Sunday, 30 March 2014

30th - 31st March 2014

Monday, 31st March: Grey and hazy with a light ESE wind, but remaining dry through the day. Another interesting session at the Bill - this morning's highlights being 2 summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebes drifting east on the sea, the first Common Terns of the year and the first 3 Velvet Scoter of the spring, plus another Arctic Skua and a steady passage of Brent Geese, Common Scoters and Sandwich Terns. On the North Wall at Pagham Hbr the Water Pipit was also briefly present. 

Selsey Bill 0645 - 1415hrs:  Grey but mild with hazy cloud, and a light ESE breeze 1-2.
(Obs: GH/OM/AH/SR/TR/C&ME et al)
Great Northern Diver - 2E, 8 os
Diver sp - 1E
Black-necked Grebe - 2 os, (s/plum) eventually drifted E
Fulmar - 2E, 2W
Gannet - 2E, 5W
Brent Goose - 679E
Shelduck - 2W
Common Scoter - 290E
Velvet Scoter - 3E
R/b Merganser - 30E, 12 os
Shoveler - 9E
Oystercatcher - 5E
Turnstone - 30W
Arctic Skua - 1E (d/p)
Sandwich Tern - 112E
Common Tern - 2E
Little Gull - 12E
Black-headed Gull - 15E
Common Gull - 5E
Med Gull - 2E
Meadow Pipit - 2N
Linnet - 6E
Brent Geese were again on the move today; many passed fairly close to the shoreline (as above), whilst (below) this squadron chose to move over the beach itself, passing above the observers (OM).
Church Norton: Quiet this morning - a handful of singing Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps being the only migrants in evidence. (AH)

Ferry Pool: Still 6 Avocets here, though the Shoveler flock looks to have decreased a little. Also the Sedge Warbler was still singing along the Long Pool (per TR). (AH)
North Wall: Still quiet: 24 Redshank along White's Creek. On a muddy Breech Pool were 67 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Spotted Redshanks, 1 Water Rail, 16 Tufted Duck and 32 Teal. Cetti's Warblers all along the Wall. Little Grebes sitting at Owl Water, 3 Chiffchaffs and 1 Blackcap in Owl Copse. (JW) At 1155hrs the Water Pipit showed well for 2 minutes then flew off high to the North (TR/Rod Shepherd).
Three Spotted Redshanks on the Breech Pool (JW)

Medmerry: (Easton Lane to Bracklesham) An early evening walk produced a few things - last (at nearly 7pm) but not least, a single Swallow flew over, at least 40 Fieldfare were still in the area along with several singing Yellowhammers, two flocks of Brent went east offshore - totalling 58 birds - and a Sandwich Tern went west. Also there were at least 6 Mediterranean Gulls were in the gull roost, and there was a very pale, sandy/beige-coloured small finch that I only saw briefly, with what I took to be a Linnet, and which I can only presume was a leucistic bird. (Though if it turns out to be something more exciting I'm taking half the credit!) (AH)

Sunday, 30th March: Sunny with hazy cloud and another fresh E/SE wind - what a pity this prolonged period of favourable winds isn't happening a month later! Even so it has started to produce the goods bird-wise and with the start of British Summer Time today the pace should now quicken. At the Bill a record count of 15 Great Northern Divers was made (confirmed by several obs) of which most if not all were fairly close. A good selection of birds also passed including a single flock of 37 Eider - although surprisingly no skuas were logged, in the first few hours at least. A late morning update from Gareth Hughes reports that the Water Pipit is again present on the Breech Pool; I also forgot to mention yesterday that GH reported the Iceland Gull was still present on Pagham Lagoon, feeding on apple pie! And an Arctic Skua did eventually appear - in the afternoon!
Selsey Bill 0640-1130hrs: Cloudy, becoming sunny. Wind SSE3, becoming more E/SE later. (Obs: JA/GJ/DS/JD/RJS/AF/AH/SR et al)
Great Northern Diver - 15 os
Red-throated Diver - 11E, 1 os
Black-throated Diver - 1E (settled briefly os)
Diver sp - 4E, 2W
Fulmar - 6E, 2W
Gannet - 5E, 3W
Brent Goose - 260E
Eider - 48E (inc flock of 37), & 6W
Common Scoter - 268E
R/b Merganser - 28E, 9 os
Shoveler - 6E
Curlew - 1E
Turnstone - 5W
Sandwich Tern - 36E
Kittiwake - 2W
Little Gull - 10E
Common Gull - 17E
Black-headed Gull - 28E
Med Gull - 1E
Meadow Pipit - 6N   
Additional watch 1300-1430hrs: (B&M Collins). 
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Gannet - 2W
Brent Goose - 105 E
Common Scoter - 65 E
R/b Merganser - 5 E
Arctic Skua - 1 dark phase E at 1347
Common Gull - 9 E
Black-headed Gull - 16 E
Sandwich Tern - 5 E

