• David Campbell

Patching up

On the outskirts of Worthing lies a little village called Patching. I can't be the only birder who raised an eyebrow when I first drove past it, the irony being that the area doesn't seem like it would be an inspiring local patch. At first glance it blends into all the other countryside surrounding it. However, over the last couple of years it has done rather well, turning up a Northern Treecreeper, and several Siberian Chiffchaffs and Firecrests.

Yellow-browed Warbler

Today another very good bird was found in Patching, at the little sewage works just off the busy main road: a Yellow-browed Warbler. I visited mid-afternoon and this striped wonder performed superbly in the open, even bursting into voice for a few seconds. Alongside it was a male Firecrest, with several Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. They were all there because of the clouds of insects over the percolating filter, a real bounty on chilly days like this. Three Grey Wagtails also took advantage of the fine dining but clearly remembered spring is not far off, with a smart male singing enthusiastically.