Friday, 29 March 2013

29th - 31st MARCH

Easter Sunday, 31st March: Yet another Black Redstart found by Sarah Russell - this time in her garden at East beach! Also 1 Wheatear at the nearby kids cycle track. 

Black Redstart, Selsey garden, 31st March (photo: Sarah Russell)
Selsey Bill (0635-1000hrs): Dry, cold, sunny, NE3. (Obs: JA/SH et al).
Med' Gull - 15E & 8 os,  Curlew 2E &1W, Chiffchaff - 1N,  Black-headed Gull - 33E, Common Gull - 11E,  Woodpigeon - 38E, Great Crested Grebe - 1E & 2os,
Brent Goose - 155E, Common Scoter - 16E, 5W & 98os, Gannet - 31E, 13W &4os, Sandwich Tern - 11E &15os,
Ringed Plover - 2ob,   Rook - 1N, Oystercatcher - 3E,  diver sp. - 9E, 3W,
Great Northern Diver - 6os,
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E & 13os,
Red-throated Diver - 1E, Meadow Pipit - 4N,  auk sp. - 7E &1W,  Fulmar - 1E & 1W, Wigeon - 2E, Pied Wagtail - 3E &3N,  Slavonian Grebe - 1E &2os, Lesser Black-backed Gull - 7os, Herring Gull - 539 and Yellowhammer - 1.
(1530 - 1600hrs) : Cormorant - flock of 16 flew in from the sea and headed N and Curlew - flock of 9E. Also of note; apparently celebrity birder Simon King (and a flash Porsche) paid a visit to the Bill this afternoon (per Paul, Bridgette and Beryl James). Other info:- Selsey West Beach - Great Northern Diver - 2 os (1 in summer plumage), Stonechat - male, Chiffchaff - 1.
Sidlesham Ferry - Dunlin - 4, Black-tailed Godwit - 1, Long Pool - Bearded Tit - heard,  Raven - pair over heading N.  Pagham Harbour - Avocet - ca. 14 roosting at high tide disturbed by a passing Merlin (P&BJ).
Selsey West Fields/Medmerry: (AH): I did go to the Westfields this morning (from Ham Farm) and had the following - 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Green Sandpipers, 6 Snipe, 20 Curlew, 1 Ringed Plover, 20 Lapwing, 1 Wheatear, 150 Teal, 2 Pintail, 6 Gadwall, 80 Wigeon, 12 Shelduck & 4 Buzzard.

Blackcap in garden,male
Selsey to Church Norton, 10+ Chiffchaff, 1 male Stonechat, 2 Ravens 3 Red-throated Divers flying east. Male Blackcap in Selsey garden again (S&SH),  Thanks as usual to all contributors.

Saturday, 30th March: Selsey Bill (0530-1200hrs):Cold, dry, cloudy with some sunny spells later. Wind fresh NE 4-5. (Obs: JA/SH/C&ME/GH/OM). A cold morning yet again with a predictably slow sea-watch; when will we get some warm southerlies and a bit of spring-like weather?  Totals were:-
Black-headed Gull - 47E
Red-breasted Merganser - 15E, 2W & 12 os
Great Northern Diver - 5 os & 1W
Med' Gull - 16E & 8 os
Sandwich Tern - 58E
Common Scoter - 3E, 2W & 51 os
Pied Wagtail - 5N
Slavonian Grebe - 4E & 3 os
Gannet - 42E & 14W
Brent Goose - 14E
Great Crested Grebe - 8E & 2 os
Red-necked Grebe - 1 os
Meadow Pipit - 42N
Fulmar - 2E & 1W
Auk sp. - 12E &7W
Red-throated Diver - 7E & 1os
Diver sp - 1E
Skylark - 1N
Blackcap - 1 gardens
Ringed Plover - 4 ob
Sanderling - 1 ob
Wigeon - 2E
Pintail - 2E
Shoveler - 6W
Mallard - 5 over beach/gardens 
Woodpigeon - 18N
Sparrowhawk - 1 over gardens
Northcommon Farm (Selsey): I checked out the area and the only spring migrant to be found was a single Chiffchaff; however a lingering flock of 25 Redwings was a bit of a surprise - perhaps they think it's still winter. Also singles of Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker there.
West Fields/Medmerry: Good info received that up to 5 Garganey have been present over two sites in the (RSPB) area during the last couple of days, plus 16 Golden Plover and 1 male Wheatear. 
At Pagham Harbour 15 Avocets roosting, and a pair of Marsh Harriers at Church Norton (over the Severals). Lastly a male Blackcap in a Selsey garden (S&SH).

