Saturday, 30 November 2013

30th November 2013

Saturday, 30th November 2013

A bright and breezy autumn day, with the recent activity at Church norton attracting plenty of bird-watchers.

Church Norton: Another morning spent predominately along the beach/spit, produced the following offshore - still at least 4 Long-tailed Ducks, 7-8 Common Scoter, 8-10 Eider, 12+ Slavonian Grebes, a Red-throated Diver and a Goldeneye (with another 5 in the harbour). A big flock of Knot were in the harbour and a few Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits present also, plus a Firecrest was seen in the churchyard.
A further look this afternoon on the low tide didn't add anything, but a female-type Marsh Harrier was hunting over the 1st Several. (AH)

Red-throated Diver off Church Norton 30/11/13 (AH)
Sidlesham: A Reed Bunting on our bird table this morning, only the second one I have seen here.(AH)
Reed Bunting, Sidlesham 30/11/13 (AH)

Medmerry: This afternoon 2 Green Sandpipers, 100 Golden Plover and 300 Lapwing were around the new tidal pits from the circular path. (SH)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

27th - 29th November 2013

Friday, 29th November: Dry, cloudy and fairly murky, with a fresh W/NW wind 4-5.
I arrived at the Bill this morning to find AH and JA already in situ. There was a bit of movement going on, albeit fairly standard fare  - Gannets, auks and Kittiwakes - but at least we had chance to discuss such things as previous records and plans for the future. Further updates will follow...

Selsey Bill (0800-1200hrs): Cloudy, W/NW 4-5  (Obs: JA/AH/OM)
Gannet - 19E, 148W
Great Northern Diver - 1 os
Red-throated Diver - 9W, 1os
Diver sp - 3E, 1W
Brent Goose - 24W
R/b Merganser - 4E, 10W
Eider - 1 os
Common Scoter - 2E, 13 os
Teal - 1E
Wigeon - 8E, 4W
Auk sp - 251E, 102W
Razorbill - 15W
Guillemot - 3W
Kestrel - 1p
Med Gull - 2W
Kittiwake - 2E, 57W
Pied Wagtail - 7W, 3ob
Goldfinch - 15W
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens


 Andy House (left) and Justin Atkinson in action at the Bill when I arrived (OM)

Common Scoters on a rough sea at the Bill (A. House)
Pagham Hbr: I paid a quick visit to Church Norton this morning, meeting Bob Turner near the car-park. Two Ravens came out of the wood cronking and went down on the shingle spit. At first offshore I could only find 3 fem Long-tailed Ducks, but later all five were feeding together, and later still I had very good views of the 2 males feeding off of the 2nd Several breakwater. There were also c30 Brent and a fem Shoveler offshore, but I didn’t see any scoters or strangely any  Slavonian Grebes, perhaps because the tide was falling (CRJ).
The North Wall area held 102 Canada Geese and 2 Water Rails (Breech Pool), c.400 Golden Plover, c. 1000 Lapwings, 25 Black-tailed Godwits, and a single Spotted Redshank - the whole lot taking to the air with other wildfowl when shooting began on adjacent farmland (an increasingly common situation). A check of Pagham Lagoon failed to provide any excitement; a single Goldeneye and a Pochard were the only noteworthy additions to the usual cast of Coots, a handful of Tufted Ducks and around 40 Little Grebes (OM)
Selsey: I took a walk around East Beach Pond in the hope against all hope of seeing something different.  In a way my wish came true but not quite in the way I'd hoped, as I found myself mobbed by 7 Muscovy Ducks, so presumably Swanbourne Lake at Arundel is missing a few!!  Much as I like seeing something other than Mallard, Coot and Moorhen, I would like something WILD next time (SR).

A motley collection of birdlife at East Beach Pool, Selsey this morning! (Sarah Russell)

Thursday, 28th November: Another grey, gloomy day with a very light NW breeze. 
Andy House was again at Church Norton beach this morning where the sea was flat calm; the group of 5 Long-tailed Ducks was still present, together with 5 Velvet Scoters and a Goldeneye. Whilst on the subject of Andy, he will be running the blog this weekend so all details to him please for those days; meanwhile it seems he saved the day again blog-wise, with no other reports received.

Pagham Hbr: Back to Church Norton beach again to make the most of the still conditions. The five Long-tailed Ducks were still offshore and now five Velvet Scoters as well. Also offshore were the dozen Eider, a single Common Scoter, a minimum of 24 Slavonian Grebes, 17 Great Crested Grebes, 32 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Goldeneye (with another in the harbour mouth). A single Sanderling was on the beach and the Peregrine was upsetting everything in the harbour (AH).
Slavonian Grebes and fem Goldeneye offshore at Church Norton beach (A. House)

Wednesday, 27th November: A dull, damp, grey and dreary day with frequent light drizzle and light wind. The only report received so far is from Andy House who had a productive morning at Norton beach...

