Monday 29 April 2013

29th - 30th APRIL

Tuesday, 30th April: The last day of the month and what should be a peak date for spring migration, yet following the protracted cold spell earlier it still isn't really happening. Surely there must be loads yet to come; where are all the terns, waders and skuas? All we can do is keep watching and waiting, but it is uncannily quiet right now and surely must start soon.... just hope I'm at the Bill when it does!
Selsey Bill: (0700-1040hrs)    Dry, sunny, cool wind N3. (Obs: CRJ/MJ/GH/C&ME/SR et al)
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 1W
Common Scoter - 12E, 4 os
Fulmar - 1E,  5W
Gannet - 9E
C/A Tern - 8E
Sandwich Tern - 6E
Little Tern - 19E
Rook - 1N
Swallow- 4N
Goldfinch - 3N
Redstart - 1 - gardens
evening watch: 18.00-19.00 hrs (Obs: SH)
Common Scoter - 15E
Gannet - 6E, 2W

Whimbrel - 1E
Auk sp - 3W
Sandwich Tern - 2E, 3W
C/A Tern - 1E.
Wind ESE force 3 and still NO passage!!!

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton1 Spotted Flycatcher and1 Lesser Whitethroat (CRJ,MJ).


Monday, 29th April: Apologies for yesterday's varied postings, but I encountered a number of unexpected technical problems! I'm currently looking at the best way to present the blog in the future to make it as reader-friendly as I can.
On with the bird news... in short, not much today and it just was one of those days - ah, the joys of a bright clear sky, a dead clear horizon and a cool, brisk north-westerly wind - just about as bad as it gets for the south coast sea-watcher in spring! Predictably sea-passage was minimal and migrant activity was little better. After just a couple of hours watching the sea I grew restless and with CRJ and MJ had a quick look at Medmerry, before we abandoned the Peninsula in favour of a visit to a couple of inland heaths - even that was a bad idea as we saw very little indeed.

Selsey Bill (0645-0945hrs): Bright, sunny, clear and cool. Wind NW 3-4. (Obs:GH/MJ/OM/CRJ)
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Brent Goose - 3E
Eider - 2 os (drakes)
Common Scoter - 38E
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 17E, 6W
Oystercatcher - 1E, 1os
Common Tern - 3W
C/A Tern - 6E
Sandwich Tern - 5E
Little Tern - 2E, 4os
Swallow - 3N
Linnet - 4N

Two drake Eiders off Selsey Bill
An evening watch by Sam Hill produced little except for a smart s/p Slavonian Grebe

SR had a walk round Park Farm, Selsey today but couldn't find the Turtle  Dove. At nearby Park Copse just inside the entrance on the right-hand side where the puddle is, a Firecrest came as a nice showed well for a good 20 minutes. Also: 2 Blackcaps, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 6 Chiffchaffs.

Saturday 27 April 2013

27th - 28th APRIL

Sunday, 28th AprilA fair gathering of observers this morning, including none other than Mervyn Jones, former regular and now resident of Wales, on his annual spring visit to the Bill. He normally manages to choose a good week but there is much doubt this year as the forecast is for northerly-based winds throughout his stay. Time will tell if he's got it right again! This morning began with lovely sunshine, a flat calm sea, a very light N wind and little passage. There was just a little variety of species, whilst the calm sea enabled the Great Northern Divers offshore to be more easily counted - the result being a surprising ten birds still present - there can't be many places nationally with a better total, well surely in England anyway. It must have been quiet though, for when Andy House phoned to say there was a Spotted Fly at Church Norton most of the remaining sea-watchers departed the Bill in a hurry!

He's back for a week! Mervyn Jones and Beryl James at the Bill this morning (photo: Sarah Russell)

Selsey Bill: (0530-1115hrs): Sunny and dry at first with light wind N1 becoming variable; then cloud, wind WSW 3-4. (Obs: JA/SH/IP/CRJ/OM et al) 
Great Northern Diver - 10 os
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Red-throated Diver - 4E
Diver sp - 1E, 1W
Brent Goose - 1E
Shelduck - 2E
Common Scoter - 71E, 12W
Shoveler - 1W
Shag - 3E
Fulmar - 7E, 7W
Gannet - 27E, 12W, 6os
Oystercatcher - 4E, 7ob off W
Curlew - 4E
Whimbrel - 9E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 2E, 5W
Ringed Plover - 2W
Auk sp - 1E, 5W
Peregrine - 1p
Great Skua - 1E
Arctic Skua - 2E
Herring Gull - 476 os (counted on shingle bar!)
C/A Tern - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 32E
Little Tern -12E, 8os
Swallow - 10N
Yellow Wagtail - 2N
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens

1115-1350hrs cont'd..(Obs:GH/JF)
Brent Goose - 31E
Eider - 5E, 1W, 2os
Common Scoter - 35E
Whimbrel - 2W
Great Skue - 1E
Arctic Skua - 1E
Evening sea-watch: (1500-1800hrs)  (Obs(SH)
Diver sp - 1E
Gannet - 41E, 38W
Fulmar - 1E, 1W

Common Scoter - 14E
Auk sp - 5W
Guillemot - 1W
Arctic Skua - 3E
Kittiwake - 1E, 1W
Sandwich Tern - 9E, 6W
Little Tern - 2W

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton this morning - a Spotted Flycatcher behind the Hide, a Hobby over, a Greenshank high over calling, 10 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 4 Sandwich Terns, 6 Swallow and a few Blackcap, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler . On the Ferry Pool the Little Gull was re-located.
Chi GPs Ivy Lake at lunchtime - 1 Common Sandpiper flying along the northern edge, 2 Common Terns and 100+ Swallow and Sand Martins with just a handful of House Martins amongst them. (AH)

Same Turtle Dove at Park Farm Selsey, also Reed Warbler at Severals, 10+ Whitethroat, 12 Swallows, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel (SH)


Bar-tailed Godwit, Pagham Hbr, (photo: Andy House)

Saturday, 27th April: Despite the good date the prevailing N wind and cooler weather ensured that sea passage was always going to be mediocre, whilst the selection of migrants to be found on the Peninsula was barely average for the time of year.

