Bignor Hill and Amberley Wildbrooks

It was challenging conditions for the birdwatcher today, daylight never felt like it arrived and the bloodsports were in full swing across rural Sussex. I went up to Bignor Hill and did a short loop. Apart from the gunfire it was very quiet, and I had to work hard to find the birds. I recorded just 17 species. Highlights were 2 Yellowhammer (my first since October) and at least 2 Marsh Tits. At the car park, a shooting party came through in a convoy of six vehicles, comprising of flat bed trucks with people on the back and 4x4s.

Afterwards I popped into Amberley village to see if I could get along the Wey South Path. I bumped into another birder who said it was impassable, but he'd spotted 2 Black Swans out there. I waded out as far as the gate and sat on it for a short time. I noted 10 or so Tufted Ducks (where have they all come from?), loads of Coot and Wigeon, and the 2 Black Swans. En route home I pulled over along Crossgates just past The Sportsman, which provides excellent views over the wildbrooks. Amongst the thousands of wildfowl I spotted the 3 Bewick's Swans, the yellow on the bill quite dinstinct from the orange bill of Mute Swans, with the yellow only extending as far as the nostrel, a feature distinguishing them from the Whooper Swan where the yellow extends beyond the nostrel.

Bewick's Swan

Amberley Wildbrooks

Wey South Path

Tufted Ducks

Yellowhammer

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