Pagham Hbr:  Church Norton: Spent the morning on the beach and the spit looking offshore. The light was awful, but the flat-calm sea allowed me to see just how much activity there was. There are now FIVE Long-tailed Ducks, staying as a two and a three, offshore (I think 2 x 1st winter males, 2 x 1st-winter females and a juvenile type). Also, I made a conservative count of 26 Slavonian Grebes, plus 16 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Velvet Scoter, 11 or 12 Eider, 2 Red-throated Divers and 32 Red-breasted Mergansers. Also, the regular female Merlin was on the spit (AH).
above and below: groups of two and three Long-tailed Ducks off Church Norton (A. House)
Slavonian Grebes and Merlin at Church Norton (A. House)

Monday, 25 November 2013

25th - 26th November 2013

Tuesday, 26th November: Dry again, cool and mainly sunny. Wind NNW 3-4.
Four Egyptian Geese flew over Jim Weston this morning on Pagham rife but then dropped down into an inaccessible area of farmland near the agricultural reservoir. The only other news received thus far concerns the Medmerry Snow Buntings; four together were seen on the rough grassland (SR/BJ) whilst the fifth was seen by other observers, apparently not now associating with the flock...... Further updates now received from Bernie Forbes & Dave Smith who saw them still together.....

What a lovely cold bright sunny day with plenty of quality birds, spending the entire day on the peninsula. Our first birding stop was at Medmerry where the five obliging Snow Buntings were feeding just south of the car park in the rough ground.
Onto Selsey Bill, spending an hour or two watching the sea which was very calm although the low sun was making any observation to the east extremely difficult! We noted 3 Great Northern Divers and 4 Red-throated Divers moving back and forth. The flock of 40 Common Scoter comprising of all females was feeding just offshore with 2 Slavonian Grebes and 3 auk sp plus a Razorbill.
Church Norton: 2 Firecrests around the bushes near the double seats/hide. At least 350 Knot in the harbour. Offshore from the Norton spit the highlights were 4 female Velvet Scoters, 14 Eider and 20 Slavonian Grebes (BFF/DIS).

An even more empty Breech Pool held 11 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Common Snipe and 140 Teal. Further along the North Wall were 103 Canada Geese with 46 Wigeon and 17 Curlew. Whilst walking up Pagham Rife I watched a flyover by 4 Egyptian Geese that appeared to land on the new reservoir to the north of Church Lane. (I have no access to this place). The Honer reservoir was quiet with just 3 Pied Wagtails, 1 Little Grebe and 1 Green Sandpiper. Behind Honer Farm Cottages were 270 Brent Geese and 33 Lapwing. In the fields between Honer and Marsh Farms were 730 Wigeon. Most of the fields that held Brent Geese over the weekend are now occupied by bird-scarers, which have achieved their objectives (Jim Weston).

Selsey Bill - additional 0800-0930hrs: NW3 - Bright sun
Paul Matson covered the Bill prior to BFF/DIS visiting and logged much the same, but additional of note were: Little Gull - 1E, Sandwich Tern - 1E, Redshank - 2W and Sanderling - 1 ob. He also enjoyed a fine sunrise (see pic's below - all 3 by PM) :
 Sunrise at the Bill at 8am (or without the giveaway Green Triangle it could be any island in the Indian Ocean !)
Sanderling on the beach at the Bill
'Billy no mates' the fifth Snow Bunting at Medmerry
 (photos: Paul Matson)

Monday, 25th November: Dry, fairly bright and sunny, wind cool N 3-4.
Quite an interesting morning on the Peninsula really, with several surprises given the wind direction and late-November date. Andy House turned up 4 Long-tailed Ducks off Church Norton, then I went to check out the flock of Snow Buntings at Medmerry to find there are now 5 birds. Meanwhile a Black-necked Grebe was also located in the harbour mouth at Pagham Hbr, having apparently been present a day or two. Fuller details follow...

Selsey Bill (0915-1115hrs): Dry, sunny, cool, N 3-4.  (Obs: P. Davis/OM)
Gannet - 5E
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Diver sp - 2E
Brent Goose - 1W
Common Scoter - c. 58 os (several flocks apparently moving but then settled on sea)
Shelduck - 4E
R/b Merganser - 5 os
Turnstone - 38 ob
Sanderling - 1 ob
Ringed Plover - 1 ob
Auk sp - 45W
Chiffchaff -1 gardens

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Big surprise this morning, finding four Long-tailed Ducks asleep on the sea offshore on the low tide. Fairly quickly they woke up and inevitably spent most of their time after that underwater! Not entirely sure of age/sex but they all had a lot of white on the head but no 'long' tails. Also at least 10 Slavonian Grebes, 8 Great Crested Grebes and 20 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, too, and 6 Common Scoter flew east (AH).  update: At least 3 of the 4 still present offshore early afternoon; also c.12 Slavonian Grebes, c.80 Wigeon and 30 Teal also present. Nearby a Chiffchaff and a Firecrest along the path from the car park (OM). Also, news today of a Black-necked Grebe seen and photographed at the harbour mouth at Pagham; it has apparently been present a day or two (Ivan Lang /per T. Guy)

Long-tailed Ducks off Church Norton (A. House)
Medmerry: a late morning visit to check out the flock of 4 Snow Buntings produced a surprise when I found the flock now contained 5 birds! I thought I'd better try and obtain a snap to silence any of the disbelieving locals who would question my eyesight or numeracy skills, and eventually managed to obtain the below pic (look hard - they are all there!) Also c.250 Brent Geese flew in to feed in the back fields (OM).