Rather distant Eider (above) and Brent Geese passing the Bill (AH) 
Selsey Northcommon Farm this afternoon: 1 Kestrel, 1 Green Woodpecker, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Red-legged Partridges, 2 Curlews, c60 Jackdaws, c75 Rooks, and c40 Carrion Crows (SR).
Pagham Harbour: A selection of news from around the harbour - Gareth Hughes & Kevin Tubb both reported a summer-plumaged Water Pipit on the Breech Pool, a singing Sedge Warbler reported on the Long Pool (per IL/Birdguides) and a singing Willow Warbler and several Blackcaps were around Church Norton churchyard (AH et al). There were also up to 10 Red-breasted Mergansers and 60 Brent Geese in the harbour and a flurry of at least a dozen Chiffchaffs along the west side, with similar numbers of Linnets. A late afternoon walk from Halsey's Farm to the North Wall failed to locate the Water Pipit, but  there was a Spotted Redshank near Owl Copse, and 20 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Teal and 2 Reed Buntings along the Breech Pool.(AH)
Linnet along west side of Pagham Harbour (AH)
Spotted Redshank from the North Wall (AH)
Sidlesham: A pair of Bullfinches along our lane on the west of the village this morning, and 10 Fieldfares flew over this afternoon. (AH)

Friday, 28 March 2014

28th - 29th March 2014

Saturday, 29th March: A cold, hazy start but dry, sunny and deceptively cool in the brisk ESE wind, though gradually warming up later. Conditions dictated it just had to be another sea-watching session, though it turned out to be a good deal slower than yesterday. I'd planned to be at the Bill until mid-afternoon, but in the event I was lured off the Peninsula at noon by news of a Hoopoe at Climping.....meanwhile AH had found a smart Black Redstart at Church Norton! (OM)
Selsey Bill: 0620-1200hrs: Dry, sunny, wind ESE4 5. (Obs: JA/CRJ/S.Hat/DF/OM/AH).
A slow start at the Bill, but eventually more evidence of migration, with a steady flow of Common Scoters and Sandwich Terns, plus four Little Gulls - full log below....
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1 os
Fulmar - 2E, 4W
Gannet - 20E
Brent Goose - 76E
Common Scoter - 195E
Shoveler - 1E
R/b Merganser - 29E, (inc 4os which later flew off E)
Sanderling - 2 ob
Turnstone - 10 ob
Curlew - 1E
Oystercatcher - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 29E
Little Gull - 4E
Common Gull - 7E
Meadow Pipit - 28N
Linnet - 2 p
Pied Wagtail - 2E
Sanderling on the beach at the Bill (OM)
More Brent Geese on the move today (OM)
Common Scoters passing Selsey Bill (AH)
Church Norton: A bright male Black Redstart at Greenlease Farm was the highlight this morning. Otherwise quiet - 120 Brent Geese and 5 female Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour, and a few Chiffchaffs and Meadow Pipits about being the best of the rest. (AH)
Black Redstart at Greenlease Farm (AH)

Friday, 28th March: A cold grey start, with some heavy rain and showers before the sun finally came out, then rain again later. A fresh, cool E/SE wind force 3-4 dominated throughout, but at long last there was some proper spring passage at the Bill.... nothing unusual, but for the huddle of regulars on the 'southeast corner' it was nice to see birds on the move, especially as many were at fairly close range having obviously come through the Solent. This favourable wind direction is set to last for several days, so hopefully some interesting birds will oblige us.

