Angela and I were able to welcome new member Rikki on the walk this morning – a very dull morning, which made it tricky to see any colour at all on the birds high up in the trees, and the wildfowl were a bit monochrome too!

All the usual stuff along the first part of the walk, plenty of Robins & Wrens, and a couple of Song Thrushes. Nice to hear 2 Chaffinches in song along the embankment, and further down a Chiffchaff singing. Wildfowl on the floods was fairly distant, but we found Pintail, Coot, Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon, with a pair of Little Grebes too. Heard a Reed Bunting, but couldn’t find it. Angela had noticed 7 (?) Little Egrets near the heronry on her way up; only one there when we arrived, though we found more later. A group of 4 rather bored looking Grey Herons were in one of the fields. Beyond the heronry were a handful of Canada Geese with 11 smart White-fronted Geese (new species for Rikki).

Pretty quiet along the river until a large flock of birds came across and landed in Wyckham Wood, all Wood Pigeons – maybe 500? In floods on the Henfield side of the river were a group of 4 Gadwall, and we heard a Cetti’s Warblers. Just west of New Inn were some Black-headed Gulls, and another gull making an odd call – turned out to be a Mediterranean Gull in flight! A Pied Wagtail flew over, and a single Fieldfare called as we walked along the bridleway. On the diversion down towards Buckwish Farm there was a cacophony in the trees – some Goldfinches, and a largish group of Redwings were the culprits, and there was the occasional Redwing song heard!

The Rye Farm pools produced one Chiffchaff and the pair of Grey Wagtails, but no Water Rail today.

Val Bentley, 11th March 2024