Snow Buntings at Medmerry (OM)

 Doctor Who? Well almost - actually it's Peter Davis, a (retired) GP, scanning the scoter flock at the Bill! 
I took a short walk along Medmerry Beach late this afternoon.  A pair of Stonechats, 9 Pied Wagtails, a Kestrel perched on the rocks, 2 Little Egrets, and looking out toward Sidlesham at dusk, the fabulous sight and sound of many thousands of Brent Geese flying in to roost (SR).

I did a bike session from Runcton, N Wall,  Ferry and back through Marsh & Fisher Farms hoping to find Peter Callis’s Whoopers today but no luck:-
Honer Lane ; 1 Buzzard, 1 Stonechat , 160 Lapwing and a large flock of Brent trying to put down on winter wheat north of the reservoir, but were discouraged by the local shotgun merchant.
Weedy Field; a mixed flock of c60 finches. A single Green Sandpiper over the rifes, seen from the North Wall:  On the Breech Pool an obliging Water Rail and 5 Snipe.
At Owl Copse a single Chiffchaff; Halseys Farm 80 Canada Geese and 2 Buzzard.
Ferry Pool, 16 Shoveler; Marsh Farm 60 Golden Plover,8 Pied Wagtail, 4 Robin and 2 Yellowhammer.
Fisher Farm: 1 Little Egret,6 Pied Wagtail,15 House Sparrow,6 Yellowhammer and a strange looking Buzzard with white underparts, a lot of white on the head , white underwings and much white on the upperwing coverts (CRJ).

Saturday, 23 November 2013

23rd - 24th November 2013

Sunday, 24th November: Dry, cloudy, high pressure building. Wind N 3-4.
First report is from the Bill....see below. Two Whooper Swans were reported over the North Wall, Pagham this morning.

Selsey Bill, 0715-10.00hrs: N3 cloudy: (Obs: (JA/SH/PB et al)  
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 6os
Red-throated Diver - 12E, 2W
diver sp - 2E, 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 4E, 1W, 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 2os
Gannet - 18E, 47W, 1os
Gadwall - 13E
Wigeon - 3E
Teal - 1E
Eider - 13W, 5os
Common Scoter - 11E, 55os
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 1W, 11os
Shelduck - 1E
Sanderling - 1ob
Ringed Plover- 3ob
Turnstone - 7ob
Med' Gull - 2os
Kittiwake - 3E
Razorbill - 1os
auk sp - 14E, 468W
Pied Wagtail - 4ob 
Redwing - 1N.
Common Scoter flock off Selsey Bill this morning (A. House).
Pagham Hbr: North Wall: Peter Callis reported 2 Whooper Swans over north early this morning. Later on I had the Spotted Redshank in White's Creek, and 2 Water Rails, 12 Snipe, 120 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit & 1 Kingfisher around the Breech Pool (AH).
A further report from Jim Weston: The half empty Breech Pool contained 140 Teal, 53 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Common Snipe, 1 Spotted Redshank and 2 Water Rail. A Kingfisher breezed through. Along Pagham I encountered 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Peregrine and a Kestrel. On Honer Reservoir were 27 Black-headed and 5 Herring Gulls together with 2 Little Grebe. In the field immediately north of the reservoir were 1400 Brent Geese. Behind Honer Farm cottages were 57 Lapwing and 14 Brent Geese. In fields to the east of Marsh Farm were 260 Wigeon, 23 Canada Geese and 33 Curlew (JW).  This morning offshore at Church Norton were 4 Velvet Scoters (thanks Ian) 2 Eider, c 50 Red-breasted Mergansers and at least 6 Slavonian Grebes (CRJ ).


Saturday, 23rd November: A bright and sunny morning with a moderate but cool wind NNE 3-4.
At the Bill a couple of wintering Sandwich Terns and the Merlin put in an appearance, whilst a few Great Northern Divers were also present, but otherwise it was all fairly average. Later, SH had a surprise on his regular walk when a Great White Egret flew in off the sea at Church Norton. Then at Medmerry, Andy House was pleasantly surprised to stumble over the 4 Snow Buntings, which were still present.

Selsey Bill 0710-0915hrs: Sunny, cool, wind NNE 3  (Obs: JA et al)
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Diver sp - 5W
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 2os
Gannet - 4E, 4W
Brent Goose - 1W
Common Scoter - 7W, 58 os
Teal - 5E
Wigeon - 3E
Eider - 1 os
R/b Merganser - 3E, 9os 
Merlin - 1 along beach
Med Gull - 2os
Sandwich Tern - 2 os, flew off W

Selsey - Church Norton: The regular walk by SH/SaH produced the following:
Great White Egret in off sea at Norton at 13.45 but disappeared W over trees behind second Several
Slavonian Grebe - 2 os
Common Scoter - 10 os

Eider - 12 os
Goldeneye - 1 harbour
Chiffchaff 2

Medmerry: The 4 Snow Buntings still present this afternoon on the waste ground at the end of the caravan park - pic's below (AH).

