I am a novice to birding and have become interested since walking Frank our dog, a cross Flat Coat / Springer around Hastings Country Park and the surrounding area, I realised the little brown birds weren't just sparrows.
On Thursday our walk was planned to Westdean woods, but first I stopped off at Swanbourne Lake at Arundel looking for my first Mandarin, finally on my hands and knees spied a male in the branches of a fallen tree on the lake a walk round the lake I came across Pochard, Tufted duck and some very tame crossbreds and this fella possibly a Ruddy Duck
After a while I came across a couple who had just seen 4 firecrests flitting through the trees but all was there now was a flock of Long Tailed Tits.
Next stop was at Westdean Woods, after parking the cars we set off down the road to a clearing and overlooking several fields we soon saw in the distance a couple of Buzzards followed by a Peregrin sitting on top of a pylon and then a couple of pairs of Red Kites floating over the hills, on a slow walk back up the hill a flock of Long Tailed Tits led us to a Tree Creeper then a Firecrest at the edge of the coppice, and a couple of Marsh Tits. After lunch we headed off in search of the Hawfinch and at Stapleash Farm just where it should have been there was one right at the top of a tree, we all managed to get a view but without the scope and then it flew. After 30 minutes of waiting hoping for its return we set off to Monkton Farm
On the way another Red Kite gave us great views. At Monkton Farm there were hundreds of Chaffinches feeding in the maize fields and several Bramblings amoungst them. Several Hawfinches flew over and one landed briefly in the distant tree top. On the way back we heard and saw Nuthatch and several Marsh Tits.
At 4.00pm we still had an hour of daylight left so we all headed north to Burton Mill Pond to find the Bitterns that had been reported the day before. On arrival a group of 6 other birders put us straight on to one which provided us with entertainment til darkness fell - Yet another brilliant days birding, 3 new species to my list and my year to date total species for January 115.