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Midday Honeypot

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking Barry, Gill and Sarah out from Brighton on a memorable Sussex Birding Mini-Trip. Our first encounter of the day was a beautiful Treecreeper working the bark of a gnarly old oak tree at Knepp.

Treecreeper at Knepp. Sussex guided birding tours with Wildstarts.
Treecreeper

Shortly afterwards, we heard the rattling song of a Lesser Whitethroat and got a glimpse as it flew past us and deep into another hedge.


Scanning with the telescope, I picked up a distant Turtle Dove. We carefully made our way a little nearer, resulting in a magical encounter as it purred away and made occasional display-flights.

 Turtle Dove at Knepp. Sussex guided birding tours with Wildstarts.
Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove at Knepp.  Sussex guided birding tours with Wildstarts.
Turtle Dove

It was great fun watching the young White Storks being fed by their parents. Along the way we watched Buzzards and Swifts overhead, and listened to Whitethroats, Blackcaps and a Goldcrest. The pond near the car park had two young Pied Wagtails in the overhanging branches and a family of Coots.

White Stork at Knepp.  Sussex guided birding tours with Wildstarts.
White Stork
White Storks at Knepp. Sussex guided birding tours with Wildstarts.
White Storks — class of 2023

It was now the middle of the day and rather hot, so the best option was to spend some time watching for birds of prey at another site. This tactic paid off ... The first large raptor to appear was a female Honey Buzzard!

Female Honey Buzzard.  Sussex guided birding tours with Wildstarts.
Female Honey Buzzard

Two Hobbies hawked over the canopy, followed by two Goshawks, two Sparrowhawks and a number of Buzzards. One of the Goshawks approached somewhat closer after a bit of a wait, almost passing straight overhead.

 Goshawk. Sussex guided birding tours with Wildstarts.
Goshawk

After all the raptor action, it was time to call it a day, and a very successful one at that!

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