Pagham Hbr: Pagham Spit: Just a handful of finches - Linnets and Greenfinches which sought refuge in the stunted oak by the last house, while diving ducks were: Goldeneye seven (all redheads, three on Lagoon, two on Little Lagoon and two in Harbour), Pochard four on Lagoon, Tufted Duck 22 on Lagoon and Red-breasted Merganser two on sea and one in Harbour (A. Kitson/SOS ).

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

20th - 22nd November 2013

Friday, 22nd November: Cold again with cloud and a chilly north-easterly. A few bits and pieces around though the strong biting wind did not make watching easy.

Selsey Bill 9.15-10.45am: (AH & JA):  Eider 3 (drakes) W, Goldeneye 1 (female) W and landed on sea, Gadwall 11W and landed on sea, Brent Goose 1 W, Red-throated Diver 1 E & 1 W, Great Northern Diver up to 5 o/s, Common Scoter 4 E & 40-50 o/s, Red-breasted Merganser 1 E & 2 W, Rock Pipit 1 and Goldfinch 1 seen coming in from far out to sea.

Three drake Eider moving W off the Bill, and Rock Pipit (Andy House).

East Head/West Wittering: The Worthing boys (BFF/DIS/DM) visited the Head to find the wind penetrating enough to spoil their birding, but logged 2 wintering Sandwich Terns and about 25 R/b Mergansers in the channel. Nearby West Wittering / Snowhill marsh held 300 Golden Plover, 3 Spotted Redshanks, a Jack Snipe, 2 Water Rails and a Firecrest. Moving on to Pagham Hbr - Church Norton they arrived to find the car park shut due to a fallen tree. Once they began birding it turned into a Firecrest day, with 2 birds near the Severals and another 4 in the area around the benches/Hide. Offshore there were 14 Slavonian Grebes, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Velvet Scoter and 5 R/b Mergansers (BFF/DIS/DM).
Thursday, 21st November: Cool, dull and cloudy again, now with a brisk, cold north-easterly. Unsurprisingly, not a great deal to report so far...
Pagham Hbr: I walked the North Wall at twilight yesterday. Nothing very exciting, around 60 Jackdaws going to roost in Owl Copse and 120 Starlings roosting in the reeds at the Breech Pool. This morning (21st) it was very noticeable that water levels in the Breech Pool had dropped considerably overnight, the eastern end was just open mud. Waders appeared to approve as there were 126 Black-tailed Godwits and 21 Dunlin at the western end. In the flooded field north of the stables were around 800 Lapwing and 180 Golden Plover. Shortly after my visit something disturbed this group and they dispersed into the Harbour. Along Pagham Rife 13 Stock Doves and 6 Skylarks. Honer reservoir was quiet with just 4 Tufted Ducks and 2 Little Grebe. The mixed finch flock is still resident to the east of the reservoir. In the fields to the west of Honer Farm were 47 Curlew, 6 Black- tailed Godwits and 230 Wigeon (Jim Weston). Church Norton: Nothing to report really, a cold north-easterly was blowing across the harbour and I didn't linger long (AH). 

Selsey Bill: Nothing moving at all - just 3 Great Northern Divers and 50+ Common Scoters offshore.(AH).

Wednesday, 20th November: A cold, fairly miserable grey day, with rain most of the morning and early afternoon. I decided that it might be worth a sea-watch, but I didn't arrive at the Bill until 0940, where I found Andy House bravely keeping a lone vigil, doing his best to shelter from the wind and rain. To my surprise, Andy had been in situ for an hour and had seen a fair variety of species, so I togged up in full winter plumage and settled in for a decent watch. In the event Andy stayed for another  hour; there was nothing special (4 Avocets and 3 Goldeneye about the best), but just enough moving to keep our interest alive - and we eventually covered five hours between us!  
Andy House in action at the Bill on his two-hour vigil!
Selsey Bill (0840-1340hrs): Dull, overcast, mostly raining. Wind W/NW 5-6.  (Obs: AH/OM)
Gannet - 8E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1 os,
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Black-throated Diver - 1 os
Great Northern Diver - 5+ os
Brent Goose - 8W
Shelduck - 6W
Common Scoter - 5E, 25W 
Velvet Scoter - 1 os
R/b Merganser - 5E, 8W, 12 os
Goldeneye - 3W
Teal - 8W
Wigeon - 20W
Pintail - 9W
Dunlin - 32W
Grey Plover - 7W
Avocet - 4W
Curlew - 4W
Razorbill - 1 os, 2W
Auk sp - 1E, 2W
Kittiwake - 4E, 2W
Common Gull - 2W
Med Gull - 5W
Rock Pipit - 1 ob

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: The Spoonbill was still in the harbour this morning, but not much else out of the ordinary in a quick look. Around the churchyard - 8 Jays, 10+ Blackbirds, 2 Song Thrushes and 3+ Goldcrests (AH).
At least one Twite with a flock of Linnets at the very end of Church Norton spit. On the sea this morning 7 Eider, 1 Shag heading east, 17 Common Scoter, 2 Velvet Scoter and 1 Slavonian Grebe (Ivan Lang).

