Saturday, 1 March 2014

1st - 3rd March 2014

Monday, 3rd MarchCloudy with brighter periods, but also very showery with occasional longer periods of rain; a fresh S/SSW wind f 4-5  making things rather cool and uncomfortable. Bird of the day was probably the first Manx Shearwater of the year past the Bill, initially picked up at some distance by AH before it headed into the Solent (thanks Andy!). Other than that the sea-watching was very slow and dull, despite it now being OBS at Selsey Bill (Official Birding Springtime that is!) I managed four hours before the high-tide and strong wind conspired to produce large waves at the viewpoint which finally soaked me and my optics! (OM).

Selsey Bill (0810-1210hrs): Cloudy with sunshine, frequent heavy showers. Wind S 4-5
(Obs: OM/AH)
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Diver sp - 1E
Common Scoter - 6E
R/b Merganser - 2 W, 9 os 
Manx Shearwater - 1W (0950hrs)
Auk sp - 2E, 1W
Sandwich Tern - 1W, 1 os
Kittiwake - 1W
Sandwich Tern at the Bill; presumably this is one of the over-wintering birds, but doubtless the usual arguments will soon start over which bird is considered the first spring migrant! (OM)

Medmerry: A washout of a morning, with my visit to Medmerry cut short by a fairly violent shower. The Avocet was feeding amongst the Tufted Ducks and Teal, and there were 2 Reed Buntings, 4 Skylarks & 7 Pied Wagtails. (SR)

Pagham HbrOn Pagham Lagoon there were 2 R/b Mergansers, 6+ Goldeneye, 75 Med Gulls and a 1st-w Little Gull, whilst on the Spit were another 50+ Med Gulls. OM/AB could find no trace of the Iceland Gull, not helped by the wind and frequent rain, but it seems ARK did better, finding it and a Kingfisher on the Lagoon a short while later.

Drake R/b Merganser, and below, a small section of the flock of Med Gulls on the Lagoon (OM)
Church Norton: Still 10 Avocets in the harbour, and a group of 24 Bar-tailed Godwits among the numerous Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plovers, plus at least 500 Brent Geese.(AH)

Knot & Dunlin in the harbour (AH)
And there is evidence that spring is not far away now, with both Oystercatchers and Ringed Plovers doing display flights over the spit, and the resident Collared Doves in my garden getting amorous, too! (AH)

   Not a bird that gets much attention! - Collared Doves in a Sidlesham garden (AH)

Sunday, 2nd March: Cloudy and cool with the promise of heavy rain at times. A few divers now starting to appear at the Bill, whilst the Iceland Gull was on the Spit at Pagham early afternoon.

Selsey Bill 0630 to 0900hrs:  Cloudy, dull, cool. Wind S 4-5.  (Obs: SH/PB/IP/SR/PC)
Red-throated Diver - 10E, 3W
Great Northern Diver - 9 os
Diver sp - 1E
Slavonian Grebe - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Gannet - 1E, 7W
Brent Goose - 22E
Shelduck - 2W
Eider - 2W
R/b Merganser - 1E, 12W, 8os
Common Scoter - 5E
Oystercatcher - 5E
Turnstone - 12E
Razorbill - 1E, 3 os
Auk sp - 1E, 22W
Sandwich Tern - 1 os
Kittiwake - 1E, 12W
Med Gull - 4W, 5os

Medmerry: (a.m.)  
Kestrel - 1, Sparrowhawk - 1, Avocet - 1, Kittiwake - 1 os, Stock Dove - 50, Stonechat - 1, Fieldfare - 30, Yellowhammer - 3 and Reed Bunting - 2.  (SH/SAH/PB/IP)

North Wall: The 2 Whooper Swans were on the field in front of Honer Farm again this morning, along with at least 50 Curlews, and there were a few Wigeon and Teal on the Breach Pool. Also 8 Avocets were flying around near the Long Pool. (AH)

Whooper Swans from North Wall (AH)

Pagham Lagoon: At least 150 Mediterranean Gulls and 100 Common Gulls this morning, plus 5 Goldeneye and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, and a few Linnets in the gorse. (AH)

