Monday, 29 July 2013

29th - 31st July 2013

Wednesday, 31st July: Cloudy again today with a promise of further rain, though mainly dry at dawn. An early visit to the Ferry by SR found few birds, although it seems Sarah got a little more than she bargained for..! Despite various observers putting in some effort through the day, it remained very slow with only fairly mundane reports received.

Another empty day on Ferry Pool 6.45am:  Kestrel, 2 Shelduck with 5 ducklings, 4 Lapwings, 8 Black-headed Gulls, 4 Teal, 1 Buzzard, and c50 hirundines in the distance.  The juv Cuckoo was seen fleetingly then later heard near the car park.  Also in the car park the usual foreign registered camper van and a small car with a surprised man standing beside it in garish shorts, he was in the process of getting changed! (SR).

A belated report from yesterday from my old mate Bernie and the Worthing boys... sounds like they had a great time:- What a dreadful day with plenty of rain and a strong south/west wind. Seeking shelter at the Bill in the lee of the east side, sea watching was pretty dire; with 20 Gannets mainly moving W and two Sandwich Terns, we soon aborted to Church Norton. With steady rain all morning, we spent all the time in the hide sheltering from the elements. Finding birds in the gloom was not easy - we counted 100 Dunlin, 5 Whimbrel, a single Grey Plover and around 25 Ringed Plover. Three Sandwich and two Common Terns loafing and only three Med Gulls. A few hirundines moving south with at least 12 Sand Martins and 10 Swallows. (Bernie Forbes, Dave Smith & Dorian Mason).

At the Breech Pool/North Wall all very quiet this morning; JW reports just 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 27 Redshank and 32 Canada Geese. AH adds"Can't really lift the sense of birdless despair out there today...30 minutes at the Bill for 2 Black-headed Gulls west! Church Norton only marginally better - 3 Whimbrel, 30 Curlew & 60 Dunlin in the harbour, 15 Swifts south over the car-park, and about 50 Sand Martins feeding over the field by Compton's Farm Shop." Earlier, C&ME also had 3 Peregrines, plus 3 Common Terns, the Dunlin flock and 25 Ringed Plovers at Norton. Then CRJ arrived to find the family party of 5 Peregrines, and a Whimbrel. He also visited Honer Lane late afternoon where there were 2 male Kestrels, 3 male Yellowhammers singing, plus on the reservoir 3 Common Sandpiper and the usual fem Tufted with 7 growing young.

Selsey Bill (1100-1205hrs) Overcast, wind SW4-5 (Obs: CRJ)
Gannet - 34W
Common Scoter - 15E

Turnstone - 2W
C/A Tern - 15W
Sandwich Tern - 2W
Evening sea-watch (1730-1900hrs)  Wind SW3  (Obs: SH/GH/AH)
Gannet - 1E, 9W
Turnstone - 16 ob
Black-headed Gull - 60 ob
Common Tern - 1W
Swift - 2 p


Tuesday, 30th July: A wet and windy morning, giving me a good excuse to stay in and finish off yet more birding admin and proof-reading. I trust not all of the locals will have an excuse though, and that some birding news will filter in today.... ! Meanwhile, a couple of items of more general interest:- Firstly, the Pom trophy (or to give it it's full title The Barry Carter Memorial Pom King Trophy) has now been duly received and amended to show the new Pom King for 2013 - George Heath. George becomes the 11th different title holder and arrangements will be made for the presentation in the near future. Secondly, I received a letter out of the blue yesterday from none other than Tony Marr. All older regulars will be very familiar with Tony's name, but for anyone unaware he was a founder member of the Selsey Bill observatory from 1959 onwards and also a driving force in the SOS,  influencing many birders of my generation and ultimately becoming a key member of the BOURC. Anyway the letter he sent me was actually a copy of a letter I'd sent him, way back on 2/2/1987, following an excellent talk he'd recently given at the SOS conference. I'd long since forgotten all about the letter, in which I commended him on his presentation, adding "when you retire you should consider a second career as a lecturer as you seem very professional now, " and I also added a postscript saying "I trust you won't produce this letter 25 years later!" Tony's short reply (on the copy of my letter) was as follows: "Owen, sorry I'm one and a half years late!  It was a much-appreciated letter at the time and quite a prediction. I did take up a second career lecturing, on expedition cruise ships! Your psychic powers worked well - are they as accurate in predicting Poms?!" Of course they are Tony -  I've got this theory, just ask any of the regulars!

Bonus points to SR for being out and about - she reports that the young Cuckoo was again in the cycle track area behind the Visitor centre early this morning, but as she prepared her camera the bird flew off and heavy rain set in and that was that!