Common Gull off Selsey Bill and Spoonbill with Cormorants on Tern Island (A. House).


Monday, 18 November 2013

18th-19th November 2013

Tuesday 19th November

The opposite of yesterday - very bright and breezy, but still a few birds about.

First, a bit of late - and interesting - news from Terry Rawlings, who was 100% certain he heard a Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker at Halsey's Farm on 13th November, though he was unable to see it.

Selsey Bill: Unsurprisingly, C&ME reported the Bill as dead, bar a Great Northern Diver offshore.
BFF et al repoted the following - arriving late we found a close Black–throated Diver just offshore, 6 Common Scoter and Red-throated Diver flying E.
Not strictly at the Bill, but SH had a call from a friend in the town reporting a Little Owl sat on scaffolding outside his house first thing this morning!

Church Norton: The Spoonbill was still getting its eight-hours in on Tern Island, though it did look up briefly when the Peregrine flushed everything around it. The harbour was full of waders, 200+ Knot, similar of Grey Plover and at least 800 Brent Geese on the rising tide, along with half a dozen each of Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwit, and at least 200 Golden Plover went up over the North Wall.

Peregrine at Church Norton 19/11/13 (AH)

The female Merlin was showing nicely on the Spit, and interestingly C&ME reported another along Rectory Lane at the same time, suggesting possibly two birds.

Merlin on Church Norton Spit 19/11/13 (AH)

Offshore, the two Velvet Scoter were still present, though distant, plus 4 Slavonian Grebes, 8 Great Crested Grebes and 14 Red-Breasted Mergansers.
Finally, in the churchyard, there were 2 Redwing and 2 Fieldfare early on.

Slavonian Grebes offshore from Church Norton 19/11/13 (AH)

Monday 18th November

A very dreary grey day, but virtually windless which is always a pleasant change. The Bill was completely dead but elsewhere there was still a fair selection of birds to be seen.

First some news from yesterday - Sa & S H report that the four Snow Buntings were still present late afternoon.

Also JA, having recovered from his excursion, has confirmed that the Yellow Wagtail was indeed the latest ever at the Bill (but only by a day from the previous record on 16/11/00).

Medmerry: The Black Redstart was still present this morning, along with a pair of Stonechats, a dozen Meadow Pipits and five Linnets. Also a Curlew, 40 Brent Geese and 9 Ringed Plovers over and a pair of Gadwall on the pools.(AH & SR)

Church Norton: A Firecrest was in the churchyard and the Spoonbill was still asleep on Tern Island. On the flat-calm sea, 2 female Velvet Scoters, the female Eider, 24 Red-breasted Mergansers, 6 Great Crested Grebes and now 5 Slavonian Grebes were all visible through the murk.(AH)

A classic Spoonbill pose! On Tern Island 18/11/13 (AH)
North Fields area: My first bike ride around the harbour area for several weeks. Honer Reservoir 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swan,1 Little Grebe.Also a flock of c85 finches, mostly Linnet but also containing Goldfinches, Reed Buntings, Yellowhammers,Greenfinches and Chaffinches around the weedy field by Honer Reservoir. Breech Pool, 60 Black-tailed Godwits, fields 30 Curlew, Halsey’s Farm 1 Stonechat, Marsh Farm c 750 Brent Geese, Fisher Farm 1 Goldcrest, 6 Yellowhammer.(CRJ)
Selsey Bill: Took a brief look at the Bill where the mist was hanging heavily, two Rock Pipits flew in over the Oval Field, three Pied Wagtails were also on the field, and a Red-breasted Merganser flew close in heading east, then the rain came down ......... (SR)
Rock Pipit at Selsey Bill 18/11/13 (SR)

Saturday, 16 November 2013

16th - 17th November 2013

Sunday, 17th November: Dull and cloudy today with light wind, producing a few late migrants at the Bill - including a very late Yellow Wagtail. Andy House will be running the blog for the next two days, so records to him please if you can.

Selsey Bill (0710-1035hrs): Cloudy, dry. N/NE2  (Obs: JA/SH et al)  Highlights were:
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 8 os
Slavonian Grebe - 2E
Common Scoter - 61 os
Merlin - 1
House Martin - 1
Rock Pipit - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 1 ob
(Also logged: Great Crested Grebe - 2E, Gannet - 3W, Brent Goose - 12E, Wigeon - 5E, Shelduck - 1E, Red-breasted Merganser - 7os, 3E, 5W, Turnstone - 22ob, Kittiwake - 2W, Med' Gull - 2W, 2os, Razorbill - 1os, auk sp - 4E, 7W and Pied Wagtail - 5ob)

No sign of the Snow Buntings at Medmerry this morning, but they are quite probably still present in a lot of suitable habitat. A smart male Black Redstart and 3 Stonechats were some consolation. We went back to the Bill after D. Sneller told us he'd seen a House Martin there, but we couldn't find it, but whilst we were looking at a Rock Pipit, JA spotted a Yellow Wagtail, which hung about on the beach for at least ten minutes. We wait to see if it is the latest ever at the Bill....(AH).