Good Friday, 29th March: Selsey Bill (0530-1000hrs): Dry, cloudy, some brightness, NE4/5.
(Obs: PB/SH/IP et al).
G/N Diver - 9 o/s &1W
Med Gull - 6E & 2ob
Diver sp - 5E
Sandwich Tern - 19E & 40 o/s [roosting on exposed rocks by the Mile basket - then took off E/W]
Auk sp - 3W & 2E
Common Scoter - 75o/s & 46E
Slav Grebe - 2 o/s [both coming into SP]
R/b Merganser - c15o/s, 7E & 8W
Pied / Alba Wagtail - 8N
Greenshank - 1N
Wigeon - 2E
Velvet Scoter - 3W landing on the sea
Meadow Pipit - 303N
Gannet - 2E & 2W
Black-throated Diver - 3E
Red-throated Diver - 7E & 2W
Brent Goose - 94E & 5W
Razorbill - 1W
Sanderling - 1 o/b
Chiffchaff - 2N
(1015-1330hrs) Additional watch (C&M E, et al) produced Brent Goose - 194E, R/b Merganser - 4E & 16W, Pied Wagtail - 1N, Meadow Pipit - 137N, Velvet Scoter - 2E, Common Scoter - 95E and Red-throated Diver - 8E.

At West Wittering 60 Golden Plover and 6 Wheatears (GH).

Little Owl, Selsey area, 29th March (photo: Andy House)

Ventured onto the Selsey West Fields from the coast and from inland today. This morning from the beach, 1 Wheatear, 8 Teal, 2 Wigeon, 20 Skylark, 2 pairs of displaying Lapwing, but sadly not Sarah Russell's smart male Black Redstart. This afternoon around the Sidlesham sewage farm, 1 Barn Owl, 6 Chiffchaffs, 20 Meadow Pipits 20 Stock Doves and a huge flock (1500 approx) of Wood Pigeons sat on a bare field. At a further private site the Little Owl was still present, looking less pleased to see me than I was him! (pic attached), along with more Chiffchaffs, 4 Reed Buntings & 1 Common Snipe. (AH)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

24th - 28th MARCH

Thursday, 28th March: Selsey Bill (0645-1145hrs): Dry and cold, cloudy with lengthy sunny spells. Wind NE 2-3. More of the same today weather-wise, but it was a pleasure to sit on the wall this morning, sheltered from the cool wind and with the sun shining. Once again the Sandwich Terns were lingering and there was a steady arrival of Meadow Pipits, but the first Swallow of the season also arrived, then  GH spotted a distant raptor arriving which turned into a smart male Marsh Harrier. (Obs: GH/C&ME/OM et al) Full details of the watch are as follows:-
Sandwich Tern - 10E & 37 o/s
Shelduck - 2E & 3W
R/b Merganser - 4E & 3 o/s
Gt Northern Diver - 3 o/s
Gt Crested Grebe - 2E & 1 o/s
Red-throated Diver - 14E & 1W
Diver sp - 11E & 4W
Slavonian Grebe - 3E & 1 o/s
Common Scoter - 10E
Gannet - 3E & 2W
Med Gull - 1 o/s
Guillemot - 1 o/s
Fulmar - 1W
Auk Sp - 6E
Marsh Harrier - 1 male, N from sea (1045hrs)
Swallow - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 845N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 2N
Peregrine - 1 N
Woodpigeon - 5N
Common Gull - 3E
Oystercatcher - 1W
Wheatear - 1 o/b
Skylark - 1 in gardens

loafing Sandwich Terns at the Bill, 28th March (photo: Andy House)


Black Redstart, Medmerry, 28th March (photo:Sarah Russell)
At Medmerry  a superb male Black Redstart at the caravan park at lunchtime, just where the park ends and the new Bunn Leisure sea defence work starts. No sign of the usual famale and nothing else of note apart from a Buzzard, a few Meadow Pipits and two Pied Wagtails. Oh, and perched on the wall of 'Farthings' (former home of Patrick Moore) in West Street were two Red-legged Partridges! Earlier at Ivy Lake (Chi GPs) Chiffchaffs were very much in evidence, at least 24, some of which were singing. Nothing much else of note apart from 3 newly hatched Coots being carefully tended by their proud parents (Sarah Russell). At Westhampnett pit at least 25 Sand Martins still present (CRJ). Not much of note either at Pagham Harbour whilst I was there; the Ferry Pool held about 65 Shoveler, 150 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall and a few Teal, but no sign of any Avocets early morning, whilst at the North Wall/Breech Pool c.300 Brent Geese were still present this afternoon plus 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and several Chiffchaffs, but no sign of anything more exciting. AH called there in the morning and re-located the Black Redstart and a Wheatear; he also had a Goldeneye in the channel and two more on Pagham Lagoon, where 220 Med Gulls were also present.

