Wednesday 30 October 2013

30th - 31st October 2013

Thursday, 31st October: A wet and fairly windy day bringing us to the end of the month - a day which finds granddad committed yet again - this time on Halloween duties. I'm itching to get out on the Peninsula as I haven't been birding for several days, but at least I'm avoiding the worst of the weather. Today's news is fairly slow but includes the Spoonbill still present at Church Norton and a couple of Arctic Skuas off the Bill.

Firstly, late news from yesterday:
I parked in Nyetimber and walked down Summer Lane, Sewage Farm, main Pagham Rife : 3 Grey Wagtails, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Cetti’s Warbler, an obliging Kingfisher ( maybe 2 ) to Honer Farm , 22 Lapwing,1 Buzzard, 1 Stonechat, across to Halsey’s Farm copse, 2 Wigeon, 4 Teal, up to Honer Reservoir, 81 Black-headed Gull, 3 Med Gull, 1 Common Gull, 19 Herring Gull, and 1 Lesser-black backed Gull. Near the reservoir 2 Yellowhammer and 10 Stock Dove. Returning to the car I heard about a Great Grey Shrike but I couldn’t locate it, a half-hour searching for warblers in Lagoon copse also proved fruitless (CRJ).
Today's news:
Selsey Bill 0815-0945hrs: (Obs: AH et al)
Gannet - 12W
R/b Merganser - 1E
Sanderling - 2E
Turnstone - 70 ob
Arctic Skua - 2W (1 dark-phase, one adult pale-phase close in)
Kittiwake - 25W

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Spoonbill (1st-winter) out in the very middle of the harbour and a 1st-winter type Marsh Harrier hunting over the harbour at around 11.15 were the highlights. About a dozen Blackbirds and 3 or 4 Song Thrushes around the concrete wall looked like new arrivals, but not much evidence of anything else (AH).  Bernie Forbes and Dave Smith added a Firecrest and 4 Chiffchaffs to the list, but failed to find a small flock of 8 Avocets reported from Sidlesham.

A just-about-identifiable shot of the Spoonbill in the centre of the harbour (photo: Andy House)

Chi GPs: Sussex pit; Just 20 Stock Doves and a Kingfisher (BFF/DIS).

Mid morning I visited East Head in the vague hope of a Semi P Plover, but the waders were miles away on Pilsey Sands; in the dunes I flushed a Common Snipe, 6 Meadow Pipit and a few Skylarks. Also present were a pair of Stonechats and a stonking male Wheatear in full breeding garb. I walked a little way down to Snowhill Marsh but could not see a Spoonbill, I guess it’s probably the individual now at Pagham. On the way out I checked the sallows around the entrance drive, but not knowing about yesterday’s Yellow-browed didn’t go as far as the sailing club car park, damn. (CRJ).
Wednesday, 30th October: Much cooler today; sunny and bright this morning with just a light N breeze, becoming cloudy and windier with showers later. A Spoonbill was reported from Church Norton (per RBA) then a Great Grey Shrike there at 0930hrs, by the broken concrete slabs near the beach.  It was seen again by the posts along the beach, then disappeared from view and was not relocated (Terry Rawlings/SOS; also thanks to Trevor Gibson-Poole).

Pagham Hbr: North Wall: Pretty quiet - the Barnacle Goose of somewhat dubious origin was with the Brent & Canada Geese in the fields, 1 Rock Pipit, 2 Stonechat, 2 Chiffchaff & 10+ Reed Buntings along the wall, and a Lapwing, 5 Pied Wagtails, including one apparent White Wagtail and 3 Meadow Pipits in the paddocks, plus all the usual wildfowl & waders (AH).

On the North wall today - (above) apparent White Wagtail (though perhaps flanks rather extensively grey?)   (centre) Lapwing and (below) Barnacle Goose with Canada Geese




Monday 28 October 2013

28th-29th October 2013

Tuesday 29th October:

A bright and breezy north-westerly has never done much for the peninsula, and this morning was typically quiet.

Selsey Bill: An hour between 8.15 and 9.15 produced the following - 1 Shag os, 2 Great Crested Grebe W, 3 Kittiwake E, 8 Mediterranean Gull and 1 Common Gull os, 7 Skylark, 20 Meadow Pipit and 40 Linnet W, 3 Pied Wagtail and 60 Goldfinch on the field.

Common Gull, Selsey Bill 29/10/13 (AH)
SR and D Senior added the following from 10.20-12.20: Swallow 3 W, House Martin 4 W, Chiffchaff 1 in gardens, Meadow Pipits 19 W, Linnet 8 W, Skylark 9 W, Brent Goose 1 W, Great Northern Diver 1 W, Great Crested Grebe 4 W, Red-Breasted Merganser 1 E, Common Scoter 2 E, Razorbill 1 W, auk sp 1 W.