Selsey Bill  (1730-1900hrs): Cloudy after rain. Wind SW5  (Obs: SH/AH) (Well done boys!)
Gannet - 1E, 43W
Dunlin - 1 ob

Sanderling - 2 ob, 1W
Turnstone - 20 ob
Black-headed Gull - 106 os
Med Gull - 3 os
Common Tern - 5W
Sandwich Tern - 13W
 Also, a Common Sandpiper, Park Farm, Selsey by pea fields (SH/SaH)
Sanderling in partial summer plumage on Selsey beach, and a Gannet heading west off the Bill (photos :AH)


Monday, 29th July: A cloudy and cooler morning with a brisk SW wind lured me to the Bill in hopes of shearwaters and the like, but regrettably in two hours there was rather little on offer save for a couple of dozen Gannets passing through. I didn't do much better at Pagham Hbr either, though Sarah Russell reports on finding a juv Cuckoo being fed by its Dunnock hosts near the Visitor Centre...
Selsey Bill (0935-1135hrs): Dry with heavy cloud, wind brisk SW5-6. (Obs: OM)
Gannet - 4E, 20W
Turnstone - 4 ob
Med Gull - 2W
Common Tern - 3W plus 4 os moving to and fro
Sandwich Tern - 5 os, to and fro
Evening sea-watch 1710-1830hrs. Wind SW5 (Obs: SH)
Gannet - 18E, 32W

Sanderling - 1 ob, 2W
Turnstone - 6 ob
Sand Martin - 25SW

Common Tern - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 8W

Pagham Hbr: At Church Norton all I could find were a Whimbrel, 30 Dunlin and 20 Ringed Plovers, with very little sign of activity around Tern Island. A couple of calling phylloscs were probably Willow Warblers but refused to show themselves, whilst Sidlesham Ferry pool was just about birdless when I looked, except for the pair of Shelduck with young (see SR's report). I did try out the new steps at Norton for the first time - well done again to those involved.
An interesting round-up report from Sarah Russell.. "In the area behind the Visitor Centre I finally discovered what had been making the strange loud noise I'd been hearing from a hedge for the last couple of weeks, it mystified me as I could only see a Dunnock flying in and out.  It was of course a Cuckoo and the youngster was flying about early this morning (6.30am), the Dunnock having to work hard to keep up, the youngster still very vocal.  I managed a hasty photo but it isn't very good.  Also about were 5 Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps, 4 Swallows and a Chiffchaff but it soon rained and went quiet.... Ferry Pool 7am:  Two Shelducks and their 5 ducklings, 13 Black-headed gulls, 1 Oystercatcher and a Buzzard was all I could find.  Once the buzzard arrived the ducklings hid under mother. Church Norton: With the wind force 5-6 there was very little activity;  1 Common Tern, 5 Little Egrets, 17 Curlews including the leucistic, 11 Dunlin, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Swallows." 



Juvenile Cuckoo awaiting food near Visitor Centre (photo: Sarah Russell)


 In case you haven't seem them yet, these are the new steps at Church Norton - and they certainly look sturdier than the old ones they replaced!

Friday, 26 July 2013

26th - 28th July 2013

Sunday, 28th July: Cloudy and windier this morning after yesterday's heavy rain. Today finds me forcing myself to stay in and deal with a large backload of birding admin that I need to clear, whilst hoping I'm not missing anything yet being prepared to dash out! And surely there has to be a Balearic or two lurking around somewhere, although an early sea-watch by Sam Hill failed to find one. Keep looking...

Selsey Bill (0600-0800hrs): Dry, broken cloud with brighter spells, wind SW4  (Obs: SH)
Mallard - 1W
Gannet - 2E, 12W
Fulmar - 1W
Turnstone - 4E
Sanderling - 1E
Oystercatcher - 2W
Common Gull - 1 os
Sandwich Tern - 5E, 6W
Common Tern - 7W

Afternoon watch 1645-1800hrs. Wind SE4 ( Obs: SH)
Gannet - 2E, 1W

Sandwich Tern - 3E
Arctic Skua - 1E (imm)
Swift - 11 os
Sand Martin - 6 os

Selsey Westfields: A very probable, but distant, Wood Sandpiper on the creek was the highlight. Otherwise very quiet - a flock of 60 Dunlin flew east along the beach, a single Sandwich Tern was offshore, a single Common Sandpiper in the new diggings, a single Redshank on the RSPB reserve and a few singing Skylarks were  the highlights.
Ferry Pool: Dead! 4 Lapwing, 2 Teal & 8 Black-Headed Gulls. (Later a Common Sandpiper and a Green Sandpiper reported through the day - IP/SR).
Church Norton: Alan Ford & Dick Senior report a family group of 3 Lesser Whitethroats, one or two Chiffchaffs and Whitethroats, plus 4 Peregrines and 2 Whimbrel in the harbour (AH).

I presume this is the Redshank on the RSPB Reserve Andy! A good bet for a breeder. (photo: AH)

Saturday, 27th July: The forecast of torrential thundery rain overnight and all morning seems to be way off the mark as by mid-morning it is still warm, dry and sultry as I write this...!  Afternoon update: Thundery rain arrived mid-afternoon. Still quiet bird-wise with news at a premium.