A huddle of Bill regulars on the south-east corner this morning (OM)
Selsey Bill 0600 to 1400hrs: Cloud, rain, squally showers. Cool wind E/SE 3-4.
(Obs: JA/OM/SR/AH/C&ME).
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Brent Goose - 330E
Shoveler - 2E
Pintail - 4E
Common Scoter - 236E
R/b Merganser - 25E, 5 os
Fulmar - 2E, 7W
Gannet - 5E, 4W
Shag - 1E
Dunlin - 2E, 1W
Grey Plover - 3E
Curlew - 1E, 1W
Little Gull - 1E
Common Gull - 21E
Black-headed Gull - 26 on playing field
Sandwich Tern - 23E, 2W
Meadow Pipit - 7N

Count this lot then!! Flocks of Dark-bellied Brent Geese passing the Bill close inshore (OM)

Common Scoters passing Selsey Bill (AH)
Medmerry: (West Beach) Three Green Sandpipers were briefly together on the flooded area between the caravans and the bank before swiftly disappearing again round the bend of the bank. Also there were 6 Avocets swimming on the biggest pool, with up to 10 displaying Lapwings, 6 Redshank, 2 Ringed Plovers and 140 Brent Geese around the other pools, and a dozen Linnets on the grass. (AH)

Avocets on Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just 2 Avocets here this morning, along with the usual wildfowl. (AH)  

Chi GP's: I took a walk down the footpath by Ivy Lake around 11am today. Not too much to report though there was a drake Goldeneye on Trout Lake. 2 singing male Chiffchaffs along the footpath and two singing male Blackcaps too (one was actually in Peckham Copse Lane). No Hirundines present though whatsoever. Probably the most attractive bird seen was a Bar-headed Goose with the Greylags on the Lake south of the footpath just before Peckham Copse Lane. (Jeff Goodridge)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

25th - 27th March 2014

Thursday, 27th March: Yet another cold, grey start this morning, with a bit of hail for good measure.... news from the Bill of a light-phase Arctic Skua and a flock of Brent Geese early afternoon (with thanks to C&ME).. I didn't make it out into the field today and no early morning sea-watching seems to have taken place, with the only report from early afternoon.... we must do better tomorrow and conditions look set to improve (OM).

Selsey Bill:1230 to 1445hrs:  Changeable and cool with sunshine, cloud, rain and even hail. Wind E/NE4  (Obs: M&CE).
Great Northern Diver - 4 os

Great Crested grebe - 1 os
Brent Goose  - 25E
R/b Merganser - 6 os               
Arctic Skua - 1E (1315hrs) quite close
Meadow Pipit - 1N

Church Norton: Quiet and bleak this morning, with a hailstorm keeping the birds low. 20 Brent Geese, 40 Curlews (including the leucistic bird) and 30 Shelduck in the harbour, and just a single Great Crested Grebe offshore. (AH)

The view across the harbour early this morning (AH)
Ferry Pool: Slightly brighter here and a few more birds, too, including four Avocets, and at least 10 Lapwings and 8 Redshanks displaying and tussling on the field. Otherwise it is a bit of a duck paradise at the moment, with Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Wigeon & Tufted Duck all represented, and two Red-breasted Mergansers in the channel opposite. (AH)

 Avocets (above) & Shelduck and Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Wednesday, 26th March: Another cold day with the wind from the north keeping birding highlights to a minimum.....

Selsey Bill 0745 - 1300hrs: Sunny but cool, with increasing cloud. Wind N/NNE2.
(Obs: OM/GH/AH/M&CE). Quiet still, early on, with just a Peregrine in off the sea, then a steady arrival of Meadow Pipits. I left the Bill after two hours, but thanks to those who continued the watch (OM). Full log below:-
Great Northern Diver - at least 2 os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 1E
Grey Heron - 1 over gardens
Brent Goose - 2E
R/b Merganser - 1W, 2os
Common Scoter - 4E
Curlew - 1W
Peregrine - 1N
Sandwich Tern - 1E, 1W
Med Gull - 2W
Common Gull - 1 os
Meadow Pipit - 335N
Goldfinch - 12N

Common Gull at Selsey Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: 7 Avocets this morning, plus exactly 50 Shelduck and 63 Shovelers. (AH)

Medmerry: West Beach this morning: 1 male Wheatear, 12 Meadow Pipits, 1 Pied Wagtail, 8 Linnets, 1 Kestrel. Looking from the walls at the new pools it was noticeable all the geese and wildfowl had left, there were just a few Lapwings (some displaying), and a handful of gulls. (SR)

