Sunday 12 Jan 2014


Almost jumped in the car to go somewhere watery, then remembered that it’s #footit month and so took a hike along the Old Coach Road instead. This time I concentrated on the game cover to the east of the Plantation, hoping to find the flocks of small stuff that eluded me last weekend. 

Unlike yesterday’s perfect winter’s day, this morning was breezy with intermittent cloud cover. The puddles along the track had all been icy until broken by the horses and cyclists that came before me, and there were hardly any passerines about. Easily the best was a single Reed Bunting in the hedge the other side of Beanstalk, my first local one this winter.

A Grey Heron flew in to one of the fields at Charleston, a couple of Buzzards did the rounds. I turned back at Tilton, crossing over to the escarpment and coming back through the old Safari Britain campsite, where a Tawny Owl gave a single hoot at the unlikely moment of 10.15am. 

None of the game cover strips appeared to have any flocks of birds at all, other than the game they’re intended for. I returned to a few Fieldfares over the village and little else. 

In yesterday’s sun, I checked the Stew Ponds and Long Pond in the Park, but found nothing other than a few Moorhens. If there are any Teal on the nearby Decoy, they’re keeping very quiet – I haven’t recorded any since the Stews were dredged last winter. Nor a Green Sandpiper. 

The mild winter seems to be suiting Goldcrests though – in the last few days they’ve been singing in three different places (the Lambpool, the Ram car park and the nature reserve). Yesterday I again heard a Chiffchaff-like sound in the nature reserve, but still can’t pin anything to it. Chiffchaffs are pretty unusual here in the winter, so it would be a good record. Incidentally, in December there was one at the bridge in Glynde, which is more of a likely spot. 

Last Wednesday, my first pair of Ravens of the year flew low over Place Farm as I walked the dog. Meanwhile a female Marsh Harrier was reported just south of the A27 at Beddingham yesterday, on the SOS sightings page



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