Back in the birding saddle (1 Viewer)

I have been rather quiet here recently, with little birding at the beginning of the month and so little to report.

Other than watching the swifts in my neighbourhood and keeping an eye on the nesting pair in my house, I didn't really go out birding for a couple of weeks, having been distracted by other activities (not least the World Cup and Twenty20 cricket matches at Lord's and the Oval), but Springwatch sparked the wildlife juices again and the last couple of weekends has seen me donning my bins again.

Last weekend was spent in London, with a quick trip to Barnes for some early morning birding on the Common and then the WWT centre before getting home again for some football.

But this weekend I put the hours in, visiting on Saturday Burton Mill Pond (hoping the Osprey seen there earlier in the week was still about - it wasn't) and Pulborough Brooks.

The former site was very good, with me catching up with some species I hadn't seen for a few months (nuthatch, treecreeper, coal tit), and watching a number of Jays on the common enjoying the copious amounts of insects about (including one that was behaving very flycatcher-like by taking off from a perch, taking an insect on the wing and returning to its perch).

Enjoyed watching a couple of Grey Herons for a while gracefully flying about and landing.

All in all, very calm and relaxing and a lovely location.

I then drove off to the RPSB reserve at Pulborough, and although there were a number of birds about, with the exception of Stock Doves (a Sussex first for me) there wasn't a huge amount about (it was just after noon on a really hot day after all).

The following day I went for a walk and a picnic with the other half in the Arun valley, starting off in Houghton, walking down the west bank of the Arun by Arundel Park as far as South Stoke (where we had lunch), crossing the river there and then back up via North Stoke and Houghton Bridge before looping round back to Houghton via part of the South Downs Way.

Birding wise it seemed that the place was very diverse and lively, with a lot to see. A couple of highlights howver: the first was a young Buzzard soaring just over us at one point.

The second however was brilliant. Right at the end as we reached Houghton I heard the bird, and thought I recognised it even though I'd never seen or heard one before. It was a pigeon, but not the recognisable collared dove or woodpigeon call, was it a turtle dove...? I inched forward and then saw it, sitting on top of a TV aerial, purring away beautifully. And yes, it was a Turtle Dove, my first ever and a beaut to boot! Lovely thing it is too.

A lovely weekend all round (even the football couldn't dampen my spirits, although I did wish we'd stayed out longer instead of watching that dross!), and looking forward to the next one!


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Ahh! Sheer nostalgia came flooding back to me while reading this. You trudged around some great Sussex locations well known to me in the past. Seeing a turtle dove in Sussex, that's a bonus now. They used to be quite common but not anymore.
Yes, agree the footie was dross with regards to the team with the three lions on their shirts. Missed the humilation by Germany but heard it on the radio in the car while driving back home after a magic weekend on The Burren in Co. Clare. Now that's some place.


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