on the whole, february was a dull, dreary month, with few birds, rubbish weather and many days stuck in the house doing nothing. My Sussex year list increased by just eight during this time, five of which were on one day. However, a few birding trips outside the county did putosme bulk onto an otherwise unremarkable month.
For me, the first five days of February were spent in school, so unsurprisingly I saw nothing more notable than the wintering Grey Wagtail. On the 6th, a report from the previous day of a Common Crane in the Ouse sent me off to Lewes for a lengthy walk down the valley, 6 and a half hours later, no Crane but four year ticks, which had taken my sussex and british year list into three figures. These were Common and Green Sandpiper (with four of the latter a fantastic count), Chiffchaff and Kingfisher. I then got on the train home, and immediately saw a Cattle Egret! Unfortuantely, unlike the crane this bird would make no reappearance for other observers, although I saw what might well have been it near Rodmell the follwing day, though it was a very distant view.
In the following week, brief snow showers brought nothing into Seaford bar a few fly-over Fieldfares. On the 13th, I took a field trip into Northern France with several other birders, the highlights of the trip were Hen Harrier, Whooper Swan, Purple Sandpiper, Snow Bunting, Black-throated Diver, Crested Lark, Water Rail, Goldeneye, Black Redstart, Pintail, Black-necked, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebe, Razorbill, White-fronted Goose, Barnacle Goose, Ruff, Smew and Red-breasted Merganser.
The following day, back in Seaford, I saw the returning Crane near Piddinghoe, on the way to the New forest for several days. On the first birding day we spent there, the highlight was an obliging Woodlark, while Crossbill, Siskin, Lapwing, Nuthatch and Treecreeper where the ther highlights. On the secnd day, the main highlight was a GREAT GREY SHRIKE at Holmsley inclosure, while other birds seen included
Siskin, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Buzzard, Little Egret and Jay.
During the secnd half of February, I saw hardly anything. A brief and unsuccessful morning visit to the Ouse to look for the Crane was as far as I got from home in a period where the weather has horrible for the most part. I saw Blackcaps on three dates in Seaford, on 17th, 19th and 23rd, with a Chiffchaff on the 26th and two Grey Partridge on the downs on the 17th. However, it was an uninspiring end to an uninspiring month.