Selsey Bill (0530 - 1000hrs): Dry, cloud/sun, still quite cool. Wind N2. (Obs: JA/SH et al)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Diver sp - 1E
Gannet - 16E, 12W, 18os
Fulmar - 4E, 7W
Common Scoter - 116E
Peregrine - 1p
Great Skua - 2E
Med' Gull - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 25E, 7os
Little Tern - 5os
Common Tern - 2E
C/A Tern - 29E, 7os,
Auk sp - 1E, 5W
Yellow Wagtail - 1N
Swallow - 1N
House Martin - 1N.
additional records -
Hobby - 2N
Great Skua - 1E
Little Tern - 10E
evening sea-watch (1515-1715hrs )(Obs:SH&JA)NNE3 sun/cloud.
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Gannet - 10E, 2W

Whimbrel - 4E
C/A Tern - 1E

Sandwich Tern - 10E, 8os
Yet another exciting sea watch!

News from the Park Farm, Selsey area where a Turtle Dove (with a slightly aberrant plumage) was located (SH).

Turtle Dove, Park Farm, Selsey - two views of the same bird (photos: Sam Hill)
Pagham Hbr: on the North wall this morning a Greenshank and a dozen Whimbrel over (JW).
Church Norton: Black-tailed Godwit in s/p, 18 Whimbrel dotted around the harbour, 10+ Whitethroats and a Hobby which flew over the churchyard. Long Pool: 10+ Sedge Warblers, 3 Reed Warblers, Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe. Ferry Pool3 Med Gulls, 60 Shelduck and a Cetti's Warbler in the ditch. 
Chi GPs Ivy Lake: 2 Common Terns, 4 Swifts, 20+ Sand Martins, 30+ Swallows, 13 Great Crested Grebes and a Kingfisher. (per SOS website).

Wednesday 24 April 2013

24th - 26th APRIL

Friday, 26th April: Thanks to all who advised re. my recent email hacking problem..some security adjustments made should improve things very soon.
The weather forecast for the next week or so does not look too promising for sea passage, and with the arrival of cooler weather, rain and a N/NW wind this morning I was prepared for a pretty dire watch today. In the event it wasn't too bad; the rain was light and eased away fairly quickly, the wind was little more than a light breeze and there was a small variety of birds. (OK, I'm looking at the positives but it just might be reasonable for incoming migrants!)
Selsey Bill (0800-1320hrs): Cool, rain at first, then sunshine and heavy cloud. Wind N/NW 1-2/3.
(Obs: OM/TR/GH/AH):
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Brent Goose - 35E
Common Scoter - 15E
Shoveler - 1E
Fulmar - 1E, 3W
Gannet - 40E, 95W
Whimbrel - 12E, 2W
Curlew - 6E, 1W
Peregrine - 2 p
Auk sp - 1E, 2W
Great Black-backed Gull - 4E, 3os
C/A Tern - 15E, 2W
Sandwich Tern - 18E, 4W
Little Tern - 21E, 4os
Swallow - 3N
Meadow Pipit - 2N
Wheatear - 6 (2 ob, 4N)
Whitethroat - 3 gardens
Great Black-backed Gulls displaying, Selsey Bill beach
Cuckoo, Church Norton

Whimbrels, Selsey Bill beach (all 3 photos above: Andy House)
Northcommon farm, Selsey: Redstart - 1, Garden Warbler - 1, Swallow - 3 and a small fall of 12 phyllosc's consisting of about 8 Willow Warblers and 4 Chiffchaffs (OM/TR). 
Chi GPs: At Westhampnett pit this morning 0930hrs, c100 Swallow, c30 Sand Martin,
2 House Martin and 5 Swift. (CRJ)
Pagham Hbr: At Church Norton this morning - 2 Cuckoos, 4 Wheatears, several Whitethroats, Sedge Warbler, Chifchaff and Blackcap. In the Harbour, up to 5 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and a flock of 150 Dunlin (biggest count I have had for a couple of weeks). Last evening at least a dozen Whimbrel and 1 Brent Goose. This afternoon on Sidlesham Ferry, 75 Shelduck (AH).

Thursday, 25th April: I've now finally completed The Archives pages and also started on updating some other stuff...also please note it looks like my personal email address has been hacked  - DO NOT open attachments from emails purporting to be from me for the time being.
Another frustrating day of coastal sea fog, whilst inland conditions were fine and sunny. I made the decision to head away from the Peninsula today (and went to Coldwaltham / Pulborough RSPB) - and it seems a number of other Peninsula regulars had the same idea! Only limited Peninsula watching took place today, and we can only guess what passed the Bill unseen in the mirk.