Church Norton: Couldn't see the Black Redstart on the concrete, just 5 Meadow Pipits there, 4 Blackcaps and 2 Chiffchaffs were behind the hide, and at least 100 Golden Plovers and 2-300 Lapwing went up from the far side of the harbour a couple of times.
Blackcap, Church Norton 29/10/13 (AH)

Pagham Lagoon: Few highlights noted except a single Goldeneye, Water Rail and 7 Mediterranean Gulls.
North Wall: High water level meant few birds except Calling Cetti's Warbler and 3 Reed Buntings. Three flocks of Stock Doves totalling 36 birds headed west over the reserve. (BFF & co)

Monday 28th October:

The morning after the 'great' storm was not much more than a typical autumn day on the peninsula, and the sea was as empty as recent days. However, there were still some interesting birds to report.....

Selsey Bill: There was no evidence of any displacement of sea-birds, but there was still a bit to see. The full log should hopefully be on later, but highlights were a close in female Scaup going west at 9.25,  a Bonxie, a few Kittiwakes, Gannets and auks on the move along with half a dozen Great Crested Grebes and a few Red-Breasted Mergansers.
The full log - 06.40-10.00.
Scaup 1 (female) W, Common Scoter 12 W 2 E, Teal 1 W, Wigeon 1 W, Red-Breasted Merganser 2 os 1 W, Brent  Goose 1 W, Red-Necked Grebe 1 W, Great Crested Grebe 10 W 1 E, Gannet 6 E 5 W, Grey Plover 2 W, Mediterranean Gull 3 os, Kittiwake 5 W, Common Gull 5 W, Bonxie 1 W, Razorbill 1 W, Auk sp 2 E, Meadow Pipit 1 w, Linnet 96 W
& 12.30-13.30
Mediterranean Gull 1 os, Kittiwake 5 W, Razorbill 1 W.

Park Farm, Selsey: 1 Stonechat (SH)

Stonechat, Park Farm, Selsey 28/10/13(Sam Hill)

Black Redstart, (just about discernable!) Church Norton  28/10/13 (AH)

Church Norton: The Back Redstart was still on the concrete blocks this morning, along with a Wheatear and 3 Meadow Pipits. In the harbour, 4 Knot and a dozen Black-Tailed Godwits amongst the usual suspects. (AH & CRJ)
Black-Tailed Godwit & Grey Plover, Church Norton 28/10/13 (AH)

Tramway: Trevor Gibson-Poole reported seeing 3 male Yellowhammers in with the large Goldfinch flock this morning, a surprisingly scarce bird on much of the western side of the reserve.

Pagham Lagoon: One Wheatear at the old carpark, a Sandwich Tern fishing beside the west-most groyne, and a Coot having apple for lunch (ARK)
Coot, Pagham Lagoon 28/10/13 (Alan Kitson)

Friday 25 October 2013

25th - 27th October 2013

Sunday, 27th OctoberWith the autumn storm season well upon us, sea-watching is probably going to be the only option for the next couple of days, and a severe storm is forecast for tonight. Jim Weston was out early this morning though (did you forget to put your clock back Jim?) but by mid-morning the wind was already strong-gale force SSW.  The Bill was covered this morning and again in the afternoon, producing a Red-necked Grebe, a Merlin and an Arctic Tern but little else of note.

Pagham Hbr: North Wall: (Early am, wet and windy). A pair of Stonechats in the stable field. White's Creek was busy - 210 Lapwing, 70 Black-tailed Godwits, 23 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 7 Grey Plover and 130 Wigeon. Breech Pool - 180 Teal and 2 Snipe. 1 Wheatear along the Wall. Highlight - 38 Stock Doves in the field at the top of the footpath that runs behind the stables (JW).

Not much to report at Church Norton - a Black Redstart on the concrete slabs being about the only bird of note (AH).

Selsey Bill, 0630 - 1000hrs: WSW7 showers: (Obs: JA/SH et al)
Red-necked Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 7E, 23W
Brent Goose - 4W
Common Scoter - 1W
Merlin - 1 out over the sea, heading for the Mile Basket
Oystercatcher - 1W
Turnstone - 14ob
Kittiwake - 2W
Arctic Tern - 1E
Razorbill - 6W
auk sp - 4W
Linnet - 19S 
Goldfinch - 17E
Additional: 1400-1545hrs: Wind WSW 7-8 (Obs: SH)
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
R/b Merganser - 1W
Razorbill - 1W
Kittiwake - 1E
Common Gull - 1E

Saturday, 26th October: Wild and windy conditions today with the forecast of a very stormy couple of days ahead. First reports indicate that there was not a great deal on offer this morning at Pagham Hbr, whilst sea-watching at the Bill was disappointingly slow with nothing like yesterday's variety....reports awaited.

