Tuesday, 26 October 2021

26th - 28th October 2021

Thursday, 26th October: The spell of mild and windy conditions continues, with a moderate southerly pushing through lots of heavy cloud...........

Selsey Bill: There was a reasonable selection again this morning, including Red-throated and Great Northern Divers, Arctic Skua, Bonxie and a few auks, all going west. Full log below. (AH/P&LH/SR/GSh)
(0745-0930hrs) (SSW, F6)
Great Northern Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 2E, 49W
Shag - 1W
Common Scoter - 7W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4W
Turnstone - 9W, 28 present
Great skua - 1W
Arctic Skua - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 41W
Common Gull - 2W
Kittiwake - 2W
Guillemot - 1os
Razorbill - 62W, 12os
auk sp - 42W
Pied Wagtail - 3E
Linnet - 26W

Guillemot (above), Razorbill, Red-breasted Mergansers & Gannets at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool:  The variety of species on the pool remains largely unchanged, with just c100 Lapwing, c20 Wigeon and c50 Shoveler and Teal present. (AH)

Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

West Itchenor: There was no sight or sound of the Nuthatch  this morning, with four Bar-tailed Godwits and six Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour the only birds of note. (IP)

Medmerry: Stilt Pools - The Spoonbill was present again this morning on the reserve, opposite the Stilt Pool, and also, two Golden Povers went over. (P&LH)

Church Norton: A look along the west side of the harbour produced 15 Great Crested Grebes, c30 Pintail, c200 Wigeon, c100 Teal, c150 Dunlin and a few Grey Plovers and Turnstones, plus a couple of Grey Herons and a handful of Little Egrets.
A pair of Stonechats were along the path, with two Reed Buntings and a handful of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits going over, whilst two Jays were the only birds around the churchyard/hide area. (AH)

Stonechat (above), Jay, Meadow Pipit, Pintails & Wigeon and Teal at Church Norton (AH)

Wednesday, 26th October: Another mild, though blustery and mainly overcast morning, with the wind still from the west.....

Selsey Bill: There was a bit of westward movement this morning, including an Arctic Skua, three Bonxies (with another east), nine Kittiwakes and a slight, but steady, stream of auks. Full log below. (AH/SR)
(0745-0915hrs) SW, F6)
Gannet - 11E, 15W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W
Great Skua - 1E, 3W
Arctic Skua - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 1E, 18W
Common Gull - 4W
Kittiwake - 9W
Guillemot - 2W, 1os
Razorbill - 31W, 1os
auk sp - 2E, 67W
Pied Wagtail - 7W
Linnet - 23W
Goldfinch - 20

Bonxie (above), Arctic Skua, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Razorbill, Red-breasted Merganser & Common Gull at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool:  There were c150 Lapwings on the pool, but otherwise just a handful of Wigeon and c50 Teal and Shovelers, with a couple of Skylarks over the field. (AH)

Lapwings (above) & Teal and Shovelers at the Ferry (AH)

West Itchenor: A Nuthatch was calling again around Park Copse/Chalkdock this morning. (PH)

Medmerry: Stilt Pools - A Spoonbill was present this morning on the Stilt Pool until flushed by a kite-flyer! (M Stevens)

Church Norton: There were very few waders in the harbour beyond 50+ Redshanks, with just a few Dunlin, Grey Plovers and Turnstones among them, with more of the latter three species, plus a Knot and a few Mediterranean Gulls, along the beach.
The bushes were equally quiet, with just a couple of Chiffchaffs seen, though a visiting birder reported a Firecrest, too. (AH)

Knot and Turnstones (above) & Grey Plovers and Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

Tuesday, 26th October: Another mild, though blustery and overcast morning, with the wind still from the west.....

Editorial: if you think it's been a slow autumn - especially lately - you're right, as this set of stats from our very own Statto (IP) indicates....."There have been no additions to the year list in the last 38 days, when I last updated the figures - a true bit of SCAD for you (= South Coast Autumn Doldrums). Indeed, there has never been a 'no October additions' in the Blog era, with the least number being four.....this October is also five birds lower currently than 2016 which was the only time we failed to reach 150 species in the current month!
Also of the departing Autumn migrants that are tracked, no less than seven species departed on their earliest date this century (51 species tracked, 22 years being monitored). Curlew Sandpiper was 13 days earlier than ever recorded before !!! Little Tern was ten days earlier and the previous earliest date was just last year (is this a trend?)."
 Mmmm, interesting isn't it?

