Friday, 12 July 2019


Yes, it’s that time of year again when birders unsettle their friends, families and unsuspecting Twitter followers by dropping the A word into conversation as often as possible.

Meteorologically and astronomically speaking of course it’s utter nonsense but there can be no denying that the breeding season is over for many birds and return passage is now well underway, as has been evidenced by the amount of waders at Pulborough these past couple of weeks.

All the usual familiar species are beginning to trickle back through, and in some good numbers already with high counts of 50 Black-tailed Godwits (3rd), at least eight Green Sandpiper and nine Little Ringed Plover (12th), and smaller numbers of Greenshank (two on the 8th), Redshank, etc. A nice male Ruff just coming out of breeding plumage was present on the 9th while a Curlew flew over on the 10th.
Juvenile LRP
Best of all have been a group of six Avocet present intermittently from the 5th to the time of writing - my highest count of the species here. On Saturday I noticed that one of the birds is colour ringed and I've now received the report back from the ringer, Graham Giddens. The bird (a male) was ringed as a chick at Needs Ore in Hampshire on 16th June 2014. Since then it has toured around the Hampshire coast and wintered every year at Poole Harbour. This year it successfully reared four young with an unringed female at Normandy Marsh near Lymington. Interestingly, these six all appear to be adults so perhaps the male has left the female with the young and tagged on with this new group for summer break in West Sussex.

The ringed male Avocet on the North Brooks
Other non-wader bits of note recently include a very early returning Whinchat on the 6th - my first on the patch this year - and the first signs of Mediterranean Gull dispersal with three present on the afternoon of the 10th. Could this be the year Pulborough gets a Yellow-legged?

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