The Lifeboat station on a foggy day at the Bill (photo: Sarah Russell)

Kestrel (above) and Wheatear at a foggy East beach (photos: Sarah Russell)

Selsey Bill: Dry, wind SW3,  but defeated by the fog again.  Six Lnnets on Oval field along with 3 Goldfinches, 2 Pied Wagtails in the gardens and 1 Swallow heading north. Met Beryl James and we had a good chat which made the visit worthwhile! At East beach 1 Wheatear, 4 Linnets and a Kestrel. (SR).
Chi GPs: Ivy & New Lakes: late morning,
Whitethroat 1
Lesser Whitethroat 2
Blackcap 7
Garden Warbler 1
Reed Warbler 2
Cormorant (New) 90 nests
Plus thanks to the 3 birders who showed me the recent roadkill Long-eared Owl just 60 m south ot the Ivy pull-in. (CRJ)
Wednesday, 24th April: Persistent sea fog and cloud contradicted the sunny weather forecast I saw last night, making things difficult and keeping temperatures down in coastal areas. Reports received today were, not surprisingly,  relatively few.
Selsey Bill: (1400-1445hrs) Mist and cloud, but dry. Wind W4 (Obs: SR who reports as follows):
Pretty hopeless today. I thought the mist had cleared so went down to the Bill 2pm but it hadn't so didn't stay long.
Gannet - 1E, 2W,
Sandwich Tern - 5W
Swallow - 2N
House Martin - 3N
Wheatear  - 1 ob
(also 5 small birds N which I couldn't id; shame about the mist as the wheatear, swallows and martins showed there was some movement. Also a grey seal unusually close in, spent most the time trying to photograph it but each time I went down to the shore it dived!) (SR)
evening watch: (1800-1845hrs):
Great Northern Diver - 1 os
Gannet - 3W, 13 os

Fulmar - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 2E, 7 os.
Then the fog came in again! (Obs: SH)
Pagham Hbr: complete circuit of Church Norton/Greenlease Farm this morning produced very little - 3 Sedge Warblers , 2 Whitethroats, 4 Swallows , 10+ Willow Warblers and 5 Chiffs, a single Common Tern os and negative news on the Bonelli's (CRJ).
Chi GPs Ivy Lake a very obliging Garden Warbler gave excellent views for 10 minutes feeding quietly in the willows before disappearing; also 5 Bullfinch, 2 singing Reed Buntings and 9 Swifts, but no terns today (GH).

Sunday 21 April 2013

21st - 23rd APRIL

Tuesday, 23rd April: A fine sunny day and once again most of the news eminated from Pagham Harbour. The Bonelli's Warbler sp was clinched as a Western (of which more later) and after giving observers the slip for some while finally showed to most behind the Hide at Church Norton. The Long-eared Owl was not re-located, but in its place (almost at the same spot) was a reeling but none-too-obliging Grasshopper Warbler. Other migrants included several Lesser Whitethroats and plenty of Whitethroats, a couple of Cuckoos and some Whimbrel; a Nightingale was also reported. Sea-watching at the Bill was again a non-event with little coverage achieved today.

Two views of the action from the crowd gathered behind Church Norton hide
Pagham Harbour: The following report from Bernie Forbes gives details of the morning: "Unfortunately we were a little late this morning and missed the Bonelli's
Warbler seen around 0800-0830hrs behind the Norton hide. A long stakeout
followed with much grumbling and mirth with a few observers giving up and leaving.
Plenty of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff moving around keeping most
of us on our toes, and some of us could even hear the Lesser Whitethroat belting
out its rattle nearby! Around 1200hours birders started to disperse when
Chris Janman had the bird high in the alders at the bottom of the footpath
from the car park. We could hear it calling for a few moments and confirmed
it is a Western Bonelli's. It once again disappeared for a few minutes
although we could hear it calling before it was finally pinned down south
of the hide and showed well over the next hour or so, mainly in the sallow's
etc between the footpath and the hide."   (BFF).
I would just add that the bird also responded to a recorded call of Western played
briefly, giving a di-syllabic 'hu-eet' note, and also called several times without any
prompting, surely confirming it as WESTERN BONELLI'S WARBLER. (AB/BFF/CRJ/OM et al).
Also in the harbour were 6 Whimbrel, only 2 Sandwich Terns, 4 Med Gulls and 2 calling Cuckoos.
A Nightingale was also reported from Church Norton.

Fishbourne Creek; 2 Greenshanks, 2 Whimbrel, 4 Med Gulls and 2 Red Kites.
Monday, 22nd April: A day when Pagham Harbour stole the show. Yesterday's Long-eared Owl was still present near the cycle track and even more obvious, being perched out in the open, allowing those photographers present to obtain good shots. Then Ivan Lang reported a fem-type Common Rosefinch nearby but sadly it didn't linger and no-one else got to see it. The icing on the cake however was at Church Norton, when visiting birders Ted Raynor and his wife located a BONELLI'S WARBLER sp in the hedgerows behind the Hide. Around 15 observers got to see it before it moved off, and it hadn't re-appeared by the time I left at 4pm. Some observers managed photos and these are awaited... presumably it was a Western, but I didn't hear it call. Selsey Bill by contrast was fairly dire, leaving a few visitors from Bexhill and elsewhere underwhelmed - though it was nice to meet them. A male Pied Flycatcher was reported at Selsey Golf Club (per SOS) - but regrettably the news was not released to the locals by the finder, as far as I'm aware.
Long-eared Owl, Pagham Hbr; this over-exposed image is the best I could do - doubtless some good images will appear! 

