Thursday, 29 August 2013

29th - 31st August 2013

Saturday, 31st August: Another blast from the past today when former Pagham Hbr warden and Selsey regular Bob Lord appeared at the Bill with Jim Weston. The usual pleasantries were exchanged, before Bob reminded me of a few highlights from his notebook of the early eighties; 1981 saw a Honey Buzzard arrive (10/5), A Red-backed Shrike (exactly 32 years ago on 31/8), and a Little Auk (29/11) not to mention a sighting of Patrick Moore E along the beach that spring. In 1982 highlights included a Glaucous Gull (8/4), a Hooded Crow (12/5) and another Red-backed Shrike (10/10) whilst in 1983 sightings included a Pied Flycatcher in Bill house garden (17/4) and a juv Woodchat Shrike which caught a bumble-bee (7/9). After saying good-bye there was time for a quick photo before Bob and Jim were off to view Medmerry, with Bob sending his regards to all that know him. The clear highlight of the morning though was a movement of c.70 BALEARIC SHEARWATERS, perhaps a Bill record. Sam Hill began the watch early, being joined later by GH and AH - they fortunately called me and even I managed to log about 25 before things went quiet. Most birds were moving east in flocks at various ranges - more details later...

Selsey Bill: (0615-1115hrs) Cloudy then dry, warm and sunny. Wind NW 3-4 (Obs: SH/AH/OM et al)
Gannet - 50E, 42W
Fulmar - 1W
Balearic Shearwater - 56E and 20W,  including a flock of 15E at 0900 and 11E at 0955hrs.
Common Scoter - 1W
Auk sp - 1W
Turnstone - 60 ob 
Common Tern - 3E, 5W
Sandwich  Tern - 13E, 9W
Yellow Wagtail - 4S
Sand Martin - 9S

Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper on Sidlesham Ferry Pool, but Church Norton very quiet - a few Wheatears and the odd Willow Warbler about (AH).
Walk Selsey to Church Norton 1030-1230hrs (S&SaH)
Wheatear 4
Willow Warbler 3

Sand Martins 50+ over beach
Whitethroat 4
This evening at Church Norton 1 Whinchat & 3 Wheatears on the spit and 2 Greenshank in the harbour (AH).


 (top) Ruff and Curlew Sandpiper at the Ferry Pool

(above) just discernible, a flock of Balearic Shearwaters off Selsey Bill (photos: AH)


Friday, 30th August: Sunny, dry and quite warm again.
Pagham Hbr: Ferry Pool: Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpipers, 12 Redshank, 6 Black-tailed Godwit and 40 Lapwings this morning. Also 15 juvenile Shelduck and 40 Teal.
North Wall: Up to 5 Curlew Sandpipers in White's Creek, including one moulting adult. Spotted Redshank, Common Sandpiper, 3 Snipe, 30 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Pintail on the Breech Pool. Also 3 Whinchat along the far fence-line and about 20 Yellow Wagtails in with the cattle, and a Peregrine over (AH).
Black-tailed Godwits with Spotted Redshank on Breech Pool (photo: Andy House)

Thursday, 29th August: As it seems that yours truly is about the only active Sussex birder not to have seen a Pied Fly in a good autumn for the species, I spent time today trying to correct that - and failed again. I checked out the whole area around and beyond the Visitor centre and managed to dig out four Spotted Fly's - but Pied Fly was there none! There were plenty of common migrants about earlier in the morning but it rapidly died down as it got warmer and sunnier. Whilst about to check the Ferry Pool with Andy House, a couple of powered hang-gliders appeared and one of the idiot pilots deliberately swooped down to less than 50ft over the pool, scattering birds in all directions, though fortunately they returned when peace was re-established. Most of the observer activity was again at Pagham harbour and
although there were plenty of birds on the move there was nothing unusual; meanwhile it seems little or no attention has been paid to sea-watching at the Bill for some while during this warm spell, so hopefully the sea will deliver something soon.
Pagham Hbr: Visitor centre area/Discovery area: Spotted Flycatcher - 4, Blackcap - 6, Whitethroat - 6, Willow Warbler - c.10, Yellow Wagtail - 10 over,  Sand Martin c.50.
Sidlesham Ferry Pool: Curlew Sandpiper - 1 juv, Green Sandpiper - 2, Lapwing - 25, Black-tailed Godwit - 4, Shelduck - 20 (mostly juv's) (OM/AH).

