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Spoonbill and wheeling flocks

Rachel, Keith and I were greeted by a chorus of Song Thrushes and a beautiful calm Saturday as we started our Sussex Birding Mini-Trip. We had a quiet start to the walk but a singing male Bullfinch was a charming sound and Goldcrests kept us entertained. Eventually, we found a pocket of activity, getting nice views of Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Marsh Tit in quick succession. Bonus birds included fly-over Siskins and a Raven.

Goldcrest
Song Thrush
Marsh Tit

Rye Harbour was our next stop, where wheeling flocks put on quite a show over the Flat Beach.

Grey Plovers (with a Turnstone thrown in)
Pintail and Golden Plovers

We enjoyed a spectacular display of flying Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Pintail and more, the whooshing of wings adding to the thrill. An Avocet, several Ringed Plovers and a party of Dark-bellied Brent Geese were among the other highlights.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese

A Sparrowhawk dashed through low, setting up a flock of about 10 Snipe. From the hides we added Little Grebe to the day list.

Little Grebe

The adult Spoonbill that has been lingering on the reserve for a while was sleeping as we passed the mobile homes. We had lovely views with a flock of grazing Wigeon here too.

Spoonbill
The Spoonbill takes flight!
Wigeon grazing

Moving to Castle Water, we had good views of Great Crested Grebes from the viewpoint and added Egyptian Goose and Pochard to the list for the day. Cetti’s Warblers were singing and Water Rails squealing from the reedbeds. An adult Mediterranean Gull flew over. We also encountered a singing Mistle Thrush, a Stonechat, a Chiffchaff (heard only) and a couple of Kestrels before calling it a day.

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