Library Blue Tits

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West Sussex Libraries

Proof that libraries are #MoreThanJustBooks: one of our branches has been monitoring a family of Blue Tits using their #Nestcam, a secret camera within a nest box located in the tree just beside #HenfieldLibrary. From the careful building of the nest and the laying of 11 eggs, to the much-awaited hatching of the chicks this week, we’ve seen it all unfold. Just look at those hungry mouths – Mum and Dad have their work cut out!

What will you discover at your local library?

Magic Moment!

Angela T and I had a great walk through the patch on the 15th – including 10 minutes at the overflow pit west of the Adur, listing to Skylarks singing, Ravens croaking, and watching a pair of super Garganey in the water – then a Green Sandpiper rose from the pit too!  Many thanks to Paul C for making us aware the Garganey might be there)

Birds back on the brooks

Gorgeous sunset on Sunday afternoon, and after a long period when there was a lot of shooting and very little wildfowl on the brooks to the south of the village,  there were lots of Lapwing (maybe 400 or so), c 30 Teal and Shoveler, and c10 Pintail.  There were some Greylag and Canada Geese, a Grey Heron and 5 Cormorants in the tree near the heronry, but no signs of activity on the nests.  Plenty of Black-headed Gulls too, some Coots and Moorhens.  Nice to see a few birds around for a change!

This afternoon two Barn Owls were hunting in the fields by the confluence to the north.

New “patch” bird?

Was quite upset on Sunday when there was shooting down on the levels and no birds, but happier to report 5 Curlews were south of Rye Farm Friday morning (30/11). I’m sure I’ve only personally seen one in the area previously (in 26 years) and it was on the Steyning side of the river! Distant pic attached, visible on the “island” to the right of the gull. Lovely to hear them “curlewing” as they flew.

Also 20 Lapwing, 40 or so Common Gulls and a few Black-headed. About 10 Teal, lots of corvids, some of which were chased off a Sparrowhawk. A lot of noisy Geese, both Greylag and Canada. And a couple of decoy ducks from Sunday were still bobbing around!

This afternoon 2 Barn Owls hunting over the fields west of Chates, a Stonechat was flitting about near the bank and Snipe called from the field too.

Migrants!

It’s been a good day for migrants.  This morning Will found large numbers of small birds going through the trees catching the early morning sun.  There was a family of dramatic Spotted Flycatchers with Willow Warblers.  Les noticed 2 Redstarts near Great Betley, one probably a male.  At the bottom of Spring Hills this afternoon lots of birds were moving along a berry laden hedgerow.  Mainly Long-tailed and Blue Tits, but several Willow Warblers and I noticed at least one Lesser Whitethroat.

Four planets, three owls, two bats and a glowworm….

…. was how Mike described the Perseid walk last night!

A few drops of rain made us wonder how accurate the “clear skies” forecast had been, but apart from viewing some rather spectacular lighting to the north, we were under a cloudless sky once we reached the Adur. Fantastic views of Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars – ID all confirmed by Steve’s Skymap app – followed by several sightings of Barn Owls. A “lump” sitting on a post on a distant bridge turned out to be a Little Owl. The third owl was a Tawny, having a screech from trees at Betley Bridge.

Actually there were more than two bats! Roger’s very snazzy bat detector found Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and Noctule – may have been more.

But only one glowworm. Shining brightly just south of the bridge. It gave us hope that there would be plenty more along the track, but that was it.

As for the Perseid meteors, only a few flashes, and I’m not sure I saw one. Keep looking out, because there should be more over the weekend.