(above) Yellow Wagtail on the beach at Selsey Bill .. surely our latest ever? (A. House)  
Rock Pipit on Selsey beach, and Slavonian Grebe off Church Norton (A. House)

 Pagham Hbr: Quite a bit on the sea at Church Norton for the first time this autumn, as follows - 2 Slavonian Grebes (my first of the autumn here), 9 Great Crested Grebes, 28 Red-breasted Merganser, 1 female-type Eider, 7 Common Scoter that dropped in on the sea, 1 Red-throated Diver W and 12 Gannets E. Also the Spoonbill was on Tern Island again, snoozing through the high tide.
Selsey - Church Norton: The regular walk (by SH/SaH) produced a single Redwing, a late Swallow, 20 R/b Mergansers, and the Eider and Red-throated Diver mentioned above.
 Finally, a rarity... our esteemed Log-keeper JA seen wandering away from the Bill-tip (well, only as far as Medmerry!)   (photo: Sam Hill)

Saturday, 16th November: Another fine but cool morning with a light N/NW wind. The main news so far comes from CRJ who reports there are actually 4 Snow Buntings at Medmerry. Meanwhile at the Bill, Paul Matson logged three species of diver, which was the main action until eventually there was too much glare from the sun.

Snow Buntings at Medmerry (A. House)

Medmerry: The 4 Snow Buntings reported earlier by CRJ were on the rough ground beyond the caravan park; they were there this afternoon, along with 4 Stonechats and 5 Linnets, though they took some finding amongst the dozens of people present (AH)  

Pagham Hbr: Tramway: First thing this morning a Water Rail and a Kingfisher in the creek, and 6 Reed Buntings, 4 Song Thrushes and 40 Goldfinch around the pathway (AH). At Church Norton the Spoonbill was present around Tern island but sleeping much of the time (CRJ). A Kingfisher was at the North Wall (P/James/SOS).

Sidlesham: An unusual sight of a Buzzard sat on the big greenhouses near our house (AH).


Buzzard on greenhouse at Sidlesham (A. House)

Selsey Bill (0730-0930hrs):   NW2-3,  very sunny.  (Obs: PM/ S.Hat)
Common Scoter 25 W
Red-breasted Merganser 5E, 8W
Eider 3W
Wigeon 23E
Shoveler 1E
Shelduck 1W
Great Northern Diver 3os, 1W
Red-throated Diver 1os, 8W
Black-throated Diver 1W (with 2 RT's for a good comparison)
Razorbill 1os
Great-crested Grebe 1os
Med Gull 4os
Rock Pipit 1ob
Pied Wagtail 1ob
Turnstone 20W/ob
2 large flocks of c200 Starlings N off sea

West Wittering: A Black-throated Diver off the north end of East Head looking towards Pilsey Island. Also 12 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Common Scoter, Razorbill and 7 Great Crested Grebes. Pair of Stonechats and 2 Common Snipe in the dunes. Two Spotted Redshanks on Snowhill Marsh (P. James/SOS).
 Interesting Turnstone roost at East Head (Alan Petherbridge)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

13th - 15th November 2013

Friday, 15th November: A cold but beautifully sunny morning with a brisk N wind. I headed to the Bill where I found nobody else present, until Sarah joined me a little while later. Then I decided to start on my late breakfast - a big mistake as it turned out. As I tucked into my first sandwich, Sarah called a couple of distant divers; then as we were determinedly scoping I reached down for more food - only to find a wretched dog devouring the last of my packed lunch - the lot, all bar a banana! For sheer stealth it put AH's famous Zippy in the shade, but it did nothing for my humour, especially when the unapologetic lady owner called the dog away and scuttled off, keeping her distance and not even acknowledging my good wishes to her! Ah well.. having got that off my chest on with the bird news. I start with an apology to those who sent me texts yesterday - as you will gather I forgot to include the news on the blog! Today at the Bill there were a few highlights; a late Swallow, a Merlin in from the sea, at least 3 GND's and the start of what looks like a flock of Common Scoters taking up winter residence. There were also 3 Velvet Scoters moving E that dropped onto the sea for ages; later they headed E but seemed to drop again so may also be present offshore. I paid a fairly fruitless visit to Medmerry, seeing little of note, but it seems I slipped up as Sarah rang me mid-afternoon to say she'd found a Snow Bunting there. Well done.
Selsey Bill (0740-1110hrs): Dry, cool, sun, N 3-4.  (Obs: OM/SR)
Gannet - 6W
Brent Goose - 1E, 21W
Common Scoter -  9E, 27W, 20+ os (small flocks frequently moving then dropping onto sea)
Velvet Scoter - 3E then os, possibly off E again
Eider - 1W
R/b Merganser - 5E, 1W
Teal - 4E, 4W
Great Northern Diver - 3+ os
Red-throated Diver - 6W
Razorbill - 2E, then os
Auk sp - 1E, 2W
Merlin - 1 in N from sea (0920hrs)
Sparrowhawk - 1 p
Med Gull- 3W
Swallow - 1W
Pied Wagtail - 2 ob
Rock Pipit - 1 ob
Song Thrush - 1N
Goldfinch - 5W

