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 


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