Goldeneye on Pagham Lagoon (AH)

Pagham Beach: The first-winter Iceland Gull was at the harbour mouth again, late morning, along with 3 Sandwich Terns and at least 80 Mediterranean Gulls.(AH)

First-winter Iceland Gull from Pagham Beach (AH)

Church Norton: The regular walk from Selsey to Church Norton produced 1 Sandwich Tern, 100+ Mediterranean Gulls and 3 Red-breasted Mergansers along the beach, plus, sadly a dead Kittiwake and a dead Razorbill. There was also a Yellowhammer at Park Farm. (S&SaH)
Saturday, 1st March: A lovely spring morning, and a very busy day for birds,though the best birds were undoubtedly winter ones.....

Selsey Bill: 06.30-09.00hrs: bright SW3 (SH, PM & IP)
Great Northern Diver - 1 os
Slavonian Grebe - 3 W
Great Crested Grebe - 1 W
Gannet - 3 W
Shelduck - 1 W
Common Scoter - 1 E
Red-breasted Merganser - 11 E, 11 W & 2 os
Oystercatcher - 4 E
Sanderling - 1 ob
Mediterranean Gull  -7 w 2 os
Kittiwake - 1 E

Pagham Lagoon/beach: The first-winter Iceland Gull was again on the Lagoon at 11am before flying off towards the beach, and there was an adult Glaucous Gull on the beach near the sailing club. (CRJ & ARK). Both birds were on the shingle bank at the harbour mouth this afternoon, along with at least 50 Mediterranean Gulls. (AH)
North Wall: The 2 Whooper Swans were present in the North Fields and a Peregrine in the harbour (CRJ).
Early afternoon, high tide, SE corner Pagham Harbour, from Mike Collins' seat three Scandinavian Rock Pipits. (Compared with a British-type petrosus rock pipit seen later on North Wall, these Scandinavian littoralis rock pipits have brighter wing-bars, supercillia and underparts and upperparts are smoother with grey shawl effect; legs not particularly dark. (ARK per SOS)

Iceland Gull (above) and Glaucous Gull off Pagham Beach (AH)

Sidlesham Tramway: A Water Rail was in the harbour, before flying back into the reeds in the creek early this morning. (AH)

East Head: A lovely morning on the high tide produced the Snow Bunting at the northern tip, probably 2 Great Northern Divers, about a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers & 6 Great Crested Grebes on the water, a few mobile Sanderling and a great many Dunlin, 2 Sandwich Terns and a Stonechat.
At Snowhill Creek there were 2 Spotted Redshank and 2 Greenshank amongst the roosting waders, at least 1000 Brent Geese on the grass and the regular Mediterranean Gull over the carpark. (AH)
Snow Bunting at East Head (Alison Hall)
Snow Bunting (above) and Great Northern Diver at East Head (AH)

Selsey to Church Norton:  11.30 (S&SaH, IP)
3 Buzzards and up to 8 Yellowhammers (Park Farm).

Proof that spring is on the way - Red Admiral at Church Norton (SH)

A Spotted Redshank at Church Norton between the end of the path from the car park and the beach. Peregrine resting on its usual shingle island in the harbour. Others reported two Firecrests by the hide and 11 Avocets at the top of the harbour.
Female Eider offshore from the end of West St, Selsey. (Paul James per SOS)

Medmerry banks - Earnley (afternoon) (S&SaH).
Merlin - 1
Peregrine - 1
Buzzard - 3

Kestrel - 1
Avocet - 1
Skylark - 20+
Fieldfare - 20+
Cetti's Warbler - 1 singing

Avocet at Medmerry (SH)
Chichester Harbour: Highlights of the Birdham WeBS count included: 440 Brent Geese, 6 Little Egrets, 52 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 42 Red-breasted Mergansers, 183 Curlews, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 210 Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks, 92 Oystercatchers, 1 Sandwich Tern and 2 Mediterranean Gulls. Several Buzzards, and by the entrance drive to Chichester Marina a flock of about 20 Redwings. (Steve Gilbert per SOS)

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