(Western) Bonelli's Warbler, Church Norton (photo: Ads Bowley)

above and below: (Western) Bonelli's Warbler and Long-eared Owl: photos Martin Peacock (with thanks)

Selsey Bill (0645-1030hrs): Dry and mainly sunny with light cloud. Wind light WSW 1-2, inc 3.
(Obs: GH/OM et al):
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Diver Sp - 1E
Common Scoter - 51E, 1W, 3 os
Fulmar - 1E, 4W
Gannet - 22E, 34W
Whimbrel - 7E, 5W
Oystercatcher - 2W
Woodpigeon - 10 SW
C/A Tern - 2W
Little Tern - 8W
Sandwich Tern - 16E, 4W  
Swallow - 9N
Linnet - 4W
evening sea-watch: (1800-1915hrs) (Obs:SH)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Diver sp - 2 E
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Gannet - 5E, 19W

Common Scoter - 1os
Swift - 1N
Sandwich Tern - 1E, 14 os

Pagham Hbr: An outstanding day as mentioned above, with Long-eared Owl, Common Rosefinch and Bonelli's Warbler. Other sightings: Sidlesham Ferry field: 5 Whimbrel, singing Lesser Whitethroat. Long Pool : 7 Sedge and 2 Reed Warblers, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 pairs of Little Grebe.

Chi GPs: Ivy lake area: stunning Arctic Tern giving good views, 4 Common Terns, 10 Swifts, 6 House Martins, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 1 Reed Warbler, 3 Cetti's Warbler. (GH)


Sunday, 21st April: Following on from my mobile phone problem, I have now acquired a new smartphone which will mean notifying you all of a new number (when I can work out this touch screen mullarky) - which I will do by email - but meanwhile I can receive most texts and calls on the old number but cannot reply. The new phone has me baffled right now. Thanks for your patience.
A very quiet seawatch today with no skuas and few highlights, perhaps the Black-throated Divers being about the best. It seems  the observers present (which didn't include me) packed up early:-

Selsey Bill (0530 - 0945hrs): Dry, sunny with some cloud, wind NNE1 then SW2. (Obs:JA/SH et al).
Great Northern Diver - 8 os
Black-throated Diver - 4E
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Diver sp - 2E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 39E, 17W
Fulmar - 3E, 4W
Brent Goose - 5E,
Shelduck - 2E, 1W, 2p
Mallard - 5p
Teal - 2os
Eider - 2E
Common Scoter - 110E, 2os
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 1W
Curlew - 1E, 1W
Whimbrel - 5E
Oystercatcher - 4E, 2W
Snipe - 1E
Turnstone - 38ob
Bar-tailed Godwit - 2E
Dunlin - 5W
Common Gull - 14E
Sandwich Tern - 42E, 14os
Commic Tern - 2E
Little Tern - 8 os,
auk sp - 1W
Swallow - 14N
Wheatear - 1 ob
Linnet - 7N
Also one Bottle-nosed Dolphin lingering offshore.
 evening sea watch (1715-1840hrs)(Obs: SH)
Red-throated Diver - 1E

Diver sp - 3E
Common Scoter - 3E

Eider - 2W
Gannet - 7W, 8E
Auk sp - 2E
Razorbill - 3W
Little Tern - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 17 os
The bird of the day was undoubtedly a Long-eared Owl which showed well at Pagham Hbrapproximately 50m from the Selsey Tramway along the cycleway behind the Visitor Centre.... also 4 Whimbrel on Church Norton beach.
Long-eared Owl, Pagham Hbr near the Tramway, 21st April (photos: (above) Andy House and (below) Sam Hill)

Tuesday 16 April 2013

16th - 20th APRIL

Saturday, 20th April: Firstly, apologies to those who have tried to contact me on my mobile phone today - it has developed a fault and I need to replace it a.s.a.p.
The sighting of the first Poms yesterday ensured there would be a good turn out of observers this morning, but it was a bit of an anti-climax. Two Hobbies had arrived by 0700 but it didn't really get any better than that and there were long periods when nothing was moving. Even the arrival of Pete Grimmage and the Hants boys - normally a good omen for Poms - failed to produce any magic and most observers had left by 1000hrs. Details below....
A sunny day with little passage sees restless observers beginning to leave
Selsey Bill (0530-1115 & 1230-1345hrs):  Dry, fine and sunny. Wind light N/NE veering SE .
(Obs: JA/SH/IP/ OM et al)
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Red-throated Diver  - 6E, 2W
Diver Sp - 1W
Mute Swan - 9N
Shelduck - 2 p
Common Scoter - 80E, 19W
R/b Merganser - 10E, 11W
Tufted Duck - 1E
Fulmar - 5E, 8W
Gannet - 55E, 22W
Whimbrel - 7E
Turnstone - 45W
Hobby - 2N
Auk Sp - 4W
Common Gull - 5E
Black-headed Gull - 25E
Kittiwake - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 48E
Common Tern - 2E
C/A Tern - 15E
Little Tern - 3E
Swallow - 10N
Willow Warbler - 1 gardens
(also flock of 60 waders E, probably Grey Plover but not confirmed)
evening watch (1600-1830hrs) (Obs: SH et al)
Red-throated Diver - 3E, 1os
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Diver Sp - 6E
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 2W
Eider - 2E, 2W
Common Scoter - 14 os
R/b Merganser - 2E, 1W
Gannet - 13E, 5
Sandwich Tern - 8E
Common Tern - 1E
Little  Tern - 15 os

