We missed out on seeing Snow Bunting on our February trip to Scotland. They are usually found in good numbers around the car park at the Cairngorm ski lifts or on the coast at Lossimouth. This year we came away from both sites without seeing any.
Early December and it was beginning to look as though I would miss out on the year tick.Then we had a report of a Stone Curlew in a ploughed field at Ella Nore point and close by at East Head a Snow Bunting. I picked Dave up on Monday morning and we headed off towards West Wittering. We didn't hold out much hope of the Stone Curlew still being there but it would be a pleasant walk and the Snow Bunting was worth having.
As often happens we were half way down the A27 when we had a report of another Snow Bunting, this time on our home patch at Goring Gap. We pressed on in the hope of finding the Stone Curlew. Unfortunately it wasn't to be, it must have flown on south overnight.
We found the Snow Bunting at the northern point of East Head where it was being chased along the beach by a couple of dogs. We waited a few minutes and after having given the dogs a bit of exercise, it returned to its feeding area and gave us good views.
It was very active in feeding but as with most Snow Buntings, if you get in front of it and sit and wait it will eventually come quite close.
Missing out on the Stone Curlew was a disappointment but East Head is a nice place in the winter and there are always a good few birds around. It is perhaps worth adding that it is a place to be avoided in the summer with way too many cars, people and dogs.
Tuesday morning and I was out to get the patch tick for the same bird. A Snow Buntings seems to turn up most winters on the beach at Goring Gap. It is difficult to see why they would choose the location. It is busy with dog walkers, joggers, cyclists and people out for a stroll and the birds are continually disturbed. However, they always seem faithful to a small feeding area and return to it once the disturbance has moved on.
This one was again easy to locate.
Another nice bird to photograph and two in two days. The birding scene in Sussex finally appears to be picking up.