The only report so far is from the ever-reliable AH who visited Pagham Hbr this morning:- North Wall: The Spotted Redshank was still in White's Creek with about 50 Redshank and a fleeting Common Sandpiper, and about 25 Yellow-legged Gulls and 6 Mediterranean Gulls in the harbour. Along the Breech Pool, the Ruff was still present, with 19 Black-tailed Godwits, 13 Dunlin & 40 Lapwing. A Pochard was in with 24 Tufted Duck, and 2 Sand Martins and a few Swallows were overhead. The Turtle Dove at Honer Farm called and showed briefly, and another one was calling unseen from the gardens at the east end of the North Wall.
 Spotted Redshank in White's Creek, and Pochard with Tufted Ducks on the Breech Pool (photos: Andy House)


Friday, 26th July: Well I'm back from holiday again (non-birding) and ready to resume blog duties, but first I must thank Andy House yet again for his sterling efforts in keeping things going in my absence. It was great to be able to follow what was happening locally whilst sunning myself abroad, and for once it seems I didn't miss too much locally whilst I was away! The list of national rarities however was a different story with some real mega birds on offer - I thought July was meant to be a quiet time - and it just shows what can turn up at any time of year. That brings me neatly on to sea-watching with a gentle reminder that despite the hot (scorching) weather the sea can still produce the odd surprise at this time of year so it's always worth a quick look if you get the chance. Inevitably though, most of the effort is concentrated around the peninsula and Pagham Harbour at this time of year, so let's hope we get a good wader soon. I would like to congratulate Dorian and Bernie for completing the work on the steps at Church Norton (even without my supervision!) - I'm sure we and many others will have cause to appreciate their efforts in times ahead. On a different note, the Pom Trophy has not yet been presented to this year's winner George Heath, so I need to get on with arranging that. But before I close this mini-editorial, I would just like to say that being away for a while gave me a little time to reflect on a number of things - yes, even including the blog! It's only been up and running for about five months now (although it somehow seems longer), but it seems to be meeting a need and has been generally well received. I've had some good feedback and a number of compliments; great as that is, I view it not so much as my blog but our blog, for I couldn't do it without all you regulars providing information and I guess it's just a natural progression of the Selsey atmosphere that has fortunately always prevailed (OM).
Ok, enough of my waffle; on with the birding news:

PENINSULA: (Pagham Hbr) Ferry Pool: 24 Lapwing, 4 Teal, 2 Stock Doves and the family of 2 adult and 8 young Shelduck was about it. North Wall: Still plenty of birds here this morning - a Ruff, 17 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Dunlin and 20 Lapwings on the Breech Pool and a Green Sandpiper over, and still a bit of song from the Reed and Sedge Warblers. The Turtle Dove was still at Honer Farm and another reported at Halsey's Farm, the summer-plumage Spotted Redshank was still in White's Creek, and 2 Whimbrel and 25 Yellow-legged Gulls in the harbour (AH). Mid-afternoon update from JW: North Wall. Turtle dove still at Grey Barn at end of Church Lane.  1 Yellow Wagtail Breech Pool - also Black Swan, 9 Dunlin, 7 Black-tailed Godwits, 23 Lapwing, 2 Common Sandpipers and the Ruff. Behind the pool - 17 Canada Geese and 62 Curlew, and 25 Little Egrets at roost. Honer reservoir - Tufted Duck with 7 young, 2 Common Sandpipers.

 Ruff at Breech Pool (photo: Andy House)
A visit to the rubbish tip this morning gave me the opportunity of a couple of hours birding at the Chi GPs, starting at Westhampnett North (windsurf) pit. I didn't linger too long here as a speedboat was towing a water-skier around, but it did produce 4 Great Crested Grebes, a Gadwall, 3 Common Terns and a Grey Wagtail. I moved on to concentrate my efforts on the two Drayton Pits where I counted no less than 68 Tufted Ducks in various stages of eclipse, plus an additional female with a brood of 8 smallish ducklings. There were also 2 drake and 4 duck Pochard, 3 of the latter nervously guarding separate broods of 6, 6 and 4 ducklings respectively. Other counts included 8+ Gadwall, 17 Mute Swans (of which one pair had 7 cygnets), just 7 Canada Geese (the breeding groups having now dispersed), 6+ pairs of Little Grebe (of which 3 had juveniles in attendance), 6 Great Crested Grebes, 14 Lapwings and a single Common Sandpiper (OM).


















Monday, 22 July 2013

22nd-25th July 2013

Thursday, 25th July:

My last day in charge before handing the blog back, mostly intact, to the capable hands of Mr Mitchell, so from tomorrow send him your news....

Ferry Pool: (In!)action replay of yesterday - a dozen Lapwing and Black-Headed Gulls asleep in the middle, though there was a family party of Shelducks at the back this morning, possibly the same group that was along Ferry Channel a couple of days ago.

Church Norton: Best bird was a fly-by Cuckoo along the west side, otherwise quiet - a young Peregrine bombing the gulls, a Whimbrel and 40 Curlews in the harbour, and a few Linnet along the west side, including one very freshly fledged youngster, being the highlights.

Cuckoo, Church Norton 25/7/13 (AH)

Very young Linnet, Church Norton 25/7/13 (AH)
North Wall: The Spotted Redshank still present. Also a Turtle Dove again in Church Lane, and another at Honer Farm. (JW)
Porthole Farm: Large numbers of  hirundines this morning, favouring the wheat fields over the nearby sewage farm. Rough estimates - 300+ Sand Martin, 100+ Swallow, 50+ House Martin, all swirling around low over the fields and periodically settling on top of the wheat. Also 2 Yellowhammer, 4 Whitethroat and 2 Stock Dove seen.
Sand Martins on wheat crop at Porthole Farm 25/7/13 (AH)
Yellowhammer at Porthole Farm 25/7/13 (AH)

Wednesday, 24th July:

Ferry Pool: Another almost birdless morning, despite conditions looking promising - 1 Black-Tailed Godwit, 8 Lapwing, 6 Teal and a dozen Black-Headed Gulls the sum total.