Ivy Lake: No hirundines this morning, but the pair of Bullfinches were still there, being as elusive as ever along the main path, and there were at least 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Cetti's Warblers calling. (AH)

Chiffchaff at Ivy Lake (AH)

North Wall: All very quiet this morning. 48 Black-tailed Godwits along White's Creek, some in smart breeding plumage. The Breech Pool had filled up again with the high tide. The pair of Great Crested Grebes are still present but no display activities yet. The Little Grebes are still in residence at Owl Copse. A pair of Common Buzzards were performing aerial circles near to Halsey's Farm. (JW) The pair of Spotted Redshanks were back in White's Creek later on. (ARK per SOS)

Black-tailed Godwits in White's Creek (JW)

Pagham Spit/Lagoon: I arrived at the Lagoon at 09.30 to find the Iceland Gull having breakfast (white bread) and when I left at 11.30 it was having lunch (white bread). Also here one Goldeneye (first-winter), a Kingfisher, three Brent Geese (40 more in the Harbour) and three chiffchaffs while further along on the Spit were three Wheatears.(ARK per SOS)

Tuesday, 25th March: A cold, grey morning with a nagging north-easterly wind bringing more rain our way than it should. Evidence of migration is still at a premium, but as always, something turns up to brighten the day - and this morning it was a Merlin in off the sea at the Bill.....although four long cold hours in the rain for some, requiring umbrellas for much of the time, took some of the gloss off the spectacle!

Devotion to duty at the Bill! BFF, OM, DF & JD waiting for the rain to ease (AH)
Selsey Bill (0730 to 1130hrs): The full log follows, but highlights included the Merlin in off the sea, just a few Sandwich Terns and a handful of Gannets and Fulmars, small flocks of Meadow Pipits in and over and half a dozen divers on the sea, of which the identification of one or perhaps two was a matter of some debate (considered as definite Black-throats by some experienced observers though not unanimously).
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Diver sp -  2 os; at least 1 considered to be Black-throated and the other a probable (BFF/DIS/DM)
Fulmar - 8W
Gannet - 4E, 1W
Common Scoter - 3E
R/b Merganser - 4E, 5os
Merlin - 1N (0958hrs)
Sandwich Tern - 5E, 2W
Wheatear - 1N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 118N

Selsey East beach: This afternoon 1 Wheatear, 47 Turnstones, 1 Red-breasted Merganser close in, and a Sparrowhawk (SR).

Church Norton: Fairly cold, wet and miserable! Four Red-breasted Mergansers and 20 Curlews in the harbour, and a few Linnets, Meadow Pipits and Chiffchaffs along the west side was the best I could find. Late afternoon there were a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers in hte harbour and 60 Brent Geese flew in.(AH)
Ferry Pool: The 6 Avocets were still present. (OM)
North Wall: The Breech Pool is looking very sorry for itself, the east and west ends are open mud. Still around 30 Teal, 6 Tufted Duck and a pair each of Little and Great Crested Grebes. Waders were represented by 4 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Spotted Redshank both of whom were showing the first signs of breeding plumage. The Little Grebes at Owl Copse appear to have evicted the Coots and taken over their nest. It does appear to be in a very exposed position.  Coming back I was surprised to see 2 Weasels appear on the track barely 20 yards in front of me. I was watching then run around through bins when a Magpie suddenly pounced and carried the smaller one away. The survivor spent several minutes running around as if distressed and looking for its missing partner.  Sods Law really, the first time I see weasels on the Wall for 3 years and then promptly lose one!. (JW).
 Little Grebe on nest near Owl copse and Spotted Redshank on the Breech Pool (JW)
Pagham Lagoon / Spit: The Iceland Gull was again present on the Lagoon this morning (TR) but was as usual missing later..... it was found on the beach from the Spit this afternoon (BFF/DIS/DM).
Ivy Lake: About six Sand Martins were high up over the lake at lunchtime. (AH)