At Church Norton this morning at least 3 Redstarts, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Tree Pipits, 20 Yellow Wagtails, 1 Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroats and 20+ Willow/Chiffs around the churchyard/hide/concrete wall area. Additionally at least 4 Whinchats and 4 Wheatears around the beach/Severals area, plus a few Willow Warblers (CRJ/AH et al). Very quiet this evening, save 2 Whinchat along the West side (AH).
North wall/Breech Pool/East side:   20 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 Snipe, several Black-tailed Godwits including a colour-ringed bird, a Green Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank, and masses of hirundines over the harbour. (BFF/DIS/DM).



above: Black-tailed Godwits on Breech pool and
below: Spotted Redshank at same location (photos: DM)



Monday, 26 August 2013

26th - 28th August 2013

Wednesday, 28th August: Firstly, an update on yesterday's warbler excitement at Climping. Having studied various photo's, websites and field guides last night, I slowly came to the conclusion that on balance this would probably turn out to be a Booted Warbler. When found the bird looked greyer, longer-tailed, larger-billed and sleeker than I would have expected for a Booted, (so much so it took a little while to discount eastern Olivaceous), but the photos now seem to show it as more brownish-toned, with a fairly bold supercilium extending (too) well behind the eye, less greyish and with darkish tertial markings - supportive of Booted. I'm no expert and have some issues with it, but I now note that it appears on RBA and other bird media services as a Booted, which would in any case be the likely option given the numbers that have appeared in the country. So - I'm not totally convinced yet, but seems it's a Booted - unless you know better!     OK, on with today's news from the peninsula ...

Medmerry (Coastguard Station to Windmill) (7am) - 1 Redstart, c175 Swallows, c100 House Martins, 28 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Wheatears, 25 Linnets, 6 Meadow Pipits, 2 Pied Wagtails.  Some of the Swallows relentlessly chasing the Yellow Wags until they took refuge in the long grass; I'd never thought of Swallows as being bullies before but I suppose it's just the natural pecking order (SR).
Pagham Hbr: Ferry Pool: The juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and 4 Black-tailed Godwits still present, with 40 Lapwing and 75 Teal. Church Norton: This morning still at least 3 Redstart, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 6+ Wheatear, 5+ Lesser Whitethroat and 20+ Common Whitethroat present, with most of the activity on the beach/Severals area, and plenty of Swallows and Sand Martins over. This evening, at least 100 Yellow Wagtails swirling over the churchyard before heading off towards the spit, though most other passerines had gone quiet. In the harbour 5 Pintail and 40 Wigeon. Also, Ivan Lang reported 2 Pied Flycatchers around the visitor centre this morning.

Whitethroat and Pintails at Pagham Harbour (photos: Andy House)

Tuesday, 27th August:
(Not on the peninsula - but at CLIMPING BEACH there is an unusual warbler....not confirmed but quite possible SYKE'S WARBLER (Olivaceous not yet eliminated) ...........from car park Climping St, go 200yrs west along beach, view tamarisk. Found by Richard Grimmett on one of his occasional visits........apologies if I haven't phoned you - chaotic trying to see elusive bird, identify it and use phone while interrupted by members of public. Go see it if you can..more news later. Off to deal with family commitment now.) .... Apologies for late updates of peninsula news for obvious reasons...Further update (evening): at the present time opinions are divided as to whether this is a Syke's or a Booted Warbler. Some photos have appeared and I await with interest further pic's which hopefully will help to clinch it.
PENINSULA news: Pagham Hbr:
Ferry Pool: Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, one Common Sandpiper and four Black-tailed Godwits this morning, a Greenshank over, and a Buzzard sat on the fence-line.
Church Norton: Similar fare to yesterday. A Redstart, 20+ Whitethroats and 3+ Lesser Whitethroats between the Severals, and plenty of Sand Martins and Swallows over, a Spotted Flycatcher and more Whitethroats by the concrete wall, and another Redstart in the churchyard, with plenty of Yellow Wagtails (20+?) seen and heard (AH).

