Crossbills

As I left the house to walk this dog this morning, the first wandering Grey Wagtail of the summer flew over – perhaps one of the birds that set up territory across the park in the spring.

Given that it’s been very quiet and that’s it’s mid-July, I assumed this would be the highlight of the day, but at Place Farm bouncy ‘chipping’ noises alerted me to a group of Crossbills heading North over the farm buildings.

They moved through quickly, partly hidden by rooftops, but I counted at least 25 birds in the flock, perhaps more like 35.

These are my first Crossbills in Firle, they take the list of species recorded since 1995 to a Nelson – 111.

The rest’s mainly warblers

Almost as unusual, there’s been a Sedge Warbler singing near the A27, on the Beddingham side of the paragliding centre at Mill Lane (map here). I’ve heard it twice in the last few weeks, from where the road rises up towards Trevor Gardens near the chalk pit, and you get a clear view of where the stream cuts through the field below.

I’m sure there are lots of Sedges closer to the Ouse and Glynde Reach, but for a relatively unremarkable, dry bit of a land this is pretty good – and echoes a record from the same spot at the end of June two years ago. If I’d been using my bike more often last summer, would I have heard it then too?

Back in the village, Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warbler have been giving the odd burst of song at the allotments over the last couple of weeks, and the regular Spotted Flycatcher has been squeaking tirelessly from the tall pine opposite the Post Office.

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