Selsey Bill (1230-1600hrs): WSW 6-7 (Obs: SH et al)
Gannet - 2E, 144W, 70 os
Balearic Shearwater 1W @ 14.00
Shag - 1W
Common Scoter - 3W
R/b Merganser - 1W
Turnstone - 20 ob
Razorbill - 1W
Guillemot - 2W, 1 os
Auk sp - 3E
Med Gull - 1 os
Kittiwake - 5W
Meadow Pipit - 4SW
(morning seawatch details not yet available)

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Not much out of the ordinary - 3 Knot, the leucistic Curlew, 10+ Black-tailed and a few Bar-tailed Godwits in the harbour, a few Skylarks over, 4 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and about a dozen Gannets offshore. Sidlesham: A Raven cruised low over our garden southwards at 2pm, being ushered through by the local Jackdaws and Rooks (AH).

Friday, 25th October: After several days of dire sea-watching it's good to have a nice variety of species to report today. JA and AH claimed the spoils, which included a Slavonian and a Red-necked Grebe, a Balearic Shearwater, the first proper autumn movement of R/b Mergansers and a Long-tailed Duck.

Selsey Bill, 0730 to 1030hrs: Wind SSW5, cloudy. (Obs: JA/AH)
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 1E
Red-necked Grebe - 1E (with the Slavonian before returning and settling offshore)
Gannet - 14W
Balearic Shearwater - 1E @ 9.30hrs
Brent Goose - 9E, 84W
Pintail - 2W
Wigeon - 2W
Long-tailed Duck - 1E
Common Scoter - 6E, 32W,
Red-breasted Merganser - 27W
Kestrel - 1 hunting over gardens
Sanderling - 2W
Turnstone - 14ob,
Oystercatcher - 1ob
Kittiwake - 7E, 1W
Common Gull - 12W
Guillemot - 1E
Auk sp - 2E, 1W
Pied Wagtail - 4S, 1ob
Meadow Pipit - 6N, 2S
 Skylark - 21S
Swallow - 10S
Linnet - 9S. 

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: The juvenile/female Black Redstart (reported by C & J Moore and C & M Eames on 12th Oct) is still at Greenlease Farm; it was flitting in and out of the barn next to the clock tower late this afternoon.  Great little bird!  (pic. attached) (SR).
Record shot of Black Redstart at Greenlease farm, Church Norton (photo: Sarah Russell)

Tuesday 22 October 2013

22nd -24th October 2013

Thursday, 24th October: Much better weather-wise and bird of the day was undoubtedly the Glossy Ibis that dropped in at the Breech Pool, though unfortunately it decided to move on all too quickly. A Jack Snipe at Fishbourne Creek was also noteworthy. 
A visit this morning to Apuldram Church and then out onto Fishbourne Creek. Huge concentration of Wigeon in the main channel with a late count of 6 Greenshank, 4 Rock Pipit and 2 Grey Wagtail. Single Common and Jack Snipe with a dashing Kingfisher. In the bushes 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest and Stonechat (BFF/DIS/DS)
Pagham Hbr: North Wall: I had just reached the gate, at about 9.45am, when I saw what I thought was a Cormorant circling in towards the Breech Pool - but it had a long bill and feet! At long last a Glossy Ibis on the peninsula this year. It settled in the channel at the back of the pool for about fifteen minutes, allowing about half a dozen of us to see it, then it went up and away to the north-east, though given their form it is quite likely to return. Also the Ruff and a few Black-tailed Godwits on the Pool, and a few Reed Buntings and calling Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail about. Nothing much on the Lagoon bar plenty of Little Grebes and a few Wigeon and Tufted Duck (AH) Also a  Kingfisher at White's Creek along with 160 Wigeon, 120 Lapwing and 18 Redshank. Following disturbance by 2 dogs Breech Pool was very deserted apart from a pair of Swans and 4 cygnets. Then the Glossy Ibis dropped in! (JW).
 Glossy Ibis (with Cormorant for comparison!), Breech Pool (photos: Andy House)
Wednesday, 23rd October: Changeable weather and a strong/gale south-westerly drew me to the Bill this morning with my old pal Bernie Forbes. We arrived full of anticipation, hoping for a good down-Channel seabird movement, but alas it was quite the opposite with little moving as we struggled to notch up 20 Gannets in 2 hours! Our next stop at Church Norton was also fairly dire, not helped by a shooting party on farmland immediately adjacent to the West side of the harbour. C'est la vie!

Selsey Bill (0805-1005hrs); Early showers, sun/cloud, Changeable. Wind SW 6-7 gusting 8, gradually decreasing.  (Obs: BFF/OM/et al)
Gannet - 20W
Shag - 1E
Brent Goose - 4E, 2W
Common Scoter - 2E
Wigeon - 2E
Razorbill - 5W
Auk sp - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Pied wagtail - 1p
Goldfinch- 20W
Linnet - 22W

A forlorn Pied Wagtail on the sea-wall at the Bill-tip (photo: Andy House) and below, a less forlorn-looking Grey Wagtail at East Beach pool, Selsey (photo: Sarah Russell).