Further report from Ads Bowley: Nipped down to Church Norton mid-afternoon til about 1800. Refound the WRYNECK in front of the Severals and watched it on and off for c1hr.....must be the most flighty one I've ever seen - would not allow anywhere near a close approach. I was told it had flown off towards the back of the horse's field but I never saw it do this so can't personally confirm it. Also along the shingle was a female Whinchat, c6 Wheatears, quite a lot of Yellow Wags flying around with a couple on the deck showing nicely and quite a few Whitethroats made up the warblers really. Several Clouded Yellows were very nice too, with one actually settling for a photo op. Two Spot Fly's behind the hide were the only birds of note an an imm Peregrine in the harbour on 'their' island was feeding on something. Back at Ferry a single Common and Curlew Sandpiper were present....mostly in silhouette!!

(Thanks to all who submitted info that was not posted, but reduced time this evening has meant reduced output tonight) OM

Wryneck and Whinchat at Church Norton (photos: Ads Bowley)

Bank Holiday Monday, 26th August: An early start for me at Church Norton on a really splendid morning; my target bird for the day being yesterday's Wryneck, which I had left until today in a somewhat complacent manner. Four hours later the reality sank in that I wasn't going to see it as it seemed to have gone! Oh well, such is birding. There were compensations as plenty of the commoner migrants were to be found; I logged at least 80 Yellow Wagtails mostly moving W, including an early flock of 35 and 15 more in the churchyard perching on trees. The fine Bank holiday weather ensured  the Norton car park was soon full to bursting with birders and beach visitors alike, but it all seemed to sort itself out in the end. With the north and east coasts of the UK groaning under the weight of scarce and rares at the moment let's hope it's our turn soon...
Timed at 0647, a view of the sun rising over Church Norton as I arrived.

Yellow Wagtails in the trees at Church Norton churchyard 
Pagham Hbr: The Nuthatch reported yesterday at Halsey's Farm was still present early this morning and showing well around 0700hrs (SH et al) but could not be re-located a couple of hours later. This is actually a much scarcer and more difficult species to get on the Peninsula than Wryneck! Also 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Redstart and a Lesser Whitethroat there (CRJ).
At Church Norton various reports received, but allowing for perhaps a small margin of duplication, totals were: Wheatear - 4, Whinchat - 4, Yellow Wagtail - 80, Redstart - 2 in churchyard, Tree Pipit - 1 ditto, Spotted Flycatcher - 2 ditto, Garden Warbler - 1 ditto, Lesser Whitethroat - 2, Blackcap - 2, Common Whitethroat - 10, Willow Warbler - 15. There were also 28 Wigeon in the harbour and a Peregrine with prey (OM). The Ferry Pool held a juv Curlew Sandpiper, 30 Lapwings, 4 Black-tailed Godwits and c.30 Teal (m.obs).
Chris Northwood adds" .. I was around Norton until 3.00 and have one or two things to add to today's posting; most remarkably, I took a walk along the footpath which runs parallel to the west side. In the big lettuce field which adjoins the churchyard, I counted 100+ Yellow Wags, plus a Spot Fly and 2 more Tree Pipits. Churchyard - at least two Spot Fly's and 3 Tree Pipits. In the harbour as the tide rose the Wigeon flock had increased to 66, with 4 Pintail" 
Later, Sam Hill got the Wigeon count up to 73 plus much of the stuff reported above. Lots of hirundines around too.