Also on the stats theme, plus the recent input from the early generation of 1960's Selsey observers, it has become apparent some of our info pages need updating! This is particularly true of the bird checklist and the history of the Bill; work is underway to correct this in due course. (Eds/OM)

Selsey Bill: There was little on the move, save nine Brent Geese and three Little Egrets west, but the morning was enlivened by a Bonxie and an Arctic Skua, two Guillemots and eight Razorbills lingering on the sea.
The Bonxie appeared to crash land on an immature Herring Gull on the water and proceed to drown it before feasting on it, as they drifted east. Full log below. (SR/AH/IP)
(0750-0905hrs) (W, F5)
Gannet - 6W
Little Egret - 3W
Brent Goose - 9W
Common Scoter - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1W
Turnstone - 18
Great Skua -1os
Arctic Skua - 1os
Black-headed Gull - 2000os
Mediterranean Gull - 20os
Common Gull - 2os
Kittiwake - 6W
Guillemot - 2os
Razorbill - 8os
auk sp - 2E
Rock Pipit - 2
Meadow Pipit - 1
Pied Wagtail - 10W

Bonxie (above), Arctic Skua, Guillemot, Razorbills, Red-breasted Merganser, Rock Pipit & Little Egrets at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool:  There were just the usual mix of species this morning, including c40 Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits, eight Wigeon, c50 Shovelers and c80 Teal.
Also, two Cattle Egrets were among the cows in the fields behind and three Jays went over the channel opposite, where there was a Little Grebe, too. (AH)

Wigeon and Teal (above) & Little Grebe around the Ferry (AH)

This evening there were ten Avocets on the pool, whilst a Sparrowhawk and seven Brent Geese went over. (AH)

Avocets on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: Around the hide area this morning were a Firecrest, a male Blackcap, two Chiffchaffs, two Jays and a Chaffinch, whilst along the beach were two Cetti’s Warblers in each of the Severals reedbeds, two Jays, and a pair of Stonechats.
Also, in the area around the southern end of Grange Lane were six Chiffchaffs, a Sparrowhawk, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, three Red-legged Partridges. (CRJ)

Stonechat (above), abandoned yacht & autumn leaves at Church Norton (CRJ)

Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: It was very quiet this morning, with 30+ Cattle Egrets in the fields around the buildings the only thing of note, with just an handful of Skylarks and Linnets over the fields in Church Farm Lane and literally nothing in the hedges or the churchyard. (AH)

Cattle Egrets at Marsh Farm, Sidlesham (AH)

Chichester Canal: There were still two family groups on the canal - a Little Grebe with two juveniles and a pair of Coot with a begging youngster in tow, whilst two flocks of chattering Long-tailed Tits were in the hedges along with three Chiffchaffs, a Stonechat, a Song Thrush and a Grey Heron, with a calling Skylark and four Pied Wagtails overhead. (SR)

Little Grebe on Chichester Canal (SR)

Saturday, 23 October 2021

23rd -25th October 2021

Monday, 25th October: After a rainy start, another fairly bright and breezy morning, in a moderate southerly breeze.....

More from days gone by at the Bill:- Some readers will be interested in the following from 1966, which has very recently been supplied by a friend of HPKR (= Harry Robinson), and follows on from the recent photo of him outside the old Selsey Observatory hut. As a result, contact has been established with Harry, who now resides in Florida, having moved to the USA a good while ago.

The following three images are from the notebook he kept and as will be seen, includes a Bill checklist from the time. The notes are neatly hand-written and can be read fairly easily, but I have not been able to enlarge them by cropping for the purposes of the blog (although they can be zoomed once loaded). It is interesting to note some of the species, together with the written accounts, with notables such as Gull-billed Tern, Melodious Warbler and Quail (in off the sea) appearing on the list.