North Wall: Here, on the other hand it was positively full of birds. Best of all was the smart summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank that Jim Weston found in White's Creek, though it was mobile at times as it consorted with the 30+ Common Redshank that went to and fro from the Breach Pool. Also 2 Little Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper, 17 Black-Tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin, 12 Lapwing and 25 Teal there, 2 more Common Sandpipers in White's Creek, along with 4 young Pied Wagtails and a few Sand Martins.

Spotted Redshank in White's Creek 24/7/13 (AH)

Common Redshank on Breach Pool 24/7/13 (AH)
Itchenor (Chi Harbour): Sarah Russell reports - On a strictly non-birding visit to Itchenor I couldn't help noticing 5 occupied House Martin nests (4 of them artificial) around the Harbour Office, they all seemed active with young. Also spotted a Buzzard, 5 Redshank, 3  Little Egrets, Great Crested Grebe, 2 Common Terns, Curlew and 2 Mute  Swans. 

Honer Reservoir: Chris Janman reports -  Mid-day,a female Tufted Duck with 7 young, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Black-headed Gull. Nearby a Common Buzzard hovering into the wind and several Emperor dragonflies.

Tuesday, 23rd July:

Apologies for the absence of news today, but Sidlesham hsa been without power for most of the day.

Ferry Pool: Sarah Russell reports - at 6.30am. All I could find was 2 Black-Tailed  Godwits, 12 Lapwing, 11 Black-Headed Gulls (2 of them juveniles), 2 Mallard, 1  Coot & 2 Moorhens. 

North Wall: From the Worthing Crew via SOS - Funny old day weatherwise with the threat of thunderstorms in the air for most of the morning but just a few rumbles of thunder and few spots of rain. We spent the entire day around the harbour. Pagham east side: a good count of 42 Yellow-legged and 30 Med Gulls with two Whimbrel and a single Brent Goose. Four Great Crested Grebes in the channel and two juvenile Peregrines crashing around. Not much on the Breech Pool - the usual Black- tailed Godwits and a single Snipe.
(I would add 2 Knot, 3 Dunlin, 10 Sand Martin and the Black Swan to the above.)

Two Dunlin on Breach Pool 22/7/13 (AH)

Black Swan on Breach Pool 22/7/13 (AH)

Church Norton: four summer plumage Knot, two Whimbrel and single Grey Plover and Common Sandpiper. Only a few terns loafing around, it looks as if there has been a big clear out! Purple Hairstreak near the hide. (Bernie Forbes, Dave Smith & Dorian Mason).

Honer Farm Res.: A Tufted Duck with 8 youngsters and a Common Sandpiper. (JW)

Long Pool/Ferry Channel: A pair of Shelducks with eight very young ducklings in the channel and 30 Mediterranean Gulls with Black-Headed Gulls on bare fields to the west.

Monday, 22nd July:

Selsey Bill: From Sarah Russell - seawatch at the Bill this morning 6.00am - 8.00am F2/3 N with slight mist. 
Sandwich Tern 54E
Common Tern  2E, 2 os
Gannet 34E, 1W
Common Scoter 35E
Oystercatcher 2E, 1 obs
Swallow 11 os
House Martin 8 os
Swifts 12 over gardens
Mallard 1N
Ferry Pool: Freshly filled with water - not sure if sea- or fresh-, but not many birds. 25 Lapwing, 4 Teal and 1 Moorhen the total.
Fishbourne Creek: On the rising tide, the following were seen - 2 Whimbrel 3 Greenshank, 30 Curlew, 2 Yellow-Legged Gull, 5 Lesser-Black-Backs, 2 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Common Tern, family of 8 young Shelducks, 35 Little Egret, 20 Swallows and 5 House Martins. (AH)
Swallows aboard a yacht at Dell Quay 22/7/13 (AH)

Yellow-Legged Gull in Fishbourne Creek 22/7/13 (AH)

North Wall: Alan Kitson's report on SOS - still 12 splendid Black-Tailed Godwits, still a juv Redshank with quite yellowy legs and some 20 others, three Greenshank, three Snipe, two Green Sandpipers and one Dunlin while in the Harbour itself here were one Whimbrel and, roosting in the purslane at HT, some 200 Curlew. Also ca. 15 Yellow-Legged Gulls.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

18th-21st July 2013

Sunday, 21st July:

Yet another hot day of many people and few birds......

Medmerry/Selsey Westfields: Predictably quiet - most of the water in the pools where the Avocets were has dried up now, though there were still 4 Dunlin feeding on the remnants. Also a young Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark and 20 Linnets along the path, 4 Oystercatchers in the creek, 4 Curlew and 6 Turnstone west along the beach and a few Common and Sandwich Terns feeding/loafing offshore.

Also, to let people know, Bunn's have started charging £10 a car to drive through the caravan park until the end of August. (Luckily for me, my son works there, so in the next few weeks he'll be getting a few more lifts to work!)

