This Saturday, 14 March 2020, Tony Benton from Shoreham and District Ornithological Society (SDOS) led our pop-up gull watch.
About 40 people braved the variable weather to visit Coronation Green for gull watch. Very pleasingly this included at least ten small children, several of whom were very interested and amazed to see the birds magnified through the telescopes. On a rising tide, the birds were pushed up onto the mudbanks, with Herring Gulls predominating (141 being the peak count). There were also four brutish looking Great Black Back Gulls, their size and dark backs marking them out. Black Headed Gull numbers have gone down in recent days, and we never saw more than three together, mostly distantly.
On the wader front, Oystercatchers were well represented with up to 16 birds present, but only a single Redshank was seen. The overwintering Whimbrel was eventually found but it wasn’t easy to see as it played hide and seek with us in the salt marsh vegetation.
Over the morning there were up to four Cormorants, one of which was very different looking to the others, sporting a large white thigh patch and a considerable amount of white around the head and throat. A Pied Wagtail was on the Green itself and few Starlings and Crows were also seen, as well as a single Mute Swan.
As we were beginning to think about packing up, all of the Gulls took to the air and there was a cacophony of alarm calls. This could mean only one thing, a raptor! And sure enough, a magnificent Red Kite drifted over the river, being harassed by a livid Crow. So we had saved the best until last, and that was our signal to end a very enjoyable and sociable session. Read Tony’s latest species list for the LNR
Huge thanks are due to the SDOS members that visited and helped with the event.