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).

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