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Barn Owl

A very gentle walk along the Adur at Upper Beeding late afternoon was quite rewarding with a lovely  Barn Owl hunting east of the river at 16:10 and a flyover Egyptian Goose . Also 2 Little Egrets with the cows, single Redwing & Song Thrush , 35 Linnets and 3 Reed Buntings . Nice to be out birding again!

Little Bittern

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The Brown Booby found exhausted on Hove Beach on 2nd January took me back almost 34 years to one of the more improbable and memorable experiences of my birding lifetime. It's a tale that's been told before but hopefully people won't mind if I tell again, especially as it took place no more than a mile to the west of where the Booby was found.  On 30th March 1988 I was driving eastwards along the A259 and had stopped at the traffic lights by Hove Lagoon. Something caught my eye and to my utter amazement there in the gutter on the side of the road next to where I had stopped was what I recognised immediately as a male Little Bittern ! Once the traffic lights had changed, I drove on a bit, pulled up on the side of the road (there was less traffic then) and ran back, grabbing the bird before it could fall victim to a passing car. In the absence of anything to put it in, I sat it on the back seat of the car where it quickly adopted an erect alarm-posture. From Hove Lagoon to De

Woodlarks

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Thursday 13th January Another estate in NE Sussex we have surveyed over the last two winters has consistently produced Woodlarks . Today was no exception with a flock of 20 in the usual field where they are always to be found. Last winter the maximum count (in February) was 27 so it will be interesting to see if we can beat it next month. Also seen in the same general area were 7 Stock Doves , 15 Skylarks , 17 Meadow Pipits , 180 Chaffinches , 15 Linnets , 2 Yellowhammers & a Reed Bunting demonstrating nicely the value of weedy winter stubbles for our declining farmland birds. By early evening I was feeling distinctly rough with a raging temperature (39.5C) necessitating a visit to A&E at Worthing Hospital where I was diagnosed with what the doctor described as a 'nasty kidney infection'. Several hours later, having been treated with i/v antibiotics and painkillers, I was allowed home with instructions to rest and drink plenty of fluids so no birding for me for the ne

Wintering bird survey

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Thursday 9th January Our first ecological survey of 2022 on a private estate near Hartfield. A glorious winter's day with cloudless skies, a ground frost and the mercury registering a chilly 2C. A final tally of 35 species, all of which you would expect to see in the High Weald, including Greylag Goose (4), Canada Goose  (5), Egyptian Goose (2 pairs), Mallard (4), Stock Dove (2), Moorhen (1), Coot (1), Buzzard (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (2), Green Woodpecker (2), Kestrel (1), Coal Tit (3), Marsh Tit (2), Long-tailed Tit (4), Nuthatch (6), Treecreeper (1), Mistle Thrush (1), Song Thrush (1 singing), Redwing (65) and Siskin (6).  

Welcome reappearance of the Long-tailed Duck

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Having gone AWOL for three days, the Long-tailed Duck was again reported on Southwick Canal yesterday afternoon and seen by Bridget first thing this morning west of the Barrett Steel warehouse. Other birders who looked later were unable to find it but by the time I got down there this afternoon it had been relocated about 500m east in the bay by Local Fuels and viewable through the railings from Basin Road North. This is the first Long-tailed Duck that I can recall that has stuck around locally since 2007/08 when one spent the winter on Hove Lagoon. Also seen was a Peregrine that flew by heading towards the power station as I was chatting to Dave Sadler.

Brown Booby - the one that got away!

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Moderating the Sussex Ornithological Society's sightings board is usually fairly predictable but every once in a while a posting in the sightings queue makes you sit up and take notice. When I turned on my computer at 6:30 this morning, there was just one sighting in the queue waiting to be moderated but almost unbelievably it was of a Brown Booby seen on 2nd January on Hove Beach by Clodagh Bannerman. For a moment I was sceptical, surely it had to be a juvenile Gannet, but on looking at the photo attached to the posting, there was an image of what looked for all the world like a Brown Booby. This was bird I'd seen long ago in both Australia and Venezuela but to be doubly sure and not end up with egg on my face, I googled Brown Booby and had a look at a few images on line just to convince myself it really was one, before putting the news out to the local birding community.  Clodagh's report above mentioned that she believed the bird had been taken into care but was there a

New Year Plant Hunt

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Every year, the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) holds its New Year Plant Hunt, its aim being to record plant species in bloom during the first four days of January. 1,811 people took part in the 2021 Hunt and recorded 710 species in bloom  https://bsbi.org/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/BSBI-New-Year-Plant-Hunt-2021-FINAL.pdf I have always had an interest in plants and in June 2019 I achieved Level 4 of the BSBI's Field Identification Skills Certificate which basically means my plant ID skills are good but not outstanding, with plenty of room for improvement. In the last couple of years, I have endeavoured to devote more time to plants including participating in my first New Year Plant Hunt in 2021. With it being exceptionally mild in late December (the warmest New Year's Eve since records began) I was keen to take part for a second time and see if we could beat the 20 species we recorded around Southwick (where we live) in 2021. Unfortunately the weather wasn&#