Finally an update from AH: Church Norton: This afternoon at least 40 Yellow Wagtails along the inside of the spit and 2 Sandwich terns in the harbour. Also there were 4 Tree Pipits together in the pine tree at the end of the churchyard at one stage and a minimum of 3 Redstarts around the churchyard area.




juv Curlew Sandpiper on Ferry pool, and Redstart in Norton churchyard (photos Andy House)

Friday, 23 August 2013

23rd - 25th August 2013

Sunday, 25th August: It appears that yesterday's gloomy report was somewhat short of the mark by the end of the day, with later reports received (today) which included 9 Common Sandpipers, 13 Yellow-legged Gulls, a Wood Sandpiper (on the Ferry),  a Pied Flycatcher (Church Norton) and an Osprey over the harbour. Today's highlight so far is a report (1300hrs) of a WRYNECK in the horse field at Church Norton. Other news....

Pagham Harbour: Sidlesham Ferry and West side (early morning):  (SH)
Green Sandpiper - 1, Yellow Wagtail - 7, Whinchat - 1, Whitethroat 10 and Willow Warbler- 6.
Walk: Selsey to Norton: 0900-1200hrs (SH)
Wheatear  - 10+, Whinchat - 1, Whitethroat - 2 and Yellow Wagtail - 3 (Park Farm)

Later reports (various obs) include a Greenshank, a Redstart and a couple of Whinchats.

The WRYNECK was showing very well on and off at Church Norton this afternoon. At one stage it was clinging to the side of a fencepost in true woodpecker fashion! Additional sightings include a Nuthatch at Halsey's Farm (a very scarce bird on the peninsular), ca. 20 Yellow Wagtails with the cattle at Sidlesham Ferry, two Spotted Flycatchers at Church Norton, ca. 60 Black-tailed Godwits and a juv Spotted Redshank on the Breech Pool and another Spotted Redshank and 3-4 adult Yellow-legged Gulls in White's Creek (Paul James/SOS website)

 Wryneck at Church Norton: photos: Juliet Moore (top) and A. House (others)

Medmerry: This evening - generally pretty quiet, but highlights (all around the creek) were a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper in with about 8 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper & 40 Teal. Also 2 Wheatears on the new embankments (AH).
 Greenshanks, Medmerry (photo: AH).


Saturday, 24th August: Thunderstorms and torrential showers this morning - surely no-one would be out birding? Wrong - an early report was received from a somewhat wet Sam Hill! It was then wet for much of the day but a few reports were received from the hardy few. Well done!

Walk -  Selsey to Church Norton: 0645-0900hrs Heavy rain off and on ( got soaked!!!!) (SH)
2 Wheatears, 4 Whitethroats, 1 Blackcap and 1 Sedge Warbler. Very Quiet!!!! The same walk in drier conditions in the evening produced a
Whinchat , 1 Wheatear and a Cuckoo (S&SaH). 

Pagham Hbr: Ferry Pool: As dire as usual - 1 Common Sandpiper, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 20 Lapwing and 44 Teal. North Wall: Highlights in the drizzle were  - a female Marsh Harrier which cruised over eastwards, 2 Yellow Wagtails in with the ponies, the Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank and 3 Common Sandpipers  in White's Creek, another Common Sandpiper and a total of 60 Black-tailed Godwits on the Breech Pool, and plenty of freshly fledged Reed and Sedge Warblers in the reeds. Also, a Knot dropped into the Pool with a group of Black-tailed Godwits and had me and them puzzled for a moment; they clearly didn't like its presence though as they quickly shooed it away back into the harbour.
 Chi GPs: Ivy Lake: 5 Common Tern, including 2 juveniles (AH).

(top) Black-tailed Godwits with Knot on Breech Pool, (centre) Spotted Redshank with Common Redshank, White's Creek, and (lower) Sedge Warbler, North Wall (photos: Andy House).

Friday, 23rd August: A big moon and a starlit night eventually gave way to a bright sunny morning with a fresh easterly; predictably coastal migrants were fairly thin on the ground... LATE NEWS of a Pied Flycatcher in Ads Bowley's garden in Birdham.

