My best day yet! (1 Viewer)

Saturday was without a doubt my best day's birding ever, both in terms of numbers of species seen and in what I saw. In the one day I saw as many birds as I usually see in an average month, and in the course of the day I got three new lifers, nine new year list ticks, and five new ticks for my Sussex life list - all in all a very productive day.

It was a beautiful day weatherwise with hardly a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze, and warm enough to dispense with the jacket by mid-morning. My first destination was Pagham, concentrating on the North Wall and Lagoon areas. Strangely there seemed to be very few birders out that morning, which was such a shame as I saw so much there that morning. Swallows were there in numbers, as were Common Whitethroats now which were very numerous, along with Chiffchaffs and a couple of Willow Warblers singing. Whilst listening to the near-cacophonous songs of Reed, Sedge, and Cetti's Warblers coming from the reeds at the North Wall, the sound of a Cuckoo could be heard in the distant. Turning my attention to the warblers again, both Reed and Sedge varieties decided to show themselves to me. Then as I started walking off, I saw the Cuckoo flying in my general direction, languidly flying past me offering me a great view of its barring on it chest. Beautiful. Oh, but it didn't stop there, as just as I was watching that Cuckoo fly away, a pair of Sparrowhawks decided to fly out and over me. So much going on in such a short space of time - I was in my element!

I carried on walking in the fields above the North Wall (which included my first Little Egret of the year), and on the way back over the Wall again I saw my first Wheatears of the year - a pair perched on top of some bushes. And as I was leaving, a Whimbrel decided to land not far from me, which was the first lifer of the day.

With over 50 species recorded in a small area and in just a few hours, it was a great start to the day. Would it continue in the afternoon up at Pulborough Brooks?

The answer was a big fat "yes"! With such a lovely day, Pulborough was not surprisingly rather busy, but that did not seem to deter the birds. Yet more Whitethroats, plenty of Chiffchaffs and also my first proper confirmed sighting of a Willow Warbler (so tick number two of the day); I'd probably seen a number of Willow Warblers before, including I suspect one earlier in the day, but this was the first that I not only had a good look of (and could actually make out the primary projection) but it was one that sang - so no hesitation at IDing that individual!

Out on the North Fields it was quite quiet, but a few wildfowl about (including a pair of Snow Geese, a tentative life tick), but the hide offered a splendid view of four Blackcaps (two males, two females) frolicking about down by the water's edge - fantastic sight.

After a well-earned cup of tea and obligatory slice of cake I had to make tracks, but before finally heading home I thought I'd stop off at the WWT centre at Arundel. And am I glad that I did, as it gave me the best till last!

It was a little after five, and the centre was starting to become rather quiet at that time. I was ambling through the reed beds and heard a Cetti's sing very close by. I saw something move from the direction of the song and think I saw the bird. It had disappeared, so I nipped into the camera obscura made from reeds whilst I let some other people go past. A few minutes later, I slowly came out of the camera obscura and peered round the corner. There, sitting in full view about five yards from me was this wonderful little brown warbler. Its cocked tail suggested it was a Cetti's rather than Reed Warbler, but it was the song that gave it away - how can something so small produce such a powerful song? I was standing there for about four or five minutes watching this wee bird through my bins from such a short range - he was totally unaware of my presence and just carried on preening himself and belting out his song a couple of times. Such a fantastic sight! And what a great way to finish a lovely day's birding.

Life list is now up to 119.
Sussex list is now on 108.
2010 year list now has 105, which is my total number of birds for all of last year!
 

Original PaulE

Well-known member
quality report stoggler some good birds there,getting a view of cetti's is always a good day,you sure on the snow geese lot of farmyard types about saw one at cattawade the other day with a greylag

cheers
 

Stoggler

Getting to grips with young gulls
I was sceptical about the Snow Geese at first, hearing people talking about them - I too thought they were farmyard ones. But a look in my trusty Collins confirmed it (as well as plenty of reports of them on the Sussex Ornithological Society's website).

My only concern is whether they are tickable, as I suspect they may be escapees
 

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