more than 50 of each on show.pict0001-3

Alciston 12.10.08

A warm misty morning, with the prospect of the sun burning through at any moment. In the end, it didn’t do so until the very end of our hour-long walk in Alciston.

The village street was quiet, with House Sparrows and Goldfinches most obvious, plus a ragged male Blackbird bathing noisily in a trough at the stableyard.

Up onto the Old Coach Road, we turned left towards Berwick, where the track runs deep between the hedges. As always, there were small birds here, including a singing Dunnock.

Where the hedge then disappears, suddenly the vista is wide open. Wide unploughed field margins have been established here for years, but this year there appears to be an innovation: a further wide strip of standing wheat. Through the mist, more small birds could be seen diving in and out of this promising-looking area.

A circuit of the large field, back round towards the church, revealed my first Redwing of the autumn, feeding in a favoured spot along one of the ancient hedgerows. Good numbers of Yellowhammers and Skylarks were heard all around the perimeter, with occasional Linnets and Meadow Pipits, and a solitary Kestrel.

On the field edge that leads directly back to the church, vines thick with red berries could be seen in the hedgerow – can anyone identify them for me? [*see comment below*]

Then back to the paddocks near the church, where Mistle Thrushes clattered amonst the trees, along with more discreet Goldcrests, as the low cloud finally gave way to the sun.