Wednesday, 20 January 2021

20th January 2021

Wednesday, 20th January: A very grey and blustery morning, with a near gale-force southerly pushing through belts of drizzly rain........

Selsey BillThere was plenty of westward movement again this morning, including two Fulmars, a group of seven Sandwich Terns, 300 Gannets, 85 Kittiwakes and 400 auks, whilst a flock of 20 Brent Geese went east.

Fulmar (above), Sandwich Terns, Kittiwake & Gannets at the Bill

Ferry PoolThe Kingfisher, the Spotted Redshank and two Gadwall were in the channel opposite this morning, whilst half a dozen Snipe were in the reeds and the pool held a Mediterranean Gull, six Shelducks, c200 Wigeon and 50 or so Teal and Shovelers.

Kingfisher (above), Spotted Redshank & Wigeon around the Ferry

North Wall: On the flooded fields north of Welbourne were 380 Brent Geese, 190 Wigeon, 106 Great Black-backed Gulls, ten Shelduck and five Mute Swans, whilst a Grey Wagtail was around the stables, but White's Creek was like a wind tunnel and there were only a few Lapwing to be seen. 
A male Marsh Harrier was briefly over the reeds behind the Breech Pool, but like the two previous days it was pretty dismal along the Wall, with little to see. On Monday and Tuesday there had been small numbers of Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits in the various Honer fields, but today they were empty.
Honer 1 remains impassable at present, and the western end of the Wall is very muddy, with deep puddles and VERY slippery.

Church Norton: There were a lot of waders out on the mud this morning, including at least 400 Knot and 700 Dunlin, plus at least 50 Grey Plovers, along with the Whimbrel and a lone Black-tailed Godwit, whilst  200 Golden Plovers and 500 Lapwing came up from further down the harbour and 18 Snipe were in the creek by the horse field.
Wildfowl were less conspicuous, but included half a dozen Pintail, 20 Shelducks, c50 Teal and Wigeon and 200 Brent Geese, but beyond a first-winter Mediterranean Gull and the two tame Robins there wasn't much else about.

Pintail (above), Snipe, Whimbrel & Black-tailed Godwit at Church Norton

Marsh & Chalder Farms: A brisk circular walk in the rain produced c200 Brent Geese overhead, 17 Cattle Egrets, three Little Egrets, a Jay, a Green Woodpecker, three Mediterranean Gulls and c300 Black-headed Gulls.

Cattle Egret in the rain at Marsh Farm

Sunday, 17 January 2021

17th - 19th January 2021

Tuesday, 19th January: After a wet and stormy night, a grey and blustery morning, with some rain and glimpses of blue sky in a near gale-force south-westerly.......

Selsey Bill: There was not too much variety, but there was a big westward movement of 450 Gannets, with c800 auks and a few Kittiwakes going with them, but not much else beyond a couple of Sandwich Terns and a handful of Red-throated Divers.
Later in the morning there were another three Red-throated and a Great Northern Diver heading west, plus 32 Gannets and six Brent Geese likewise amongst a few other species.

Gannets at the Bill

Ferry Pool: The Spotted Redshank was in the channel opposite again, but the pool was quiet, with just half a dozen Snipe, half a dozen Shelducks and c40 Shovelers tucked in around the edges and c100 Wigeon and c300 Lapwing on the field.

Spotted Redshank (above) & Shelducks at the Ferry

Medmerry: Coastguards - The flock of c30 Common Scoter was offshore again this morning.

Church Norton: Two Bar-tailed Godwits were on the mud this morning, along with c300 Knot, c100 Grey Plovers and c600 Dunlin, with a huge flock of c300 Golden Plovers and c800 Lapwings taking to the air a couple of times.
Apart from a few Brent Geese flying about, there were very few wildfowl, with little in the hedges, either, though a dozen Stock Doves were along Rectory Lane.

Bar-tailed Godwit (above), Knot and Shelducks, Dunlin, Brent Geese and Stock Doves at Church Norton

Monday, 18th January: A cool, but pleasant, morning, with some hazy sunshine and a light to moderate westerly breeze.......

We were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the sudden and untimely passing of Tim Callaway on New Year's Eve and it is difficult to put into words the sense of loss to his family and to Conservation in general at this difficult time.

Much has already been written - and doubtless more eloquently than here - about Tim's qualities both as a driving force for the good of nature and as a genuine and approachable man, who always had time to listen and help. He was employed by the RSPB for many years, working his way up from being a warden at Pulborough Brooks to becoming an Area Manager, taking prime responsibility for a number of major projects, especially the Medmerry reserve which now stands as a lasting tribute to him. 

He gave much assistance to many, including on occasions the editors of this little blog, for which we will always be grateful. It is not long ago that in changing times Tim eventually left the employ of the RSPB and moved on, but to many - including us - he is what that organisation was all about and he was a total credit to them throughout. A thoroughly decent man with a passion for protecting nature and the environment, who was always prepared to get his hands dirty when necessary. There is so much more that we could say, but the need for brevity prevents it, so thanks for everything old friend and rest in peace. Our deepest condolences go to his wife and family.  (Eds)

Selsey Bill: At least 500 Gannets were in a big feeding flock again this morning, though further out and further east, whilst 1200 auks and 40 Kittiwakes went east, too. 
There was also a Shag and two Great Northern Divers offshore, along with four Sandwich Terns, and a Grey Heron was on the beach.

