Thursday, 10 April 2014

10th - 12th April 2014

Saturday, 12th April: With the wind still light and westerly the Bill remains closed to most easterly seabird passage, but as ever there were a few things of interest.....and with a fair number of observers on the peninsula there were also a variety of reports.

Selsey Bill (0600-1230hrs): Dry, with hazy cloud and sunshine. Wind very light WNW1 to start, becoming W 3-4 later. (Obs: SH/PB/IP/JA/S.Hat/CN/OM/AH et al).
A new record count of 16 Great Northern Divers offshore today, seen by several observers early this morning. There can be few places in the UK at present where such numbers can be reliably seen; feeding groups usually gather into a main flock with other birds on the periphery, but they then seem to drift off after a little while , so time it wrong and only two or three may be visible depending on the state of the tide. Other highlights included the Long-tailed Duck offshore early on, two Little Terns, a Yellow Wagtail and House Martin in and a large flock of Sanderlings lingering on the beach (of which about six were colour-ringed/flagged).Full log follows....
Great Northern Diver - 16 os (see above)
Red-throated Diver - 4E
Diver sp - 4E
Fulmar - 2E, 5W
Shelduck - 12W, also 2 p ('local')
Gannet - 15E, 32W
Common Scoter - 18E
R/b Merganser - 13E, 4W
Long-tailed Duck - 1 lingering os eventually departed E
Curlew - 2E, 1W
Whimbrel - 2W
Dunlin - 11E, 4W
Sanderling - 41E (including flock of 39 lingering ob, which appeared to finally depart E)
Turnstone - 19 ob
Razorbill - 1W, 1 os
Auk sp - 1E, 2W
Little Tern - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 22E, 25W
Kittiwake - 1W
Med Gull - 4E
Yellow Wagtail - 1N
House Martin - 1N
Swallow - 82N

Long-tailed Duck & Sanderlings at Selsey Bill (AH)

Some of the colour-ringed/flagged Sanderlings (above) and part of the flock on the shoreline (OM)
Selsey Northcommon Farm: A male Redstart being harassed by a resident Robin, 2-3 Willow Warblers, a pair of Stock Doves and 2 Green Woodpeckers (OM)
Ferry Pool/Visitor Centre: Two Cuckoos flew over the centre early this morning. Also in the vicinity were a Common Whitethroat and a Lesser Whitethroat. On the Ferry still 6 Avocets, plus 2 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall and 20+ Shoveler. (C&ME/C&JM/AH) 

North Wall/area:  231 Black-tailed Godwits and 1 Spotted Redshank on a very muddy Breech Pool. A Wheatear in the field behind and a Cetti's Warbler seen carrying nesting material just west of the Pool. A Sand Martin and Swallow around the Pool and several Chiffchaffs singing in Owl Copse. (JW). Two Spoonbill reported from the North Wall area, 1 imm Spoonbill flying southwards along Church Norton Spit towards the Bill (& later reported over Medmerry), 2 Wheatears on the spit, 1 Common Redstart at Glebe Meadow and 1 Gannet on the sea (IL)  

Church Norton: Another Cuckoo seen & heard here, plus one at Park Farm Selsey, the regular Nuthatch in the churchyard, though fewer migrants were seen today. There were single Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat seen, and plenty of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and a few Willow Warblers about, plus a steady trickle of Swallows and Sand Martins over, whilst in the harbour 6 Sandwich Terns were indulging in a bit of displaying, and on the sea there was a female Eider and a female Red-breasted Merganser. (C&ME/C&JM/SdeH/S&SaH/AH)

Nuthatch at Church Norton and Redstart at Yeoman's Field (C. Eames) 


Eider off Church Norton (AH)
Medmerry: Earnley Flood Pools
8 Avocet
2 Spoonbills
2 Ringed Plovers
2 Dunlin
1 Shoveler
3 White Wagtails
1 Corn Bunting
Easton Road Car Park area
Several Swallows passing through
Cetti's  Warbler heard   (P.Stent/G.Tamlyn)

A later visit added
a Little Ringed Plover, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Wheatears, 3 Yellowhammers, 2 Reed Buntings, 12 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins and a Chiffchaff (S&SaH).
Friday, 11th April: Another bright start, with a light north-westerly unsurprisingly keeping sea passage to a minimum, but there were still a few birds to be seen....

