Sue and I arrived at Arlington Reservoir mid-morning and it wasn’t long before Sue heard a Turtle Dove purring in scrub a few hundred yards from the car park. We heard another bird purring not far from the bird hide but neither gave themselves up for viewing. The same area produced a Lesser Whitethroat rattling out its song from deep cover.
Heading out towards Arlington Church and along the path that runs parallel to the River Cuckmere, several Swallows were hawking over the grass but not much else was present. As we passed the sewage works and approach the road, I noticed a dragonfly land in the grass. I realised it was not one that I had seen before, so took a couple of photos. I believe that it was a Scarce Chaser, but I am sure someone will put me right if I have got the ID wrong.
(Have heard since from Dr. Patrick Roper that my ID was correct and from Penny Green of the Sussex Dragonfly Society, who confirmed this as the eighth record of this species at Arlington Reservoir.)
Heading on round the reservoir and towards the car park we heard a Reed and several Sedge Warblers singing from the reedbed but, as with most of the birds today at Arlington, they were keeping their heads down in the stiff south-westerly wind. Other birds we did note on our circular route included 16 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 7 Common Whitehroats, 2 Blackcaps, c20 Rooks, 12 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 3 Bullfinches, 2 Pheasants, a female Kestrel and a couple of Linnets.
The darkening cloud cover made us decide to head on to Old Lodge NR on the Ashdown Forest, a wise decision as a heavy downpour occurred five minutes into our drive.
Arriving at Old Lodge at 1.40 p.m. we soon picked out two Tree Pipits in song and a photographer alerted us to two Hobbies in the boggy valley.
Three males and a female Common Redstarts were seen in a small area at the top of the valley to Keeches Brook and two Common Buzzards were in the same area.
We didn’t venture further as my joints were playing up and so retraced our steps back towards the car park. As we approached the area where we had previously seen the Hobbies, one bird flew from the telegraph wires and off into the distance.
Two Ravens passed low overhead calling with that distinct deep ‘cronk’ and presumably one these birds passed us again at the top of the valley. Two Kestrels circled overhead as we approached the car park but, apart from a few Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, a couple of Pheasants, a Common Whitethroat and a Goldcrest, not much else of note was seen.
A report of two Spotted Flycatchers at Felbridge, at the same site they frequented last year, meant a visit was in order.
Both birds were on show and I managed to get a video clip of one of them.