Saturday, 31 July 2021

Nipping to Knepp !!

 Margie and I decided to go to Knepp today,just 20 minutes from home,should go more often to be honest, we arrived just before 8 o'clock and parked in the Walker's Car Park, we usually park on Countryman Lane and walk in from there but decided on a change today, from the Car Park we followed the Yellow/White path to start with, lots of small birds zipping about the bushes, a Yellowhammer was having a sing from the top of a bush,Linnets, Goldfinch, Blackbirds in abundance, several Whitethroat families, a group of Yellowhammers,a flyover Bullfinch, we also got our first view of some White Storks distantly in a dead tree!!

Distant White Storks




Getting closer to the Storks



At this point we came the closest we had to the Storks with two birds in a nest and another on it's own which posed well.

With all the attention on the Storks I hadn't spotted the large herd of Ponies under a nearby tree, now I have largely conquered my entirely rational fear of large animals, but Knepp is always a challenge in this respect! Margie was calm enough to take some pics!

Ponies by Margie

Pretty fearsome right but worse was to come!!

We continued on, a Green Woodpecker wound me up big time!! Literally keeping one step ahead of me around a large bramble patch, grrrr!! Saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a large flock of Tits, more Whitethroats, Wrens and a Jay  everything appeared quickly and disappeared into the bushes just as quickly!! There were a lot of Butterflies around mainly Whites,Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns,but a few Red Admirals, a Peacock,a Comma and a Painted Lady, didn't see any of the rarer ones the place is famous for but to be honest didn't look that hard!!

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Common Whitethroat

Greylag Geese

At this point we ran into the next big beast!!

Blocking the Path but luckily we had already decided to divert onto the Red & Blue Path to look for Turtle Doves

Gatekeeper by Margie

The beast with it's young by Margie!!
So we had diverted onto the Red and Blue path to head to an area where in previous years we had seen Turtle Doves, we followed the path and ran into another of the large mammals a Red Deer stag with a fine set of Antlers albeit still in velvet!

Red Deer Stag

Red Deer Stag

We carried on, no sign of any Turtle Doves but we could here the ominous sound of Cattle roaring!! A Green Woodpecker gave a call, alerted I managed a few flight shots as it headed calling across an open field!!

Green Woodpecker

At this point ignoring the loud bellows of Cows Margie spotted some pigs,Margie likes Pigs, and we followed them into the trap!!

Rooting Pig by Margie

At this point, the cattle closed the door!! Trapped😱😱

Cattle Moving in by Margie

Escape route blocked

Margie oblivious to the situation, continued  to try to get good pictures!!

Margie facing the beasts!! So brave!!

Luckily I had me wits about me opened a gate and we were safe,Phew!! A complete role reversal with us in the field behind the gate and the Cattle strolling down the path 😂

Calf  by Margie

Bull alert!!!! by Margie

Having escaped the peril and with no sign of Turtle Doves, lot harder if they ain't calling, a guy we saw had seen one near Dial Post but we had no luck, we headed back and rejoined the White Path, the Red Deer had gained a couple of mates as so we took a couple of pics!

Little bit of a Fly problem

Red Deer by Margie

We looped around, brief views of a Buzzard,more Cattle,some different Storks and plenty of small birds but mostly common stuff!! Saw several Bullfinch today which is always good but never got a shot of one!!


Final Stork View

We arrived at the campsite,lots of Goldfinches and House Sparrows and a shop and cafe van that I didn't even know was here,despite visiting regularly in the past, especially good as most if not all the produce was Organic whoop!! £26 later we are heading back to the car!! Venison burgers for Tea!!

An excellent walk,I always enjoy visits to Knepp and admire what they are trying to do with the re-wilding good numbers of birds seen with at least three large Tit Flocks several Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and plenty seen to briefly for defo ID's saw at least 4 families of Common Whitethroats, plenty of juveniles about, So they are doing something right!! Also  it's always good when I get round without being savaged by a large animal !!!😁😁
Would suggest going earlyish for best results,we got there at eight and had the place pretty much to ourselves,but the car park was filling up as we left about 11 o'clock!!


Thursday, 29 July 2021

Medmerry in the Wind!!

 A day off work whoop😁! Where to go, I considered Oare Marshes in Kent to see the returning Bonaparte's Gull, but with nothing else major reported decided to stay in Sussex,hopefully something else awesome will come into North Kent in the next month or so as Autumn migration kicks in and I can make a day of it, Napoleon may hang about for a few weeks!!  So   decided on Medmerry near Selsey an excellent newish RSPB reserve, I've been a few times before and with Pagham Harbour and Church Norton nearby it made sense!! Also some Wood Sandpipers had been reported and I ain't seen any for a while so that clinched it!! 

