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.
An early start to be at West Dean for 8.00am was needed and despite the heavy rain when I left home I arrived to blue skies and in plenty of time. A quick visit to Stapleash Farm brought my next first a pair of Little Owls sunning themselves in their usual tree. Before setting off in the forest we managed to find a pair of Red Legged Partridge, a singing Chiff Chaff, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and a couple of Buzzards.
A distant calling of a Willow Tit was heard also a Hawfinch but neither could be located.
As we set off along the bridle path up the hill a Woodlark was singing and displaying in the stubblefield. Seconds after a Red Kite soared over. On reaching the summit of the hill we came across a mature conifer plantation which was buzzing with Gold Crests and Firecrests but they were impossible to get a scope on.
Continuing on we found more Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Nuthatch heard another Willow Tit close by this time, but was not to be found. A herd of 20 Fallow Deer passed by, and a pair of Bullfinches were seen on our return walk past the unopened woodland Daffodills.
After lunch in the car park our next stop was a quick visit to Benbow Pond near Midhurst where an Egyption Goose and a pair of Black Swans were being fed by the visitors to Cowdray Park. From there we went off to Ambersham Common in search of Dartford Warblers which didn't show, but we managed a couple Stonechats and a party of at least 20 Crossbills in the conifers were added to our list.