Lewes

Birdwatching

The group meets once a month on the 3rd Thursday throughout the year except for August and December.
Conveners: Clare Hurworth churworth@btopenworld.com.
Bill Adderley bill.adways@gmail.com

Outings, weather permitting, start at various times according to the venue and target species. Car sharing is advisable as there is limited parking at some sites and parking charges at others. The timetable below is provisional and may be varied if something unusual turns up. More details will be sent by e-mail about two weeks before each event. Contact Clare or Bill if the weather looks unfavourable for the day.

The group is nominally full and there may be a waiting list. Please check with Clare first, tel 01273 473090, if you are interested in joining this course.

Venues for 2017/18 are as follows:-

16thNov: West Rise Marsh, Eastbourne
18th Jan: RSPB Dungeness
15th Seaford Head Nature Reserve.
15th Mar: Pagham Harbour.
19th Apr: Filsham Reedbed and Cuckmere Haven
17th May: RSPB Pulborough Brooks
21st Jun: Barcombe Mills
19th Jul: Arlington Reservoir
20th Sep: Whitbread Hollow, Eastbourne

Pagham Harbour 15th march 2018
To the Group! Thank you to the 18 members who bravely took to the road, despite all forebodings of rain wind and high water, and enjoyed a fine day out at this wild and beautiful Reserve. The list in no particular order is as followsPheasant, Shelduck, Cetti Warbler (heard), Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Curlew, Tufted Duck, Widgeon, Teal, Dunnock, Avocet, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Linnet (thanks Rob!!), Magpie, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Little Grebe, Peregrine, Redshank, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Pochard, Gadwall, Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwit, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Oyster Catcher, Goldcrest, Moorhen, Coot, Pintail, Cormorant, Mallard, Brent Geese, Wren (heard).
There may be others, but a total here of 42 species is a good tally.
Our thanks were given to our hosts, no less than five guides who both protected and educated us. And thank you to the 18 members who bravely took to the road, despite all forebodings of rain wind and high water, and enjoyed a fine day out at this wild and beautiful Reserve.
Some of the group moved on to Church Norton after lunch and saw in addition; turnstone, sandwich tern, mediterranean gull, golden plover and bar tailed godwit.

Seaford Head Nature Reserve 15th Feb 2018
Listed below is the species total of 31 for yesterday though I don't think any one person saw everything. I think the chaffinches stole the day with their exuberant song and crazy fly pasts. Not surprising after sunshine and a degree of warmth followed the previous day's very wet weather.
Shelduck, goldfinch, chaffinch, starling, wigeon E50 on the sea, great black backed gull, blackbird, greenfinch, stonechat, meadow pipit, rook, carion crow, jackdaw, magpie, black headed gull, herring gull, dunnock, robin, great tit, blue tit, little egret, grey heron, oystercatcher, fulmar, mallard, mute swan, canada goose, buzzard, wood pigeon, skylark, curlew.

Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, 21st October 2017
“The birders had a successful birding trip to Rye harbour with dry autumnal weather and were greatly helped by local guide Chris Bentley. Unfortunately on returning from the trip the water supply to the William the Conqueror Pub was unavailable, as was the food, so our usual social gathering over a meal could not happen as planned - a few of us were able to eat and drink (tea) at the Bosun’s Bite Cafe and took the opportunity to gather the following list of sightings together.
Mallard, Redshank, Goldfinch, Little Egret, Great Black Backed Gull, Coot, Herring Gull, Dunnock, Kestrel, Longtailed Tit, Teal, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Starling, Magpie, Blackheaded Gull, Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Shelduck, Grebe, Grey Plover, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Skylark, Shoveller, Ringed Plover, Curlew, Turnstone, Stonechat, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Greylag Goose, Snipe, Buzzard and Bar Tailed Godwit.”

Cuckmere Haven, 21st September 2017.
A lovely walk on a beautiful day down to the sea at Cuckmere. Bird Count as follows: Black headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Cormorant, Canada Geese (lots), Oyster Catcher (lots), Little Egret
Heron Grey, Carrion Crow, Mute Swan (2), Rooks, Little Grebe (8-9), Dunlin (2), Linnet, Magpies, Robin, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Skylarks, Stonechat, Wood Pigeon, Starlings, Kestrel, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Swallows (lots), Reed Bunting, House Sparrow. Total 29 species

Arlington Reservoir, 20th July 2017
The reservoir provided a pleasant walk through a series of changing habitat opportunities, water, woodland, farmland, reed beds. About 26 species of bird were counted on a breezy day with a NW wind and sunny spells:- great crested grebe, barn owl, canada goose, moorhen, goldfinch, magpie, crow, rook, jackdaw, collared dove, wood pigeon, house sparrow, mallard, black headed gull, herring gull, great black backed gull, heron, little egret, pied wagtail, hobby, green woodpecker, blackbird, cormorant, swallow, house martin, song thrush, common sandpiper and a Peregrine? or Raven? nest at the top of a pylon.