Saturday, 22 March 2014

22nd - 24th March 2014

Monday, 24th March: Another bright and sunny start, but this time much colder, below freezing with a heavy frost and a light SSE breeze. It seems likely to remain colder for a while with a forecast of E to NE winds later this week.
Selsey Bill 0730 to 0915hrs: Sunny & bright again, with a chilly wind with more east than south in it. And once again slow going!
ESE F3/4: (Obs: AH/GH/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 7 os
diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 4E
Fulmar - 3W
Gannet - 3W
Brent Goose -1W
Shelduck - 3W
Common Scoter - 3E
Eider - 3W & 1 os
Red-breasted Merganser - 8 os
Sandwich Tern - 3E & 2 os
Meadow Pipit - 1 obs
Ferry Pool: Six Avocets this morning, looking very like three pairs. Also a Kingfisher over, and still 40+ Shoveler & Shelduck. (AH)

Avocet on the Ferry (AH)
Honer Farm Reservoir: No sign of the Whooper Swans today, though 30+ Mute Swans flew in. A Snipe flew out of nearby reeds, and a couple of Yellowhammers and Skylarks were nearby. (AH)
Porthole Farm: At least 8 Yellowhammers this morning, along with 2 Reed Buntings, a Meadow Pipit, 10 Pied Wagtails, and at least 10 Stock Doves out with the crows on the bare fields. (AH)
Yellowhammer at Porthole Farm (AH)
Pagham North Wall: Still fairly quiet along the Wall. There were 18 Wigeon along White's Creek and a Grey Wagtail was around the sluice gates. Four very noisy Oystercatchers were doing the piping display out on the mud. The Breech Pool is open mud at the eastern end, a Water Rail took exception to a Grey Heron being on its patch and forced it to fly away. On the Pool were 40 Teal, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Mute Swans and 2 Little Grebes. Cetti's Warblers can be heard almost anywhere along the Wall. A flock of 14 Bar-tailed Godwits flew in from the Harbour and continued strongly in a NE direction. There were 2 Chiffchaffs along the Wall and a further 3 in Owl Copse. On Owl Copse water a Little Grebe was stealing nesting material from a Coot's nest (JW).
The 2 Spotted Redshanks were on the Breach Pool & the Iceland Gull on the Lagoon later in the day. (B&MC per SOS)

(above) - piping Oystercatchers on the North Wall and (below) Water Rail and Grey Heron following their dispute on the Breech Pool (JW)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to Bracklesham:  2 Little Ringed Plovers, 28 Shelduck, 4 Tufted Ducks, 11 Teal, c20 Skylarks, 1 Pied Wagtail, 3 Curlew, 18 Goldfinches, 9 Yellowhammers, 1 Red-legged Partridge, 3 Buzzards, 1 Kestrel and a number of Chiffchaffs calling (SR/M&CE).
Sunday, 23rd March: A bright sunny start with a fresh-strong north-westerly blowing; never conducive to a good sea-watch in this part of the world! Cool with heavy showers later.

Selsey Bill 0600 to 0930hrs: Sunny, bright, cool with some cloud. Wind NW5-6: A reasonable turn-out of people, but again relatively few birds although it could have been worse - a Long-tailed Duck, a couple of distant Little Gulls, the odd Fulmar and Gannet moving about, the regular Great Northern Divers offshore and a few Meadow Pipits in off the sea being the highlights (AH). Full log below (Obs: SH/IP/PB/SR/CRJ):-
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 1 os
Slavonian Grebe - 3 os
Mute Swan - 2W
Eider - 1W
Common Scoter  - 4E, 8 os
R/b Merganser - 2E, 10 os
Long-tailed Duck - 1 os flew off E
Fulmar - 1E, 4W
Gannet - 8E, 1W
Turnstone - 40E
Peregrine - 1W
Kittiwake - 5W
little Gull - 2 os
Med Gull - 3 os
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Meadow pipit - 11N
(also Common Seal 1os)

Fulmar off Selsey Bill (AH)

Church Norton: Still quiet on the migrant front - a briefly singing Blackcap and a few Chiffchaffs being the only evidence. The Galtry's reported the Iceland Gull in the harbour first thing, and there was a Spotted Redshank in the creek on the way to the beach and 9 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. (AH) A late morning walk from Selsey - Church Norton produced 4 R/b Mergansers os, 5 Buzzards, 1 Kestrel, a Chiffchaff and a Black Redstart in the hedgerow near Park farm (Langmead's res). (SH/SaH/IP).
Spotted & Common Redshank at Church Norton (AH)
Ferry Pool: Still 6 Avocets this morning, and 4 Gadwall present. (AH) Later, a Willow Warbler near Ferry hide/Discovery area (C&ME).