Pagham Hbr: Ferry Pool: Still just one Common Sandpiper, 12 Black-tailed Godwits and 40 Lapwing present. At least a dozen Yellow Wagtails around the cattle and 2 Wheatears on the back fence. Church Norton: Much the same as recent days - still at least 1 Tree Pipit, 2 Redstarts, 2-3 Spotted Flycatchers and a few Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats around the churchyard/hide area, and 3 Peregrines in the harbour, but generally quiet in the windy/sea misty conditions (AH).

East side: Five or six summer-plumaged Grey Plovers in the harbour and about 40 Med Gulls, including one ringed in Belgium. On the Breech Pool, 42 Black-tailed Godwits, a Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper, also several Yellow Wagtails (per C. Barfield/SOS).

Yellow Wagtail in Ferry field (photo: Andy House)

Nice little find in the garden (Birdham) this afternoon!! Saw an 1st yr male Pied Fly perch up on the garden fence at c1745 and watched it feeding in my neighbour's veg patch and up in the surrounding oaks. Seeing as it was fairly faithful to this patch I phoned Andy House and after a quick U-turn he was at my place and thankfully after a bit of hide-and-seek the bird showed well again for c5mins before disappearing into one of the poplars, presumably to roost. Cool year tick!  (AB)         Very nice Ad's - I'm envious! (OM)


Pied Fly, Birdham (photos: Ads Bowley)


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

20th - 22nd August 2013

Thursday, 22nd August: Rain overnight, clearing fairly quickly this morning to become sunny; sounds like promising conditions for a migrant fall, but it didn't quite work out that way and it was more of the same really...
Pagham Hbr : Church Norton: A quick look round this morning produced much the same as yesterday; 2 Tree Pipits chasing each other around, at least 4 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 Redstart and 5+ Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats. Also a juv Curlew Sandpiper and 2 Whimbrel in the harbour (AH). Sidlesham Ferry: There were 4 Wheatears and 15 Yellow Wagtails in the field behind the Ferry pool, but still just 2 Common Sandpipers and a Black-tailed Godwit actually on it (JD/DS). Also, JW reports 32 Swifts and 70 Sand Martins east over Pagham this lunchtime (a bit of a session Jim?)
Further report late afternoon from Church Norton churchyard of at least one Pied Flycatcher, in the SW corner, best viewed from Hide. Also 3 Peregrines in the Harbour. (P.James/SOS)
juv Spotted Flycatcher in Church Norton churchyard (photo: A House)
 Church Norton and the West side: (1800hrs)
Wheatear 1, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Whitethroat 2, Willow Warbler 10+, Blackcap 2, Garden Warbler 1 and Spotted Flycatcher 3 (SH).

Wednesday, 21st August: Another warm and sunny day, with fairly similar results to yesterday bird-wise. A good deal of the birding attention was again focussed on Church Norton, where the churchyard was much to the fore, at least early on. That is until the persistent tidying team arrived to ensure their weekly disturbance to wildlife and removal of anything scrubby continued. I'm afraid I had a serious sense of humour failure there today; there were five in the p.t.t. having a loud lunch near the chapel when I walked in to have mine, so I opted for the shade on the opposite side. How nice the bench looked I thought - then I realised - they'd just treated it with wood stain, no signs, no verbal warning from the p.t.t. who looked on. I moved - onto a stone step - which I found too late was covered in the same paint. Long story short - it was all over my clothes and when I gently advised the p.t.t. - they laughed and suggested I'd spoilt their paintwork. A two-word discussion followed!! I'm not sure if this occurred before or after the following incident from Sarah Russell though I suspect it was actually after Sarah had spoken to them, " The unfit looking man doing the gardening said they do this every week which seems the same routine Manhood Wildlife & Heritage have.  I told him about the birds various people had seen there this morning, explained about migration, and said for the benefit of the wildlife work like that was better carried out toward the end of autumn but like all volunteers he was adamant the work had to be done regardless; I've seen him there before and he never says hello yet the elderly couple who used to look after the chapel were lovely and keen to encourage visitors.  Gardening and wildlife should and easily can go hand in hand but his attitude was very anti, even as he walked in he was making loud anti-birding comments to his mate so I suppose it's just a matter of going elsewhere on Wednesdays." Just what is going on with this lot I wonder? Anyone got any contacts with the Vicar at the main parish church in Selsey?  Ok enough of all that, on with birding news...

