As last year, I have to admit to total opportunism – Ring Ouzels were reported from Cissbury and Beachy yesterday, so I made sure I got up on the escarpment at Firle Bostal this morning.
Sure enough, a single Ring Ouzel materialised, manically scolding from atop a berry-laden hawthorn (they’re all berry-laden this year) just beside the Bostal road – in the productive ‘elbow’ just before the final stretch up to the car park. After a couple of minutes a car flushed it over the ridge (Ring Ouzels always go over the ridge) towards Beddingham.
Other than that the walk was quiet. The regular party of four Stonechats was in the game cover below (minus the long-staying Whinchat, last seen in their company a week ago) and Redpoll and Yellowhammer flew over.
Last weekend along that stretch of escarpment, there were 250 – 300 Goldfinches in a fairly tight feeding flock, and good numbers Chiffchaffs with a couple of Blackcaps and Goldcrests in the scrub.
Grey Wagtails have become a daily sight and sound in the village and in the Park; up to three on any one walk, but perhaps twice as many are likely to be around the general area. Pied Wagtail numbers around the paddocks are in double figures, as usual at this time of year, often mixing with the swollen number of Meadow Pipits on recent ploughed patches.
Redwings started to come through on 8 Oct, with some even flying in mixed flocks with the last of the migrant hirundines. Siskins overhead are a daily sound, but Firecrest has only been heard on one morning (4 Oct), in the car park behind The Ram.
It’s been good to see (and hear from) a few birders who’ve stopped by for the Little Owl at New Elms Barn. It hasn’t always obliged, but repeat visits seem to be paying off.
Still waiting on the first Fieldfares, Teal and Green Sandpiper of the autumn – surely won’t be long now.