Al, Shaun, John, Sue and Chrissie met at Park Corner at a very civilised 10 o’clock on a sunny but cool morning. Our hopes of nightingale were rewarded, with one singing when we had gone about half way round the reserve. We subsequently had good ‘scope views of the bird. Garden warbler was also heard, and seen briefly, and there were plenty of blackcaps, chiffchaffs and a few whitethroats. Shaun directed us to a buzzard – one of several seen throughout the day. Chrissie showed us the lake (more of a small pond) in an area newly acquired by the Trust, which held only mallard.
At Arlington, the water held few birds other than great crested grebes and tufted ducks, but we did see a couple of swallows. Al found our only lesser whitethroat of the day, which sang briefly. A pied wagtail was small compensation for the lack of yellow wagtails. A distant turtle dove was heard from the car park.
John, Al and Sue continued on to Hope Gap. We walked down to Harry’s Bush and scanned the Cuckmere Haven, but again, there were few new species to add other than oystercatcher, curlew, Canada geese, etc. But Hope Gap proved more productive – with about ten wheatears, two fly-by whimbrel, stonechat, meadow pipit, fulmar and, at last, hobby. A raven flew over, cronking quietly, and another (or the same?) hobby. Though we had had to work hard, we were all pleased with our day and our species total of 65.