Selsey Bill 0615-1000hrs: Starting cloudy NW3, becoming sunny N2-3.
(Obs: JA/GH/SR/AH): Another morning with more birds going west than east, but there was a Bonxie, 2 Little Terns, a Long-tailed Duck and a flock of Eider, plus a few Willow Warblers and a couple of Wheatears in the gardens to keep the interest. Full log below...
Great Northern Diver - 10 os
Diver sp - 1E
Greylag Goose - 2E
Eider - 18E, 14W (probably same flock involved)
Shelduck -  2 (local birds)
Long-tailed Duck - 1E
Common Scoter - 10E, 12 os
Curlew - 3E
Turnstone - 15 ob
Fulmar - 4E, 4W
Auk sp - 2E, 6W
Little Tern - 2 os
Sandwich Tern - 17E, 4 os
Great Skua - 1W
Swallow - 7N
Wheatear - 2N
Meadow Pipit - 1N
Chiffchaff - 4 gardens
Willow Warbler - 6 gardens

Horse Paddock off Warner Lane: 2 pairs of Blackcaps, 1 pair of Linnets, 1 pair of Red-legged Partridges, and a Grey Heron looking rather out of place. (SR)

Church Norton: An interesting morning, though predictably the most interesting birds made life difficult. The male Redstart was still skulking in the churchyard keeping away from the local Robins, and two more were seen along the path through Greenlease Farm. Also there, heard but not seen, was a Nightingale in the hedges just east of the farm. There were up to five Wheatears along the beach, a Common Whitethroat briefly in the car-park, a Sedge Warbler in the first Several, plenty of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers about, and there were at least 40 Blackcaps, seemingly in every bit of blackthorn blossom right around the circuit.
The Nuthatch was heard initially between the Severals and again from Rectory Lane, a Sand Martin and half a dozen Swallows flew over, a female Eider was offshore, and finally a single Brent Goose and a single Sandwich Tern were in the harbour. (AH)
Blackcap (above) & Wheatears at Church Norton (AH)

Further visits to Church Norton from S&SaH, AH & CRJ late this afternoon found a Long-tailed Duck on the sea, the Nightingale singing occasionally on Greenlease Farm, a couple of Swallows, a Mistle Thrush and numerous Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. (AH)

Mistle Thrush at Church Norton (AH)
Medmerry: Through the caravan park today around the rubble and tyres: four Wheatears, a male Common Redstart, a pair of Stonechats, lots of Linnets, a Willow Warbler and a few Pied Wagtails (BI)
A late afternoon look round the same area found a Little Ringed Plover, a pair of Ringed Plover, the four Wheatear, and a Tree Pipit along with 3 or 4 Meadow Pipits. (AH)

Tree Pipit (above) & Meadow Pipit at Medmerry (AH)

Thursday, 10th April: A bright, sunny morning with no sea passage to report, but something of a fall of passerines....

Selsey Bill 0730-0900hrs: Sunny becoming quite warm later; wind light W 2-3.
(Obs: OM/AH/PC/RC) Nothing really moving - the usual few Common Scoter, Sandwich Terns and Great Northern Divers lingering, and a couple of Swallows and a Sand Martin over, and a Wheatear and a few Chiffchaff/Willow Warblers just inland at Seal Road. The four observers present were beginning to find terminal boredom setting in when a well-timed call from AF gave us all an excuse to leave and scramble off to Norton; alas for more frustration (see below). The Log follows:-
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Shelduck - 2W then back E (local birds?)
Common Scoter - 20 os in two flocks
R/b Merganser - 1W
Gannet - 1E, 2W
Sandwich Tern - 6E, 8 os
Swallow - 2 in N
Sand Martin - 1N
An additional hour (12-1300hrs) produced just  Red-throated Diver - 3E, Oystercatcher - 2E. Sandwich Tern - 2E, 1W and Swallow - 1N. So there I was, quietly taking lunch and birding, when this alien thing appeared almost overhead, buzzing its way slowly along the beach...... spacecraft? No, it was a drone... and its cheeky owner was wisely a good distance away from me. Still, it may have uses in the future as an early warning pom-detector! (OM).

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it's an irritating remote-controlled drone aerial camera at the Bill! (OM)

Selsey Northcommon Farm: 7 Curlew, 10 Willow Warblers and 2 Chiffchaffs (OM).

Church Norton: A frustrating morning! A&YF reported briefly seeing a Pied Flycatcher in the churchyard, and shortly afterwards a Hoopoe by the concrete wall, which flew off into the (private) Priory area, but despite much searching neither could be refound! A male Redstart around the churchyard wasn't much more obliging, but did briefly give itself up on a couple of occasions. Otherwise there were up to ten Blackcaps about, and up to twenty Chiffchaffs and/or Willow Warblers around that area and similar along the west side. There were also half a dozen Sandwich Terns in the harbour, plus 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Buzzards (AH/OM)

Willow Warbler (above) & Blackcap at Church Norton (AH)
North Wall/Fields: Not much to report on my bike ride around the area today, except an obvious fall of Willow Warblers, they seemed to be singing everywhere, minimum 20. On the way to Honer Reservoir 4 Yellowhammers and 4 Chiffchaffs singing, 45 Mute Swan in the field to north; on the Breech Pool c100 Black-tailed Godwits, more Blackcaps about today also. On the return ride 4 Swallows steaming north over Marsh Farm (CRJ).
Medmerry: A Whimbrel over, calling, this morning, and a fall of Willow Warblers on the dead hedges in the new intertidal area.(PH) Cuckoo seen and heard close to the Easton Road Car Park plus noticeable increase in Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. Earnley Flood Pools: 4 Avocets and 3 "White" Wagtails.(P. Stent & G. Tamlyn)

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