Bittern, Bewick’s, Waxwing, Egyptian Goose

New reports over the last couple of days have included:

6 Bewick’s Swans over Lewes (Matthew Silk), last seen heading in the direction of the Brooks,

a Bittern flushed yesterday at Glynde (Andrew and Diane Lusted)

a single Waxwing reported in Mill Lane, Ringmer (James Grover, via SOS sightings)

Egyptian Goose and 2 Goosander at Arlington Reservoir this morning (Jacob Everitt)

Happy New Year!


A morning around the Ouse and the Cuckmere

An excellent few hours around the Cuckmere and the Ouse with Paul Stevens this morning.

It didn’t start well – we drew a blank on Waxwings at Lewes Tesco – but the Brooks at Iford were busier. On the flood as viewed from Swanborough we could see hundreds of Lapwing and Wigeon, with a few Gadwall and the odd Shoveler. A couple walking their dog very close to the flood flushed many of the birds, including a dozen or so small waders (presumably Dunlin) and four probable Black-tailed Godwits, seen just too briefly for me to be 100%. A Water Rail squealed from one of the fishing lakes, and there was a Grey Wagtail on the treatment works.

From there to Piddinghoe, where a walk along the river produced the redhead GOOSANDER, two Little Grebes and a neat Grey Plover – not a bird I recall ever having seen along the Ouse before. A male BEARDED TIT crossed the river and dropped into the reeds at Piddinghoe Pond, finally giving great close views.

The Ouse Estuary Project was (again) bereft of Waxwings, so we quickly shifted to the Golden Galleon at Exceat, where the WHITE-FRONTED GEESE were feeding just north of the bridge – we counted 65 (some ten down on yesterday’s report) with the Canadas, Wigeon and Curlew.

South of the bridge there was a great selection of duck on the meanders, including a pair of GOLDENEYE, 3 male PINTAIL and four Pochard. A brief scan of the marshes on the west side revealed plenty of large gulls and Shelduck, but no Barnacle Geese.

Having dipped WAXWING twice already during the morning, we dropped in on Vale Close, Seaford and found an obliging and apparently fearless bird tucking into the apples; it was also being enjoyed by several photographers and some intrigued local residents.

A brief stop at Litlington Bridge just north of Alfriston produced three more Little Grebes and a couple of Kestrels but not much else, so we called it a day, having clocked a respectable-for-this-bit-of-Sussex total of 60 species.

Red-throated Diver at Arlington

A Red-throated Diver showing at Arlington Reservoir today (Alan Kitson and Miou Helps, SOS site).

Also, a few reports belatedly reproduced here: On New Year’s Eve, nine Waxwings were at Exceat (Karen Anne Cooper, via SOS) and a Little Gull at Cuckmere Haven on New Year’s Day (Joanne Chattaway, also SOS).

Yesterday, the Bearded Tits were seen again at the Ouse Estuary Project, by Paul James – for a full trip report see his new blog.


One this morning, in gardens near the Ram in Firle.

First Hove, then Seaford, now Firle – are we in for a lot more Waxwings this winter?

Waxwing in Seaford

A Waxwing seen by Matt and Bob Eade in Seaford today, near Seaford Cemetery – the first local record for some time. There’s a record shot of the bird on the SOS site.

Another Waxwing was heard in Hove yesterday.

Also today, a Black Redstart seen again at Newhaven Tidemills (Paul James, also per SOS).