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Sunny birding mini-trip

It was an absolutely perfect morning when Sarah and I started the day's Sussex Birding Mini-Trip at Iping Common, with the sun out and only a very gentle breeze. The birds were out in force, with our first good find being a couple of Lesser Redpolls feeding in a birch tree. We were soon watching Chiffchaffs singing and feeding, freshly arrived from south-west Europe, and watching Linnets and Yellowhammers throw their voices too.

Lesser Redpoll at Iping Common. Private guided Sussex birdwatching tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Lesser Redpoll at Iping Common
Male Yellowhammer at Iping Common. Private guided Sussex birdwatching tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Male Yellowhammer at Iping Common
Linnet at Iping Common. Private guided Sussex birding tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Linnet at Iping Common

A Song Thrush hopped along the path ahead of us and we enjoyed lovely views of a couple of Goldcrests. At one point, a Dartford Warbler popped up just in front of us — a brief but close encounter!

Goldcrest at Iping Common. Private guided Sussex birdwatching tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Goldcrest at Iping Common

Eventually we heard the calls of a Woodlark and tracked the bird down to a fallen tree, where it was preening. Later on, the bird broke into beautiful song! Great Spotted Woodpeckers drummed and showed nicely, and a couple of Green Woodpeckers ‘yaffled’ in the distance.

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker at Iping Common. Private guided Sussex birdwatching tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Male Great Spotted Woodpecker at Iping Common

A small group of Long-tailed Tits led the way back towards the car park, and we picked up a pair of Stonechats and some fly-over Siskins along the way.

Long-tailed Tit at Iping Common. Private guided Sussex birding tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Long-tailed Tit at Iping Common

We headed down to Pagham Harbour, starting at Church Norton. A scan of the mudflats revealed a mix of waders, including the resident Whimbrel, a Turnstone and a scattering of Dunlin, Curlew, Grey Plover and Redshanks.

Mediterranean Gull at Pagham Harbour. Private guided Sussex birding tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Mediterranean Gull at Pagham Harbour

Several Mediterranean Gulls were mixed in with the Black-headed Gulls and were very vocal with their ‘surprised-sounding’ yelps as the flock took to the sky, while the Shelducks and Wigeon carried on feeding on the mud.


Looking offshore, we found a pair of Eider in the distance, with a pair of Long-tailed Ducks even more distantly behind them. Otherwise, the sea was quiet, so we headed to the churchyard, finding a Firecrest on the way!


A Green Woodpecker afforded excellent views as it foraged between the gravestones and a Stock Dove flew over.


Green Woodpecker at Pagham Harbour. Private guided Sussex birding tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Green Woodpecker at Pagham Harbour

The RSPB centre seemed like a good way to wrap things up, with a look at the Ferry Pool producing a Green Sandpiper, about 20 Avocets, over 100 Black-tailed Godwits and several Lapwings, as well as a mix of Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon.


Avocet at Pagham Harbour. Private guided Sussex birding tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Avocet at Pagham Harbour
Shovelers at Pagham Harbour. Private guided Sussex birding tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Shovelers at Pagham Harbour

A couple of Little Egrets patrolled the edges and a Kestrel was hunting over the fields while the feeders behind us were busy with Greenfinches and Chaffinches.


A Marsh Harrier put everything up when it flew through and we notched up around a dozen Buzzards circling high up.

Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Pagham Harbour. Private guided Sussex birding tours and trips with Wildstarts.
Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Pagham Harbour

A walk along the Long Pool eventually saw us clap eyes on a couple of the very loud Little Grebes, and we also added Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Cetti’s Warbler to the day list. Two fly-over Redwings on the way back to the car were a nice surprise!

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