Tuesday, 15 April 2014

15th - 17th April 2014

Thursday, 17th April: Still bright and sunny, though the wind had gone back south-westerly. Generally fairly quiet on the sea once more, but there were a couple of bits of sea-watching interest and a small fall of passerines this morning....and although the Ring Ouzel at Warner Lane Selsey appeared to have gone, it was re-located there early afternoon and seems to be attracting quite a few visitors (per SR/PB).
Selsey Bill (0600-1230hrs): Sunny, dry, some hazy cloud. Wind SW 2 increasing 3-4.
(Obs: MHW/GH/OM/DS/JW/RJS/AH/C&ME et al). Seabird passage was light again -  though ten Velvet Scoters amongst a few flocks of Common Scoter, some Brent Geese and ten Little Terns passing showed there was at least some evidence of movement. Three Wheatears on the beach and a few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs in the gardens were proof of some inward migration. Full log follows:
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Red-throated Diver - 4E
Diver sp - 2E
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os flew off E
Fulmar - 1E, 3W
Gannet - 6E, 20W
Brent Goose - 68E
Shelduck - 2 os then back and forth over gardens!
Eider - 1 os
Common Scoter - 197E
Velvet Scoter - 10E
R/b Merganser - 5E
Curlew - 4W
Whimbrel - 2E, 1W
Sanderling - 3 ob, off E
Turnstone - 15 ob
Great Skua - 1E
Little Tern - 10E, 1 os
Sandwich Tern - 36E, 6W
Med Gull - 1E
Swallow - 12N
Wheatear - 3 ob
Willow Warbler - 3 gardens
Chiffchaff - 2 gardens
Additional 1230-1430hrs (C&ME/DS)
Arctic Skua  - 1E d/p (1325hrs)
Sandwich Tern - 10E
Swallow - 1N

Wheatear on Selsey Bill (AH)

Selsey Northcommon Farm: Little to report today except a Green Woodpecker and 3 Willow Warblers (OM)

Northcommon Farm area, Selsey: above - looking south down Paddock Lane towards 'flycatcher corner' and below - general view looking north across the horse paddocks towards the farm (OM)
Ferry Pool: 5 Avocets this morning, plus 5 Gadwall, 4 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 40 Shelduck and a Wheatear at the back. (AH)

Gadwall on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: Some evidence of migration this morning - namely a female Redstart, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Common Whitethroat and 10+ Willow Warblers, plus a few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, around the hide/churchyard area, and a singing Sedge Warbler in the second Several. In the harbour a prospecting pair of Mediterranean Gull on/over Tern Island, 4 Sandwich Terns, 4 Whimbrel and a dozen Curlews.
Also I saw my first Orange-tip and Holly Blue butterflies, plus a Comma. (AH)
Female Redstart (above) and Willow Warbler at Church Norton (AH)
North Wall: Three singing Sedge and single Reed Warbler, 30 Black-tailed Godwits. Pagham Beach  & Harbour entrance: 5 Wheatear,  single Yellow Wagtail & Common Whitethroat, 6 Little, 20 Sandwich and 4 Common Tern; also 3 Brent Goose in the harbour. (BFF/DIS/DM)
Pagham Lagoon: The Iceland Gull was still present during brief late afternoon visit. (AH)

Sandwich Tern at Pagham Hbr (DM).
Iceland Gull on Pagham Lagoon (AH)
MedmerryEaston Lane Car Park to Earnley Flood Pools:
A few Whitethroats, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, Wheatears and Swallows.
Pair of Little Ringed Plovers
Pair of Avocets firmly established on "their" island, seeing off any intruders !
1 Greenshank
1 Green Sandpiper
Ringed Plover/Sanderling along the beach
First Swift of the year.
Also 2 Hares (PLS/GJT)

Wednesday, 16th April: Bright and breezy again, with a fresh but noticeably cool ESE wind for much of the morning, eventually going round to full south-easterly. All very promising for the observers who arrived full of anticipation, but in truth it was rather disappointing overall. Conditions looked good for a steady movement, but it didn't really happen; no skuas (up until early afternoon at least) and only a gentle trickle of the regular fare throughout another seven-hour watch. It surely had to produce something, but somehow it failed to produce the goods, even though it felt like it must improve at any time and a couple of silhouette (Garganey-sized!) duck sp escaped ID just before we packed up - all very frustrating (OM). (Footnote: I note that Seaford recorded a good movement of over 150 Little Gulls late afternoon and this evening; yep, true to form they probably passed the Bill just after we'd left !!)

Selsey Bill 0645-1400hrs: Sunny, bright, wind ESE 4 then SE4 later.
(Obs: GH/OM/CRJ/ES/C&ME/DS/JD et al). A hint of passage with a few small flocks of Common Scoter and some Sandwich Terns going east, plus the now regular Long-tailed Duck and gathering of Great Northern Divers still to be seen. Full log below:
Great Northern Diver - 6 os
Black-throated Diver - 2E
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Gannet - 12E, 6W
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Shelduck - 4E, 2 os (local pair)
Common Scoter - 61E
Long-tailed Duck - 1E (regular bird)
Shoveler - 4E
Gadwall - 11E
Teal - 2E
Oystercatcher - 8E
Curlew - 3E
Whimbrel - 5E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1E
Grey Plover - 7E
Sanderling - 25E, 24 os
Auk sp - 1E
Little Tern - 8E
Sandwich Tern - 91E, 6W
Kittiwake - 4E
Swallow - 15N
Linnet - 5E
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens

Warner Lane, Selsey: The Ring Ouzel was still present and showing well again this morning (CRJ et al)

The Ring Ouzel (above) & Starling showing well at Warner Lane (AH)
Ferry Pool: Still 2 pairs of Avocets, 4 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall and 20 Teal, but only a dozen or so Shovelers now. (AH)
Church Norton: There was certainly a feel of a 'clear-out' last night - with very few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs singing, and not much in the harbour either, with a mixed flock of 80 Dunlin and 30 Ringed Plovers being the most noticeable birds. A pair of Lapwings on the uncropped field and a pair of Stock Doves by the old barn were the only birds of note around Greenlease Farm. (AH

Lapwing (above) & Stock Dove at Greenlease Farm (AH)

Pagham Lagoon: The Iceland Gull was again reported here today (per RBA).

