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)

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