Medmerry: There were 3 Little Ringed Plovers on the pool south of Marsh Farm today (with 2 still present late afternoon). Also there were 3-4 Wheatears, a White Wagtail, 5 Pied Wagtails, 10+ each of Meadow Pipit and Linnet, 4 Yellowhammers, 2 Reed Buntings and many hundreds of corvids in the vicinity. (SH/M&KG/AH at different times)
 Little Ringed Plover (above) & Rook at Medmerry (AH)
Saturday, 22nd March: Cloudy with showers, cool and quite windy. The 'regular' Iceland Gull was on Pagham Lagoon again early this morning before flying off. Also a Common Seal was reported off the Bill and a Grey Seal off Pagham Yacht club this morning; I queried if this could in fact have been the same animal, and if so which was correct, but I'm pleased to say I soon received some firm responses.... the Yacht club seal was a definite Grey, whilst the Bill one had a cute dog-like face and was a quite small female Common. So there we are, thanks for the replies guys, enough said.
I must however make comment on a recent bird - an Iberian Chiffchaff or possible Chiffchaff with atypical song - currently just off the Peninsula across the water at Sandy Point, (Hayling, Hant's). First reported as the former it has now been adjudged as the latter, mirroring the situation with the 'Iberian Chiff' at Apuldram which occurred in April 2012. Indeed could it even be the same returning bird? First found by Bernie Forbes and Dave Smith, the Apuldram bird was singing heartily and anyone present in those first few hours of its discovery was in no doubt of its identity as Iberian; it was therefore with some dismay that later (that evening) we learned that other respected observers recorded its song which had become erratic and it was soon dismissed as a Chiffchaff with atypical song. This surely failed to take into account the subtle differences in structure (bill/colouration etc) and initial song (identical to playback of Iberian) and the bird was assigned to history as a reject. I and others felt a sense of injustice, but with no other evidence little could be done, especially as there were several recordings of the atypical song but sadly none of the original Iberian song. So that was that - or was it? In short, things came to a head when several of us went to Spain on a birding trip to a site where Iberian Chiff's breed  - and guess what, one singing Iberian suddenly went into atypical song; we all looked at each other and said," Apuldram!!" So it was that we decided to make a belated submission to BBRC. We fully realised the committee would be likely to reject the record (no criticism intended here but with the differences in opinion they would likely opt for a justifiable 'Not Proven') - but we felt it important to at least formally document the event, hoping that in future the ID criteria for this subtle species might be reviewed, as some research indicates that Iberian Chiffs can adopt atypical song, especially when away from their breeding areas or when in company with Common Chiffchaffs. The Sandy Point bird is therefore of interest. Time will tell (OM).

Pagham Lagoon: The Iceland Gull was present  at 0730hrs before flying off towards the beach (per RBA), and it was back there again late morning, along with a Mediterranean Gull and about 30 Tufted Ducks. Also a Grey Seal was off the beach from the Yacht Club. (AH/CRJ/S&SaH)

Iceland Gull on Pagham Lagoon (AH)

Selsey Bill 0600 - 0900hrs: Cloud, showers and sun. Wind W/SW 4-5  (Obs: SH/JA/IP/AH)
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 1W

Great Northern Diver - 1E, 4 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
Slavonian Grebe - 2 os flew off E
Brent Goose - 17E
Eider - 2E
Common Scoter - 8E
R/b Merganser - 4E, 8 os
Fulmar - 13W
Gannet - 1E

Sanderling - 25E
Kittiwake - 2W

Med Gull - 1E
Meadow Pipit  - 1N
(Also a Common Seal os)

North Wall: Pretty quiet again - a single Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Grey Heron, a couple of Reed Buntings and a squealing Water Rail was about it. (AH/CRJ)

 Common Snipe (above) & Grey Heron on the Breech Pool (AH)
Ivy Lake: A single Sand Martin over this morning, plus 2 singing Blackcaps, at least half a dozen singing Chiffchaffs and a Kingfisher. (AH/S&SaH)

Singing Chiffchaff at Ivy Lake (AH)

Church Norton: Two female Wheatears along the beach late this afternoon. Also four Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour, but not a single bird on the sea at high tide. (AH) Earlier, SH walked from Selsey - Church Norton and logged much the same but also 10+ Chiffchaffs. 
Wheatear on the beach at Church Norton (AH)
Medmerry: Earnley to Bracklesham 16.00hrs (S & SaH)
Gadwall - 6,  Buzzard - 2,  Wheatear - 4 (3 males) and Yellowhammer - 1.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

19th - 21st March 2014

Friday, 21st March: Another bright and sunny start though a bit cooler than of late, with a fresh W/NW wind. First news of the day is from Ivy Lake (Chi GP's) where 50 Sand Martins were observed by Peter Callis.