Managed to get up fairly early and arrived at the Easton Lane carpark around 6.10 AM, was on my own with Margie to busy "doing everything" to attend,I also think she wanted a lay in zzzzzzzzzz! First thing was the wind!! It was blooming chilly so I ended up wearing a sweat shirt and me winter coat, in August!! 😲 second thing was I decided to leave  my scope at home,which could be an issue in the search for Wood Sandpipers!!!! A case of the back and neck over-ruling the brain!!!😂

A nice Moon in the sky, as I left the car park, the paths are well set out and the wide verges look pretty good, with loads of flowers, the path wanders through Gorse patches from which various small birds appeared regularly to be promptly snatched away by the wind,it was blooming difficult to get on anything!! Linnets,loads of Goldfinches including plenty of young uns, several Yellowhammers and a couple of Stonechats, plus loads that could of been anything!! Oh and a flock of Geese!

Early morning Moon!

Canada Geese




Despite the wind it was a very pleasant walk the views are excellent all round, the first point of interest was a sluice where the tidal part ends, several Waders on the mud mostly Redshanks,but a Greenshank in with em, and a Curlew and a Whimbrel handily giving a size comparison though might have been better if the Whimbrel had been in focus!!


Whimbrel (blurred front),Curlew at the back!!

I carried on, much of the same, a lot of birds,briefly glimpsed, nearly garrotted by my hat twice, finally got to the Stilt Pool, several Sandpipers on it pretty sure there were 4 Wood Sandpipers and 3 Common Sandpipers, in with the Lapwings, Avocets, various Ducks and Gulls, unfortunately they were all pretty distant and the lack of Scope was a problem, although my back was quite relieved I hadn't lugged it around!!

Grey Heron

Wood Sandpiper

This Mallard had done well to get six ducklings to this size! Also ahhh!

2 Wood Sands

Reasonably Close Common Sandpiper unfortunately none of the Woodies came this close😢

After about 20 minutes scanning, I left the pool and headed to the beach, fantastic to have a large beach all to yourself in Sussex, does't happen often!! Big flock of Starlings, at the start but very little else until I got near the breach, with another Curlew, Whimbrel combo, a Sanderling, a couple of Ringed Plovers and at the Breach a couple of Common Terns and a cracking bright Yellow Wagtail which unfortunately did hang around long enough for me to get a pic, a Kestrel hunting, possibly a Marsh Harrier at extreme distance,(no scope strikes again😢) and a Peregrine the best of it there and back!!

The Spinnaker Tower 

The other way!


Another Whimbrel/Curlew comparison shot and this time both in focus-ish😂

Ringed Plover

Common Tern

This is the real price of my no scope policy,I spent ages examining this as I thought it was a small Raptor having seen a very distant Harrier previously I tried to convince myself it was a Monties!! Bloody Pigeon😄😂 leaning into the wind Doh, Doh!!!!




Starlings still there on the return

Interestingly my shadow seemed to have been hijacked by Clint Eastwood,Good,the bad or the Ugly you decide!!!😱😲

If I only had a few more Dollars😢

So retracing my steps I hit the pool again.all still much as before,Distant Wood Sandpipers a closer Common Sand and a Lapwing close in!! I see on Birdguides, 3 Cattle Egrets reported later, I didn't see em so assuming they came in later,even I wouldn't miss three large white birds and I did check the Cattle damn!!


Common Sandpiper

Wood Sandpiper

Little Egret

Headed back to the car park,much the same as the journey in although the wind had dropped a bit and my winter coat was getting a bit much but I made it back to the car before melting!! A Skylark, Stonechat and a Yellowhammer posed ok on the return leg!!


Someone had a massive fire going,somewhat irresponsible considering the windy conditions


House Sparrow

Flock Of Sparrows

Showy Kestrel


So back to the car a decent walk with some good birds seen, with RSPB Pagham Harbour only 7 minutes away I decided to give it a look for the reported Spotted Redshank, no sign😢while I was there but did have another close Common Sandpiper and plenty of Dragonflies seen as well!

Nice close Little Egret,lots of these around the whole area!

Common Sandpiper


As I was about to leave I checked Birdguides to find that there was a Roseate Tern at Church Norton, I doubted I would get into the car park and with the distances involved my lack of scope would mean it would be pretty tough to pick em out anyway, decided to go for it, rocked up got the last place in the car park, walked around to the benches where two birders had the birds ,there were 2, in their scopes, excellent directions were given and I got em in my bins, stood out quite well against the darker Common Terns and the larger Sandwich Terns, another birder let me look through his scope so good views were obtained, much thanks to all concerned!! My pictures are predictably pants!!

Roseate Terns (small ones center)

Young Oystercatcher

Yet another Little Egret,shaking it's booty

Spooked Sandwich Terns

Med Gull

Common Tern


53 minutes to get here 1hr and 20 minutes back,bloody Chichester Bypass!! Good day though!!!😁