This morning I tried for the Yellow-browed Warbler at Sidlesham but needless to say conditions weren't right, being so windy.  Then I went along to the Bill and sat in the sun for a while which was pleasant but nothing was happening.  After that I went out to post a letter, a Grey Wagtail passed by and I caught up with it at East Beach Pond, a modest pond tick.  On the way home a Wheatear along East beach (SR)

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Predictably quiet again in the blustery conditions. There was hardly a bird to be seen in the churchyard, whilst the harbour seemed to hold very few waders until the shooting started  on the adjacent farmland. Small flocks of Grey and Golden Plovers soon took to the air, closely followed by Dunlin and other waders and wildfowl. The best we could find were 2 Wheatears on the old concrete harbour (BFF/OM)

Tuesday, 22nd October: I had plans for a sea-watch at the Bill this morning with Bernie and Dave Smith, but the thought of facing a stiff southerly driving persistent rain at us all morning was too much to consider and we took the sensible option; perhaps tomorrow! It wasn't until early afternoon that the rain subsided, and soon after I got a call from Ivan Lang (RSPB warden) reporting a Yellow-browed Warbler calling from the trees behind the Visitor Centre at Sidlesham - though it apparently didn't show. That apart, things were fairly quiet again bird-wise, with just a few reports received....
Another slow morning with not much to report. Half an hour at the Bill produced 4 Gannets west, and Church Norton was not much better. Highlights were a very dark juvenile Peregrine and a few Bar-tailed & Black-tailed Godwits in the harbour, a couple of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests around the car-park and 3 Swallows over, and a few Mediterranean Gulls on the beach (AH).

SR reports" You didn't miss anything by not going to the Bill today, I went along for a while this afternoon but nothing much was happening as you can see:"
Selsey Bill: 1330-1515hrs: High tide with mist, wind strong S 5 (couldn't see much beyond the mile basket).  Sunshine as I was packing up, that's when a Kestrel appeared, it was hunting in front of the Oval field but got chased away by a crow (SR). 
Gannet - 8E, 12W 
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
Common Scoter - 2E
Wigeon - 1E
Turnstone - 48 ob
Kestrel: 1 (pic attached)

Kestrel at Oval Field, Selsey Bill (photo: Sarah Russell).


Saturday 19 October 2013

19th - 21st October 2013

Monday, 21st October: Not for the first time this autumn the apocalyptic weather forecast of prolonged semi-monsoon rains and severe gales was a good way wide of the mark. Granted it was fairly wet early on, but most of the day it was actually just blustery and fairly dry; my plans to deal with domestic chores today thus left me feeling I'd wasted a good birding opportunity. It is apparent that most of the regulars had similar ideas and birding activity seems to have been at a premium today on the Peninsula! Thanks to Jim Weston for being the first (and only?) with any news! Weather prospects look decidedly similar for the next few days - but come on folks it's out there waiting to be found...and the sea must be a good bet.

Pagham Hbr: North Wall - White's Creek was a wind tunnel with very few waders present, but 118 Wigeon tucked under the sluices. On Breech Pool 133 Black-tailed Godwits and 3 Snipe. Peregrine across back fields. Rain stopped play (JW).

Sunday, 20th October: Showers and cloudy then brighter, but quite blustery with a fresh/strong SSW wind. My instincts told me to head to the Bill, but with the prospect of a new bird for Sussex in the offing, it was instead time to make the long walk down the east side of Thorney Island to Pilsey. There I joined a small gallery of hardened Sussex listers awaiting the appearance of the Semi-P Sand but alas no sign of it in the difficult conditions, although at time of writing it is currently back just over the border at Hayling Island. It is tantalisingly close to the Peninsula and the game is not over yet...! Meanwhile,  the sea-watch at the Bill was rather disappointing given the conditions; further news awaited. Frequent heavy showers in the afternoon obviously dampened the enthusiasm of many observers.

Selsey Bill 0730 - 1000hrs: WSW6 rain/sun.  (Obs: JA/SH/PB)
Gannet - 11E, 719W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Brent Goose - 5E, 72W
Common Scoter - 1E, 2W
Dunlin - 3W
Sanderling - 1W
Kittiwake - 5W
Med' Gull - 1os
auk sp - 5E, 8W
Razorbill - 1E
Pied Wagtail - 8W
Meadow Pipit - 26W 
Goldfinch - 5W
Additional watch: 1400 - 1600hrs Heavy showers. (Obs: SH) again disappointing!
Gannet - 3E, 6W

Great Crested Grebe - 2 os
Common Scoter - 1E
Guillemot - 1os, 2E
Auk Sp - 3E

Selsey - Church Norton: Sandwich Tern 3, Swallow - 4 and Goldcrest - 1 (SH). Few sightings from Pagham Hbr today, but a Curlew Sandpiper with Black-tailed Godwits was reported from Breech Pool (per SOS).