This additional material adds to the archive and gives a flavour of the birding at that time. It is hoped to add other similar snippets of information in the future....and perhaps the time is now due for an update on the History of Selsey Bill. (OM/Eds)

Selsey Bill data relating to 1966, from the notebooks of Harry Robinson (HPKR) and kindly supplied by Sam Krah. Note that the edge of Church Norton to the Severals was then included in the Bill recording area. (OM)

Selsey Bill: There was nothing unusual, but a mix of regular birds, including a Swallow and a few Brent Geese west and a Razorbill and two Guillemots on the sea. Full log below. (AH/IP/SR/PD)
(0740-0910hrs) (SW, F4-5)
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 1E, 17W, 20os
Brent Goose - 15W
Common Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 2W
Oystercatcher - 1W
Turnstone - 3E
Common Gull - 5W
Mediterranean Gull - 10E, 26W
Kittiwake - 1W
Guillemot - 2os
Razorbill - 1os
auk sp - 3W
Skylark - 7W
Swallow - 1W
Meadow Pipit - 2W
Pied Wagtail - 1W
Goldfinch - 55W

This afternoon, two Velvet Scoters went west together. (AW)

Velvet Scoters at the Bill (AW)

Ferry Pool: All the birds were roosting on the pool this morning, including c60 Black-tailed Godwits, 100 Lapwings, three Shelducks, c20 Wigeon, c40 Shovelers and c120 Teal. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A vey large flock of c2000 (mainly Black-headed) Gulls was offshore, having drifted round from the Bill, and they drew in an Arctic Skua that chased them around a couple of times before moving on.
Otherwise, though, it was very quiet, with the harbour just holding the regular Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, c50 Grey Plovers and c100 Dunlin, and the bushes just a Reed Bunting and a few Goldfinches, though a Buzzard was in the churchyard and two or three Jays were gathering acorns from the Holm Oak in the car-park. (AH/PD/LP)
Later on, a Merlin was sitting out on Tern Island. (LP)

Arctic Skua (above), Grey Plover, Buzzard & Jays at Church Norton (AH)

Sunday, 24th October: A warm, bright and breezy morning, with sun and white cloud in a fresh southerly breeze.....

Selsey Bill: There was just a bit of activity this morning, including 36 Brent Geese, 13 Kittiwakes, 184 Gannets and a Bonxie west and eight Siskins among a small amount of overhead migration. Full log below. (SH/PB/BI/AH/IP/P&LH/JA)
(0730-0930hrs) (SSW, F5)
Gannet - 1E, 184W
Brent Goose - 36W
Shelduck - 3E
Common Scoter 6E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1W
Turnstone - 30
Great Skua - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 6W
Kittiwake - 13W
Guillemot - 1W, 1os
auk sp - 1E, 13W
Sandwich Tern - 1os
Skylark - 3W
Meadow Pipit - 17E
Pied Wagtail - 3W
Siskin - 8E
Linnet - 17E, 50W
Goldfinch - 17

Gannets (above), Brent Geese and Turnstones at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were just c40 Black-tailed Godwits, c50 Lapwings, five Shelducks, four Wigeon, c40 Shovelers and c80 Teal on the pool this morning. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings on the Ferry (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: Almost all the activity was overhead this morning, including nine Siskins, two Swallows, a Grey Wagtail, a Peregrine, a Kestrel and two Sparrowhawks, with just ten Pied Wagtails on the fields. (S&SaH/PB/JA/IP)

Church Norton: There was little to report this morning beyond a Stonechat, three Reed Buntings and six Swallows along the front, 25 Golden Plovers over the harbour, two Gannets offshore and a flock of 50 Pied Wagtails over Greenlease Farm. (S&SaH/PB/JA/IP)

A rare sighting of JA (with SaH and PB) away from the Bill, at Church Norton (SH)

Honer and Bramber: It was very quiet this morning, with a Grey Wagtail and a Green Woodpecker at Honer Reservoir, plus two Swallows over.
There were just a Little Grebe, a handful of Tufted Ducks and 16 Gadwall among the Coots on the water, a large flock of Long-tailed and Blue Tits and a few Pied Wagtails and Goldfinches around the sewage works, and eight Cattle Egrets and a couple of Meadow Pipits and a Jay at Bramber. (AH/CRJ/RJS/aF))

