We timed last Saturday's Sussex Estuary Bird Discovery Tour to make the most of the flowing tide through the Adur Estuary in Shoreham, watching waders feeding on the river before marvelling at the mix of shorebirds coming in to the RSPB section for high tide.
I scouted out the area around the recreation ground ahead of meeting the participants, getting looks at a Spotted Flycatcher and a fly-by Kingfisher. When the others arrived, we made our way to the east side of the estuary, from which viewing would be ideal with the light behind us. A chattering flock of Turnstones caught our eyes as they flew towards the mouth of the river and we enjoyed watching some Pied Wagtails.
After watching feeding Oystercatchers and Little Egrets, we found a mixed flock of Ringed Plover and Dunlin working the mudflats, a mix of young and adult birds.
Besides some mighty Great Black-backed Gulls, the gull flocks didn't contain anything unusual. On our way back downriver we clocked not one — but two! — Hummingbird Hawkmoths. It really has been a super summer for this amazing insect!
With the tide yet to push many birds onto the roost area, we used the time to search the bushes again for migrant birds, finding a couple of Willow Warblers and Whitethroats, and getting amazingly close to a Linnet.
The current had done its work by the time we went back to the estuary, adding Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Redshank, Lapwing and Grey Heron to our species list for the morning. We heard and had a very distant glimpse of the Kingfisher again, but seeing it well will have to wait till next time!
At that, we called it a day after a lovely couple of hours in this urban Sussex birding hotspot!