Saturday, 19th October: Much better sea-watching conditions today with a good deal more activity, producing some interesting birds including a Balearic Shearwater, a Red-necked Grebe and several Shags. A Long-tailed Duck passing Church Norton was also a surprise. (Major news just off the peninsula with the discovery of a 1st-w Semi-palmated Plover found at Hayling Island, Hants and which has now visited Thorney Island (Pilsey) to sneak onto the Sussex list (well done Barry and Margaret Collins). This is literally just across the water from West Wittering/East Head - so keep your eyes open as it could visit us soon!)

Selsey Bill 0730-1015hrs: Cloudy, rain/showers and drier interludes. Wind SSW4-5.
(Obs: SH/IP/SR et al)
Gannet - 14E, 164W
Red-necked Grebe - 1 os then E
Balearic Shearwater - 1W (0930hrs)
Shag - 4E, 1os
Brent Goose - 36W
Common Scoter - 6E, 5W
R/b Merganser - 2W
Wigeon  - 76E, 131W
Teal - 1
Pintail - 4W
Curlew - 1W
Oystercatcher - 5W
Peregrine - 1S
Auk sp - 1E, 6W
Pied wag 8s
Kittiwake - 1W
Med Gull - 4 os
Meadow Pipit - 2S, 3W
Swallow - 7S
Additional 1015-1115hrs: SSW4 High tide (Obs: SR/GH)
Gannet - 9E, 61W
Brent Goose - 9W
Shelduck - 30W (one flock)
Wigeon- 6W
Teal - 6W
Dunlin - 5W
Razorbill - 1E, 1os (showed well)
Swallow - 5S
Afternoon watch: 1415 to 1630hrs  (Obs: SH/SR)
Gannet  200 +  feeding os, 6E, 23W

Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
Wigeon - 71W

Common Scoter - 4E
Auk sp - 1E
Kestrel - 1p
Kittiwake - 1W

Ian Pitts reports "I have a natural dislike for new technology, which became my undoing this morning and eventually my form of took me 90 minutes to download an app for my iphone - do not ask why but it was a comedy of errors which resulted in me leaving for a late walk at 10am, it also resulted in me getting soaked in the final half hour of the walk. Anyway why tell this story, well if I was not so late I would not have been looking out to sea at 11.45am when a male Long-tailed Duck flew south at about quarter mile range from Bluebell Wood (Nr Church Norton). In addition, 6 Swallows in one flock south at 10.20am, a flock of 12 Common Scoter south, plus a Guillemot along the shoreline and a Jay behind the horse paddocks, of interest also two flocks of Skylarks on the move totalling 10 birds" (IP).
Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: A Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed and 20 Black-tailed Godwits in the harbour, and a few Brent Geese that looked like they were passing through. Offshore, 12 Common Scoter and a Guillemot went west quite close in, and Ian Pitts had a drake Long-tailed Duck west around 11.30 (annoyingly just after I had left). Also a steady stream of Gannets west, 30+ Mediterranean Gulls and 6 Great Crested Grebes offshore.

(above) Greenshank at Church Norton and (below) two Bar-tailed Godwits (left) with a Black-tailed preening  (photos: Andy House) 
Afternoon walk to C/Norton cut short, emergency visit to Brent Lodge. Found this Great Crested Grebe in the ploughed field between the Severals, think it had broken its leg, lucky to spot it and hopefully it will make a good recovery (S&SaH).

Injured Great Crested Grebe, now taken into care (see above). (photo: Sam Hill)

Wednesday 16 October 2013

16th - 18th October 2013

Friday, 18th October: Cloudy with brighter spells, wind SE 3-4, increasing later.

Pagham Hbr: North Wall and East side: Plenty of Teal, 4 Snipe and 45 Black-tailed Godwits on the Breech Pool this morning, though I could not locate the Ruff, then a flock of 30 Swallows suddenly appeared over the pool in a brief feeding frenzy before moving off south. A Grey Heron found and eventually swallowed an enormous carp; also 2-3 Cetti's Warblers, 8 Chiffchaffs and 6 Reed Buntings in the area. Along White's Creek/East side a Kingfisher was active and lots of Wigeon were present, whilst waders included a further 30 Black-tailed Godwits and 1 Bar-tailed, 2 Greenshank, a Spotted Redshank and c.70 Golden Plover (OM).

White's Creek this morning

Above and below - Grey Heron breakfast - catch your carp in the Breech Pool, wait a while then swallow!

