Yesterday (Sunday 29th January 2012) my wife and I did a little road trip along the south coast. We took the fast route down the motorway; destination Newhaven. It took about 1 1/2 hours from Woking and we arrived at about 07:50am. After a wonderful McDonald's muffin, we bundled up and headed out onto the east quay near Newhaven harbor. Target bird today was Purple Sandpiper. Alas the tide was not in our favour and we came up empty handed. These small waders regularly roost at high tide along this quay, but we arrived, unfortunately, at low tide. Never the less, we braved the cold and walked out and checked it anyway.
|East quay in Newhaven|
|Hardy birder - Lori Mooney|
It was not a total waste of time; Lori got her lifer Oystercatcher, Little Egret and Guillemot! Other species seen included Lesser Black-backed Gull, Greater Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Stonechat, Linnet, Goldfinch and Pied Wagtail. After checking the west quay we began to make our way along the coast; stopping every now and then to scan the beaches and rocks for Purple Sandpiper. Never did connect with this bird but did get some Turnstones for our efforts. After we had passed through Brighton we began heading further north towards the South Downs.
Just outside the town of Arundal we turned off on a little country road towards Burpham, though pausing long enough to enjoy the beautiful view of Arundal Castle. The fields just outside Burpham have been a wintering area for Bewick's Swans for many years and luckily they were in full view for us today. 31 to be exact.
A little further up the road we made another quick stop which turned out to be very productive; Rough-legged Buzzard (which Mike Force and I had seen just before new year), Red-legged Partridge and Yellowhammer; all lifers for Lori! Our final stop of the day was at Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve. After filling up on pea and bacon soup, cake and tea; we headed around the reserve. There was a good selection of all dabblers seen from the hide but not many waders showing, Lapwing was about it. We did snag one cool bird though. On our way out of the reserve we stopped at some conifers, where we got a few Goldcrest and one FIRECREST! A bird I have not seen since about 1998.
A good day and about 160 miles....