Field Reports

Monday 9th October 2017 Snow Hill and Ella Nore

Leader David Hart

With an unpredictable weather outlook ahead, 14 of us (including visitors), met up, glad to be avoiding the traditional Monday morning chores. Straightaway, we enjoyed a charm of gold finch close by and off we set, led by David.

Over the first stretch, we noted starling, linnet, meadow pipit, magpie with both red shank and great spotted woodpecker flying overhead as well as the “teacher-teacher” calls of great tit. A male wheatear drew our attention as it posed on a post to our right.

In Snow Hill Creek itself, we listed egret, common sandpiper, curlew, moorhen and robin while cormorant and some starlings scattered on the rigging of one of the boats were seen to our left. Rabbit and a far-off fox were marked down, together with what looked like a peregrine half way up a mast – then it was deemed to be plastic -- until it took off! and gave a fine display as it flew up the channel and back. Yet more pairs of robins were close to our path, together with blackbird, stonechat and wren, the latter dodging about in the colourful gorse. Lapwing, teal and plover were seen at the far end of the Creek and we heard two sets of cetti’s warbler (or was it the same ones following us?)

In the allotments we saw collared dove, jackdaw and a real plastic owl standing guard. As we followed the path towards Ella Nore, swallow, rook, red legged partridge and two goldcrest were recorded as well as another charm and a pair of red admirals.

On reaching the water’s edge, the drizzle increased and the world turned grey but we could still see even more robins, egret and curlew. The route along to Ella Nore Spit was flanked by several patches of butcher’s broom (Ruscus communis), an ancient woodland indicator species. From the Spit, through the greyness, we could make out brent geese, great crested grebe and cormorant while dunnock were observed on our path. NOW, that ‘cormorant? It was suggested it might be a diver, so some of our party dallied behind to check out this theory.

Rounding a corner, where an autumn-coloured and berried spindle (Euonymus europaeus) had made us halt, we had a picture-perfect view of the incoming tide with reflections of boats, an egret flying through and a curlew sounding overhead. Beautiful.

I missed the kingfisher that flashed left to right as I was admiring a carpet of ground hugging sea campion (Silene uniflora).

When the ‘dalliers’ caught up they reported that the ‘cormorant’ had, in fact, been a juvenile red throated diver. (Later, it was reported that one had been recorded off Thorney Island on Monday, was this the same one?) They also told us of willow warbler, bar tailed godwit and (another?) woodpecker.

With high tide nearly reached, we added black tailed godwit, mallard, turnstone, grey plover, golden plover and ringed plover as well as a small white to our list and enjoyed more meadow pipit, wren and red admiral nearby.

Lunch was enjoyed, staring out to sea, with brent flying in formation. Ten of us decided to continue on round East Head in the, now, dry conditions. Shoreline plants were observed, including sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias). A couple of turnstone were balancing on a buoy in the channel and a large flock of linnet entertained us. A lone sandwich tern made our total bird species for the day 42.

Some members spotted a seal (not me!) which made one very brief, tantalizing appearance.

Many thanks to David for leading us on an excellent route and to all those who attended for their company.

Gill Hance

Male Wheatear

Euonymus europaeus


Brent Geese


Members at East Head

Members at East Head

Chichester, West Sussex

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