Late afternoon walk (4.30pm) alongside the Long Pool: 2 Stonechats, and a Buzzard (also roe deer and a weasel).  In Ferry Channel: c150 Wigeon, c100 Teal, 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Little Egrets, 5 Redshank, 8 Pintail, and a Grey Heron.  Ferry Pool: 1 Wheatear, 4 Red-Legged Partridges, 1 Buzzard, 1 Cygnet, 8 Stock Doves, c35 Goldfinches, 3 Shelducks, 69 Lapwings, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, c75 Teal, c100 Wigeon, and a great many Black-headed Gulls (SR). 

Thursday, 17th October: Mainly dry and bright with a fresh breeze W4, and a few brief showers early on.
At Pagham Hbr, the first report of the day is from CRJ who found things predictably quiet, " I was on the North Wall where it was very quiet at high tide, just 2 Snipe and c30 Black-tailed Godwit on the Breech Pool. On and around Honer Reservoir were 700 Black-headed Gulls, 10 Med Gulls, a Green Sandpiper, 9 Tufted Duck and 2 Mallard. Later on Marsh Farm were 5 Swallow and 8 House Martins, and on Bramber Farm just a couple of Buzzards, 2 Yellowhammers and 2 Chiffs."
Lovely enough at Pagham Harbour in the sunshine, bags of waders and ducks, dragonflies (migrant hawkers) and butterflies (including two clouded yellows) and topped with an Osprey hovering up the north end for some ten minutes before drifting off NE at 13.16, seen from the Pagham Spit hide and thus pretty distant. Near the hide some 100 Brent Geese and on the Lagoon I counted 52 Little Grebes (A.Kitson/SOS).

Fishbourne Creek: Very pleasant out in the sun this morning, if fairly quiet with a high tide - highlights were the Whimbrel back in its regular wintering spot, 2 or 3 Greenshank flying about, 5 Rock Pipits moving about together and a few Meadow Pipits, 2 Reed Buntings, 20 Black-tailed Godwits, about 500 Wigeon, many of which are now attaining winter-plumage, plus the Black Swan (AH).


 Selection from Fishbourne Creek this morning; Whimbrel, Reed Bunting and Wigeon (photos: A. House)

At Selsey Bill this morning, a report of a Merlin which came in off the sea and settled on Bill House fence close to the observers (GH/PC).

Wednesday, 16th October: Windy and rather gloomy with rain imminent.... sure enough it arrived giving a wet day until mid-afternoon when it brightened. Anticipating a lack of observer coverage and a slow news day, we start with items of interest from preceding days..

Late news from yesterday.....A lovely warm sunny day down at West Wittering gave us a good variety of waders with 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 25+ Black-tailed Godwits, 200+ Dunlin, a handful of Ringed Plovers, 43 Golden Plovers and at least 30 Grey Plovers. We only noted one Knot, 1 Greenshank and 1 Snipe along with a single Wheatear on the dunes. However the highlight was the juvenile Spoonbill which we hadn't realised was still there on Snowhill Marsh. (per Dave & Jean Killick/SOS website)

Not everyone's cuppa I know but funny no further mention of the Barnacle X Canada family at Breech Pool on the 8th Oct, suppose I think is of interest since I saw them ! Anyway, here's another pic, the Canada parent 2nd from L in foreground, the Barnacle parent 2nd from R in foreground and the 4 hybrid offspring all in front of normal Canadas (Alan Kitson).

Canada Geese, Barnacle Goose and hybrid offspring, Breech Pool, 8th October (photo: A. Kitson)
Finally, one for all you mammal buffs - below are interesting shots of a Black-headed Gull take-away at Church Norton on 3rd July - can you  shrewdly voleunteer to identify the rodent with no mousetakes! (Photos: Dorian Mason).


Today's news:- Selsey Bill: 40 minutes from 8.20am produced 6 Gannets E & 2W, a single Wigeon and 2 Teal E, and that was it! (AH).
Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Lots of Goldcrests calling in the churchyard, also a Blackcap and a couple of Chiffchaffs about, plus 2 Jays and a Green Woodpecker (AH).

Monday 14 October 2013

14th - 15th October 2013

Tuesday, 15th OctoberA fine clear start with a light NW breeze, following a clear night, did not offer a great deal of promise for a passerine fall....and so it proved to be as it was obvious there had been a bit of a clear-out by morning.
Pagham Hbr: Despite (or because of?) the beautiful weather, a quiet morning around the Reserve. Church Norton: a few Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs around, plus one or two Skylarks and Meadow Pipits lingering rather than moving over, and 2 House Martins amongst about 20 Swallows. A good scan of a flat sea only produced 6 Great Crested Grebes. North Wall: At least 6 Snipe on the Breech Pool, along with 80 Black-tailed Godwits, a Shoveler, a Tufted Duck and 60 Teal, (including one doing a Garganey impersonation), and up to a dozen mobile Reed Buntings. Otherwise very quiet on the high tide (AH).