Wednesday, 27th March: Selsey Bill (0645-1230hrs): Again dry, cold and cloudy, but with a little hazy sunshine later. Wind lighter than of late, NE 2-3. Surprise of the day was a fairly close drake Goosander E, but otherwise it was fairly standard fare, with a gathering of 32 Sandwich Terns resting on the groynes and apparently in no hurry to leave, and a small arrival of Meadow Pipits. (Obs - GH/CRJ/AH/M&CE/OM et al).  Totals were:-
Gt Northern Diver - 2 o/s
Fulmar - 2E & 4W
Med Gull - 4E & 3N
Common Scoter - flock c.95 o/s moving about, 62E & 36W
Diver Sp - 5E & 10W
Red-throated Diver - 11E & 9W
Auk sp - 7E & 3W
Sandwich Tern - 32 o/s & 28E
Rook - 1N (flew in low over the sea from way out)
Gt Crested Grebe - 2E & 1 o/s
Gannet - 10E & 12W     
Oystercatcher, Selsey Bill, 27th March
R/b Merganser - 11E & 3W
Goosander - 1E (m, 0929hrs)
Peregrine - 1N
Brent Goose - 10E
Shelduck - 3W
Wheatear - 1 o/b
Chiffchaff - 2,
Pied Wagtail - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 267N
Oystercatcher - 1 walked E past us at close range along the beach; a species rarely ever featured yet usually only  seen  in  small numbers at the Bill.
Sidlesham Ferry Pool held 60 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 12 Teal and c.200 Wigeon, whilst at Church Norton 7 Avocets flew up the harbour, Peregrine over the beach, 1 Chiffchaff by second Several and 80 Mediterranean Gulls along the beach. This evening at Ivy Lake (Chi GPs) a single Sand Martin and a male Marsh Harrier (AB). Also 30 Sand Martins Westhampnett pit (CRJ).

Tuesday, 26th March: Selsey Bill (0645-1150 hrs): Dry, cloudy, cold. Wind cool NE 4. Still wintry.
Gt Northern Diver - 3 o/s, Red-throated Diver - 2E & 6W, Diver Sp - 1W, Gt Crested Grebe - 1 o/s, Gannet - 6E & 5W, Med Gull - 2E ,7 o/s & 2W, Sandwich Tern - 27E, 9 o/s & 2W, Auk sp - 6E & 4W, Common Scoter - 36E, 23W & 67 o/s, R/b Merganser - 31E & 4W, Turnstone - 35 o/b, Meadow Pipit - 10N, Great Skua - 1E (1108hrs), Little Gull - 2W, Shag - 3E (2 s/plum), Razorbill - 1W, Kittiwake - 1E, Common Gull - 6E & 3W, Peregrine - 1 out  to sea (CRJ, GH et al)    On Sidlesham Ferry Pool c.200 Wigeon and 50 Shoveler.

Cormorant (poss sinensis?) Selsey Bill 25th Mar (photo: A.Bowley)
 This Cormorant was photo'd at the Bill yesterday - judging by the angle of the gular patch it appears a possible candidate for a sinensis bird, but not certain.

Med Gull, Selsey Bill, 25th Mar (photo: A. Bowley)

Another bird photo'd at the Bill yesterday by Ads Bowley.As will be seen this is a ringed bird; he couldn't get the details and nor can I by enlarging the photo - can anyone do better?
Monday, 25th March: Selsey Bill (0700-1030hrs):  Dry and cloudy, very cold wind NE4-5. A quieter morning at the Bill today:- Wheatear - 1, Meadow Pipit 68N, Great Northern Diver 2 o/s, Black-throated Diver 2 o/s, Red-throated Diver 7W, Gannet 3E&1W, Fulmar 1E&1W, Great Crested Grebe 1o/s, Common Scoter 40o/s, Shelduck 2E, Red-breasted Merganser 17E, Med Gull 6E, Sandwich Tern 6E, Curlew 1E, Golden Plover 2N, Carrion Crow 5N. (CRJ/AH/Ads Bowley)
At Pagham Harbour North Wall stables the Black Redstart together with a cracking male Wheatear, a flighty flock of 27 Avocets in White's creek and ca. 600 Brent Geese north of the Breech Pool. I stopped on the way back to look at the flooded field between Bowley and Lagness where there were 42 Shelduck and a Common Buzzard (CRJ). Kingfisher and c.40 Linnets at Ivy Lake (Chi GPs) plus 17 Golden Plover N over S.Mundham floods (GH)                  (The Pom King section has now been updated -OM)