Young Meadow Pipit, Selsey Westfields 21/7/13 (AH)

Common Tern, Selsey Westfields 21/7/13 (AH)
Ferry Pool: 2 Common Sandpipers, a Common Gull and a dozen Black-Headed Gulls (inc several juvs) was the sum total.

Common Gull on the Ferry 21/7/13 (AH)

Common Sandpiper on the Ferry 21/7/13 (AH)

Church Norton: Bernie Forbes reports (via SOS) that a Yellow Wagtail and a flock of Crossbills were heard overhead as he completed the much-appreciated work on the new steps behind the churchyard.

North Wall: Jim Weston recorded the following during his WeBS count - 24 Black-Tailed Godwit, 3 Snipe, 12 Redshank, 26 Curlew, 32 Lapwing, 23 Teal, 27 Mallard, 2 Moorhen, 3 Coot, 4 Shelduck, 2 Mute Swan, 3 Grey Heron and 1 Little Egret.

Saturday, 20th July:

The summer lull continues......

Ferry Pool: 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Redshank, 1 Lapwing, 4 Dunlin and a dozen Black-Headed Gulls was it this morning.

North Wall: 17 Black-Tailed Godwit, 1 Common Snipe, 2 Dunlin, 4 Redshank, 6 Lapwing, 8 Teal and up to 50 Swallows, plus the mother and three nearly-grown Shelduck. (AH & JW)

The three surviving young Shelducks are nearly fully grown now 20/7/13 (AH)
Pagham Spit/Harbour: Quiet still, on the high tide, but approximate totals - 90 Oystercatcher, 30 Curlew, 20 Turnstone, 30 Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Tern, 60 Great-Black Backs and, unusually for the time of year, 4 Wigeon.(AH)
Curlew in Pagham Harbour 20/7/13 (AH)

Friday, 19th July:

Another hot day, with birds in short supply....

Ferry Pool: 7am, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 4 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 26 Lapwings, 6 Redshank, 3 Teal, 2 Swallows, 31 Black-Headed  Gulls. (SR)

Pagham Village: Turtle Dove purring in Jim Weston's Church Lane garden - lucky man!, and a juv Green Woodpecker, too.

Thursday, 18th July:

 Ferry Pool: A scruffy male Ruff, now 5 Greenshank, 4 Black-Tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper, 20 Lapwing and a juvenile Redshank were today's wader selection. Also an adult Yellow-Legged Gull was present before flying off into the harbour. (AH & CRJ)

Yellow-Legged Gull on the Ferry 18/7/13 (AH)

Male Ruff on the Ferry 18/7/13 (AH)
Breach Pool: 14 Black-Tailed Godwit, 1 Snipe, 2 Dunlin, 12 Lapwing and 20 Teal present. Also the mother Shelduck and her 3 remaining youngsters there, and a Whimbrel and 10 Curlew in the harbour.
Black-tailed Godwit on the Breach Pool 18/7/13 (AH)
Selsey Bill: 0910-0945...Gannet 6E + 6 feeding o/s, Common Scoter 20e (inc flock 19), Sandwich Tern 1W, Common Tern 3E, Turnstone 2 on beach. (CRJ)
Turnstone at Selsey Bill 18/7/13 (AH)
Church Norton: 1 ad Oystercatcher with 2 young, 1Dunlin. (CRJ)

Sunday, 14 July 2013

14th-17th July 2013

Wednesday 17th July:

Another hot day making birding a challenge.....

Ferry Pool: Combined totals from AH and SR as follows - 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Black-Tailed Godwit, 4 Greenshank, 5 Redshank, 21 Lapwing, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Little Egret, 2 Canada Goose, 34 Black-Headed Gulls (inc many juvs), a Buzzard and a Pied Wagtail

4 Greenshank, a Redshank and a Lapwing on the Ferry 17/7/13 (AH)
Buzzard on the Ferry 17/7/13 (Sarah Russell)
Church Norton: At least 30 Sandwich Terns and 10 Common Terns in the harbour, plus 1 Common Sandpiper, 15 Little Egrets, 30 Dunlin and 20 Curlews.

Little Egrets at Church Norton 17/7/13 (AH)

Honer Lane: late afternoon, 3 Yellowhammer, what appeared to be a albinistic Wood Pigeon and 2 Common Sandpipers on the reservoir. (CRJ)

Porthole Farm: 80 Swifts this morning (JW)

North Wall/Breach Pool: 12 Black-Tailed Godwit, 2 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank & 1 Whimbrel on the Breach Pool and the Turtle Dove still nearby. (JW)

Tuesday 16th July:

Another scorching hot July day, when bird-watchers are in as short supply as the birds!

Ferry Pool: 4 Greenshank this morning, plus 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Grey Heron and 6 Little Egrets.