 Shoveler, odd Teal and Reed Bunting, Breech Pool (photos: Andy House)
Selsey: Walk around the Bill this morning was pleasant but didn't produce much:  1 Wheatear, 2 Chiffchaffs, 5 Pied Wagtails, 34 Goldfinches W, 14 Linnets W, 12 Meadow Pipits N, and 62 Turnstones on the beach. Walk from Coastguard Station to the end of the caravan park wasn't much better although there was a good passage of Linnets in small flocks that later congregated on the rocks: 4 Curlew, 1 Chiffchaff, c35 Meadow Pipits with Kestrel in pursuit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 16 Goldfinches W, c75 Linnets W, 12 Brent Geese W.  I wasn't altogether surprised to see the bank Beryl and I climbed at Medmerry 10 days ago which gave us a panoramic view of one end of the new reserve, has now been fenced off with barbed wire! (SR).

A lovely warm day with plenty of sunshine and little wind although the birding was very slow. We started our day with a walk down Ellanore Lane, West Wittering and around Snowhill Marsh. Just a handful of Chiffchaffs and a Grey Wagtail W with a Kingfisher on Snowhill, a lone Guillemot out in the harbour, but little else noted. Church Norton: just a few Chiffs and 2 Wheatears. North Wall: Ruff, 6 Common Snipe and 4 Water Rails with a flock of 70 Golden Plover N. (Bernie Forbes, Dave Smith & Dorian Mason).
Below: A selection from the Breech Pool today (all photos: Dorian Mason). From the top:-
1. Lapwing, 2. Ruff and Mallard, 3. Ruff, 4.Water Rail, 5. Grey Heron and 6. Common Snipe

Monday, 14th October: A pleasant enough morning found yours truly at Church Norton bright and early, hoping to catch the early bird. Unfortunately there wasn't much on offer, the churchyard was devoid of anything exciting and my personal crusade to find a Ring Ouzel goes on. A short sea-watch at the Bill produced little offshore but 3 late Yellow Wagtails dropping onto the Oval playing field were a surprise. Then an early evening call from Sam Hill told of a male Ring Ouzel as he was on his Selsey-Norton walk. Full details will follow shortly...

Selsey Bill (0935-1050hrs): Dry, sunshine and cloud. Wind W 3-4.  (Obs: OM et al)
Gannet - 55W
Brent Goose - 12W
Common Scoter - 5W
Med Gull - 15W
Swallow - 3 SE
Yellow Wagtail - 3E, dropped onto playing field for a while
Meadow Pipit - 10 p
Goldfinch - 30E

Yellow Wagtail on the Oval playing field, before departing east.
Selsey: At Northcommon Farm just a couple of Chiffchaffs located and a similar result at the nearby Warner Lane horse paddocks (OM/SR). At East beach pool a Water Rail and a single Chiffchaff, with 2 Wheatears nearby (SR). Along Medmerry beach near the Coastguard station, 3 Wheatears, 3 Pied Wagtails, 11 Meadow Pipits and a Little Egret (SR).
Evening walk: Selsey to Church Norton:1715hrs : Ring Ouzel 1 male, flew low over waste ground Manor Road, Selsey and disappeared south over housing estate, also Swallow 2 and Stonechat 1 (S&SaH). 

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton:

Early this morning just 3 Chiffchaffs and a couple of Goldcrests in the churchyard, with 10 Siskins flying E overhead. Nearby 3 Mistle Thrushes, a few more Chiffs and a couple of Blackcaps, 18 Skylarks over SE and a Water Rail in the reedy margins near the Hide (OM). Later, a juvenile Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine and 26 Golden Plover (C&ME/CRJ)





Friday 11 October 2013

11th - 13th October 2013

Sunday, 13th October: Overcast and dull with light drizzle, quickly turning to persistent rain. Conditions actually looked reasonable at first for something decent to turn up, but no such luck, at time of writing anyway.... though just picked up news (per RBA) of a Ring Ouzel at last - in a hedge near Owl Copse (Pagham North Wall) at 1145hrs.

Selsey Bill 0715-1000hrs: Overcast, drizzle, rain. W3-4  (Obs: SH et al)
Gannet - 3E, 32W

Brent Goose - 11E, 6W
Shelduck - 3W
Garganey - 1W
Common Scoter - 9E, 1W
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Turnstone - 35 ob
Auk sp - 3W
Guillemot - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Swallow - 8W

House Martin - 8
Pied Wagtail - 1 ob

Grey Wagtail - 1 ob
Linnet - 5N

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Very quiet in the heavy drizzle and strong wind - up to 20 Song Thrushes along the west side, and a few Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs around the churchyard was the 'highlight' before the rain increased and I went home! (AH). Later, a walk up to the beach in the drizzle at 5pm produced a female-type Marsh Harrier heading westwards and a Greenshank over calling (AH).
North Wall: Two Water Rails, 2 Spotted Redshanks, singles of Ruff and Snipe, a Stonechat, 4 Chiffchaffs and 20+ Reed Buntings (S&SaH)  Later, a Ring Ouzel reported in the hedge near Owl copse (per RBA).  

