Thursday, 24 April 2014

24th - 26th April 2014

Saturday, 26th April: A promising-looking day for sea-watching, with a strong southerly-based wind and a weather front with early morning rain. The rain soon gave way to sunshine and cloud, staying dry until mid-afternoon when occasional showers returned. At the Bill there was once again a flurry of passage for the first few hours, before it disappointingly died away, to early afternoon at least. Ten Bonxies and five Arctic Skuas, plus about 150 Commic Terns, somehow seemed scant reward for the conditions and the morning's effort, not helped by news of a much larger movement at Dungeness. Other impressive totals from East Sussex showed that good numbers of birds either passed us here just too far out, or perhaps crossed over from mid-Channel, but either way we missed out on a good deal of excitement.... but our day will come! (OM).  Log follows below ...
Early morning gallery of observers at the Bill, sheltering at the 'south-east corner' (OM).
Selsey Bill (0530-1400hrs): Rain at first, then  dry/sun/cloud, wind S-SSW5-6, backing SSE3-4 later. (Obs: JA/IP/SH/PB/PM/JF/GH/CRJ/S.Hat/OM et al)
Great Northern Diver - 3E, 4os
Black-throated Diver - 2E
Red-throated Diver - 17E
Diver sp - 4E
Manx Shearwater - 1W
Fulmar - 5E, 15W
Gannet - 58E, 20W
Brent Goose - 65E
Shelduck - 1E
Eider - 4 os
Common Scoter - 71E, 2 os
Whimbrel - 13E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 44E
Turnstone - 16 ob
Auk sp - 2E, 1W
Great Skua - 10E
Arctic Skua - 5E
Little Tern - 7E, 2W
C/A Tern - 162E
Sandwich Tern - 144E
Little Gull - 1E
Black-headed Gull - 28E
Common Gull - 41E
Kittiwake - 3E, 6W
Wheatear - 1 ob
Swallow - 4N, 2 lingering
Ten Brent Geese passing close inshore (OM).

Selsey Bill (1515-1915hrs): Bright, southerly F5, veering south-easterly late on (JA/SH/AH/CN/GH/IP)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Gannet - 21E 19W
Manx Shearwater - 2W
Fulmar - 3E
Brent Goose - 44E
Common Scoter - 8E
Eider - 2os
Bonxie - 7E
Arctic Skua  - 2E 1W
Kittiwake - 1E 23W
Sandwich Tern - 14E 10 os
Common Tern - 17E 6os
Little Tern - 4os

Ferry Pool:  92 Black-tailed Godwits, many in summer plumage and one colour ringed, 2 Shoveler, 2 Teal, 5 Shelduck, 2 Mute Swans, 3 Redshank, 12 Lapwing (two mating), 1 Reed Bunting, and numerous singing Sedge Warblers (SR).
Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry Pool: (above) D. Mason and (below) S. Russell

Church Norton: On a regular walk to Norton, SH logged the following: a Wheatear, 5 Cetti's Warblers, 12+ Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 6 Swallows, 10+ Whitethroats, Reed and Sedge Warblers heard (SH).
This morning there was an Eider offshore and a Fulmar went west, close inshore, and in the harbour/ offshore 5+ Little Terns, 10+ Common Terns and 10+ Sandwich Terns were present. Also in the harbour there was a flock of 15 Whimbrel roosting together and similar of Bar-tailed Godwits. This afternoon 3 Greenshanks were in Ferry Channel and the same numbers of the previous species on the mud. (AH)

 Whimbrel (above) & Bar-tailed Godwit at Church Norton (AH)

Chi GPs: Ivy Lake: A Swift and 6 House Martins high over the lake this morning, and 11 Common Terns present (CRJ).
Friday, 25th April: What a difference 24 hours makes! Cool, very wet and dismal this morning, but not bad enough to put off a few hardy souls ..... though perhaps it should have done. (AH). I arrived at the Bill at 0715 to find a very wet JA huddled against the wall, having been there since 0525! Passage had been minimal and after nearly a couple of hours more watching, and a visit by AH, hopes that the continuous heavy rain would ease were dashed - if anything the rain got heavier. Both JA and AH left mid-morning, and so I found myself alone, but working on the theory that faint heart never won fair maiden, I decided to give it a bit of a go, despite the conditions and the NW wind. This involved watching from under an umbrella, or the car, so was it worth it? Well I lasted until 1255hrs (making an overall coverage time of some seven and a half hours!) and I wish I could report something good, but in truth it was fairly dire - the only highlight being a nice flock of 12 Little Gulls moving east. Otherwise the sea produced just a few Commic, Sandwich and Little Terns, a fly-by from the regular Long-tailed Duck and a mere handful of waders, whilst incoming migrants were non-existent save for a bedraggled Wheatear and a Willow Warbler in the gardens. Oh dear! But I'm home now, drying out and preparing to be back tomorrow, for things can only get better (OM).