Little Egrets on the Ferry 16/7/13 (AH)
North Wall: 6 Black-Tailed Godwits, 1 Snipe, 15 Lapwing and about 20 Teal this morning. A few Sand Martins over and the odd snatch of Reed or Sedge Warbler song.
Black-Tailed Godwits on the Breach Pool 16/7/13 (AH)
In addition to my modest efforts, Sarah Russell had 36 Lapwings, 9 Black-Tailed Godwits, Grey Heron, Little  Egret, 1 Snipe feeding at the front of the pool, 14 Mallard + 5 ducklings, Mute  Swan, 26 Teal, the mother with now only 3 young, 1 Common Tern, 3 Swallows, 1 young Pied Wagtail, 3  Black-Headed Gulls on the Breach Pool.
Halsey's Farm: Sarah reports -  Amused to see one of the owl boxes at Halsey's has a new resident - see picture! 
Grey Squirrel in Owl box at Halsey's Farm (pic: Sarah Russell)
Quite a number of young whitethroats about, I came across two family groups today. Also the Reed and Sedge Warblers still seem to be vocal and active as are Reed Buntings and Cetti's Warblers. Grey Herons along with Little Egrets made their presence known in owl copse. Walking across the fields I came across the Turtle Dove near the gate and managed a digiscoped picture before being almost licked to death by a young and curious cow.
Turtle Dove at Halsey's Farm (pic: Sarah Russell)

Monday 15th July:

Ferry Pool: Sarah Russell was at the Ferry bright and early and reported 3 Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Little Egret, 12 Lapwing, 2 Moorhen, 25 Black-Headed Gull (including 4 juveniles), all being watched over by a Buzzard.
I had a quick look at 9.30 and not much had changed!

Two of the Greenshank & the Little Ringed Plover just about viewable through the heat haze on the Ferry 15/7/13 (AH)
North Wall: Jim Weston reports a reeling Grasshopper Warbler early this morning, near to where one was singing last year at the same late date. Also a Greenshank, 2 Snipe & 6 Black-Tailed Godwit on the Breach Pool.
Honer Farm: 3 Common Sandpiper and 4 Black-headed Gull, 1 a juv, on the Honer Lane reservoir this evening. Also a Common Buzzard in adjacent field and 3 Yellowhammer males singing down the lane (CRJ).


Sunday 14th July:

Another hot summer's day, with people outnumbering birds on the peninsula!

North Wall area: 1 Snipe, 3 Black-Tailed Godwit, 32 Lapwing, 17 Redshank, 2 Dunlin & 50 Sand Martin on/over the Breach Pool. Also 16 Little Egret & 22 Curlew in the harbour and the Turtle Dove still in the adjacent area. (JW)

Church Norton: Dick Senior & Alan Ford saw a fleeting Tree-Creeper in the churchyard. Unusual at any time of year at Pagham, summer records are very few and far between.
This evening up to a dozen Little Egrets including several fresh juveniles, 30 Dunlin and 20 Curlews ere the best I could find.

Three Little egrets at Church Norton 14/7/13 (AH)

Ferry Pool: Almost devoid of birds after the recent activity - just what looked like a summer-plumaged Bar-Tailed Godwit tucked behind half a dozen Black-Headed Gulls and a single Moorhen was the total.(AH)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

11th - 13th July 2013

Saturday, 13th July: Another warm sunny day, predicted to be the hottest of the year so far. A reminder that all info for the blog should be sent to Andy House for the next couple of weeks; it should be a quiet time of the birding year, but I always have that uneasy feeling when I'm going away and have previously missed a goodie or two, so who knows! (OM).
no birding news yet ...updates awaited ... obviously a slow news day!

Friday, 12th July: Again cloudy early on, but with a forecast of warm sunshine later. Andy House will again be looking after the blog as from Sunday 14th, for the best part of two weeks, so all info to him please after tomorrow - many thanks.
At Selsey a busy flock of 12+ Little Terns, 20+ Common Terns and 2 or 3 Sandwich Terns feeding off Hillfield road this morning, but no passage. (AH).

PENINSULA: Church Norton very quiet save the activity around Tern Island and the leucistic Curlew. Ferry Pool - back to normal, 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 30 Redshank and no Avocets. AH).

Little Tern, Selsey (photo: Andy House)

Thursday, 11th July: A cloudier start this morning but still dry and warm. An early report from Sidlesham Ferry indicates it is quiet there at present.

SELSEY BILL (1000-1115hrs): Hot, sunny and dry after early cloud. Wind NE 3-4. (Obs: OM)
I watched from the south-east corner for a short while this morning 'just in case' - but it was very quiet with the most noticeable thing being the stench of rotting seaweed on the beach, with plenty of attendant Starlings feeding on the insects. All I logged was:
Common Scoter - 5E
Gannet - 1E
Black-headed Gull - 6 os
Common Tern - 5 feeding os
Sandwich tern - 6 feeding os

No birds to photograph, so I snapped this view of Bill House garden in summer bloom, as it is rarely seen by many observers who only visit in spring or autumn. Probably our best little corner of habitat now left at the Bill.

PENINSULA: An early report from Sarah Russell: 'Very little on Ferry Pool this morning, the corpse of what looks like a young Shelduck laying at the edge of the pool didn't bode well. Nineteen Lapwing, 42 Redshank, 29 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Teal, 3 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Swallows, a calling Cetti's Warbler along with a few Reed and Sedge Warblers, and a fly-over Little Egret was all I could manage to find.' I can only add that I made a visit around 0940hrs when there was also an adult Med Gull (though I didn't see any Shelducks alive or dead). A later visit at 1330hrs found all the waders gone and nothing on the Pool! (OM).