The Ruff at the North wall (Breech Pool) (photo: Sam Hill)

Saturday, 12th October: Sunshine and cloud but still with a blustery force 5 north-easterly persisting.  An early report from Sam Hill watching at Selsey Bill.... highlights were a Short-eared Owl in from the sea, a Brambling N overhead and an Arctic Skua passing through. Also a report from C&ME of a Black Redstart at Greenlease Farm, Church Norton. Fuller details will appear later. (I've also just seen a report of literally hundreds of Ring Ouzels in East Sussex.... someone please find one on the Peninsula!!)

Selsey Bill:0715-1030hrs:  Sun and cloud. NE4-5   (Obs: SH, PM et al)
Gannet - 15E, 20W & 35 os
Brent Goose - 1E, 293W
Wigeon - 1W
Teal - 2E
Shoveler - 2E
Common Scoter - 43E, 2W & 2 os
Ringed Plover - 1 ob
Auk sp  - 2E, 4W
Razorbill - 5E
Sparrowhawk - 1 p
Short-eared Owl - 1N from sea
Arctic Skua - 1E
Med Gull - 2E. 4W
Kittiwake - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 1E, 4W
Redwing - 2N
House Martin - 4E
Swallow - 12E
Wheatear - 1 ob
Meadow Pipit - 40E
Linnet - 24N
Brambling - 1 N
East beach pond: 1 Chiffchaff; lots of Starling activity but no Rosy Starling.

Spent a pleasant morning at East Head, and though there was no sign of the Spoonbill, there were plenty of other birds around - highlights being a Short-Eared Owl in off the sea, a drake Common Scoter and a Red-breasted Merganser off the northern end, 2+ Wheatears, a Stonechat, 10+ Reed Buntings, a Spotted Redshank, 12 Golden Plovers, and dozens of Skylarks, Linnets and Meadow Pipits around. It was also pleasing to see quite a large number of juvenile Brent Geese amongst the several hundred present (AH).

 Adult and juvenile Brent Geese, and Wheatear at East Head (photos: Andy House)

At Church Norton, a Black Redstart was present at Greenlease farm, on the roof of a building behind the Clock Tower - see pic (C&J Moore, C&M Eames)
Black Redstart, Greenlease farm Church Norton (photo: Juliet Moore)

Friday, 11th October: Bright and breezy this morning, with a cool wind N/NE 5-6, but cloudy and dull with rain by early afternoon. The best option seemed a seawatch so I headed for the Bill, where there was some light movement including a couple of late Yellow Wagtails, one of which showed well on the playing field - until Sarah produced her camera! The blustery conditions made things very difficult for finding passerines, then things went downhill as the rain set in, making for a gloomy finish to the day.

Selsey Bill (0725-1030hrs): Sunny with cloud, windy N/NE 5-6 - and thick smoke at times due to the bonfire in Bill House garden!
Gannet - 5E, 29W & 40 fishing os
Brent Goose - 84W
Shelduck - 6W
Wigeon - 5E, 46W
Teal - 2E, 3W
Common Scoter - 5E, 15W
Sanderling - 8W
Curlew - 1W
Auk Sp - 7W
Med Gull - 6W
Sandwich Tern - 2E
Swallow - 8 S/E
House Martin - 2E
Meadow Pipit - 30N
Yellow Wagtail - 2E (1 on playing field for a while)
Pied/alba Wagtail - 15E
Chiffchaff - 3 gardens
Linnet - 24E
Goldfinch - 58E
Siskin - 2E amongst mixed finch flock

Flock of Brent Geese heading west off the Bill (photo: A. House)

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Hard going in the strong north-easterly; 3 or 4 Chiffchaffs, up to 8 Song Thrushes, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Jays around the churchyard, the 3 Stonechats on the beach, 8 Reed Buntings, 30 Meadow Pipits, 40 Linnets and 80 Goldfinches over east, and 40 Red-legged Partridges and a Kestrel on Greenlease Farm (AH).

Kestrel and Red-legged Partridges at Greenlease Farm (photos: A. House). You know it's a slow news day when Red-legs feature prominently in the day's write-up!
Just to confirm nothing really at East beach pond Selsey, apart from 4 Chiffchaffs.  One Chiff singing in the rain in my garden this afternoon and one in a neighbour's garden - I'm longing to go out again but it's pouring down! (SR). At Northcommon Farm it was a similar situation with just a couple of Chiffchaffs in the wind-battered trees to show for my efforts (OM).
A visit to West Wittering/Snowhill Marsh was cut short when the rain set in, but I could find no trace of the Spoonbill in my brief look (OM).