Two hours at Pulborough first thing on Saturday before the wedding and the rain was a fairly lively session with my first Barn Owl of 2019 quartering over the South Brooks followed by an immature male Marsh Harrier causing havoc over the North Brooks. A decent selection of waders too with the highlights being at least five Ruff (Ads Bowley had ten later in the day), 36 Black-tailed Godwits and a single Golden Plover in with the Lapwings. Shelduck numbers are starting to increase now with at least 17 yesterday and 16 today.
Sadly I couldn't find the two White-fronted Geese that have been around on and off a few times this month, most recently on Friday, so it was a bit galling to see Sean Moore and Ads Bowley reporting them as present again on the North Brooks from late morning yesterday. Clearly these birds don't get up as early as I do!
With that in mind, when we got home just after noon today I quickly set up my scope in the attic and set about scanning what was clearly a good size flock of geese just south of the Stor. It took a while thanks to unfavourable sunlight and the distance but I eventually picked up the White-fronts among the Canadas and Greylags. Later on I dropped in to the reserve and had much better views of them from the Hanger - they were still in much the same spot when I headed home a little after 16:00.
With no news on the Glaucous Gull at Holmethorpe SP in Surrey since yesterday morning - which I was tempted to go and see - I decided instead to stay much closer to home and dropped in to Coldwaltham Sewage Works early afternoon in the hope of finding the two Siberian Chiffchaffs which have been around for a week or so at least.
Having not visited since the autumn I was pleased to find the place absolutely heaving with Chiffchaffs - certainly at least fifteen but likely many more. Some clumps of Willow had four or five in at a time and there were often as many as that flycatching out over the filter beds. I quickly found a Firecrest flicking around the brambles near the main gate but after an hour of sifting through the Chiffs still hadn't seen one I felt happy calling a tristis. Another look through the gate just as I was about to call it a day revealed a very cold two-tone looking Chiff on the edge of one of the filter beds - this looked the part. It flew off into the brambles and a short while later I heard a couple of clear tristis-type calls close by and the two Siberian Chiffchaffs revealed themselves together. As reported by Alan Kitson last week, these two do seem to associate with one another rather more exclusively instead of just tagging along with the other Common Chiffs. Nice birds to see so close to home.
|Siberian Chiffchaff, Coldwaltham Sewage Works|