Pagham Hbr: A bit of a gathering of the locals this morning at Church Norton  and also a good few visitors, whilst most of the bird activity was concentrated in the churchyard and the hedge viewable from the back of the Hide. I did actually do a circuit along the beach to the Severals and back through Greenlease but it was not very productive. It is hard to give exact numbers and there could be some duplication, but minimum joint totals were:-
Whitethroat - 12
Lesser Whitethroat - 3
Blackcap - 3
Garden Warbler - 6 (possibly up to 8 or 9)
Willow Warbler - 12
Chiffchaff - 1
Redstart - 2 (probably 3) 
Tree Pipit - 1 (possibly 2)
Spotted Flycatcher - 4
Wheatear - 1
Sand Martin - 20W

 from the top, fem Blackcap, Tree Pipit and Garden Warbler, Church Norton (photos: Andy House)
North Wall area: In White's Creek 33 Redshank and 1 Spotted Redshank; on Breech Pool 43 Black-tailed Godwits and in the fields a Lesser and several Common Whitethroats, 9 Yellow Wagtails and 3 Roe Deer (JW). This evening, on Honer reservoir , the adult pair of Tufted Duck and 6 well-grown young, also a Little Grebe and a Common Sandpiper. Along the North Wall lot of Reed Warblers and 10 Sand Martins (CRJ).

Medmerry: I made a visit around midday, although it was very busy with heavy trucks back and forth throughout. Even so, I managed to view one of the large pools and also the creek (from the beach). Numbers had fallen at the latter and the totals were: 3 Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 15 Med Gulls, 1 Sandwich Tern, 25 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Common Sands and 1 Greenshank, plus 3 Wheatears and a fem Kestrel (OM).

 Fem Kestrel at Medmerry - a rapidly changing habitat.

For anyone that hasn't been to the site or visited Medmerry recently, these two views give some idea of the scale of the changes. Above is the creek as viewed from the beach, whilst below the channel near the old concrete blockhouse, where the breach will occur.

On Ferry Pool this afternoon (2.00pm) : 1 sleeping Avocet, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Shelduck + 4 juveniles, 8 Teal, 101 Lapwings, 48 Black-headed Gulls (SR).

 Also, a late call from AH advising of 3 Whinchats along the West side this evening (pic).


Tuesday, 20th August: Fine, sunny and dry with a calm sea. At last some migrants on the move... with Pagham Harbour receiving virtually all of the attention today. Thanks to all contributors.

Pagham Hbr: Ferry Pool: 2 Common Sandpipers and 4 Black-tailed Godwits were the only feeding waders, along with 40 roosting Lapwings and 200 Black-headed Gulls.
Church Norton: Some migrant activity at last - 2 or 3 Redstarts, at least 6 Spotted Flycatchers, a Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat (per A&YF), 5+ Blackcaps and numerous Whitethroats and Willow/Chiffs. Also 10+ Sand Martins, 30+ Swallows and 20+ Mediterranean Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gulls feeding overhead.
North Wall (per Terry Rawlings): A Whinchat & the Spotted Redshank present there this morning (AH). On the Breech Pool, 39 Black-tailed Godwits, 12 Lapwings and a Kingfisher,  whilst the North Fields held 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Yellow Wagtails, a Wheatear and a Spotted Flycatcher; 470 Rooks at Marsh Farm and 25 Little Egrets in the harbour (JW).

Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart, Church Norton (photo: Andy House)
A brief visit to the coastguard station end of Medmerry (7am)  turned up 5 Wheatears in the field, around 75 Swallows and 50 House Martins were gathered around the fun fair rides, then a Sparrowhawk swooped in and great clouds of birds took to the air giving a great swirling display including Linnets, Starlings and House Sparrows as well as the hirundines (SR). 

Ads Bowley made a later visit : Afternoon visit to  Pagham Hbr, c1330 - 1530hrs......
Behind the hide at Church Norton were 3 Spot Flys, male & female Redstart, c4 Garden Warblers, c6 Whitethroats, c3 Lesser Whites, c6 Blackcaps, 3 Willows and a Chiff. Also a Clouded Yellow flew through. Out in the harbour a Spotshank was calling and several Whimbrel and more Grey Plover noted. Other interesting butterflies around included Small Copper & Brown Argus in the churchyard with Large Whites, a Wall, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Common Blue, Meadow Brown and a fly-by fritillary sp. The Ferry pool held 3 Common Sandpipers and a single Green with a nice showy Little Egret in the channel (AB).
A selection from Pagham Hbr today; from the top- Little Egret, juv Spotted Flycatcher, fem Brown Argus and Small Copper (photos: Ads Bowley)

A return visit to Church Norton this evening produced a Tree Pipit in the churchyard, along with the Spotted Flycatchers and Redstarts seen earlier, though no sign of the Pied Flycatcher reported on Birdguides. There were 3 Wheatears along the West side, a Knot, 4 Whimbrel and 5 Grey Plovers in the harbour (AH).



Tree Pipit, Church Norton churchyard (photo: Andy House)


Saturday, 17 August 2013

17th - 19th August 2013

Monday, 19th AugustA day of gardening and domestic bliss for me - though with one eye on the news, half-expecting to be seen off! My personal highlight was a Hummingbird Hawkmoth on the geraniums, but at least Pagham Harbour seemed to have a few birds around...

A selection of some of the birds on the Breech Pool this morning; from the top, Yellow Wagtail, Common Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank (photos: Andy House).

Ferry Pool: Being refilled with salt water again and not much on there - just 2 Common Sandpipers, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Redshank, 20 Teal, the family of Shelducks and 150 roosting Black-headed Gulls. Breech Pool: A good selection this morning, including the Spotted Redshank, a Green Sandpiper, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Snipe and 37 Black-tailed Godwits. 4 Greenshank and 2 Whimbrel were in the harbour, and, best of all, at least 10 Yellow Wagtails in amongst the cattle, with 20+ Sand Martins and 50+ Swallows, too. Again, only a few assorted warblers on show, though. In White's Creek 54 Redshanks and 2 Greenshank, plus 7 Willow Warblers and 3 Green Woodpeckers in fields (AH/JW).

Sunday, 18th August: The blustery winds of yesterday evening had given way to cloud with heavy showers and a brisk westerly this morning. I headed to the Bill arriving at 0830, by which time the locals had been watching for the best part of three hours and most of the limited action was over! Annoyingly, a distant shearwater sp. was glimpsed several times during the morning by at least two observers but then quickly lost - although I and others just couldn't get onto it - unconfirmed, but possibly a lingering Balearic? Otherwise still fairly devoid of excitement on the Peninsula at the moment...

Selsey Bill (0545-1225hrs): Cloud, showers, then sunny. Wind W4-5.  (Obs: SH/JA/CH/IP/OM, then B&MC)
Gannet - 337E, 118W
Fulmar - 10W
Common Scoter - 8E, 1W
Turnstone - 45 ob
Dunlin - 2W
Whimbrel - 1W
Auk sp - 1W
Great Skua - 2W
Arctic Skua - 1 W then E along shoreline
Common Tern - 22W
Sandwich Tern - 25W
C/A Tern - 3W
Kittiwake - 2W
Swallow - 8W
Meadow Pipit - 2E 
1630-1800hrs:  SW 4-5  (Obs: SH)
Gannet 23 os, 1E, 2W