Northcommon Farm, Selsey: Jay - 1, Common Buzzard - 3, Willow Warbler - 1
Pagham Hbr: The Little Gull was still at Sidlesham Ferry, whilst Church Norton was very quiet - a few Whitethroats, Blackcaps & Chiffchaffs seen, a Cuckoo calling distantly and a couple of Whimbrel in the harbour the highlights (AH). Later a Cuckoo (presumably the same) seen at Sidlesham Quay (GH).
Little Gull, Sidlesham Ferry (photo: Andy House)
 Friday, 19th April: News from the late shift at the Bill of 3 Pom Skuas E high up this evening at 1855hrs, and then to cap it a Great White Egret at 1905. Report from Ian Pitts herewith gives the full flavour of the event:-
I arrived at the Bill at 6pm to find it bereft of humanity, no wind and a bright sunny sky - not ideal conditions.
I almost felt like sunbathing (and the lack of bird activity could easily have sent me that way). Andrew House arrived at 6.35pm and we chatted, well more accurately I looked out to sea whilst he chatted to me (with no telescope which he had left in the car) - you know where this is going.
Just as I was explaining to him (not to say that Andrew was moaning about the lack of bird activity) that I would hate birds to be like trains, I spotted three large lumbering shapes high in the sky against a dark cloud that had appeared offshore, over the near triangle (no idea how they got there, except they appeared to have come round the Island) about a mile offshore, well you know the rest of the story, three light phase Poms (one with reasonable spoons). I suggested to Andy that he rushed back to his car for his telescope (well the language was not quite like that) as he confirmed my initial thoughts. This was 6.55pm. I quickly sent the usual protagonists the good news, well it was for me anyway. Five minutes later a very disgruntled Justin appeared round the wall and what a blessing that proved to be, the time is now 7.05pm
He sat down and peered into his scope immediately spotting a little egret lower in the sky, but in the same spot otherwise as the Poms, clearly flying towards Pagham Harbour. Well all three of us started to comment about long legs, then a clearly snake like neck and then the inevitable cry from all three of us GREAT WHITE EGRET, which Justin advises me is a first for the Bill, thereby meaning that he and I have both seen two new birds for the Bill this year (shall I whisper Red Breasted Goose quietly?). So now I sent all the previous recipients the good news of the new sighting, well not Justin because he had the good sense to arrive (and as I have already told him I cannot say that I would have found the Egret had he not been there as I was looking towards the West when he found it). Well after that round of satisfied reporting here is the log for the evening, from 6pm to 7.50pm. Virtually all of these birds are after 6.45pm since until then it was literally dead
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Great White Egret - 1SE (1905hrs)
Common Scoter - 6E
R/b Merganser - 8E
Gannet - 5E, 14W
Ringed Plover - 2W
Pomarine Skua - 3E (all l/p, 1855hrs)
Common Tern - 2 os
Sandwich Tern - 3E, 4W, 4os
Little Tern - 2W
Selsey - Church Norton evening walk:- Short eared owl, female Marsh Harrier, Cuckoo and our first Sedge Warblers, plus 3 Whitethroats and several Swallows.
Selsey East Beach: Against all the odds the Water Rail was still at the pond. Two pairs of Linnet in the bushes at Selsey Common (see pic). They've been here three days now and I'm hoping they stay as I'm pretty certain they nest here. One Swallow flew over.
MedmerryOne male Wheatear, 11 Meadow Pipits (see pic), 2 House Martins, 1 Swallow, 1 Sand Martin and a Skylark. (SR).
Meadow Pipit (left) and Linnet (photos: S.Russell)

Thursday, 18th April: I arrived at the Bill full of anticipation this morning due to  the brisk south-westerly blowing, only to be disappointed again as the results didn't live up to the hopes. A few of us considered going over to Beachy for the Corncrake, but talked ourselves out of it. Then early on a small flurry of Bonxies and terns occurred before a local council worker arrived and handed us a dead Blackcap he'd found in his Selsey garden; it was to be an omen as after that the sea-watching just died also! Surely there must be a Manxie or something different, but no, so the watch terminated at 1130hrs by which time I was alone. There was some minor compensation when AH phoned to report the first Cuckoo, but it was hard going today. Details to follow...
Dead female Blackcap found in a Selsey garden and handed to AH at the Bill. It had little or no fat reserves on the breast and was clearly underweight (the bird that is!)

Selsey Bill (0710-1130hrs): Early showers with cloud, becoming sunny. Wind strong SW 6-7
(Obs: TR/OM/GH/PC et al)
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Diver Sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1W
Brent Goose -26E
Shelduck - 2E
Common Scoter - 30E, 3W
R/b Merganser - 2W
Fulmer - 1E, 4W
Gannet - 32E, 33W
Great Skua - 4E
Arctic Skua - 3E
Med Gull - 1W
Kittiwake - 3W
Sandwich Tern - 47E
C/A Tern - 10E
Peregrine - 1 p
House Martin - 1N
Swallow - 3N
Meadow Pipit - 9N
evening seawatch (1700-1815hrs) (Obs:SH/JA)
Fulmar - 1E, 2W
Gannet - 9E, 12W
Curlew - 1W

Auk sp - 1W
Arctic Skua - 1E
Little Tern - 10 os
Sandwich Tern - 4W

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton this morning - 2 Whimbrel, 1 Cuckoo, 1 male Common Redstart, at least 2 Common Whitetroats, 5 Blackcaps and several each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.
Sidlesham Ferry Pool: Sub-adult Little Gull still present, plus 2 Avocets.
Highleigh (nr Birdham):Belated news from 16th April (with photo - via SOS website) of a male Golden Oriole in a garden!
Common Whitethroat, Church Norton (photo: Andy House)

