Rough seas

The weather has been pretty intense here in Sussex over the last few days, with battering winds and endless rain. It makes birding difficult but patient watching from the coast can pay off.

first-winter Little Gull

Watching from Worthing beach over the last week has produced a Sooty Shearwater, a Long-tailed Duck and - today - a magical encounter with a first-winter Little Gull feeding in the surf.

first-winter Little Gull

This is the world's smallest gull and breeds on marshes in eastern Europe. In the winter, they spend most of their time far out to sea in the North Sea and the Atlantic off western European coasts.

first-winter Little Gull

They are easiest to see in Sussex in the spring, when they routinely pass through within sight of land on their migration to the breeding grounds, but they can occasionally be seen in hard weather in autumn and winter.