Pulborough Brooks, 15th June 2017
A beautiful day for a bird watching trip. The Pulborough Brooks teams have been working hard
to maintain the grounds and have excelled.
A goodly selection of our handsome feathered friends showed up for our delectation today.
A list follows, compiled over lunch at the restaurant there:
Lapwing, Pheasant (male),Egyptian Geese (family pair with 5 goslings), Canada Geese, Mallards, Shell Duck (with chicks, 6 No) , Whitethroat, Starlings, Cuckoo (heard but not seen), Reed Warblers (ditto), Nightingales (ditto), Willow Warbler (ditto), Avocets (pair), Skylarks, Chiff Chaff, Dunnock, Linnet, Magpies, Coots, Woodpecker (not green!, greater spotted?), Wood pigeon, Little Egret, Jay, Kestrels (pair), White Doves, Siskin, Robin, Long Tailed Tits (10-12), Great Tit, Blue Tit, Mute swans, Black Headed Gulls, Grey Heron, Sparrows (house/tree), Song Thrush, Crow, Wren, Buzzard (on arrival at entrance to the grounds while in car). In total 39 species.

Barcombe, 18th May 2017
After a wet night and a morning without early sunshine the bird count was less than I expected, having recorded 24 species the previous week. However, the nightingales, our target species, rewarded us at least with easily identifiable flourishes of sound if not prolonged song. The list totalled some 18 species many of which were heard rather than seen - cuckoo, blackcap, common whitethroat, rook, crow, jackdaw, blackbird, magpie, yellowhammer,wood pigeon, nightingale, chiffchaff, blue tit, great tit and pheasant, garden warbler. Afterwards Robin and Clemency hosted a delightful breakfast for which we thank them very much.

Splash Point, Seaford 20th April 2017
Even though the wind was unfavourable for passage migrants a good morning was had with a total count of around 35 species.
The kittiwake colony was in full swing along with 1 fulmar, herring and lesser black backed gulls. A group of 10 mediterranean gulls passed up the coast and also 3 common scoters. Only those with scopes could view several arctic skuas and some velvet scoters far out to sea.
Transferring to the coastal scrub at Tidemills the bird tally increased rapidly:- rock pipit, goldfinch, greenfinch, whitethroat, buzzard, kestrel, robin, blackbird, sedge warbler, willow warbler, magpie, reed bunting, linnet, skylark, crow, house sparrow, wren, dunnock, wood pigeon, stonechat, reed warbler,oyster catcher, collared dove, meadow pipit, swallow and jackdaw. Many were in full song.
A pleasant morning finished with coffee on the beach by the martello tower.

RSPB Dungeness 16th March 2017
Despite mist that was slow to clear, we had a very good morning birdwatching. We were shown around the site by an RSPB volunteer who, as well as being knowledgable about the birds we encountered, provided interesting information about the history and management of the reserve. Highlights included a long eared owl, a wheatear newly arrived from its migration, a view of the elusive cettti's warbler and some lovely closeups of bearded tits. In total close to forty species were noted and finally we had a warm sunny day as well.

Shoreham Harbour 16th February 2017
The visit began down at the harbour where an eider duck swimming in close view was a nice surprise. Out to sea there were red throated divers, a guillemot, a razorbill and a skein of brent geese. Afterwards following up the bank of the River Adur, there were numerous gulls and lapwings on the mud banks. A kingfisher was perched under the old toll bridge and several redshanks and more gulls were feeding or resting nearby. In total about 21 species seen on a calm, sunny day. It was a good birdwatching outing.

Weirwood Reservoir 19th January 2017
The weather was almost perfect for a January outing - sunny, dry and windless which together with hoarfrost and the still, icy water on the reservoir provided a wonderful winter backdrop for some great birdwatching. By the car park the feeders gave excellent views of marsh tits, coal tits, long tailed tit , blue tit, great tit, goldfinch , chaffinch, nuthatch, dunnock and a great spotted woodpecker. A large flock of greylag geese flew over, settling on the water, in the field and on the bank behind. Also seen were wigeon, teal, mallard, a heron and a cormorant together with lapwing, a buzzard, kestrel, green woodpecker, pied wagtail and kingfisher. A number of the group walked around the west end of the reservoir to the other side of the water. The total species count was 30. Afterwards a warm and convivial lunch was had at the Hatch Inn at Coleman's Hatch.

