Saturday, 20 February 2016

Birthday surprises

A gentle meander across the levels for my birthday first thing on Valentines' day was notable for a couple of oddities. The weather was (as has been typical this winter) dank and grey with conditions underfoot to use racing parlance, heavy, waterlogged in places. Nonetheless Spring is beginning to show signs of coming with the first pair of Shelduck on Horse-eye and noticably more bird song than of late with Skylarks especially vocal today. A party of 6 Little Egret in the fields by White Dyke Farm were not unexpected but the two Dabchick in the dyke near Mappins were! I have bumped into Dabchick on the odd occassion out here but they are few and far between so a good start. This was quickly followed by the wintering female Hen Harrier drifting over Mappins (atmospheric record shot above) and one of the resident Peregrine on Horse-eye.
Moving on towards Chilley farm numbers of Lapwing and Black-headed Gull were seen around the floods and scrapes with around 300 of the former, before the mornings second oddity turned up in the form of the Egyptian Goose pictured below. Probably a wandering bird from the Cuckmere this represents only my second on the patch.
And so to Chilley farm where my lift home awaited - but not before one of the best breakfasts in Sussex!

Tuesday (16th) saw me out for a late afternoon walk with the hound around Lookers. I failed to see either SEO or Hen Harrier but one of the Little Owls was in visible residence and a Kingfisher scooted by on New bridge road. Elsewhere another Little Owl seen near Battle on the evening of the 17th. Keep safe.