Friday, 3 January 2014

3rd - 4th January 2014

Saturday, 4th January: Another day, another storm! The prolonged series of Atlantic lows continues unabated, with more grey skies, heavy rain and strong winds. Sea-watching would therefore seem to be the most realistic option for the time being! A lousy day today with rain persisting most of the time.

Selsey Bill (0800-1000hrs):  Heavy cloud and rain. Wind SW 7.  (Obs: JA/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 1 os
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Diver sp - 2W
Gannet - 2W
Eider - 2 os
Velvet Scoter - 2 os 
Common Scoter - 3 os
R/b Merganser - 2W, 4os
Guillemot - 1W
Auk sp - 1E, 4W
Little Gull - 2 os (ad + 1st-w)
Kittiwake - 2E, 39W
(most birds offshore were between the Lifeboat station and the Mixon 'mile basket')

(above) Adult Little Gull with Black-headed Gull, (centre two) Little Gull (1st-winter), and (lower) adult Kittiwake, Selsey Bill (A. House)
Additional sea-watch Selsey Bill: 1230 to 1430hrs:    (Obs: SH)
Great northern Diver - 1os
Diver sp - 1W
Gannet - 1E, 1W
Eider  - 1E, 1os
Common Scoter - 2E, 2os
Velvet Scoter - 6E
Long-tailed Duck - 2E, 2 os (presumably the C/Norton birds?)
R/b Merganser - 23E, 4 os 
Auk sp - 1W
Kittiwake - 2E
Med Gull -  4os

Pagham Hbr: Still trying!. All of the circular routes involving the North Wall are impassable unless you have really good wellies. Dreadful light but shed loads of birds as follows - 700 Wigeon, 108 Canada Geese, 80 Teal, 6 Shoveler. On the wader front - 1800 Lapwing, 1050 Black-tailed Godwits, 102 Curlew, 30 Redshank, 3 Common Snipe and 1 Spotted Redshank. A bigger crowd than Bognor Football club get!. Jim Weston.  The 2 Ruddy Shelducks were still on the Ferry Pool (SH).

Ian Pitts reports the following... 'Well the weather abated sufficiently this afternoon to permit a walk on the standard route, Selsey - Church NortonFirstly I have never seen the harbour so full of water and there is currently a mini sea water lake beyond the shingle bank at the southern end of the harbour. Definite highlight, a male Goosander flew north along the coastline, I presume it is the bird that was offshore in early December with the five females that Andy has recently seen in the harbour mouth. There are still at least three Long-tailed Ducks offshore, together with four female Eiders. 
As an aside I met Matt Eade and Adam Bowley on the shoreline, Matt reports a Willow Warbler at Sidlesham Sewage Works today (IP). He also found a Dartford Warbler in the marram on East Head (per SOS website).
No sign of the Whooper Swans on Ivy Lake this afternoon up until dark (SH).


Friday, 3rd January: If you haven't yet noticed it, the Review of the Year 2013 (compiled by Andy House) is now available - just click the page link under the title bar. I apologise in advance but the sharp-eyed amongst you may notice there are a few minor text-size fluctuations in the article; these are caused by compatibility problems and technical issues beyond my control. It should also be mentioned that our esteemed Log-keeper Justin reports that 2013 was a record-breaking year at Selsey Bill as far as hours and days watched were concerned, with totals of 1060 hours / 262 days being covered. Well done to Justin for his efforts and thanks to all who have watched and contributed. I wonder if it could be beaten this year?
Weather-wise it was back to gales and rain overnight and early morning, as the succession of Atlantic storms continues to sweep across the country. First news today is of a reasonable sea-watch at the Bill which produced both a Great Skua and a Balearic Shearwater, the latter described as giving a 'short but amazing view, 100 yds offshore at most!' Quite something then boys.

Selsey Bill: 0750-1015hrs:  Showers then sunny, wind WSW 7.  (Obs: JA/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 3W
Balearic Shearwater - 1W @ 0943hrs
Gannet - 1E, 1W
Shag - 1E
Brent Goose - 10W
R/b Merganser - 2W, 12 os
Eider - 1 os
Common Scoter - 1W
Guillemot - 3W
Auk sp - 17E, 4W
Great Skua - 1W
Kittiwake - 2E, 11W

Chi GPs: No sign of the Whooper Swans on any of the Ivy Lake complex of ponds, a Kingfisher on Vinnetrow Lake and plenty of the usual Pochard, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebes and Tufted Ducks.  At Lakeside Holiday Village a flock of 62 Greylag Geese, along with a few Canada Geese seemed quite unconcerned as people and their dogs walked close by (SR). Further update.........
I had a phone call from Luke Dray at 4.00 this afternoon to say he'd found a Red-crested Pochard on Ivy Lake.  By the time I arrived 10 mins later it was too dark to make out but we stayed on (in the rain) hoping the Whooper Swans might come in to roost, and at 4.30 they came into view.  A great end to the day! (SR).

 Greylag Geese at Chi GPs (S. Russell)
Pagham Hbr: The two Ruddy Shelducks were showing well at Ferry Pool this morning (SR).
Lagoon: Jim Weston had a less than pleasant visit today and reports" People must be daft to go birding in this weather. I managed to get blown around the Lagoon and Spit at midday. The Lagoon had 3 Goldeneye, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, a few Tufted Ducks and 18 Little Grebes. There were 7 Med Gulls tucked in with the more numerous Black-headed Gulls. Because of the very high tide very few birds could be seen from the Spit Hide." Keep trying Jim !!
Church Norton: Not much to report today as I dodged the showers - 5 Eider still offshore, but I couldn't find anything else there; a Meadow Pipit, at least 1000 Lapwings and 50 Golden Plover repeatedly going up over the Ferry, and the Ruff amongst similar numbers of Lapwing on the floods behind the Breech Pool, along with 50 Black-tailed Godwits, 20 Pintail and several hundred Golden Plover and Wigeon, plus 3 Reed Buntings (AH).
Lapwings and mixed wader flock over the Ferry field (A. House)

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