Shag (above), Great Northern Diver, Gannets & Grey Heron at the Bill 

Ferry Pool: What were presumably the now-settled family of five White-fronted Geese flew over from the harbour, heading towards Medmerry this morning.
Also, at least 18 Snipe were roosting in the reeds, with a Cetti's Warbler nearby, whilst at least 200 Wigeon, 500 Lapwings, 100 Teal and 75 Shoveler were around the pool and field and the Kingfisher was again in the channel opposite.
Also, at around 0430hrs, a Barn Owl went over the B2145 between the Ferry and the farm shop.
Later, a Pochard was in the harbour off the Tramway and a Kingfisher was in Red Barn Ditch.

White-fronted Geese (above), Kingfisher, Snipe & Shovelers around the Ferry

Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: At least 20 widely spread Cattle Egrets were around the fields, but generally it was very quiet, with the only other species of note being c40 Curlews, a Sparrowhawk, two Buzzards and half a dozen Meadow Pipits.

Cattle Egrets at Marsh Farm, Sidlesham

North Mundham to Fisher crossroads: Three Egyptian Geese, two Mistle Thrushes, a SongThrush, a Jay and a Grey Heron were the highlights today.

Park Farm, Selsey: A Grey Wagtail, a Green Woodpecker and c30 Meadow Pipits were around the fields this morning, but there were just 11 Brent Geese present.

Fishbourne Creek: It was rather quiet early afternoon, just before high tide, with two Goldeneyes, four Gadwall and two Pintail off the Lavant Outfall, with many Wigeon widely distributed. 
The multitude of gulls at Fishbourne contained a Lesser Black-backed Gull, whilst the pontoon off the boat yard held 26 Turnstone and 13 Lapwing, with many waders were roosting off Dell Quay. A Kingfisher flew across the channel at Dell Quay, whilst another (or the same) was later further up the channel, and the shoreside vegetation held three Stonechats with two Rock Pipits in the salt marsh at Fishbourne.

Medmerry: Windmill to the Breach - A Dartford Warbler was an unexpected find here, along with a couple of Stonechats and Meadow Pipits, whilst the sub-adult drake Eider was also still present.

Dartford Warbler (above) & Eider at Medmerry

Church Norton: Two Slavonian Grebes and a flock of ten Common Scoters were offshore this morning, with a Red-throated Diver going east and a Gannet, a Razorbill and c30 distant auks all going west.
A Kingfisher was in the harbour, as were a Peregrine, two Avocets, 40 Pintail and 200 roosting Golden Plovers, whilst a Cetti's Warbler and a few Goldcrests were around the Severals area.

West Wittering: The pair of Coal Tits were still frequenting the garden today, and unmoved by the requests to relocate to a garden in Sidlesham! (Possibly because they know where they are well off...)

Coal Tit in a West Wittering garden

Sunday, 17th January: A bright and breezy morning, with lots of sunshine, but  with the north-westerly keeping it cool.....

Selsey Bill: A huge sprawling flock of c600 Gannets were feeding distantly offshore this morning before drifting away east, whilst c3500 auks also went distantly east, along with 55 Kittiwakes. Also, 11 Red-throated Divers went west and eight Sandwich Terns were feeding offshore.

Red-breasted Mergansers (above) & Common Gull at the Bill

Ferry Pool: A dozen Snipe were at the front, c50 Teal and Shovelers, along with three Gadwall and six Shelducks were around the pool and c200 Wigeon and 500 Lapwing were on the field, whilst the Kingfisher was again in the channel opposite.

Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: A Little Owl was reported at Bramber Farm today. (per Twitter)

Park Farm, Selsey: There were a Grey Wagtail, five Pied Wagtails, two Green Woodpeckers and two Buzzards around the farm this morning.

Church Norton: Two Slavonian Grebes and a Red-throated Diver were offshore this morning, whilst among the regular waders and wildfowl in the harbour were a Peregrine, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a few Pintail, with 300 Golden Plovers and 1000 Lapwing going up at the other end of the harbour.
Also, 17 Snipe were in the creek by the horse field, a handful of Goldcrests were around the Severals and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming in the Priory Wood.
This afternoon the two Goldeneyes were in the harbour, along with six Red-breasted Mergansers and eight Great Crested Grebes, whilst c40 Ringed Plovers were among the waders present.

Goldeneyes (above) & Ringed Plovers, Turnstones and Dunlin at Church Norton

Medmerry: Windmill to the Breach - A Razorbill was offshore and a Greenshank was in the tidal area this morning, whilst there were still two pairs of Stonechats and four Pied Wagtails about, too.

Medmerry: Porthole Farm to Ham Farm - There were a lot of birds around the various cover crops this morning, including c20 Yellowhammers, half a dozen Reed Buntings, c30 Meadow Pipits, c50 Skylarks and up to 250 Linnets, along with around 80 Stock Doves.
Also, a Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk were out on the reserve, whilst a couple of Chiffchaffs were along the hedges at Porthole Farm.

Chiffchaff (above), Stock Dove, Skylark, Meadow Pipit & Linnets at Medmerry (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - The family of five White-fronted Geese were on the reserve again this morning, along with c200 Brent Geese, and there were two different Kingfishers about, whilst one Dartford Warbler was found along the banks, along with the usual Yellowhammers and Skylarks. Also, a total of 28 Roe Deer were spread around the area.

White-fronted Geese (above), Kingfisher & Roe Deer at Medmerry

Chi GPs - Drayton House pits: Two Marsh Harriers over the North pit were the highlight this morning, whilst between both pits there were 80 Pochard, two Buzzards, a Kingfisher, two squealing Water Rails, a Kestrel, two Cetti's Warblers and a Bullfinch amongst the regular species.

Marsh Harrier at Drayton House pits