Wednesday, 17th April: Seawatching this morning was again fairly disappointing, despite the semi-favourable wind. An early Swift was logged but it was otherwise slow, then things were just picking up around 0930, when a message from AF alerted the group to a Wood Warbler, reported from Church Norton at the entrance to The Priory. To cut a long story short, AH left first and connected with the bird, the rest of us took longer leaving and didn't, ending up with nothing more than a Willow Warbler. OM and GH then returned to the Bill an hour later, by which time passage had dried up again - all very frustrating!
Selsey Bill (0645-0930 & 1030-1145hrs): Mainly dry except for a couple of light showers, cloudy with hazy sun, brighter later. Wind cool S/SSW 4.  (Obs: GH/CE/ME/OM/RJS et al).
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Red-throated Diver - 5E
Diver Sp - 5E
Great Crested Grebe - 4E
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Gannet - 9E, 13W
Common Scoter - 18E, 3os
Mallard - 2 p
R/b Merganser - 2E
Curlew - 4W
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1W
Oystercatcher - 1E
Turnstone - 20 ob
Razorbill - 1W
Arctic Skua - 1E
Great Skua - 2E
C/A Tern - 17E
Sandwich Tern - 60E
Swift - 1N
Swallow - 6N
Skylark - 1 p
Wheatear - 4N onto beach
Linnet - 6W
evening watch: (1800-1930hrs): (Obs: SH)
Brent Goose - 9E
R/b Merganser - 1 os
Fulmar - 3W
Gannet - 6E, 2W
Whimbrel - 9E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1E
Common Tern - 1E
Sandwich Tern 41E, 13 os
Little Gull - 1 W over beach
Wheatear - 2 ob

Northcommon Farm, Selsey produced a few migrants:- Blackcap - 1, Common Whitethroat - 2, Firecrest - 1, Goldcrest - 3 and Willow Warbler - 2+. Local birds included 2 Green Woodpeckers, a Common Buzzard, 13 Curlew and 2 Canada Geese flying over.

                       Hastily-taken record shots of Firecrest (above) and Goldcrest (below), Northcommon Farm, Selsey

Pagham Hbr: At Church Norton a Wood Warbler fairly briefly at the entrance to The Priory (AF); also a flock of 9 Whimbrel over and singles of Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat there. This evening 12 Whimbrel and 2 Sandwich Terns in the harbour (AH).
Sidlesham Ferry area: Snipe - 2, Black-tailed Godwit - 1, Avocet - 2, Cetti's Warbler and Willow Warbler singing, Firecrest - 1 (GH); also a late afternoon report of a Little Gull (IL). On the Long Pool 4 Sedge and 1 Reed Warbler singing (GH). On the North wall Breech Pool 2 Common Sandpipers (PC).
Chi GPs: 5 Common Terns on Ivy Lake at lunchtime (AH).
Common Tern, Ivy Lake (photo: Andy House)
Tuesday, 16th April: A morning sea-watch that started promisingly enough with half a dozen Bonxies and a small passage of Brent Geese, but then died on its feet as passage all but dried up. The gathering of observers began to drift away, with most gone by 1000hrs; I persevered for another hour until a dense sea mist rolled in and removed visibility, and that was the end of that.

Morning gathering around the bench seat.
Selsey Bill (0620-1100hrs): Early rain soon clearing then cloud with hazy sun. Wind SSW4-SW5.
(Obs: CRJ/GH/SR/AH/OM et al)
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Diver Sp - 2E
Brent Goose - 133E
Common Scoter - 23E, 1W
R/b Merganser - 2E, 6W
Fulmar - 1E, 4W
Gannet - 3E, 23W
Whimbrel - 1E, 2W
Oystercatcher - 2E, 7W
Great Skua - 5E, 1W
Med Gull - 1 os
Kittiwake - 1E
Common Tern - 1 os
C/A Tern - 1E
Sandwich Tern- 25E
Swallow - 10N
Wheatear -6 N (onto beach)
Linnet - 5W

Pagham Hbr: reports today from Church Norton include 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 9 Sandwich Terns, 1-2 Redstarts, a Blackcap, a Willow Warbler and several Chiffchaffs. On the Ferry Pool the 2 Avocets were again present, plus just 8 Shoveler and a few Wigeon and Teal.
In the evening, between East beach-Church Norton, 1 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5 Wheatears, 1 male Redstart, 2 Whitethroats and 4 Chiffchaffs (SH).

Wheatear, Church Norton beach, (photo: Sam Hill)