"Coastguard chopper, west, over the triangle..." (S. Russell).
Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: A Firecrest and a Chiffchaff along the path from the car park, also 6 Bar-tailed Godwits (one with a trace of s/plum) and the leucistic Curlew in the harbour (OM).
North Wall area: A Chiffchaff in bushes behind the stables, 2 Stonechats still in the horse field. Breech Pool still quiet, 102 Teal, 15 Wigeon and 1 Cormorant. No waders. In the field behind 87 Canada Geese and 53 Curlew. A Rock Pipit and female Kestrel along the wall. Flock of 900 Brent geese in field behind Honer Farm. On arrival home I found 3 Chiffchaffs in my Pagham garden (JW).
 Medmerry: Walking along the beach at Medmerry this afternoon I was watching a pair of Stonechats and a Rock Pipit amongst the granite rocks, piles of rubble, etc next to the caravan park, when a dumper truck flushed a Snow Bunting. I had a good view of it through the scope, but once it gets amongst the rubble it's going to be very hard to pinpoint....later update ....
Unfortunately I didn't manage to relocate the Snow Bunting but it's probably still there though perfectly camouflaged.  It was in the rough area that comes just after the caravan site, where the piles of aggregates, rubble, car tyres, and granite blocks are.  There were a pair of Stonechats and a Rock Pipit, plus a pair of Pied Wagtails, and in the distance a Kestrel, then a small dumper truck came along and flushed something that flew onto the granite blocks, I took a look through the scope and saw the Snow Bunting. It was low tide so I walked along the beach to the breach and took the attached photo. 

Medmerry breach (S. Russell)

Thursday, 14th November: Bright and clear again with a cool NW; one of those mid-Nov days when you get the feeling autumn is over but winter hasn't quite begun...

Firstly, an item of late news...."yesterday additionally : looked out to sea from Pagham Beach, only birds visible were Great Crested Grebes - 24 of them. At Harbour Mouth and on North Wall single Rock Pipits - and attach a pic of three Goldeneyes on the Tidal Lagoon " (ARK).

Goldeneyes, Pagham Hbr tidal (small) lagoon, 13th Nov (A.R.Kitson)

Selsey Bill: As dead as you would expect in a bright north-westerly - just a few Mediterranean and Common Gulls offshore (AH).

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Quiet for birds, but extremely noisy as the Churchyard Chainsaw Massacre was taking place with a dozen cars in the car park and what sounded like as many power-tools being used. I didn't dare look too closely! Bird-wise, not much out of the ordinary on the high tide, plenty of roosting wildfowl and waders, a Chiffchaff and a couple of Meadow Pipits was about it. Ferry Pool: A count of birds present produced 48 Shoveler, 65 Teal, 55 Wigeon, 4 Mallard and 80 Lapwing (AH).

Redshank at Church Norton, and Shoveler on the Ferry Pool (A. House)
 A wander around an increasing chilly Reserve this evening produced a lone Swallow making its' way eastwards alone the cycleway near the Visitor Centre, no doubt for a long trip across the channel tonight. Also reported from the reserve was the continued presence of the Spoonbill in the harbour, a single Lesser Redpoll over and an Water Rail in the channel near the Visitor Centre (Ivan Lang). Also a report of 2 Bearded Tits at the North Wall (presumably Breech Pool) (per SOS).

Wednesday, 13th November: A bright sunny and crisp late autumn day following an overnight frost - the latter being the first (proper one at least) of the autumn. My own plans to head for the Peninsula were scuppered when my good lady reminded me of a funeral commitment in Brighton (!) but it seems that I didn't miss too much bird-wise today. Updates follow...

Pagham Hbr:
North Wall: What a lovely day. A male Stonechat in the horse field.  Breech Pool very quiet, 120 Teal, a few Mallard and 1 Black-tailed Godwit. In the fields behind 62 Canada Geese and 39 Curlew. Along Pagham Rife 37 Coot, 1 Little Grebe and 1 Green Sandpiper. The flock of distant corvids that I had dismissed as Rooks became, on closer inspection, 53 Carrion Crows. Honer reservoir held 47 Black-headed Gulls and 10 Tufted Ducks. The mixed finch flock to the east of the reservoir are still there, around 120 birds, mainly Linnets. Behind Honer farm cottages was a flock of 620 Brent Geese. There was a steady procession of Brents flying up to the field behind the Village Hall and I later counted 760 there (Jim W).
The Spoonbill was reported to be still present at Church Norton at 1313hrs (per RBA).
The following report is from Alan Kitson," Pagham Harbour and environs was golden aglow in sunshine, gorse in bloom on the Spit, 230 Golden Plovers like a streak of custard on the Central Plateau and five redhead Goldeneyes on the Lagoon, their eyes sparkling for sure. Three of the latter flew to the Tidal Lagoon. Also seen were four Pochard on the Lagoon, 70 Knot in the Harbour and 1000 Brent Geese which unhelpfully went into the out-of-bounds reservoir" (per SOS website).

