It's been a slower start to the Pulborough list this year with the likes of Bewick's Swan, Hawfinch and even Tawny Owl still missing, even though they were all on the list by this time in 2018. That's one of the joys of patch birding though; every year is different. Indeed, I'm only aware of one Hawfinch record at the Brooks so far in 2019 - will we ever see numbers like last winter's again, I wonder?
Nonetheless, the prospect of some windblown surprises courtesy of 'Storm Erik' had my hopes heightened for at least a couple of year ticks and perhaps something even better.
Friday was very wet and windy and although I'd planned to do an all-dayer I had to admit defeat early afternoon, with singles of Ruff and Dunlin, 110+ Black-tailed Godwits, a cream cap Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Golden Plover (heard only), 2 Little Egrets, 3 Snipe, 2 adult Great Black-backed Gulls, at least 40 Common Gull and 9 Shelduck the best I could find in the challenging conditions.
The GBBGs were nice to see as they're the least common of the commoner Gulls to get on the deck here, in fact former warden Pete Hughes today said he reckons he's seen more Common Cranes grounded at Pulborough than GBBGs! Presumably the two seen earlier in the week by Gary Trew and Alan Kitson, they became a regular fixture of the weekend, present again for much of the day on Saturday and just one making a brief appearance on Sunday morning. The increase in Black-tailed Godwits was interesting as numbers have been pretty low since Christmas and, as predicted by Pete H, numbers increased further with at least 480 present on Saturday and Sunday, a good number of them bearing leg rings.
|Great Black-backed Gulls|
|Leucistic Black-headed Gull|