Thursday, 15 May 2014


With the improving weather, Wednesday and Thursday were meant to be birding days but I got it all wrong. I went inland on Wednesday when there was a large fall of migrants along the coast and I went to the coast on Thursday when all the migrants had moved inland. It wasn't a complete disaster, I saw a few birds and even managed to get a few photographs of them but in the end both days were rescued by butterflying opportunities. I have put all the butterfly pictures in the next blog.

My targets on Wednesday were Tree Pipits and Woodlarks and I headed up to Iping Common where I had seen both in previous years. There were plenty of birds flying. Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs seemed to be everywhere, there were a lot of Yellowhammers around, but strangely I did not see a single Stonechat in the time I was there.

Willow Warbler

Target birds - there was no sign of the Tree Pipits. This is usually a reliable site for them and they are a relatively easy bird to spot if they are about. Perhaps I just had the wrong time of day. I did see Woodlarks but frustratingly I just could not get a decent picture of them. They were either in cover or I was taking the picture straight into the sun. My best effort is below, poor technique but I did try. It does, however, show how effective the birds camouflage can be.

Woodlark - heavily photoshoped so you can at least recognise the bird

There were a lot of other shots of various birds to a similar standard and the recycle bin on the computer has been kept very busy.

I always do a dog count at Iping as it has so many ground nesting birds and lots of notices asking people to keep their dogs on leads. Today it was one on the lead, seven off the lead, and one out of control running through the undergrowth. I have given up challenging people, you just get so much abuse and aggression. It's not what I want on a lovely morning on the common.

Wednesday night I read lots of reports of good birds down on the Selsey peninsular so Thursday morning it was down to Pagham Harbour. "You should have been here yesterday" - they had all moved on. Even the usual birds seemed to be keeping their heads down.

A couple of hours pursuing a Cuckoo at the back of the Visitors Centre gave me lots of views but no pictures and a visit to the Severals did not produce the hoped for Garganey.

The North Wall seemed even less promising. It was high tide and the water levels in the Breech Pool where well up so there was little chance of waders. I have yet to see a Reed Warbler this year and today was no exception. Their were plenty of Sedge Warblers showing but the Reed Warblers seemed to be staying down in cover. Perhaps the highlight of the day was a good view of a Cetti's within six feet of me but of course it was gone before I could get the camera on to it.

Sedge Warbler

Sitting down to eat my sandwiches and to contemplate a disappointing birding day my spirits were raised when the local Kestrel flew in with what looked like a Water Vole and joined me for lunch.

Kestrel with lunch

All a bit gruesome but fortunately I only had peanut butter in my sandwiches

To finish off the day one of the Robins in the horse stables was feeding a youngster.

Should keep it quiet for a time.

See the next blog for the Butterflies seen over the two days

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