Monday, 4 December 2017

Black Guillemot

The weather looked reasonable this morning so I picked Dave up and we headed down to Eastbourne to look for the Black Guillemot in Sovereign Harbour. I already had good photographs of some very obliging Black Guillemots up in Scotland and I wasn't expecting too much from this bird. It was a juvenile, out of position on the south coast, and had been in the same location for over a week. It usually suggests that the bird could be ill.

I couldn't have been more wrong. It looked good, it was very active, and was feeding and preening for the whole time we observed it.

Black Guillemots seem very tolerant of people and this one was no exception. It came within a few feet of where we were standing.

With very clear water in the harbour you could watch it swimming and fishing underwater. In this case coming up with what appears to be a Pipe Fish.

It had a bit of difficulty subduing and swallowing the fish. This was the only time it seemed to recognise our presence and kept its back towards us most of the time just in case we wanted to steal its prize.

With plenty of food available and a sheltered harbour to live in this bird could be staying a while.

Reluctantly leaving the Black Guillemot we headed off to Normans Bay to see if we could find the Snow Bunting that had been reported there. It wasn't too difficult, just search for the birders rather than the bird.

This is another bird that does not seem to be fazed by either people or dogs although this one seemed a little more wary than some I had seen. A pity really as it favoured feeding on the grass patches. Most seem to prefer feeding on the pebbles where they tend to blend into the background and make photography difficult.

On the journey out we had passed a massive traffic jam on the A27 with cars stationary all the way  from Brighton to Eastbourne. So with time in hand we headed north, looking around Horse Eye Levels, lots of Redwings and Fieldfares but no raptors or owls, and ending up at Warnham Nature Reserve.

Great views of a Sparrowhawk, for us that is but not for the unfortunate Great Tit that was its victim. It would have made a great picture but I didn't even have time to move before it was gone.

An obliging Treecreeper proved to be a bit slower moving.

We were surprised to find another new hide on the lake at Warnham. This has always been a good site but it will probably be at its best in a few weeks time when the temperature has dropped and more birds are coming into the feeders.

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