Covid-19 restrictions: Whilst we are all now well aware of the Government’s current restrictions relating to the pandemic, including those concerning travelling, exercise, gatherings and social distancing, we at the blog feel the need to clarify certain aspects of the situation to avoid misunderstandings and prevent any unfounded criticism. We realise that a glance at the detailed information on the blog, covering a good number of sites each day, may appear to some to be ‘business as usual’ and a general disregard for the rules, when this is not actually the case.
The Peninsula is fortunate in having a large number of active birders residing close enough to various important wildlife sites to be able to justifiably take their daily exercise there. Nothing in the rules prevents the use of optical gear or the listing of bird sightings during that time; we are therefore keen to continue to receive details of such properly obtained sightings for the continuing ornithological record. We do not however seek records during this difficult time from those who cannot justify it – for example by those making excessive and unnecessary journeys. Those nearby birders choosing to take their exercise at the Bill do practise social distancing and do not form gatherings of more than two – although on occasions others may be separately watching from elsewhere in the general area. Trouble is, it’s difficult to keep a low profile with a telescope and it is quickly misinterpreted.
The information provided on the blog is, in effect, a team effort and has hitherto been a strength of the whole Selsey Peninsula ‘team.’ It hurts those of us who cannot justify visiting the Bill for exercise at present, but it is what it is and we can and do respect the greater good. So those lucky Peninsula residents who can are doing their best to keep some information flowing. It does mean though that there will have to be some changes to the blog from now on and information will be more condensed or restricted for some time. Not everything will get posted – it gives a wrong impression to some and remember the blog is in the public domain (there were about 900 page hits the other day) and there are those who are not birders but visit the blog, with some only too ready to criticise for whatever reason. Remember it’s not necessarily what we do, but what we are perceived to do!
Ferry Pool and Long Pool: The first Reed and Sedge Warblers were heard on the Long Pool this morning, whilst the Spotted Redshank was again in Ferry Channel and on the Ferry there were five Avocets, three Black-tailed Godwits, c20 Shoveler and 24 Shelducks.
Also, nearby, the White Wagtail was again in fields between the solar farm and the golf course
Early this evening a male Common Redstart showed briefly in the hedges in Yeoman's Field and a swallow went over.
There was an obvious and sudden increase in Little Egrets to nine at Owl Copse this afternoon, with lots of noise and squabbling, though there was no sign of the of the Cattle Egrets at any of their previous haunts.
Church Norton: A very confiding Raven was sat in a tree by Pagham House (on Rectory Lane), but migrant species were restricted to a Sedge Warbler near the hide, three Wheatears along the spit and a couple of singing Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps.
The harbour was quiet, too with highlights being c20 Sandwich Terns, 100+ Mediterranean Gulls, three Red-breasted Mergansers, three Black-tailed Godwits and the long-staying Whimbrel.
(0620-1015hrs) (SE, F4-5)
Great Northern Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 21E
diver sp - 1W
Gannet - 88E, 7W
Brent Goose - 96E
Teal - 4E
Gadwall - 4E
Shoveler - 2E
Tufted Duck - 1E
Common Scoter - 460E
Goosander - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 8E, 1W, 2os
Turnstone - 3
Common Gull - 8E, 3W
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 5e, 2os
Little Gull - 79E
Sandwich Tern - 511E, 4W
Common tern - 142E
Arctic Tern - 1E
'Commic' Tern - 4E
Little Tern - 1E
auk sp - 2E
Meadow Pipit - 5N
Pied Wagtail - 2N
Chiffchaff - 1
Linnet - 12E
Ferry Pool: There were six Avocets on the pool this morning, along with seven Black-tailed Godwits, four Redshank and 28 Shelducks, but there were only a pair of Gadwall, half a dozen Shoveler and c25 Teal remaining.
Park Farm, Selsey: A Swallow over north was the only bird of note.
Church Norton: Up to five Little Terns were feeding offshore this morning, with two Common and 20+Sandwich Terns in the harbour, along with a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a pair of Gadwall and a Red-breasted Merganser on Tern Island and a Lapwing over.
Another pair of Gadwall were on the Severals, whilst two Swallows went over, three wheatears were on the beach, the first Whitethroat of the year was at Greenlease Farm, a Willow Warbler and a Blackcap were singing between the Severals, with another of the latter in Bluebell Wood and there were numerous Chiffchaffs throughout.
Sidlesham: Two Swallows went over the garden in the middle of the village and there were also a Brimstone, and an Orange Tip on the wing.
Sidlesham Churchyard: A Blackcap was singing in the churchyard this morning.
Medmerry: Chainbridge Field area - The only hints of migration were a couple of Willow Warblers and up to ten Chiffchaffs were around the sheltered hedges and two Swallows that went over.
Otherwise, there were plenty of Linnets and Goldfinches, plus a few Skylarks, but not much else.
Readers with an eye for detail are directed to the latest addition on our Statistics page where they will discover a breakdown of data covering Selsey Bill. Our esteemed statistician IP - to whom we are most grateful - has beavered away and recently compiled the list of species recorded at the Bill each year, from 2013 (when the Blog began) until the present time. Check out the good and not so good years and what species were recorded...just click the statistics link on the header page. (Eds)
A later look around the farmland north of the North Wall produced two Swallows around the barn at the end of Summer Lane and a Little Ringed Plover by the flooded field west of Pagham Rife close to the pumping station.
Also, a Sand Martin went over a nearby garden.
Selsey: A Red Kite went over Seal School playing fields late this morning.