Sunday, 24th March: Selsey Bill (0545-1215hrs): Dry, dull and cloudy with a raw wind, NE 5.
Paul Bowley started the sea-watch at silly o'clock this morning, but I arrived at the Bill some three hours later and so missed much of the better passage including three Garganey and the first Common Terns; even so I caught up with a few Wheatears, and then later when I finished keeping the log I did a final check of the beach, which paid off with a fairly unobliging Black Redstart around the garden of the rest home/beach near the depleted tamarisk  bushes. Totals for the sea-watch were as follows (all East unless shown otherwise):-           
Fulmar - 1W, Eider - 3 (1m 2f), R/b Merganser - 41 & 12 o/s, Med Gull - 2, Slavonian Grebe - 1 & 2 o/s [1 nearly in s/plum], Common Scoter - 146, 41W & 40 o/s, Red-throated Diver - 1W & 1 o/s,  Black-throated Diver - 1 o/s, Common Tern - 2, Dunlin - 1, Brent Goose - 9, Turnstone - 2, Gannet - 26 & 5W, Velvet Scoter - 2, Peregrine - 1 (with Moorhen in talons),  Sandwich Tern - 16, 5W & 10 o/s, Sparrowhawk - 1 along beach, Little Egret - 1, Chiffchaff - 3N (one landed on wall by log-keeper!), Garganey - 3 (1m, 2 f), Tufted Duck - 1,  Gt Crested Grebe - 1, 1W & 1 o/s, Meadow Pipit - 315N,  Wheatear - 11N (some stayed on beach),  Diver Sp - 3, Gt Northern Diver - 1,  Teal - 2, Razorbill - 1W, Pintail - 2, Pied Wagtail - 3N  and Little Gull - 5.        (Observers: PB/IP/SH/Paul Matson/RJS/AF et al).    
It was great to see visible migration - willing the Wheatear to make landfall and watching it catch its breath once on terra firma - spotting a small passerine over towards the Mile Basket and watching it flying ever closer until it almost landed on the other Paul's arm - Meadow Pipits flooding in, in various group sizes and giving us a call as they passed closeby/overhead - the Peregrine plucking its kill in flight - the two Velvets that almost sneaked by and the three Garganey that flew past knowing that Justin wasn't there again (hope your back is better soon)!! If you haven't been seawatching yet - come on down as they use to say, we'll make a space for you and watch the drama unfold - its not everyones cup of tea, but once in the blood sea watching is the best of the lot. (Paul Bowley, Sam Hill, Ian Pitts, Paul Matson). Afterwards, I was treated to a female Brambling feeding in Sam Hill's garden as I enjoyed coffee and toast - cheers bud. (contributed by Paul Bowley).
Black Redstart, Pagham North Wall (photo: Andy House)
Peninsula round-up: Brambling in Selsey garden (see above). At Fishbourne Creek a Whimbrel, 2 Avocets, a drake Goldeneye, a Rock Pipit and c.110 Black-tailed Godwits (George Heath). Selsey West Fields held a Chiffchaff, 2 Red-legged Partridges, 4 Wheatears and a fem-type Black Redstart (Sarah Russell). At Pagham Harbour 13 Avocets in the channel and 94 Med Gulls counted on Church Norton beach between the Severals (IP) and in the afternoon a Marsh Harrier and a Barn Owl (S&SH). The North Wall produced another Black Redstart (see pic) and a Wheatear (C&M Eames, AH)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

23rd MARCH

Pair of Garganey, Ferry Field, 23rd March (photo: Andy House)
Saturday, 23rd March: Still decidedly wintry; cold and gloomy, with rain in the morning, becoming drier later. Wind cold NE5:   I must confess I didn't go birding today but headed up to the Bluebell Railway to ride a steam train over their new extension to East Grinstead - a worthy excuse, and as it turned out I wasn't the only birder to do it, was I Dave! Anyway, back to the bird news........ I don't have any updates yet on watching at the Bill, but it seems that Pagham Harbour held the most interest today, as follows: Ferry Pool - a pair of Garganey at midday for about 5 minutes only on Ferry Field. Also 4 Avocet, 1 Ruff, 20 Black-tailed Godwits, 80 Shoveler, 80 Wigeon, 20 Teal, 10 Tufted Duck and 4 Curlew. Pagham Lagoon - pair of Goldeneye, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, 24 Tufted Duck and 60 Mediterranean Gull. North Wall - 200 Brent Geese, 150 Wigeon, 4 Black-tailed Godwits & 8 Golden Plover over (Andy House). Later, 2 Sand Martins were also later present over the Ferry and a Wheatear and 6 Sandwich Terns at Church Norton, (per Sarah, Sam & Sandra).