Rye Harbour November 2016. Nice weather for ducks.
Lewes U3A birders are a hardy lot! On the 19th November 11 of us assembled inthe Rye Harbour car park. It was raining hard, cold and windy. We abandoned our original plan, which was to make the long walk to Castle Water, and instead decided on a shorter circuit. We mde it to the nearest hide, dripping with water, and settled down in the dry but when we opened the shutters we found the wind and rain blowing straight into our faces. There were plenty of birds visible but only just through the mist and gloom. The most numerous were Wigeon or whistling ducks but several Gadwall were easily recognised by the black 'bottoms'. A few pure white Little Egrets were also easy to pick out as were the Redshanks which were foraging much closer to the hide. Some Skylarks were also quite close but were invisible in the vegetation except when they briefly flew a foot into the air and then sraight down again. Obviously they did not fancy what they found! In all we found 15 different species before deciding to continue the circuit to the next hide. Here we had the wind behind us but the birds were much further away. Contiuing on, still in the rain, we added a few more species. Redshank were flying about making their beautiful haunting calls but when we arrived back at the car park we had only managed three more species. By now we were thoroughly wet and cold so decided to leave our sandwiches untouched and retired to the local hostelry for hot drinks and food. Remarkably everyone said that they had had a good time and were glad they had come.

Pulborough Brooks 2016.
My apologies for not keeping this page up-to-date. I will try to do better. We visited Pulborough Brooks on 21 April in the hope of seeing some Spring migrants and were not disappointed. The highlight was undoubtedly seeing a Nightingale singing its heart out in full view of a group of birdwatchers and apparently untroubled by the attention it was receiving. At the same time its partner was foraging on the ground at the foot of its tree. We also heard Cuckoos, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and many non-migrants. Most of the waterbirds had dispersed to their breeding grounds but we had good views of Shelduck, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard and Lapwings. In total, collectively we saw or heard 45 species.

Bluebell Line, Barcombe 2016.
We started at 07.30 in Barcombe village and walked along the disused railway line. This was more a question of birdlistening rather than birdwatching. Three Nightingales were in good song and we also heard Blackcaps, a single Lesser Whitethroat and more resident species. In Knowlands Wood we heard several Garden Warblers and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker. Here we had the bizarre sight of a traditional gypsy caravan with smoke curling up from a wood fire and a photovoltaic cell propped up in the sunlight, probably to power a computer! On the way back to the village we had good views of Whitethroats, Yellowhammers and Skylarks.

Knew Castle 2016
Our visit to the re-wilding experiment at Knepp Castle was on an overcast day, but at least it did not rain. We were taken around the site in an old army troop carrier by Penny Green, the resident ecologist. Although birds were conspicuous by their absence we had very goos views of Red Deer stags with magnificent antlers, still in velvet, the free roaming Longhorn Cattle and Tamworth Pigs. We also had a chance to inspect a collection of moths taken in a moth trap the night before including a handsome Elephant Hawk Moth and to see Slow Worms and a Grass Snake under the sheets of metal provided for their shelter. Sadly, the Turtle Doves could neither be seen nor heard and we only managed to see or hear 19 different species of commoner birds. It was still voted a success at the post mortem over lunch at the Crown Inn in Dial Post.

Pictures by Derek Blaney & Robert Tambling.

Pagham Harbour 2016
Starting at the main harbour, we waited for the tide to come in. The masses of waders did not materialise but we found plenty of interest. The usual Little White Egrets were visible, providing a useful comparison with the single Great White Egret. Several Curlew were present as was a single Whimbrel, which was only identified from a photo. Moving on to theFerry Pool we added a lot more to our list including a Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit and a few of the commoner ducks.

Broadwater Warren 2016
This proved to be avery pleasant walk but without many birds visible. We started off well by finding a very large flock of Fieldfares but, thereafter, could only find a few more birds. A Kestrel gave very good views and there were several common species of woodland birds but all of them difficult to find. Lunch at the Boar's Head round off an enjoyable day.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.

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Fast Italian (for Beginners) Franz Schubert 1797-1828 French 1 French 2
French 3 French 4 Advanced French Language Book Group Geology
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More Group Pages
Badminton Beginner
Birdwatching Book Circle
Bridge for Beginners (new) Bridge One
Bridge Two Coffee Club
Creative Writing Group Croquet
Current Issues Ecology of the South Downs
Fast Italian (for Beginners) Franz Schubert 1797-1828
French 1 French 2
French 3 French 4 Advanced
French Language Book Group Geology
German German Language Book Club
Globetrotters Hands-on Art
Haydn String Quartets-a taster Holiday Group
In The News Italian for Fun
Jazz Club Knitting, Sewing and Crafts
Listening to musicals Living History 1
Living History 2* Living History 3
Music of Finzi&Poetry of Hardy Out and About
Painting Play Reading 1
Play Reading 2 Playford Tea Dance
Poetry Matters:Poems-Delight Public Lectures
Raspberry Pi Self-Help Group Russian for beginners
Science matters Social Cycling
Spanish The Art of Northern Europe
The Bauhaus Movement The Russian Revolution
Visiting Churches and Chapels Wine Tasting
Writing Workshop*