I was out early in lovely sunshine on the first day of May to carry out the 1st breeding season survey for Area 4, covering the Downslink up to Betley, down the river to New Inn, then east to get back to West End and Stonepit Lanes.
There was a good start with the returning Nightingale Val noted the day before in fine voice just up the Downslink from Bishop Park. Normally a tricky species to actually see, this one acted more like a Song Thrush and sang from the top of a tree giving amazing views. Up to Betley it was mostly common birds enlivened with the odd Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. In the field west of Great Betley Farm an immaculate male Stonechat popped up, giving further hope this species will establish itself as a breeding species in the parish. Down river produced Reed Buntings and singing Yellowhammers and Skylarks; at Chates there was a calling Cuckoo, and along the section of river with the new fencing by New Inn Farm three Reed Warblers were all singing, again giving good views. At Bineham Bridge two Swifts flew over, which I believe are the first for Henfield this year. The leg back home continued with just the common species seen/heard, and a Nuthatch in Stonepit Lane was the last new species I saw before arriving home.