Thursday 11 April 2013

11th - 15th APRIL

Monday, 15th April: The Archives have now been updated to include Vol 5 and I'm working on Vol 6, the final album.
Selsey Bill: (0625-1025hrs) Sunny, dry, SW4  (Obs:CRJ/GH/cE/ME)
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Diver sp - 4E
Slavonian Grebe - 2 os
Gannet - 9E, 14W
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Brent Goose - 363E
Shelduck  - 1E, 2W
Com Scoter - 123E, 11W
Velvet Scoter  - 11E
Tufted Duck - 3E
Eider - 1E
R/b Merganser - 5E, 2W
Oystercatcher - 18E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1W
Whimbrel - 1W
Great Skua - 2E
Arctic Skua - 2E
Med Gull - 4E
Sandwich Tern - 149E
Common Tern - 3 os
Meadow Pipit - 38W, 6N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 3N
Swallow - 6N
Woodpigeon - 15W
Skylark - 1W
Linnet - 3N
Pagham Hbr: AF reports that at Church Norton (hedgerow up to the beach) this morning there were 3 Redstarts, 2 Whitethroats, 10 Willow Warblers, several Chiffchaffs, a Ring Ouzel, 2 Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk; also a Red Admiral and a Peacock butterfly in the spring sunshine.
1 Sedge Warbler singing along Long Pool, (& Peter Callis had 2 plus Lesser Whitethroat singing along North Wall). This evening 2 Whimbrel & 25 Black-tailed Godwits at Church Norton
Female wheatear at East Beach, whilst at Park Farm (Selsey) a male Yellowhammer, a Buzzard and a Kestrel, plus a number of chiffchaffs singing (SR).
Whimbrel (photo: Andy House)
Sunday, 14th AprilNothing outstanding but a few waders starting to move and over a dozen skuas this morning. Mainly dry and cloudy, some sun later, wind SSE4.
Selsey Bill (0555 - 1030hrs):  (Obs JA/SH et al)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 12E, 1os
Diver sp - 3E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 87E, 29W
Fulmar - 2E, 2W
Brent Goose - 125E
Shelduck - 6W
Shoveler - 12E
Pochard - 2E
Common Scoter - 47E, 100os
Velvet Scoter - 11E
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 2W, 1os
Oystercatcher - 1W, 1ob
Curlew - 1W
Whimbrel - 37E
Grey Plover- 1ob
Bar-tailed Godwit - 17E
Arctic Skua - 7E
Great Skua - 5E plus one on beach before heading off west (see pic)
Common Gull - 37E
Black-headed Gull - 12E
Kittiwake - 4E, 1W
Little Gull - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 212E, 16os
Common Tern - 9E
C/A Tern - 24E
Little Tern - 1E
auk sp - 1E, 2W
Pied Wagtail - 1E
White Wagtail - 1E
Swallow - 1N 
Wheatear - 2ob before moving off north.
Additional sea-watch (1030-1350hrs): (Obs GH/SR)
Manx Shearwater - 1W
Black-throated Diver - 3E
Brent Goose - 39E
Eider - 1E
Golden Plover - 20N
Arctic Skua - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 240E
A further 2 hrs in the evening produced more Sandwich Terns, 5 Little Gulls and an Arctic Skua. (SH) amongst other sightings.
Great Skua, Selsey Bill beach (photo: Sam Hill)

News received 1pm of a Ring Ouzel at Pagham Hbr - apparently in top of a hedge at the back of Long Pool field (per Ivan Lang).
Update from SH/SaH/IP:
Just done our usual walk Park Farm Selsey - Church Norton (11.30am to 2pm), highlights as follows:
Common Redstart (male) at the back of Park Farm late morning.
2 Firecrests in Bluebell Wood early afternoon with a lot of Goldcrests (many more than of late).
Blackcaps - 3 females and a male in S&SaH's garden, 1 female at Park Farm and one female in my garden
 Swallows - c.20 as we walked (inc 2 that are flying around Park Farm as if they are returning breeders)
 Sand Martin - one over the second Several and Chiffchaffs - lots calling all round the walk

News of 2 Pom Skuas passing Worthing late morning, so it looks like the Pom season 2013 is officially open!
Saturday, 13th April: A distinctly average morning at the Bill with early passage soon petering out. The weather was much the same, beginning dry and fairly bright but quickly going downhill to give rain by late morning; it was also decidedly cool due to the wind. Three Arctic Skuas, a Bonxie and two Little Gulls were the best on offer, but all observers had left by just after 1100hrs.
Selsey Bill (0555-1110hrs): Dry at first, rain before noon. Wind cool SW3 backing SSE4. (Obs:JA/SH/CRJ/IP/PB et al):
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 5 os
Red-throated Diver - 7E
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W, 1 os
Little Egret - 1W
Brent Goose - 225E, 2W
Shelduck - 2 ob
Common Scoter - 36E, 120 os
R/b Merganser - 15E, 8W, 5 os
Gannet - 5E, 4W
Fulmar - 4W
Bar-tailed Godwit - 2E
Oystercatcher - 1E
Turnstone - 24 ob
Great Skua - 1E
Arctic Skua - 3E
Black-headed Gull - 50E
Med Gull - 2W
Common Gull - 39E
Little Gull - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 29E
Common Tern - 4E
C/A Tern - 2E
Woodpigeon - 29E
Meadow Pipit - 8N
Wheatear - 1 ob
Black Redstart - 1 gardens
evening watch (1600-1800hrs): continuous rain, S5-6 (Obs:JA/SH/C.Northwood)
Gannet - 58E, 14W
Fulmar - 4E, 1W
Grey Plover - 1E
Great Skua - 1E, 1 os
Kittiwake - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 15E
Common Tern - 2E
Northcommon Farm, Selsey: A Firecrest was the only bird worth a mention.
Pagham Hbr: A male Common Redstart and a Blackcap at Church Norton churchyard (CRJ).