Chi GPs: Ivy Lake: At least 50 Sand Martins present at 0815hrs, though most seemed to have gone by 0845 (PC). A look round late morning produced no hirundine  activity, but there was a singing Blackcap & several Chiffchaffs, one Mediterranean Gull, one Lesser Black-backed and two Great Black-backed Gulls, a handful of Pochard & Gadwall still, and several very smart Great Crested Grebes. (AH)

Great Crested Grebe on Ivy Lake (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just 2 Avocets and 2 Redshanks, plus about 20 Curlews, amongst the usual flocks of Shoveler, Shelduck, Wigeon & Teal. (AH)
 Chichester: At work this afternoon, on the outskirsts of Chichester and on the northern frontier of the peninsula, one of my colleagues alerted me to a female Sparrowhawk devouring one of the Feral Pigeon population. It had apparently chased the pigeon under a pallet, caught it, dragged it back out and sat eating it almost in the doorway of the mill for about a quarter of an hour, with half a dozen of us watching from 20 feet away, and other people coming and going, until eventually it had had its fill and disappeared up into a nearby tree. (AH)

Sparrowhawk eating a Feral Pigeon, Chichester (AH)

Thursday, 20th March: A bright sunny start with just a light SSW wind and a slightly hazy sea, but with a weather front predicted to arrive by late afternoon - promising looking conditions for a sea-watch, so I decided to sit it out at the Bill this morning. I managed to put in a 4-hour shift, and over a dozen other observers also visited during this time. Amongst them were three of the Splash Point (Seaford) regulars - Bob Self with his good lady Katie, and Chris Brown - although they clearly hadn't picked a good day. Despite the good observer turnout the birds did not respond; it was very slow overall apart from a very small flurry of terns and divers early on....and sure enough the weather went from warm and sunny to decidedly cool and cloudy with a brisk SW wind by 1100hrs (OM).

 Sheltering from the brisk SW wind at the Bill; Seaford visitors Bob Self (seated centre), with partner Katie Hoff behind him and Chris Brown behind her, flanked by Peninsula regulars Colin & Mich Eames (left) and Dave Shepherd (right). (OM).

Selsey Bill: (0745-1245hrs): Sunny and calm at first, wind SSW1-2, becoming cloudy and cooler by late morning, wind SW 4.  (Obs: OM/JD/DS/PC/C&ME, et al)
Red-throated Diver - 5E
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Diver sp - 2E
Brent Goose - 24E
Common Scoter - 16E
R/b Merganser - 4E, 6W, 6 os
Fulmar - 5W
Gannet - 2E, 3W
Oystercatcher - 4E
Turnstone - 15 ob
Sparrowhawk - 1 gardens
Sandwich Tern - 7E

Ferry Pool: At least 60 Shoveler present early this morning, together with 2 Avocets which are apparently paired. A Kingfisher was hovering above Ferry channel before zooming off to perch up, whilst a Cetti's Warbler was belting out song above the roar of the traffic (OM) 

Avocets on Ferry Pool (D. Mason)
Pagham Lagoon/Spit: The Iceland Gull was on the Lagoon again early this morning, there were quite a few Linnets, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits along the spit, and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and about 40 Brent Geese were in the harbour. (AH)

Iceland Gull on the Lagoon (D. Mason)
North Wall: Pretty quiet - most interesting thing was watching a Snipe swim across from one reed bed to the other! Otherwise a half dozen Black-tailed Godwits and a few Teal and Wigeon were present, a couple of Grey Herons were toing and froing in the fields behind and a couple of Reed Buntings and a Cetti's Warbler were singing half-heartedly. (AH)
A swimming Snipe on the Breech Pool (AH)
Honer Reservoir: The pair of Whooper Swans were on here this morning, and at least 40 Mute Swans were on adjacent arable fields. CRJ also found a pair of Grey Partridges - a real rarity on the peninsula these days - in a nearby field and 3 Wheatears on ploughed land at South Mundham. (AH)

Whooper Swans on Honer Reservoir (D. Mason)
Just to complete sightings on my ride around the area this morning: Summer Lane S F area 2 Cetti's Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 10 Pied Wagtails, 1 Reed Bunting. Halsey's Farm:  1 Chiffchaff;  Marsh FM: 1 Chiffchaff,1 Jay, 33 Starling and strangest record was of a single wary Greylag Goose in the middle of a grassy field, not claiming wild as so many ferals around, but ?? Runcton: 12 Fieldfare. (CRJ).

