Pulborough Brooks, Amberley Wildbrooks, Black Wood and Hails View

The arun valley was encased in dark cloud and a strange haze all day provding gloomy conditions and poor visibility, and until right up to the end of the day the birding wasn't great either.   Pulborough was quiet this morning, with no sign of the Short-eared Owl that I'm still failing to see. Nevertheless, the winter thrushes and throng of waterfowl make it a trip worthwhile, and there was Peregrine on the mid brooks again. Aside from the Lapwing I saw no other waders; perhaps they're deterred by the high water levels. 

West Mead

Over to Amberley early afternoon and the birding was similarly quiet. However, it's worth the trip just to experience all of the Fieldfare that line the hedges along the path that passes the swamp, flushing noisly as they relocate themselves further along the path, only having to repeat the process again a short while later. Today I noticed their call can sometimes sound a bit like a Lapwing's. Other noteworthy sightings were a Marsh Harrier, 3 Red Kites souring together, and the small group of Common Gulls still on the flooded field just beyond the village.

Fieldfare

The final trip was to Black Wood and Hails View before it got dark. Black Wood was remarkable for how quiet it was, just a Blackbird alarm call heard before arriving at Hails. The south brooks was quiet, distant ducks and Lapwing the only things to pique curiosity. I took the opportunity to clean the lens of the scope, and as I set the scope to admire the new clarity I'd created, there was a ringtail Hen Harrier right in the centre of it. It quartered the water's edge before heading off towards the mid brooks. A moment later a Marsh Harrier appeared, flushing everything on the water, and headed in the same direction, before coming back and settling on the deck, providing nice clear views of its cream facemask. I noticed that, although the Hen Harrier took an almost identical route a few moments before the Marsh Harrier, the latter was the one that flushed the Teal and Lapwings. I got further good, but brief, glimpses of the Hen Harrier a short while later, again it not bothering the smaller birds. The Marsh Harrier appeared again at times too, but never were both harriers in the area at the same time.



Hen Harrier

Hen Harrier

Hails View

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