North Wall & Breech Pool: - 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Snipe, 1 juv Redshank, 6 Lapwings, 2 Teal, 100 Sand Martins, a Turtle Dove & a Common Sandpiper (AH/BFF/DIS). The East side also produced 5 Yellow-legged Gulls, a Med Gull, 3 unseasonal Brent Geese, 50 Swifts and a Lesser Whitethroat (BFF/DIS). on Pagham Lagoon - 100+ Sand Martins, but no sign of the Scaup.  At Church Norton a good bit of activity on the rising tide which helped to maintain interest for the assembled group (C&ME, BFF, DIS, OM et al): A juvenile Peregrine occasionally flew around spooking everything, 2 Greenshanks in the channel, 3 Whimbrel, 1 or more Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper on the mudflats, lots of panics as the Common Tern and Black-headed Gull colony on Tern Island all took off to repel intruders (mainly crows), a pair of Oystercatchers with 2 chicks, the demise of another Oystercatcher which sadly got entangled in the netting surrounding the island, and the extraordinary sight of a small Black-headed Gull chick being swept into the harbour by the tide, bobbing around like a cork as its parents joined it on the water with other gulls, before it eventually went into turbo-charged paddle mode and made it ashore before predators could intervene. Also one or two Little Terns but no sign of the Roseate Tern by the time I left.

Snipe (top) , Green Sandpiper (middle) and Sand Martin, Breech Pool (photos: Andy House)

Monday, 8 July 2013

8th - 10th July 2013

Wednesday, 10th July: Still hot and sunny, but with a bit more cloud and a welcome breeze NE 3-4. Slow on the bird front today, or perhaps less observers out and about, but either way few reports, until evening when a late report of a Roseate Tern on Tern Island was received.

PENINSULA: A walk from Halseys Farm to Breech Pool via the fields this morning by Sarah Russell produced 2 close Buzzards, a Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaffs, 3 Cetti's Warblers, singing Reed and Sedge Warblers, Skylarks, 5 Whitethroats, c25 each of House Martins and Swallows and a Turtle Dove calling from the top of a distant tree. Breech Pool held very little at first glance but hiding at the back almost obscured from view a group of waders including c4 Black-tailed Godwits, c6 Redshank, a Curlew, 1 Snipe and a Common Sandpiper.  Further along were 2 Tufted Ducks, a Shelduck with her 3 young, 11 Teal, 9 Lapwing, a Common Tern, and in amongst the female mallards one single female Shoveler, then another Common Sandpiper.  No Ruff today unfortunately. Also not to be ignored, the vast number of Meadow Brown butterflies, 3 Small Tortoiseshells, a Red Admiral and 4 Painted Ladies. 
Jim Weston also reported what was presumably the same Turtle Dove, plus a Green Sandpiper on the pool.

Turtle Dove, Pagham North Fields (photo: Sarah Russell)
At Pagham Hbr, a late report of a ROSEATE TERN on Tern Island, Church Norton (Ivan Lang).

Tuesday, 9th July: The hot dry spell continues... as hopefully does work on the new steps. It doesn't look like I can get there today so I just hope the team will be able to cope!

PENINSULA: North Wall/Breech Pool - a smart near-summer plumaged Ruff this morning was the highlight. Otherwise a Common Tern and a few Sedge and Reed Warblers was about it. At Pagham Lagoon - 200-300 Sand Martins gathering on the wires and a few Swifts overhead, but I couldn't find the Scaup (AH).

Summer-plumaged Ruff at Breech Pool/N Wall, and Sand Martins near Pagham Lagoon (photos: Andy House).

Sam Hill reports that on his evening walk from Selsey to Church Norton, 40 Sand Martins flew up from an exposed winkle bed and flew out to sea, whilst a flock of 23 Little Terns flew in from the east and started feeding offshore together.

Monday, 8th July: I had a look around Pagham Harbour today - see below for details - but had a surprise early on when none other than Chris Janman appeared on the North Wall resplendent in cycle helmet and cool shades, complete with his new mountain bike. The rumours were true then! However, the main part of the day was spent repairing the steps that lead from the top path to the foreshore at Church Norton. Regular visitors will know that the old steps had become unstable and dangerous, so a new set is needed. A  fine group of volunteers was therefore assembled  (new RSPB types); Bernie Forbes and Dorian Mason were the foremen, assisted by Dave Sadler, John Dodd, Dave Sneller, Trevor Gibson-Poole...and me! OK, I wasn't actually allowed to use any tools, but they did promote me to 'gofer' and tea-boy. It turned out to be a long day with a few technical setbacks, meaning that several days will be needed to finish the project. All was going well for me as the rest of the team sweated and toiled, until I made a fatal error near the end of the afternoon by volunteering to fetch water to use for cementing in posts. To cut a long story short, our water source in the churchyard had now dried up, so I was forced to wade out on the mudflats on the receding tide for a bucket of muddy water - my boots and legs becoming caked in thick mud. Even that wasn't enough and we actually ended up using our drinking water and a bottle of squash to finish it. Ah, such professionalism, but the job is a long way from finished yet so please be patient for a few days.
The team on a tea break: left-to-right John Dodd, Dave Sneller, Trevor Gibson-Poole, Dave Sadler, Bernie Forbes and Dorian Mason.
The team in action. I was dealing with important administrative tasks!
PENINSULA: At the Breech Pool / North Wall this morning, a Wigeon, 4 Teal, 3 Tufted Ducks, a Common Sandpiper, 18 Lapwing and a Common Tern, plus the usual Reed Warblers and a Cetti's Warbler. On the mudflats at least 4 adult Yellow-legged Gulls. Sidlesham Ferry Pool held 8 Avocets, 32 Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Redshank and 4 Teal. At Church Norton a Peregrine spooked the gulls and terns on Tern Island, plus a nearby Whimbrel, whilst 12 Sand Martins moved south. No sign of the recent Spoonbill.

