Amberley to North Stoke; Waltham Brooks and Amberley Wildbrooks

I walked from Amberley to North Stoke and back at first light this morning, hoping I might get a sense of whether it would be a good spot to witness decent movements of birds migrating, but mindful that the current weather conditions are not conducive to productive visual migration sessions; with fine conditions and a decent tail wind most birds are heading straight through, probably at significant altitude. Nevertheless, it was a decent trip with 40 species recorded over quite a short distance.

Sunrise over the South Downs at Amberley

As I walked along the river at Houghton Bridge plumes of Pied Wagtails started emerging from the reeds in groups of 10-20. At least 100 and very likely more. Pied Wagtails remained a presence for the whole trip, but it was impossible to say whether they were all local birds or some were migratory. A couple of Stonechats were catching breakfast behind me and a Snipe was a nice surprise as it was flushed from the river bank. As I made my way slowly along to North Stoke a few Meadow Pipits and the odd Siskin was heard, but I never managed to see them so no idea how many. Like the Pied Wagtails I suspect these were all local birds.

A few House Martins came through (these definitely migrants) appearing to head west. Other migrants spotted on the trip were 2 Blackcaps calling and 2 Whitethroats at North Stoke. I sat down for a while viewing over Arundel Park and my attentions was drawn to a Red Kite that was harrassing a smaller raptor, which I think was a Sparrowhawk. A short while later a Sparrowhawk, a different bird, came shooting past me and made a feeble attempt at catching one of the Blackbirds that were feeding close by then just perched on the fence for a while. A Buzzard, a few Kestrels and a Raven were also noted.

Sparrowhawk at North Stoke

Whitethroat at North Stoke

Late morning I popped in to Waltham Brooks and walked up to the river. On the lagoon there were 10 Snipe some of which feeding right in the reeds. I thought to myself it would be wonderful to find a Jack Snipe here one day. It would also be very lucky I should imagine. Later on today someone report a Greenshank and Green Sandpiper here. 5 Blackcaps were noted in the scrub. As I walked the canal path the sky filled with House Martins and then soon emptied - fantastic. Up at the river bank a Kingfisher made its presence known by calling before I then flushed it and it went off down the river.

Late afternoon I went to Amberley Wildbrooks and amongst the c1000 sheep the highlights were 2 Whinchats, a Marsh Harrier and a Red Kite.

Goldfinch at Amberley

Red Kite at Amberley


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