North Wall: The long circuit this morning but, other than Chiffchaffs and Swallows, no migrants encountered. Breech Pool remains muddy but it was filling with the rising tide. Black-tailed Godwit numbers have dropped to 60, no other waders seen. A few Teal remain but the Tufted Ducks have gone. The Little Grebe nest at Owl Copse appears to have been ragged... one bird was sitting on the edge. Single pairs of Stock Doves at Owl Copse, Wooden bridge copse and Bramber Farm. Thirteen Mute Swans on Honer reservoir and a further 41 in the field behind; 6 Curlew at Marsh Farm (JW)

Two views of the Breech pool in its current condition (JW)
Medmerry: A Red Kite flew over east (PH).

Chi GP's: Westhampnett: Four Common Terns on the pit this morning (BI).

Common Terns (with Black-headed Gulls) Chi GPs (B. Ives)

Porthole Farm/Sidlesham SF: An early evening walk round produced a couple of surprises in the sewage works - firstly a smart male Yellow Wagtail on the settling tanks, and more strangely, a pair of Grey Partridges right in the middle of the compound. Also at least 50 Swallows, 2 Reed Buntings, 2 Yellowhammers and 6 Stock Doves around the vicinity. (AH)

 Yellow Wagtail (above), Swallow and a pair of Grey Partridges (if you look hard!) at Sidlesham SF (AH

Tuesday, 15th April: Another bright, dry and sunny day, following a bright, clear moonlit night. The most obvious change from yesterday was the wind direction which had veered from NW through to NE - then later E - though with a notable chilly edge to the breeze. The other change was that predictably the conditions ensured there was a clear out of most of yesterday's migrants, although fortunately one of the Ring Ouzels at Warner Lane was still present. At the Bill there was a good turn-out of the regulars but bird-wise it was still not really happening, although the now-regular Long-tailed Duck appeared, plus a Bonxie, 4 Little Terns and a small number of Whimbrel. News of an early Pom Skua at Portland filtered through, causing me to adopt Master Plan A and sit through seven hours of slow sea-watching, but in the event it came to nothing today (OM).

Selsey Bill (0700-1400hrs): Sunny, clear, bright; wind NE3-4, then E3 later.
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Diver sp - 1E
Fulmar - 1E, 4W
Gannet - 3E, 5W
Shelduck - 2 os (also over gardens; local birds)
Eider - 2E
Common Scoter - 19E
R/b Merganser - 7E
Long-tailed Duck - 1E (presumably the 'regular' bird)
Curlew - 1E
Whimbrel - 13E
Sanderling - 44 ob (some colour-ringed), apparently off E later
Dunlin - 1 ob, later E
Turnstone - 19 ob
Rook - 1N from a long way out
Great Skua - 1W
Little Tern - 4E
Common Tern - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 33E, 8 os
Wheatear - 1 ob
Yellow Wagtail - 1N
Swallow - 18N
House Martin - 3N

There was a good turn-out of the locals this morning, including our longest-serving regular Beryl James (front) who is still going strong having watched here continually since regular observations began in 1959-60. Beat that! Here she is keeping an eye on an unusually well behaved Mr Forbes! (OM)
 Part of the flock of 44 Sanderling and 1 Dunlin on the beach at the Bill (OM)
Warner Lane, Selsey: One of the two Ring Ouzels remained in the paddocks to please those who missed it yesterday, though there was little else of note bar a Common Whitethroat. (AH)

Ring Ouzel at Warner Lane (D. Mason) 

Medmerry: West Sands - A pair of Little Ringed Plovers were on the muddy puddles near the rubble heaps, and there were 2 Wheatears, 4 Meadow Pipits and 20 Linnets also in that area and 5 Dunlin flew out onto the beach. (AH)
Little Ringed Plover (above) & Wheatear at Medmerry (AH)

Church Norton: Just one Spoonbill roosting in the harbour towards high tide this morning. Also a Little Tern, a dozen Sandwich Terns and 6 Whimbrel present, though the bushes seemed quiet bar a few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. (AH) Additionally, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Brent Geese, 30 Dunlin and 5 Little Terns later (BFF/DIS/DM). Near the Visitor centre a Cuckoo was heard calling (CRJ).
North Wall: Chilly easterly wind. Breech Pool again looking very sad: eastern end is all mud, central section has water and the western end is one large puddle. Nevertheless the Black-tailed Godwits are still there, 170 this morning. When I arrived there were 38 nicely plumaged Dunlin there but they took off in a NE direction, on return there were another 17 there and a further flock of 12 flew in. Cetti's Warblers in fine voice along the Wall. A Whitethroat at Owl Copse and 4 Blackcap in and around the Copse. Swallows are back at Welbourne stables (JW).

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