Tuesday, 27 September 2011
Friday 23rd September 2011
A lovely late September day, and a day off work. I had to go down to Brighton, and thought I'd take the opportunity to try them out in new territory - East/West Sussex. James Bushnell joined me for a long overdue birding day out.
First stop after Brighton was Newhaven for the long-staying, and apparently tame Sabine's Gull. Of course it had chosen today to clear off, possibly to Cuckmere Haven where a later trip also drew a blank! Still it was a nice hour or so, on a warm beach surrounded by Rock Pipits, Wheatears and clouds of House Martins.
The next draw was the Pallid Harrier at Burpham, nr Arundel. What a lovely location, and a lovely drive up to the village with Arundel castle standing dominant on the west bank of the river. It looked like we were out of luck for the second time in the day - some folk were leaving having waited over 3 hours with no sighting. Unperturbed we walked to whether some birders were gathered. What a pleasant lot! A really friendly crowd who told us about how the estate was being managed for Grey Partridge of which we saw 5 birds. Within 5 minutes of arriving the shout went up for the Pallid Harrier which drifted down right in front of us and catching some prey, dropped to the ground and fed for 20 minutes or so. What an absolutely beautiful bird - so well-marked. While all this was going on James picked out a male Hen Harrier quartering the field behind us, I didn't know which way to look. Buzzard, Kestrel and Red Kite were all quickly added to the tally.
Finally we moved on, just down the road to Chichester GPs where a very active Grey Phalarope was on show along with a Black Tern. Unfortunately I heard the Phalarope had been taken by a Pike over the weekend!