Climping, Amberley Wildbrooks and Ambersham Common

A pretty big day of birding today starting at Climping on another frosty morning. I didn't notice much out to sea but it was still a pretty good trip. A Gannet came by quite close and one or two more were seen out to sea. When I arrived at my normal watching point there were 2 Wheatears in the area. A numenius sp was flying away from me, which I think was a Whimbrel. Frustratingly I missed two large egrets that went ovey my head, only seeing them when they were right in front of the sun. From photos I suspect they were Great White Egrets, but I can't be sure. A Red-breasted Merganser and a handful of Great Crested Grebes were on the sea along with a fair few Mediterranean Gulls. A few terns went by, very likely Sandwich Terns, but again I never got good views. 2 Shelduck went by and 3 Mute Swans came about two feet above my head which was quite an experience. Other sightings were a distant flock of Common Scoter, 7 Turnstone, 9 Osytercatcher and a singing Willow Warbler. 



Next stop was to Amberley where a heat haze was making visibility really difficult, but a few changes were noted. Along the river a single Sand Martin was hawking insects. At the swamp I finally heard a Sedge Warbler singing, although it wasn't quite in full song. A Cuckoo was calling from across the river at Timberley Farm. Just beyond the wet wood was another eagerly awaited song; a Grasshopper Warbler reeled ever so briefly and quite faintly. Still no Nightingale song, although speaking to a couple of nice chaps from Southampton who were here looking for eagles, they think they heard one on Friday. It might be that birds are here, but aren't being territorial yet, perhaps due to the lack of vegetation that's being prevented from growing due to the unusually cold April and persistent frosts. Neither the Sedge Warbler nor Grasshopper Warbler were properly in song. Later on a White-tailed Eagle was reported at Amberley. 

In the afternoon I went over to Ambersham Common. I had such a fantastic trip here at the end of May last year and I've been eager to revist. I've been informed there may also be Sand Lizards around, so thought I would try my luck today. No joy with the Sand Lizards, but I did see some of the star species with at least 1 Dartford Warbler (I'm all but certain there were more) and a male Redstart. No Tree Pipits or Woodlark noted this time, but it is still early. 2 Swallows were hawking insects and a Mistle Thrush was singing. Siskins were around in good numbers.


Dartford Warbler



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