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)

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