2019 Garden Birdwatch finishes!

We have reached the end of our year of concentrated garden birdwatching.  The final week  finishes on Saturday 28th December.  You may now be breathing a sigh of relief, or maybe one of disappointment!  Thank you so much for being a part of it – even if you haven’t managed to keep watch every week!

I’m not really up to speed with the data recording system, but it does look as though you can continue to record your sightings during 2020 if you would like to carry on, and we will still be able to pick up from the website what you may see in your gardens in the future.

In the New Year we will start to look at the totals of the different species recorded, compare with past surveys we have done, and with national statistics too, to see how things have been changing in the last 20 years.

I’m not sure that many villages will have quite so many records of peacocks as we seem to have!

We do hope that you have enjoyed watching your garden birds, and will continue do so in 2020.

A very Happy New Year from Henfield Birdwatch!!

The Week’s other highlights

Wed 6th (from Val): The usual good numbers of geese and gulls on the brooks, with about 50 Lapwing and two larger grey waders with heads tucked into their backs.  Wondered what they were when one raised its head and flapped its wings – Black-tailed Godwits.

Sat  9th (from Peter & Penny): The flood water is back around Rye Farm and lots of birds have moved in – 100+ Canada Geese, large flock of Fieldfares, family of Swans, Mallards, Wigeon, Heron, loads of gulls and  2 or 3 pairs of Tufted Duck (first ones recorded this year).  A pair of Stonechats in the reeds by the barn conversion at this end of the track

Sun 10th (from Paul): Around Betley were good numbers of  geese and Wigeon, plus a pair of Shoveler. In the field behind Bishop Park were approx. 250 Black-headed Gulls with a lone Common Gull. Despite much scanning with fingers crossed there wasn’t a single Med Gull in with them!

More Black Redstarts

Paul found 2 on the Bishop Park estate on Sunday, which Paula managed to photograph against a remarkable blue sky, and on Nige’s area walk on Tuesday 5th another was just to the north of Park Farm – sitting on a fence with a Stonechat and 4 Meadow Pipits.

Black Redstart 27th October

Paul took his usual route on the 27th, heading up to Betley bridge and then back down the river. A mini-flock of three Mistle Thrushes were moving around the east end of Stonepit Lane, a Kingfisher shot under the bridge at Betley and there were 50ish Wigeon and a pair of Gadwall on the floods west of the river alongside the Mallards and Greylags. Also seen on the way back along Stonepit Lane were three Goldcrests, a Nuthatch and a Coal Tit. Arriving back at Bishop Park he noticed a small dusky bird flitting around the posts that line the road on the central footpath area. All of a sudden its quivering red tail became clear….  a Black Redstart! It flew off north and despite keeping an eye out all day it appeared to have quickly moved on. A great end to a lovely walk in (at last) some decent weather.

Big Bird Bash – September

Nige, Angela B, Brian S, myself and Maya on the final Big Bird Bash walk on 30th September. We were so lucky to have a dry still day when the others battled with wind and/or rain. 52 different species seen, including two major highlights, Kingfisher and Whinchat. Both of the Saturday walk teams saw Spotted Flycatchers which were migrating south through our area. The total for the weekend was the same as the June bash at 62, but with a few different species the combined total for the 2 weekends was 72.  Amazing how many species we have in the patch.  And the winter visitors are yet to arrive!


Yellow Wags

Have been staring at herds of cattle for several weeks now (people think you’re off your head!), but it’s finally paid off.  A flock of Yellow Wags seen at Cissbury on Sunday and now two along the river on 20/9 between Betley and Chates on their way to winter in Africa.

I admit they were on the opposite river bank and aren’t nearly as yellow as Grey Wags, but these could be our first Henfield record of the species for 2019?  Also Kingfisher in same stretch of river yesterday.


September in Area 9

A good call to postpone the walk. The mist was clinging rather poetically to a spider’s web suspended between outer twigs of a tree. About 20 Swallows were flying over the fields, in some hawthorn bushes Angela & I saw at least 4 male Blackcaps, a brief view of what I’m pretty sure was a Garden Warbler, and then a Lesser Whitethroat showed nicely for several minutes on a low branch – affording a “record” shot.

As we headed up river from Stretham, Meadow Pipits were pipitting around and we saw a female Reed Bunting. A lone heron was by the overflow pit, the family of Mute Swans only had 2 young with them this month, we saw 2 Teal, and heard Coot & Moorhen. A bit further along there were Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and a sunbathing Wren in some cut, dead branches lying on the grass, and another flock of hirundines passed over – this time a mixture of Swallows and House Martins.

Final sightings were 2 Buzzards flying across the Rye Farm track and then a flash of orange alerted us to a Clouded Yellow butterfly feeding on thistles and buddleia.

White Storks

Apparently 24 juvenile White Storks were released at Knepp last week.  Debbie & Nigel saw 20 of these over the High Street this morning (21st) and others saw varying numbers.  I missed these but got my first Kingfisher of the year down near the Adur confluence!