Monday, 18 March 2013

18th - 22nd MARCH

Sandwich Tern, Selsey Bill, 22nd March (photo: Andy House)
Friday, 22nd March: Firstly a couple of updates from yesterday. i) George Heath added 4 Common Scoter and a Kittiwake E, plus Auk sp 13E & 2W, all just before I arrived. ii) Bob Self from Seaford added a useful article on the Sussex Ornithological Society website, which basically showed that the sea-watchers there had enjoyed a pretty reasonable morning of movement, unlike us at the Bill! This is nothing new of course but does show how the further east you go along the Channel, the greater the number of passage seabirds seen (usually). Yesterday appears to be a dramatic example of this - Bob's article is very interesting and is recommended reading. OK, on with today's news...I didn't get to the Bill, but fortunately Chris Janman, Andy House et al were there.
Selsey Bill (0735-1035hrs): E5, Cold, cloudy, brighter later. All movements east unless otherwise stated:- Great Northern Diver 2, Gannet 4, Brent 19, Shoveler 41, Wigeon 3, Teal 11, Tufted Duck 34, Common Scoter 81E & 50W, R/b Merganser 4, Common Gull 4, Med Gull 1, Sandwich Tern 14, Curlew 1, Turnstone 17 beach, Sanderling 12 and Meadow Pipit 30 N.
CRJ also comments 'In response to Bob's comment on differences of numbers between seawatching sites, generally it's known that the further east the more birds are counted, but I feel that localised weather conditions also play a part. At Selsey we probably don't see many birds that have passed south of the Isle of Wight, and some Brent for instance may cut straight across the peninsula behind us. At least we do get very good close views of many species.'

Thursday, 21st March: Selsey Bill (0740-1140hrs): Grey and overcast, dry at first then some rain. Cold and windy, E/SE 5-6. I arrived this morning to find George Heath had got there a short while before me and we were joined later by Colin & Mitch Eames, Chris Janman and Andy House. The blustery conditions and high wind chill factor made watching conditions fairly unpleasant and there was little happening, so overall a poor morning. Everyone had left when I called it a day after four hours, by which time I was mighty cold. Totals were:- Fulmar 2E & 3W, Sandwich Tern - 9E & 5W, Red-throated Diver - 1E, Diver Sp - 2E, Gt Northern Diver - 3 o/s, Gannet - 7E, R/b Merganser - 8E, 3W & 5 o/s, Brent Goose - 11E, Common Scoter - 20E & 45 o/s and Meadow Pipit - 42N.
Little else to report, except 2 Avocets on Sidlesham Ferry Pool (CRJ) and a nesting Mute Swan on East Beach pool (GH).

Wednesday, 20th March: Selsey Bill (0800-1200hrs) : Dry, cloudy, becoming brighter with some
sun, wind N/NE 3, cool. Gannet - 4 o/s, Fulmar - 1E, Brent Goose - 21E, Black-throated Diver - 1E, Red-throated Diver - 11E & 1W, Gt Northern Diver - 2 o/s, Common Scoter - 14 o/s, Sandwich Tern - 1 lingering, Little Egret - 1N, Pied/alba Wagtail - 5N and Meadow Pipit - 114N. One Chiffchaff on beach. (C&M Eames). Andy House also counted 83 Common Scoter o/s from coastguards. At the Ivy Lake complex (Chi GPs) Chris Janman logged 6 singing Cetti's Warblers and 3 Chiffchaffs.

escaped Harris Hawk, Ivy Lake, Chi GPs (photo:Sarah Russell)
Tuesday, 19th March: Mainly sunny, dry, wind light NE. Selsey Bill (0840-1000hrs): Very quiet today with just a Brent Goose E, the regular Common Scoter flock offshore and 4+ Great Northern Divers, but no passerine migrants (CRJ). The only other report comes from Sarah Russell who visited Ivy Lake (Chi GPs) this morning, where the Ruddy Ducks were still present and active - hopefully they will depart very soon! Whilst there Sarah encountered the long-staying escaped Harris Hawk which seems to have made the GPs its home (see pic). One other news item concerns a late entry (my fault!) where 4 Ravens together were seen at Church Norton on Sunday 17th by Sam and Ian on their walk; this is probably the biggest single group seen on the peninsula to date.