Cattle Egret (above), Grey Wagtail, Green Woodpecker, Jay & Long-tailed Tits around Honer and Bramber (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - There were five (and possibly six) Dartford Warblers along the banks this afternoon, with ten Stonechats, three Yellowhammers, seven Skylarks and 20+ Meadow Pipits also about, with a Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard over.
There were also 200+ Golden Plovers and 100+ Lapwing out on the reserve. (S&SaH)

Saturday, 23rd October: A complete change this morning, mild and with heavy low cloud, with just a light north-easterly breeze early on, freshening a little as it veered to south-westerly.....

Selsey Bill: There was a bit of a selection this morning, including the first Slavonian Grebe of the autumn on the sea, an Arctic Skua and 47 Brent Geese west and a bit of overhead migration including a Lesser Redpoll, six Siskins, six House Martins and 13 Swallows. Full log below. (SH/BI/AH/SR/IP)
(0730-0930hrs) (NE, F2)
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 106W, 50os
Brent Goose - 47W
Shelduck - 3W
Common Scoter - 3E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4W
Turnstone - 11
Arctic Skua - 1W (d/p)
Mediterranean Gull - 6W
Sandwich Tern - 1os
Razorbill - 1W, 3os
auk sp - 3E, 2W
Swallow - 13E
House Martin - 6E
Meadow Pipit - 19W
Pied Wagtail - 2E, 2W
Jay - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 1E
Siskin - 6E
Linnet - 44W
Goldfinch - 30

Swallow (SR), Red-breasted Merganser & Fox surveying its destroyed home (AH) at the Bill

Ferry Pool: Five Snipe were by the roadside reeds early on, with two still present later, but otherwise the pool just held c50 Teal and Shoveler and a dozen or so Wigeon and Lapwings.
Also, seven Cattle Egrets were among the cows on Ferry Field this morning, whilst a Kingfisher was in the channel opposite. (AH)

Kingfisher (above), Snipe and Moorhen & Cattle Egrets around the Ferry (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: This morning there were c30 Pied Wagtails and c20 Meadow Pipits feeding in the fields, whilst both Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers were around the first line of Poplars and a female Stonechat was in the adjacent ditch. There was also a Chiffchaff in Park Lane. (IP)

Church Norton: A Short-eared Owl was up high over the spit, late this morning, before drifting back towards the North Wall, whilst very oddly a Red-throated Diver and a first-winter Gannet both came in from offshore and flew the length of the harbour, presumably heading for the Ferry, then Medmerry and the sea there.
Also of note, two Razorbills and a Guillemot were close offshore, with one or two more Gannets out to sea, the Dartford Warbler was again in the gorse in front of the Severals, a Stonechat was in the horse field, a Kingfisher was on the metalwork and a Greenshank was in the channel by the concrete slabs.
At least 100 Brent Geese dropped into the harbour from the east, with another 50+ carrying on west, and there were 50+ Wigeon and Pintail in the harbour, along with a Bar-tailed Godwit, eight Avocets, 23 Golden Plovers, plenty of Grey Plovers and Redshank and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Around 20 Swallows went west over the horse field, but the only other migrant was a Blackcap in the Orchard in Greenlease Farm. (AH/IP et al)

Short-eared Owl (above), Red-throated Diver, Gannet, Razorbill, Brent Geese & Swallow at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall: There were three Rock Pipits along the wall this morning. (SP)

Sidlesham: This afternoon a Raven went over our garden, heading west. (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - One of the Great White Egrets was still present on the reserve this morning, along with a Marsh Harrier, a Kingfisher, five Egyptian Geese and 250+ Golden Plovers.
Also, three Dartford Warblers were along the banks, along with two Chiffchaffs, three Stonechats and two Yellowhammers, whilst at least 20 Swallows went over. (S&SaH)

Dartford Warbler (above), Great White Egret & Marsh Harrier at Medmerry (SH)