Common Redstart, Church Norton (photo: Sam Hill)

Friday, 12th April: of those days I dread, when for some reason the number of birds seen whilst sea-watching at the Bill bears no comparison with the numbers seen further east at sites such as Seaford and beyond. To put it another way, we were stuffed out of sight! I say we, but I wasn't actually there today; I received an early call from Bob Self at Seaford telling me of their stuff streaming by (thanks Bob), so I made some urgent calls and was glad when I eventually located JA who was already watching the Bill. My panic turned to disappointment when I learned of the results! Well every cloud has a silver lining as I didn't miss too much - perhaps better luck tomorrow.
Selsey Bill (0600 - 1515hrs): SSE5 sunshine and showers, then SW5 cloudy:
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 3os
Red-throated Diver - 10E
Diver sp - 2E
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 1E, 1os
Gannet - 16E, 24W
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Mute Swan - 1 os
Brent Goose - 163E, 5W
Common Scoter - 116E, 150os
Velvet Scoter - 4E
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 6W, 2os
Whimbrel - 1E
Turnstone - 2W, 7ob
Oystercatcher - 1E, 2ob
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1W
Auk sp - 1E
Arctic Skua - 3E
Great Skua - 7E
Little Gull - 1E
Common Gull - 83E
Med' Gull - 6E
Sandwich Tern - 146E, 12os
Common Tern - 31E
C/A Tern - 9E
Little Tern - 1 os
Meadow Pipit - 96N
Swallow - 32N
House Martin - 18N
Chiffchaff - 2 gardens
Willow Warbler - 1 gardens
Linnet - 11N.

This exhausted newly-arrived Willow/Chiff was photo'd as it sought cover from the wind, up against a beach groyne (photo: Sarah Russell).
Not too certain from the pic. Had another long look... can't help feeling the wings look longish, so despite the dull (wet?) plumage, probably Willow? Tricky sometimes.

1715-1915hrs: Not to be outdone, an additional report from the late shift,  (Obs: IP/SH/AH). Quiet, but a good effort - it will pay off soon!
G N Diver - 2 os
Brent Goose - 74W (2 flocks, 24 & 50)
Shelduck - 1E
Eider - 5E (one flock 3m,2f)
Common Scoter -  11E, flock c.100 still os
Gannet - 16 W
Common Tern - 1 os
Sandwich Tern - 15 os
Med Gull - 2 ob
Rook - 1W
Thursday, 11th April: Heavy rain overnight. Early morning rain/drizzle, gradually becoming drier, but remaining rather murky offshore. Some brightness and clearer horizons mid-morning and milder than of late. Wind WSW 3-4. Sea passage was again slow, the highlight being a Garganey passing some way out, its pale grey forewing, dark breast and contrasting pale belly eventually clinching it. The other feature of the morning was small passerines arriving N from the misty sea - with the first notable arrival of Willow Warblers. Some were readily identifiable but others less so, appearing darker due their soaking wet plumage, but the gardens held at least 15 Willows and 5 Chiffchaffs.

checking out the warblers in Bill House garden
There is one other news item today, which may involve a new bird for the Bill that got away. Basically a lady appeared at Pagham Harbour Visitor centre yesterday and produced to the volunteer on duty a photo of a bird allegedly taken in her  Selsey garden on the evening of 9/4 - it appears to be a pic of a Red-breasted Flycatcher (prob 1st-sum) !!  Trouble is, no contact details were taken from the lady and no location either, so the sighting remains unconfirmed and there is currently no way of even ensuring this is a genuine report........... but keep your eyes open.
Selsey Bill (0650-1200hrs): (Obs:CRJ/GH/OM/AHet al).
Great Northern Diver - 3 os (one in almost full s/p)
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Diver sp - 7E
Slavonian Grebe - 1 os flew W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W, 1 os
Brent Goose - 220E, 15W
Shoveler - 2E
Garganey - 1W (0820hrs)
Common Scoter - 9E, 30 os
R/b Merganser - 5E, 3W, 8 os
Gannet - 4E, 1W
Fulmar - 1E, 4W
Sandwich Tern - 22E, 9W
C/A Tern - 2E
Med Gull - 1E, 1os
Sparrowhawk - 1 p
Woodpigeon - 2N
Meadow Pipit - 12N
Swallow - 3N
Wheatear - 5 (2N, 3 ob)
Black Redstart - 1
Blackcap - 2 gardens
Chiffchaff - 5+ gardens
Willow Warbler - 15+gardens (see photo)
Goldcrest - 5 gardens
evening watch: 1650-1930hrs: (Obs: JA/SH/IP) Well done to the late shift.
Great Northern Diver - 11 os (amazing!)
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Slavonian Grebe  - 4 (2 s/p, birds displaying os)
Brent Goose - 1277E
R/b Merganser - 1 os
Sandwich Tern - 8E, 12 os
Common Tern - 2E, 2 os
Little Gull - 1E
Common Gull - 14E
Arctic Skua - 1E  + late report of a second (d/p) bird.                   
                                                                                                   Willow Warbler at Bill-tip (photo:Andy House)

 Northcommon Farm, Selsey: 2 White Wagtails in the horse paddock field (opposite the sub-station), 6 Willow Warblers and several Goldcrests. The feeding flock of Curlews was  again present.
                                                                                                   Garganey, Breech Pool (photo: Andy House)
 Pagham Hbr: There were various reports today. At the North wall/Breech Pool a party of 3 Garganey was present (JW) although later when AH went to photograph them he found them to be rather unobliging (which is his excuse for this photo....!)     
Also Stonechat, Peregrine, 40 Brent & 80 Black-tailed Godwits there. A later report of 2 Spoonbills flying over but no further details.
                                                   Common Redstart, male, Church Norton (photo: Andy House)
Sidlesham Ferry Pool: Yesterdays Yellow Wagtail was again reported though elusive, plus a Swallow and 2 Sand Martins, 45 Shoveler and 2 Avocets.
Church Norton this evening produced a male Common Redstart and a fem-type Black Redstart.