Monday, 18th March: Selsey Bill (0750-1050hrs): (Rain overnight) Cloudy, cool and showery at first, becoming drier with some brightness. Wind cold SE 2-3.  A chilly and fairly lonely vigil this morning, although Andy House kept me company for a little while. On arrival the sea was fairly calm allowing me to count the flock of Common Scoter offshore - at least 75 birds today though they remained fairly distant - but I could only locate one Great Northern Diver. These apart, sea-watching was dire and in 3 hours produced only: R/b Merganser - 15E, 8W & 6 o/s, Common Scoter - 5E, Fulmar - 1W, Gt Crested Grebe - 1E & 1o/s, Sandwich Tern - 1E, Gannet - 1W, Red-throated Diver - 5E and Wigeon - 3E. A walk along the beach found no migrants at all, and it was a similar story when I checked out Selsey West beach/Medmerry, where two displaying Meadow Pipits were the highlight! A quick look at Selsey Northcommon farm provided nothing more than 3 Curlews in a wet field and I ended up just counting the nests at the Rookery there (38). A visit to Sidlesham Ferry pool revealed plenty of Wigeon still around with a few Teal, 28 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall and a Tufted Duck. I decided to cut my losses and head home for lunch. Not one of the best days I've ever had on the Peninsula! Time for me to do a bit of admin for the blog................
It is only a week since I set up this blog (it seems more!) so time for me to review things as I'd planned to do. I've long felt there was a need to document the birding on the peninsula, especially the Bill, to complete the picture more fully for those with an interest in the area and allow comparison with other locations, especially on the south coast. One of the important things with any blogsite such as this is to keep the birding information current and this I hope to do (even though I fear those words coming back to haunt me!) Inevitably things may go wrong from time to time, and holidays, commitments and even the vagueries of the host server may all contribute to no news being posted for periods of time, but I'll do my best. Please also bear in mind I'm a bit of a novice in this world of blogging. Somehow I've managed to get the site into a reasonable format I feel - and judging by the positive response I've had in this first week it seems to be serving its purpose - so I hope you find it useful. I've got a few ideas for the future and draw your attention also to the other link pages; have a look at The Archives section as the weeks go by and see if you're in there! Finally, thanks to all those who have provided information.  On we go....     Owen 


Saturday, 16 March 2013

15th - 17th MARCH

Sunday 17th March: Selsey Bill (0600-1130hrs): Cloudy and grey, cool and showery, wind S/SSE 4-5. I arrived at 0830hrs to find Sam Hill, Ian Pitts, Paul Bowley and Sarah Russell in situ on the wall, all looking like they had hypothermia. I'd missed a few things like a Little Gull and Bk-throated Diver but nothing major. Sam had started at 0600 and he and the early crew left at 0930 for a warm up so I took over the log. Andy House joined me for a short while and we decided to move to the southeast corner where there was more shelter; I managed to watch until 1130 when the sea was all but dead. Joint seawatch totals:-
Brent Goose - 39E, Med Gull - 1E, Sandwich Tern - 8E & 6 o/s, R/b Merganser - 45E, 30W & 6 o/s, Razorbill - 1 o/s, Auk sp - 5E & 5W, Kittiwake - 1E, 9W & 6 o/s, Common Scoter - 2E, 6W & 32 o/s, Little Gull - 1E (imm), Gt Northern Diver - 5E & 3 o/s, Red-throated Diver - 10E, Black-throated Diver - 1E, Diver Sp - 6E & 2W, Grey Plover - 1W, Fulmar - 5W, Gt Crested Grebe - 1 o/s, Gannet - 14E & 13W and Turnstone - 10E.
Sarah also logged a Stonechat at East Beach pool en route to her sea-watch and Sam & Sandra had a Barn Owl over at West Fields.
Wheatear, Selsey West Fields (photo: Andy House)

After seawatching, Andy went to check out Selsey West Fields/sewage works area and came up with the first Wheatear for the area.He also found a White Wagtail, 3-4 Chiffchaffs, a Scandanavian Rock Pipit, 6 Reed Buntings (and a Little Owl at a private site). Meanwhile I visited Ivy Lake (Chi GPs) where there were c.40 Gadwall, and after some difficulty a couple of fem Ruddy Ducks. However as I stepped onto
a waterside fishing platform at the east end of the lake, I unwittingly flushed a super Bittern which took off just 10 metres from me and flew casually over to the reedbed in front of the chalets giving ace views.

