Arlington Reservoir, East Sussex ... 25th September 2011

On arrival at the reservoir, we were surprised at how low the water level was and it looked very promising for a few waders.

As it turned out we found none but we hadn't been there long before a PEREGRINE flew across the reservoir and attempted, unsuccessfully, to take a Black-headed Gull. Three Common Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and two Kestrels made up the rest of the raptor tally during our visit.

Canada Geese were present in large numbers with at least 400 at the dam end. A few oddities were amongst them including a Bar-headed Goose and three strange hybrids that we could only guess as to what their parentage was. Three Greylag Geese and 4 Gadwall made up the rest of the barely notable wildfowl.

We headed across the field to the footbridge over the River Cuckmere and found two WHINCHATS together on a bush.

One feature of today's visit was the number of Swallows - at least 300 passed through over the reservoir and many more, probably another 100+, were skimming low over the surrounding fields, but just one House Martin was noted.

About fifteen Meadow Pipits flew from the rank grass by the river and four Siskins flew over calling.

The Long Man of Wilmington in the distance.

We headed back round the reservoir and the best bird of the day for us was also the last notable bird seen.
Sue had just remarked how she was disappointed that no terns had been present.
I scanned the reservoir one last time and picked out a tern low over the water, short bill, very clean upper wings with no darker primary wedges and very dainty, bouncy flight, if you see what I mean? Definitely an adult ARCTIC TERN. It was picking food items from the water's surface in marsh tern fashion.
It was only present for a few minutes before gaining height and heading off to the south. Not a bad way to end the day.

(Other notables were a Clouded Yellow, which refused to settle, and two Small Copper butterflies.)

Graham & Sue

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