Fishbourne Creek - 1 Whimbrel, 3 Greenshank, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Yellowhammer, 4 House Martin, 20 Swallow, 40 Curlew, 175 Mute Swan (AH).



Whimbrel and Reed Bunting, Fishbourne Creek (photos Andy House)



Friday, 5 July 2013

5th - 7th July 2013

Sunday, 7th JulyContinuing hot and sunny with a light southerly breeze; it seems a long time since proper summer weather was upon us, yet autumn migration is clearly underway as can be gathered from yesterday's records. Most of the birding effort seems to be concentrated around Pagham Harbour at  present, perhaps for obvious reasons during the summer doldrums, but ignore the sea at your peril and it must be worth the odd hour here and there - come on you locals!  

SELSEY: SH/SaH did their walk around Park Farm, Selsey (towards Church Norton) this morning and logged 20+ Sand Martins, 20+ House Martins, 50+ Swallows, 20+ Whitethroats, 6 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 4 Green Woodpeckers; plenty of these were newly fledged young. Evening update: a Hobby in the area but just 6 Swallows!

Great Spotted Woodpecker at Park Farm, Selsey (photo: Sam Hill)  

PENINSULA: At Pagham Hbr: North Wall/Fields there were 15 Little Egrets, a Green Sandpiper, 7 Yellowhammers and 4 Cetti's Warblers. A Water Vole was also located, but good information suggests that Chris 'Bradley' Janman was in the area riding a bike - a rare sight indeed if proved! (JW).  
West Fields / Medmerry: this morning - 1 adult Little Ringed Plover with a fledged youngster, 1 Ringed Plover, 4 Avocets, 10 Lapwing, 4 Shelduck, 1 Yellow-legged Gull in the gull roost, 1 Meadow Pipit and 5+ Skylarks. Offshore 1 Gannet and 8 Sandwich Terns lingering, and a flock of about a dozen distant Common Scoter heading west (AH).    

     Little Ringed Plover with fledged juvenile, Medmerry area (photo: Andy House)   

Saturday, 6th July: Warm and sunny again today, but it appears that return passage is already well underway with the first Sand Martins moving through in good numbers and a few other species on the move.

PENINSULA: At Church Norton early morning, SH logged 20+ Sand  Martins, 30+ Common Whitethroats, 2 Blackcaps and a Whimbrel.  C&ME & C&JM later reported 100 plus Sand Martins and 16 Little Terns from the spit, plus a juvenile Cuckoo at Yeoman's Field
Ian Pitts reports that the Spoonbill was still in the harbour this morning, viewable from the West side. Along the North Wall Jim Weston reports a Greenshank, 4 Jays, several young Little Egrets on the wing and several family parties of Whitethroats - and far too many cyclists on the footpaths!

 A general round-up report from Andy House: This morning, along the east side of the harbour - 1 Common Sandpiper in White's Creek and possibly another one further along, 1 Whimbrel, 40 Curlew, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 1 Lesser Black-back and 40 Great Black-backs, and a steady stream of Sand Martins overhead. At the southern end of the harbour, by the Lagoon, there were hundreds of Sand Martins - my guess a minimum of 4-500 swirling around and settling en masse in the salt-marsh vegetation. Also, the Scaup was reported on the Lagoon, but I did not look for it myself.

Common Sandpiper, White's Creek, Pagham Harbour (photo: Andy House) 
SELSEY: Two Ravens cronking at the eastern end (sea end) of Park Lane at 9am (IP). Then later a spectacular gathering of 1000+ Sand Martins (SH/IP) - see pic.
Part of the gathering of Sand Martins, Park Farm area, Selsey (photo: Sam Hill)
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Friday, 5th July: Thanks again to Andy House for continuing the blog in my absence -  although he'll be getting plenty more practice as I'm away again soon - meanwhile could all those who forward their news copy me in (OM).

The Selsey Bill Migration Data page has now been updated to include a Summary of Spring 2013, together with tables showing other useful information, including first and average dates, etc. Many thanks to Justin Atkinson for his hard work and detailed compilations.

SELSEY: Sam Hill reports 100+ Sand Martins at Park Farm this afternoon.

PENINSULA: Not much to report - on the Ferry Pool 1 Greenshank (see if you can spot it in pic), 25 Avocets and 5 Dunlin, along the Long Pool a few Reed & Sedge Warblers & Whitethroats, and at Church Norton a flyover Cuckoo, a dozen Sandwich Terns and a dozen Curlew (AH).
Spot the Greenshank (try front right) amongst Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks and Lapwings on Ferry Pool. (Below) - Whitethroat along Long Pool (photo's: Andy House)