Saturday 16th March: A walk from Park Farm (Selsey)-Church Norton produced a newly-arrived Chiffchaff, 2 Yellowhammers behind the farm, and c.30 Fieldfares and a Redwing in adjacent fields (Ian Pitts). Also belated news of a male Brambling in Sam & Sandra Hills' garden in Selsey on 10-11th March.
Friday 15th March: Selsey Bill 0830-0930hrs: 3 Great Northern Divers & 2 Slavonian Grebes offshore, 5 Red-throated Divers, 1 Common Scoter & 2 Kittiwake E, 1 Sandwich Tern & 8 Red-breasted Mergansers W (Andy House). The only area report was from Ivy Lake (Chi GPs) where 5+ Chiffchaffs, 40 Gadwall and 5 Ruddy Ducks (2m, 3 fem) were seen (J.Dodd & D.Sneller; note the latter info was posted at the express wish of the latter observer, it is not considered a breeding record, and other circumstances indicate there is no point in withholding this info).

Thursday, 14 March 2013

13th - 14th MARCH

Thurs 14th MARCH: Selsey Bill (0800-0930 & 1200-1400hrs) Dry, sunny, some cloud, wind light NW 1-2, backing SW 2-3. Watched for over three hours (two sessions), but it was predictably slow in the light northerly. In between watches I visited the Selsey West beach area looking for migrants but it was dead and not a Wheatear could I find; all the more frustrating as they've started regularly turning up at Portland and elsewhere now. Still, it won't be too long I guess!
Sea-watching totals :- Curlew - 1W, Med Gull - 3E & 2 on beach, Slavonian Grebe - 2 o/s (traces of s/plum), Gt Crested Grebe - 1 o/s, Common Scoter - 8E, 5W & 20 o/s, R/b Merganser - 10E, 5W & 12 o/s, Great Northern Diver - 2 o/s, Red-throated Diver - 3E, Diver Sp - 3E & 2W, Sandwich Tern - 1E and 2 lingering o/s (back and forth), and Shoveler - 15W. The single Stonechat was still around Bill House garden.

Just before I packed up, Sarah Russell joined me on the wall and took over the log; she tells me the wintering Water Rail (since at least 21/1/13) was still on Selsey East beach pool on 12/3 when it showed well. (photo: Sarah Russell).

Weds, 13th MARCH: No reports received today from Selsey or the area.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

11-12th MARCH

Stonechat, Selsey (Chris Janman)
Monday, 11th MARCH: A blasting gale force north-easterly with snow and blizzard conditions made things all but unbirdable; I didn't go out (my excuse being I was trying to set up this blog site), but I didn't worry too much as surely no-one was out birding. Seems I was wrong; Sarah Russell ventured out to do her bit of the patch and reports as follows:- Two Mediterranean gulls joined the usual black-headed and herring gulls on East Beach pond today and a sparrowhawk visited gardens in Marine Drive. Well done Sarah!! 

Tuesday, 12th MARCH: Selsey Bill 0835-0945hrs NE 4 v cold wind ,sunny later.
How odd to see the Isle of Wight covered in snow. A hungry male Stonechat still feeding by the sea-watch wall, 35 Common Scoter and 2 Great Northern Divers offshore as well as 25 adult summer-plumaged Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Gannets flew east. Nearby at Church Norton a single Goldeneye and a further 15 ad Mediterranean Gull. (Chris Janman).

10th MARCH

Sunday, 10th March: Selsey Bill, 06.30 to 10.15hrs: NE4, cloudy:
Sandwich Tern - 7E, 1os, Common Scoter - 7E, 12W, 13os, Great Northern Diver - 5os, Pied Wagtail - 2N, 1ob, Red-breasted Merganser - 34E, 9W, 18os, Gannet - 37E, 36W, Black-headed Gull - 16E, auk sp - 8E, 658W, Kittiwake - 1E, 2W, Mallard - 2E, 6N, Tufted Duck - 1E, Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 3W, 1os, Woodpigeon - 21N, Skylark - 4N, Fulmar - 4W, Turnstone - 1ob, Med' Gull - 2W, Slavonian Grebe - 2os, Oystercatcher - 2E, Common Gull - 2E, 3W, 1os, Guillemot - 1W, Brent Goose - 22E, Shoveler - 5E, 1W, Starling - 1N, Meadow Pipit - 31N, Diver sp - 2E, 2W, Red-throated Diver - 4E, Razorbill - 2E, 66W, 1os and Stonechat - 1 in Bill House garden. (J. Atkinson, S. Hill & P. Bowley).

