Climping and Amberley Wildbrooks

A fantastic morning's birding today produced a lifer and numerous year ticks. Starting early at Climping there was a good passage of Whimbrels with at least 22 recorded going east. Sandwich Terns were also trickling by. I noticed a bird gliding on stiff wings and was sure this was a Fulmar. The white on the underside appeared framed by a dark edging and the uppersides were a light grey, and the neck was large. A nice year tick. I've been eager to spot a skua for some time now and today was the day, although the sighting wasn't quite as I imagined. I scanned a small flock of gulls that were sat on the water at quite a distance and among them there was a darker bird. I was pretty sure it was a skua by its colour and size. It was eating something that was just below the surface, and whatever is was was white in colour, and I wondered for a moment whether it might have actually been one of the gulls, but it was probably a fish it had pirated from them. It occasionally flapped it's wings where I saw the diagnostic white flashes, and I was certain it was a Great Skua. After a short time of being hassled by the gulls it flew off and I tracked it as it did so, taking note of it's size and plumage markings. It appeared very stocky, with broad wings. The white on the lower side of the wings was more obvious at this distance than the upper side, which was sometimes tricky to see. A fantastic bird and a very pleasing lifer. Other sightings here this morning were at least 8 Gannets, 5 Great Crested Grebes, a Little Egret, a Swallow, a Wheatear on the beach, and 3 Whitethroats. 

Wheatear

Whimbrel

Fulmar

Fulmar

At Amberley things were certainly livlier than of late. Just along from middle gutter with the Willow Warblers I heard the wonderful song of the Lesser Whitethroat. Up on the river bank a Reed Warbler was singing, quite faintly. I hung around for a while until it showed as I have struggled to separate their song from Sedge Warber in the past, and I was please I got this ID correct. I possibly heard, and saw, Redshank at the swamp, but couldn't be certain. I was certain that I heard a Green Sandpiper though which I then saw come flying up the river and head off west. Moments later my first Swift appeared, hawking above the trees briefly before moving off. That was four patch year ticks in a short space of time. Other highlights were 6 Whitethroats, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Swallows, a Peregrine and 4 Teal that came off the swamp and landed on the river. 

Linnet

Sedge Warbler


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