Fulmar 1
Common Scoter - 1E

Common Tern - 3os,6W
Arctic Tern - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 5W
Medmerry was difficult to access this morning. I failed to get through the caravan site, being stopped by security to advise the internal roads were closed due to a beach party event!  Sure enough the roads were closed! I later met John Dodd and a mud-covered Dave Sneller; seems they got access the long way round walking across the fields from the Visitor centre only to get caught in a heavy shower. In the newly dug channels they located 2 Wood Sandpipers and 4 Green Sandpipers, before DS slipped and took a mud bath! Additional info from CRJ who obviously did better than me, with 52 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 50 Linnet, a Wheatear, a Buzzard and 5 Meadow Pipits. Not to be outdone, AH also visited the site, from the Ham Farm end; he logged most of the aforementioned waders, but also 12 Wheatears (6 by the new Ham farm bank and 6 on the beach), a Corn Bunting, 3 Skylarks and the family party of Mipits.

Meadow Pipit and Wheatear, Medmerry (photo: Andy House)

Pagham Hbr; so far about a dozen Black-tailed Godwits and 17 Dunlin reported on the Ferry Pool. Also SH did a pm walk to Church Norton which produced 2 Peregrines, 6 Swifts, 2 Wheatears and a Redstart at the Severals.

Chi G. Pits: Ivy Lake: There were 6 Common Terns on Ivy Lake and the adjoining pits, two of which were juv's pursuing adults. Not much else other than a few Willow Warblers and small numbers of Swallows and House Martins. (Note that Ivy and Triangle Lakes are currently closed due to blue-green algae, though it doesn't really affect birding). (OM).  


Saturday, 17th August: At last - 2 Balearic Shearwaters off the Bill, though sadly yours truly wasn't there! Perhaps we can now expect a bit more moving over the sea?

Selsey Bill 0630-0900hrs: Dry a.m, sunshine and cloud, quite warm. Wind SW2-3 (Obs: SH et al)
Gannet - 17E, 58W, 22os
Fulmar - 12W

Balearic Shearwater - 2W (one landed on sea 0720 and one at 0830hrs)
Common Scoter - 4E, 8W

Redshank - 1W
Turnstone - 11 ob
Common Tern - 58W, 76 os
Sandwich Tern - 20 os
Sand Martin - 21 S

Swallow - 4 S

I was just packing up the car to go to the Bill when I got a text from Sam about a Balearic at 0720. After a torturous journey behind a tractor I finally got there about 0820. Lucky me (jammy Janman) I picked up an all-dark small shearwater coming west c750m offshore, another (or the same Balearic), the earlier one had gone down on the sea. (CRJ)  Also after others had left I had:
Gannet - 8E, 15W
Fulmar - 2W
Common Scoter - 15E
C/A Tern - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 2E

Pagham Hbr: Sidlesham Ferry Pool: first thing this morning there were 2 Green Sandpipers, 4 Common Sandpipers, 5 Little Ringed Plovers, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Redshank and 40 Lapwing, though it had thinned out somewhat by midday, when there was a Buzzard and several Stock Doves.  Church Norton: 3 Peregrines (adult and 2 juveniles spread around the harbour), 2 Whimbrel, at least 100 Ringed Plovers and 20+ Dunlin were present. A few Sand Martins were about and 3 Sandwich Terns went west along the beach, but the only passage passerines were a couple of Willow Warblers and Whitethroats (AH).

Juv Little Ringed Plover on Ferry Pool, and Peregrine at Church Norton (photos: Andy House)



Selsey - Church Norton: morning walk (by SH/IP) jointly produced:
1 Green Sandpiper - calling but not seen, 2 Redstarts, several Wheatears, a Yellow Wagtail flushed from the Severals by a Sparrowhawk, 20+ Willow Warblers around Bluebell wood, a few Chiffchaffs, a Lesser Whitethroat and a few Sand Martins.