Monday, 11 March 2013

3rd - 8th MARCH 2013

Dry and cloudy, with a brisk, cold E wind 4-5. Sunny by afternoon.

Selsey Bill (08.10 - 10.40 hrs):

Sandwich Tern -   12E
Common Scoter - 70E & 4W
Gannet - 35E & 12W
Kittiwake – c.100E
Red-breasted Merganser - 12E & 14o/s
Auk sp c.300E
Razorbill - 15E
Fulmar - 1E & 2W
Diver sp - 3E & 4W
Great Northern Diver – 3 o/s
Red-throated Diver - 45E
Wigeon - 27E
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 2E
Slavonian Grebe – 2 o/s                                          
 Justin and a gathering of the usual suspects started about 0700 and had logged a fair bit before I arrived, including an early Arctic Skua. The early movement of Sandwich Terns was also noteworthy; at first we assumed they must just be local wintering birds but it soon became clear that some at least were migrants, so looks like spring has started early.


Dry but cold all day due to a persistent wind, E 4-5. Cloudy with some haziness
all morning, then sunny by afternoon. 

Selsey Bill (0745-1300hrs)
After the early passage at the Bill yesterday I was interested to see if there would be further activity today. There was some; this included 6 Sandwich Terns E, which added to yesterday's 12 indicates it is passage as they surely can't all be over-wintering birds - that's my theory anyway! Other sightings were: Red-throated Diver 26E, Great Northern Diver 1 o/s, R/b Merganser 32E & 4 o/s, Pintail 4E, Shoveler 4E, Wigeon 30E, Brent Goose 85E, Common Scoter 4E & 4 o/s, Sanderling 1 o/b, Slavonian Grebe 1 o/s, Great Crested Grebe 1E, Curlew 1E, Fulmar 1W, Gannet 1E and Alba/Pied Wagtail 3N.
A fine sunny day at last, with the temperature rising to well into double figures (centigrade), but again with a persistent cool breeze E/SE 2-3.

Selsey Bill (0755-1230hrs): A warm spring-like day along the sea-wall, but visibility only a mile at most:-
Brent Goose – 259 E
Eider 7 E – all cracking males
Common Scoter – 14 E, 1 W & 30 o/s
R/B Merganser – 15 E, 6 W & 8 o/s
Shelduck – 2 E
Great Northern Diver – 3 o/s
Red- throated Diver – 7 E
Diver sp –  2 E
Great Crested Grebe –  1 o/s
Slavonian Grebe – 1 E & 1 o/s
Fulmar –  1E
Common Gull – 16 E
Sandwich Tern – 1 E
Turnstone – 10 along shore
Sanderling –  1 o/b
Meadow Pipit – 3 N

Cloudy, grey and rather chilly but remaining dry. Wind E/NE 3

Selsey Bill (0750-1150hrs):
Notably slower seawatching at the Bill this morning, four hours being enough for me. A single Sandwich Tern pottered E close inshore, even finding time to rest up on a 'green triangle' marker post but perhaps the best were 3 Black-throated Divers E and 3 Great Northerns o/s. Four Gadwall flew E and a drake Eider W, but otherwise it was standard fare in small numbers today:- Brent Goose – 13E, R/b Merganser – 22E, 10W and 10 o/s, Common Scoter – 1E, 5W and 30 o/s, Gannet – 3E and  Curlew - 8 E.    


Gloomy and misty with persistent light rain all day. Calm with a faint SE breeze. 
Selsey Bill (0740-0910hrs): A fairly dire morning really, with visibility offshore restricted to just a few hundred metres due to sea fog. I watched from the car throughout, sheltering under the tailgate, but in an hour and a half all I had seen were 17 Brent Geese E and 2 R/b Mergansers W! Eventually I decided to pack it in as a waste of time, so went and did some domestic stuff instead.

Selsey Bill and area birding blog

Hi to all who bird at Selsey Bill or other sites on the Manhood (Selsey) peninsula or have an interest in the area. I've decided to start up a long-overdue blog which will give details of what's around, recent sightings, bits of news etc. I've watched at the Bill and nearby area for about the last forty years and have a keen interest in West Sussex birds - but I do go on a few twitches too!

I'm new to all this blogging business, but give me a little time and I hope to have this site looking a bit better. A regular band of sea-watchers visit the Bill and our usual base is the sea wall backing onto the Bill House Nursing home at the south end of Grafton Road. All sea-watching records are required and the log is kept by Justin Atkinson (contactable via email

With spring on its way it seems a good time to this space.