Storrington, Kithurst and Cootham

I repeated both of last week's very enjoyable Storrington walks in a single walk today. The first leg was from home to Kithurst Hill this morning. There seemed to be less birds around, perhaps due to the sometimes blustery conditions, but there was still plenty to see and hear. Along Monestry Lane I recorded many of the common species, with a bonus 6 Canada Geese flying over, and there were two noisy Herring Gulls on top of the priory. Leaving the road off Kithurst Lane I spotted a distant Grey Heron standing static in a field. I wondered what food it was hunting, frogs maybe. 6 Red-legged Partridge were skulking in the far corner of the same field. I noted Chaffinch and singing Greenfinch along the path here, and 2 Buzzards calling over the woodland by St Joseph's Hall. The hedges lining the western side of the long field north of Coldharbour (the name of which I haven't been able to find yet) was again busy with bird activity. I thought I heard both Skylark and Yellowhammer singing, but I couldn't locate the latter and didnt hear the former again. There were a lot of Chaffinches, a few Redwings and a pair of Pied Wagtails here. I stopped at Coldharbour to view the huge field that spans across to Kithurst Ranges. Here, again, there were Buzzards on the deck, this time three, along with a flock of about 10 Stock Doves. The small pond at Coldhabrour held 10+ Mallards. The large flock of Redwings that were in the field at the end of Greyfriars Lane last week were today replaced with a flock of at least 15 Meadow Pipits. They were difficult to pick out as they scuttled about the field amonsgt the horse droppings. I noted Goldcrest and some very active Nuthatches on the climb up Kithurst Hill, and a Red Kite was spotted through the canopy. I didn't find any Marsh Tits today along the footpath to Kithurst carpark, but Long-tailed Tit was added to the list and at least one Skylark was singing. Little was noted down the treacherous slope to Kithurst Ranges where I passed a group of people speculating upon the fate of a deer whose well-eaten carcus was left halfway down. I pushed on to the Clay Lane pig farm where I stopped and pondered on how good a pig farm might be for birds; last week I really only noticed corvids. Today, along with the Rooks and Crows, there was also a reasonably sized flock of Chaffinches, between 20 and 30 perhaps, feeding on the mud, and whilst the camera was on full zoom trying get a picture the head of an Egypitan Goose poked up in the distance.

After a lunch stop at my parents in Cootham I headed over towards the glider field for the return trip along Hurston Lane and the Stor. Just a few moments after leaving the house I spotted a Peregrine heading quite deliberately, but clearly not chasing prey, in the direction on Parham. The treeline on the eastern edge of the glider field was alive with busy bird activity. There were 6 House Sparrows, a few Coal Tits, a lot of Great Tits and Blue Tits, about 20 Redwing, a few Goldfinches and 2 Bullfinches. I wondered if there might be a good supply of bird feeders around the campsite there. I didn't go right up to the water treatment works today but instead attempted to view it through the trees from the glider field. There were still plenty of Pied Wagtail but I couldn't get an idea of how many. A single Buzzard glided overhead and there were a few Common Gulls about. The only other notable observation for the walk was a screeching Jay and flock of about 17 Magpies in a tree along the Stor.

Total species count for the Storrington round trip was 39.

Grey Heron

Buzzard

Meadow Pipits

Egyptian Goose

River Stor

Magpies


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