Selsey Bill (0525 - 1255hrs): Overcast, heavy continuous rain. Wind calm to very light NE1 at first, then N/NW2 later.  (Obs: JA/OM/AH).
Great Northern Diver - at least 4 os
Fulmar - 2E, 5W
Gannet - 24E, 15W
Long-tailed Duck -1W
Whimbrel - 4E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 7E
Dunlin - 4E
Turnstone - 12 ob
Little Tern - 13E, 2 os
C/A Tern - 35E, 5 os
Sandwich Tern - 39E, 9 os
Little Gull - 12E
Auk sp - 1W
Wheatear - 1 gardens
Willow Warbler - 1 gardens
Additional watch 1630 - 18.30hrs:  (Obs: SH/GH)
Great Northern Diver - 6 os

Red-throated Diver - 1E, 1 os
Shag - 1E
Gannet - 8E, 3W
Fulmar - 3W
Shelduck - 1E, 2os

Eider - 4 os
Common Scoter - 1E, 1W
Razorbill - 1E, 2W
Little Tern - 2 os
Common Tern - 32E, 2 os
Sandwich Tern - 9E, 7 os
Swallow - 4N
Also: JA/GH did an additional half-hour, which produced a noteworthy and unusual record of a Fieldfare, which was observed arriving from the sea, circling the playing field and then heading inland.

OM & JA braving the dire weather this morning at the Bill (AH)
Wheatear in the rain (above) & Fulmar at the Bill (AH) 
Church Norton: A quick stop in the pouring rain produced little, bar 8 Whimbrel and 4 Curlews on the spit in the harbour. (AH)
Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)

Thursday, 24th April: A calm, still and slightly misty start this morning with little or no breeze ..... sunny and fairly warm later.

Selsey Bill 0710-1220hrs:Calm at first, light variable later. (Obs: CRJ/AH/GH/PC/C&ME)
Unsurprisingly the lack of wind killed sea passage early on - such as it was - with quite a few of the Common Scoters, Gannets, terns and waders actually going west! Log below:-
Great Northern Diver - 14 os counted at low tide c 1130-1200
Diver sp - 1W
Gannet - 20E,4W
Fulmar - 1E, 4W
Little Egret - 1W
Shelduck - 2E
Common Scoter - 49E, 28W
Oystercatcher - 1E, 4W
Curlew - 1E
Whimbrel - 13E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 2E
Dunlin  - 60E, 70W
Turnstone - 20p
Great Skua - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 10E, 21W
Common Tern - 17E, 10W
Little Tern - 3E, 2W
Razorbill - 1E
Swallow - 29N
Wheatear - 8 (E) along beach 0755
Also: Grey Seal 1 os
Fox  - 2 present area.  

Additional watch 1220 - 1405 hrs: (Obs; C&ME)
R/b Merganser - 4E (drakes)

Gannet - 2E, 1W
Common Tern  - 5E        

Sandwich Tern  - 9E    
Swallow - 6N  
And from 1625-1840hrs: (JA/SH/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 15 os !
Red-throated Diver - 1 os
Gannet - 2E
Shag - 1 (summer-plumaged bird again) os
Eider - 18 os
Common Scoter - 12E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 11E
Whimbrel - 12E
Sandwich Tern - 5E, 20 os
Common Tern - 3E, 6 os
'Commic' Tern - 3E
Little Tern - 3E, 12  os

Church Norton had 8 Willow Warblers, 2 Common Whitethroats and 3 Sedge Warblers at the Severals, also a Cuckoo flying around the Priory (BFF/DIS/DM).
A late afternoon walk along the Long Pool produced a male Whinchat, a Reed Warbler, a Lesser Whitehtroat and several Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats, plus a Greenshank and a Kingfisher in the creek. (AH)
Medmerry (West Sands-Breach): The female Eider - presumably the one that has been lingering off the Bill and Church Norton recently - was in the breach mouth again this morning. Also 3 Wheatears, 1 Greenshank, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Little Ringed Plover and a few Linnets and Meadow Pipits about, though the new pools were mostly frustratingly devoid of birds. (AH)

Female Eider at Medmerry (AH)
Pagham Lagoon & Spit: A visit to the east side of the harbour was quite productive this morning. Our old friend, the Iceland Gull, seemed in no hurry to head north from the Lagoon, and on the spit there were 3 Whinchats, including two stunning male birds, a Wheatear, a Lesser Whitethroat and 20+ Linnets. Two Little Terns and two Sandwich Terns were in the (old) harbour mouth and 3 Mediterranean Gulls flew over, but there were generally rather few waders in evidence. (AH)

Iceland Gull (above) on the lagoon & Whinchats on the spit (AH)

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