Sunday, 10 November 2013

10th - 12th November 2013

Tuesday, 12th NovemberStill wincing over missing the chance yesterday to set a record Little Gull count at the Bill; today was a bit like what comes after the Lord Mayor's show! Rain  and drizzle hung on until late morning, whilst the wind had eased and backed to the NW - whoopee! Actually it wasn't too bad, with a variety of sea-duck moving including 3 Velvet Scoters, plus at least 5 Great Northern Divers offshore.
Selsey Bill (0645-1245hrs): Rain/drizzle, drier late morning. Wind NW 2-3. (Obs: GH/OM/SR)
Gannet - 16E, 20W
Great Northern Diver - at least 5 os
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 4E, 1 os
Brent Goose - 320W (several flocks actually headed E before eventually returning W).
R/b Merganser - 17E, 24W, 3 os
Common Scoter - 50E, 88W
Velvet Scoter - 3E
Eider - 3W
Wigeon - 25W
Razorbill - 1W
Auk sp - 6W
Dunlin - 8W
Med Gull - 7W
Kittiwake - 1E
Rock Pipit - 2 ob
Meadow Pipit - 5N

Monday, 11th November: What a thoroughly miserable day; rain and drizzle persisting throughout, driven on by a fresh S/SSW wind with awful visibility offshore, making it virtually impossible to sea-watch. Andy House braved things for about half an hour this morning, logging 20+ Brent Geese and 12 Pintail passing in the murk, but was sadly forced to abandon; shame though as a call from Seaford advised me of some Balearic Shearwaters and a Sooty moving west at their end. One late item of news from yesterday concerns a Spoonbill snoozing on the mud near Tern Island, Church Norton (RJS), but otherwise it seems bird news will be at a premium today! Evening update - seems we may have missed a good day as enquiries reveal well over 200 Little Gulls to the east of us, whilst Portland to the west logged over 1000. And to rub salt into the wound I think the wind will shift back to the north tomorrow... ouch!

Please see attached update re Medmerry:-
Further to Chris Janman's posting last week about Medmerry, to confirm, the Environment Agency has celebrated the completion of the flood defence structures (and the protection this brings to local communities) but there is still some way to go for them to complete the various paths and the two small car parks so that it is fit for public opening. So far they are unable to give me a date when it will be handed to the RSPB to take on the day to day management, so for now most of Medmerry remains a closed construction site. I'm eager that folk get access as soon as it is safe to do so, and I'm seeking an update this week from EA - I'll keep you posted. The good news is that the breach went well, nature is busy creating the new wetlands and reshaping the beach, and good numbers of Teal in particular (ca. 1,000) are already using the site. If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me (per Adrian Thomas, RSPB/SOS website)

Sunday, 10th November: A bright crisp morning with a cool NW wind. Unfortunately the morning was a little brighter than a certain Mr Forbes who stayed over at my place last night and imbibed a fair quantity - hence neither of us was particularly sparkling or keen to go birding this morning! Fortunately most of the regulars were out in the field though...a seawatch at the Bill producing a good movement of Woodpigeons out S. Fuller details later.....

(0700hrs) Walk Selsey to Church Norton: (S&SaH)
Water Rail - 1 and Stonechat  - both at the Severals,
R/b Merganser - 6 os and Merlin on Norton spit

Merlin at Church Norton (Sam Hill)
Pagham Hbr: North Fields: A WeBS count by Jim Weston recorded the following: Lapwing 380, Golden Plover 138, Curlew 73, Black tailed Godwit 2, Brent Geese 880, Canada Geese 53, Mallard 67, Teal 44, Wigeon 16, Coot 6, Moorhen 14, Little Grebe 1, Black Swan 1 (with the Canadas) and 10 Little Egret (coming into roost at Owl Copse). Also 78 Jackdaws came into roost at Owl Copse. Three Roe Deer nearby (JW).

Selsey Bill: 0700 - 1000hrs: NW4, sunny. (Obs: JA/PB/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Gannet - 2E, 7W
Shag - 1os
Brent Goose - 4E, 21W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4W, 6os
Common Scoter - 1E, 1W
Pintail - 2E
Wigeon - 1W
Kittiwake - 1W
Med' Gull - 13W, 10 os
Common Gull - 6W
Razorbill - 2W
Woodpigeon - c. 3100 SW
Meadow Pipit - 2W
Pied Wagtail - 3W
Black Redstart - 1p 
Goldfinch - 8E, 13W.
Additional 1300 - 1500hrs (Obs: SH).
Great Northern Diver - 3 still present
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 1W
Diver Sp - 2E
Gannet -  2W, 50 os (distant feeding flock)
Brent Goose - 1W
Common Scoter - 14W
R/b Merganser - 8W
Great Skua - 1W
Kittiwake - 4W
Little Gull - 1W
Common Gull - 6W
Med Gull - 4W
Auk sp - 1E, 5W