Chi GP's: Ivy Lake: At least 8 Sand Martins over the lake this afternoon and 2 calling Med Gulls also dropped in (m.obs). Drayton pit: A female Goldeneye was present (BFF/DIS/DM)

Medmerry: We took a short walk along the foreshore where we watched the high tide pouring into the new salt marsh, a really spectacular sight and worth visiting on a high tide. A single Wheatear was near the car park (BFF/DIS/DM).
Wednesday, 19th March: A cold, hazy day with a brisk south-westerly, and still nothing much moving at the Bill, although we are now well into the second half of the month. After last year's record count of Brent Geese there has (so far) been hardly any visible migration of the species this year, yet numbers are disappearing fast from the it seems like the mild conditions and starry moonlit nights may have prompted some heavy nocturnal passage. Common Scoter and Gannet are another two species which have also barely troubled the scorers..... it must change soon! 

Selsey Bill: (0740-1010hrs): Cloudy, hazy, cool then sunny. Wind WSW4/5 (Obs: OM/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 6 os
Mute Swan - 1W, settled briefly os
Brent Goose - 4E
Shelduck - 1W
R/b Merganser - 2W, 6 os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 1W
Oystercatcher - 3E
Kittiwake - 1W
Med Gull - 1E

Selsey: Northcommon Farm:
Buzzard - 1,  Sparrowhawk - 1,  Kestrel - 1, Curlew - 45 in fields,
Green Woodpecker - 1, Jackdaw - flock c.150 in fields,
Rook - 57 active nests (OM).

You know it's a slow news day when corvids feature heavily in the reports! The upper two pics show Rook activity and part of the substantial rookery, whilst the lower pic shows a small part of the Jackdaw flock feeding on the damp grassland at Northcommon Farm. (OM). 

Ferry Pool: Still 6 Avocets there this morning, joined by 3 Black-tailed Godwits and a pair of Mediterranean Gulls, and a Kingfisher zipped over the road and along the southern bank. At least 40 Shoveler also still present, the majority being drakes. Later on, CRJ had a Wheatear at the back. (AH)
Church Norton: Much the same as the last few days; nothing offshore when I looked, but 1-2 R/b Mergansers in the harbour, the Peregrine in its usual place on New island, a Buzzard soaring and the Spotted Redshank in the horsefield channel with Redshanks (OM)
Pagham Lagoon/spit: The regular Iceland Gull was still present late morning (Matt Eade) and at least 4 Wheatears were on the Spit (G. Hughes).

Iceland Gull on Pagham Lagoon (John Cooper)
Medmerry Bank: (Earnley-Bracklesham) Highlight of a good check of the site was a Raven over south-west at about 10.30am. Also a flock of 110 Golden Plovers got up several times from the eastern end, and there were 3 Avocets and a pair of mating Oystercatchers on the pools to the west of the bank, along with 20+ Tufted Duck and Teal and a Greenshank was heard but not seen. There was a good selection of passerines, including 26 Fieldfare, 20+ singing Skylarks, 10+ Meadow Pipits, 12 Yellowhammers, 30 Linnets, 1 Jay, 1 singing Chiffchaff, and 20 Goldfinch. There were also at least 5 Buzzards, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 10 Little Egrets, 30 Stock Doves and 40+ Shelducks about. (AH/CRJ)

Golden Plovers (above), Shelducks & Yellowhammers at Medmerry (AH) 

Chi GP's: Ivy Lake: The usual wildfowl in reducing numbers but otherwise little to report; a lunchtime visit failed to locate any hirundines and it was quiet apart from a couple of displaying Buzzards, 2+ singing Chiffchaffs and the increasingly noisy and smelly Cormorant colony! (OM).