Trip reports

East Head & West Wittering

Oystercatcher wading in shallow water

Sunday, 19 January 2020

A large flock of Brent geese seen grazing in the fields all day were almost matched in number by the constant stream of people descending on East Head in the January sunshine. Whilst vehicles queued to enter the car park, the abundance of dog walkers taking advantage of a low tide to walk around the headland was not conducive to productive birdwatching. A group of 28 oystercatchers had accumulated on the grass beside the driveway and a Mediterranean gull posed nicely on a wooden post before flying down on to the grass to join a black-headed gull that was looking for worms.

Two sanderlings were seen on the tideline, but they soon flew off as a dog approached. The sea was calm offering only a few great crested grebes, a cormorant and initially a drake red-breasted merganser. A skylark was in the dunes and two or three redshanks out on the mudflats.

Snowhill Marsh did not produce as many birds as usual, but snipe, wigeon and teal were all seen before a couple of grey plovers, out on the saltings. A little further on, two greenshanks showed nicely while feeding in a gulley and a little egret was in the stream.

A closer look at the Brent geese flock in the fields after lunch revealed the presence of over 40 curlews, a few lapwings and oystercatchers and a group of starlings. Five snipe were seen at distance on Snowhill Marsh, whilst a greenshank foraged at closer range and a goldcrest was active in a large hawthorn clump.

The walk around Coastguard Lane added two foxes, great tit and song thrush. The two greenshanks were still feeding in the tidal gulley near to where they had been seen earlier.