Friday, 20 December 2013

20th - 22nd December 2013

Sunday, 22nd December: Another very wet and windy morning, slowly clearing to becoming drier by late morning, but the forecast up until Christmas eve is fairly dire, with severe gales and torrential rain predicted. One piece of good news is that the two Ruddy Shelducks were seen again today; rumours of the demise of one of them would therefore seem somewhat premature!

Selsey Bill: 0800 - 1030hrs: - overcast - Heavy shower - SW6
(Obs: PB - alone until CRJ turned up later, then also Dick Senior, Andy House and Sarah Russell).
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Great Crested Grebe- 4W

Gannet - 3W
Cormorant - 86W (flocks of 57,17 and 12)

Fulmar - 1W
Brent Goose - 5W
Wigeon - 3W
R/b Merganser - 11W, 5 os
Sparrowhawk - 1 gardens
Razorbill - 8W
Guillemot - 2W
Auk sp - 2W
Great B/B Gull - 40 in a flock
Kittiwake - 6W
Rock Pipit - 1 ob

Additional watch: 1445 to 1545hrs (Obs: SH)
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
R/b Merganser -  10E, 1W, 6 os
Auk sp - 1E, 1W
Kittiwake - 4W

Black-headed Gull - 130 os

Ferry Pool: the good news this morning is that both Ruddy Shelducks were present and looking alright. Still plenty of Shelduck, Wigeon, Shoveler and Lapwing present too, plus about 20 Canada Geese (AH).
Back together again; the two Ruddy Shelducks (with Shelduck and Canada Geese), Ferry Pool (A. House)

A report  of a Firecrest at Earnley and a regular Nuthatch on a garden feeder at West Wittering (per G. Michelmore/SOS website)

Saturday, 21st December: The Winter Solstice; the shortest day was greeted with  very wet, gloomy and windy conditions. Even so, three of the regular stalwarts managed to put in a shift at the Bill...well done boys, though the rewards hardly matched the effort involved.

Selsey Bill 0750 to 1050hrs: Gale SSW8, prolonged showers: (Obs: JA/SH/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Red-throated Diver - 5W
Gannet - 17W
Cormorant - 103W
Eider - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 8W, 1os
Common Scoter - 8W, 7os
Oystercatcher - 1E, 1W
Turnstone - 7ob
Kittiwake - 1E, 22W
Med' Gull - 2W
Razorbill - 1W
Guillemot - 3W
auk sp - 3W, 3os
Pied Wagtail - 1ob
Rock Pipit - 1ob.

Walk Selsey to Church Norton (1400hrs)
2 Raven, 1 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Chiffchaff (S. Hill)

Friday, 20th December: Quite bright for much of the day but cooler, with cloud building later and a fresh-strong SW wind. The next few days leading up to Christmas look decidedly wet and windy according the forecast I saw today. Most folks seem to have been committed today, though fortunately Mr Janman managed to find time for a spot of birding!
Evening update... seems I was a little premature in my prodding and further reports have now been received. Sadly it seems that one of the Ruddy Shelducks has now disappeared (and may perhaps have perished). Whilst there is no evidence it was shot, this is a distinct possibility; I say this because when first found both birds were apparently fit, then after a few days (when shooting and disturbance occurred around farmland margins) Andy House and others noticed one of the two was limping and becoming progressively lame. It may therefore have now succumbed, though of course this is just speculation at present so we must keep an open mind to other possibilities, but if anyone does get further info could they please advise.
A nice day for a ride on the Mountain Bike, although a bit muddy and like riding through treacle at times. Honer Reservoir area, 60 Linnet, 30 Reed Bunting and small numbers of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Yellowhammer. A deafening scream above my head was the result of an adult Peregrine chasing a young bird off from it’s territory. At the sewage farm c10 Pied Wagtails, with a further 7 birds in the field north of the southerly reservoir, also here were 1500+ Brent and a handful of Canada Geese. A female Sparrowhawk flew right in front of me down Church Lane, where still plenty of House Sparrows. Along the North Wall at least 160 Black-tailed Godwits and a Jay at Halsey’s Farm. Very little seen on the return journey through Marsh and Fisher Farms, apart from the odd Buzzard and small numbers of House Sparrow (CRJ).

Further news from Ads Bowley at Pagham Hbr: Nipped down the Harbour today for a couple of hours..... Just one Ruddy Shelduck flew onto Ferry Pond with c12 Shelducks at c1150, rising up from a couple of fields behind as a noisy plane went over. No sign of other one with it....and there was no sign of either 1.5hrs later as I drove back past. Also c20 Canadas and a single Brent around the edges and good numbers of Shoveler on there too.
In the harbour itself there was the usual fare: still good numbers of common waders around, Lapwing, Golden & Grey Plovers, Redshank, Knot, Dunlin, Oysters, Curlew (including 'Milky'), several Bar-wit, a single Black-wit and the pair of Peregrines were on 'their' island for a while and 4 Little Grebes were floating about.  Offshore there was a hell of a swell so viewing not that easy! Four Great Crested Grebes, 2 male Mergansers and c9 Eider were all I could make out whilst 3 Med Gulls were loafing near the shore. (
Also don't know if I mentioned it before, but we had a Treecreeper on 1st Dec in the 'Pallas' tree behind the seat overlooking the crescent. Must be only my 3rd or 4th record for the harbour in over 30yrs!) (AB)

Black-tailed Godwit, Pagham Hbr (Ads Bowley)
This from Andy House..."I was out today....Spent the morning around the East side of the harbour - highlights as follows: Non avian highlight was the Common Seal hauled up on the mud near the hide enjoying the sun, that eventually was joined in the water by a second one that swam in the harbour entrance. Bird highlights were 2 Peregrines on their island, at least 400 Black-tailed Godwits and 300 Golden Plover in the harbour, along with at least 1000 Lapwings, a female Red-breasted Merganser and a Kingfisher by the sluice and two Stonechats by the paddocks (per P. Callis). Also C&ME had one (but sadly not both) Ruddy Shelduck on the Ferry Pool." (AH).
 Common Seals, Peregrine and female R/b Merganser from Pagham Hbr east side (A. House) 
Some good birds at Fishbourne Creek on the rising tide this morning including Jack Snipe, Greenshank, three Spotted Redshanks, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and several Rock Pipits. It was noticeable however that some species were in very short supply - just a single Shelduck and Pintail and no Goldeneye, presumably reflecting the absence of cold weather so far (per P. James/SOS website).

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