Friday, 4 April 2014

4th - 6th April 2014

Sunday, 6th April: Cloudy and grey with a fresh W/SW wind, not the most promising of conditions for migrant activity, but you never know... meanwhile we start with a couple of late news updates:
Thurs 3rd: The Iceland Gull was still on the Lagoon and 2 Wheatears on Pagham Spit (DSF/ARK).
Sat 5th: This afternoon we had two Avocets copulating on the Ferry Pool, a Sedge Warbler singing on the Long Pool, a Spotted Redshank going into summer plumage at the end of Ferry Channel and at about 1430 an Arctic Skua gave us a five minute display of bullying gulls at the Bill (M & K Galtry).
On with today's news ...........

Selsey Bill:0630-0900hrs: Dull and cloudy, wind fresh W/SW (Obs: JA/SH/PC/SR/AH)
Predictably quiet - best bird a Bonxie heading east, otherwise the usual selection of Gannets, Fulmars, Common Scoters and Sandwich Terns moving back and forth and a handful of Great Northern Divers on the sea. Full log below...
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Gannet - 14E, 13W
Fulmar - 2E, 16W 
Brent Goose - 9E
Shelduck - 1W
Common Scoter - 1W, 7 os
Razorbill - 6W
Great Skua - 1E
Common Tern -1E
Sandwich Tern - 2E, 5W, 4 os
Swallow - 2N

Additional watch to 0940hrs: (when the rain started). (Obs: SR/PC/DS/JD).
Gannet - 1E, 6W
Fulmar - 3W
Common Scoter - 2E, 2W
Sandwich Tern - 6E
Meadow Pipit - 11N
Swallow - 1N

Selsey area:
Horse paddock off Warner Lane - 1 Wheatear
Coastguard Field - 2 Wheatears, 2 Meadow Pipits
West Beach/Medmerry - 2 Wheatears, 7 Linnets, 3 Meadow Pipits, 2 Pied Wagtails (SR).
Ferry Pool: A lot of activity, with the six Avocets present scuffling and displaying and mating. Also several pairs of Redshank and Lapwings in the field, 2 Gadwall on the Ferry, but only about 30 Shoveler now. (AH)
Mating Avocets on the Ferry (AH)
A walk from east Selsey to Church Norton at around noon produced 2 Gannets,  8 R/b Mergansers and 8 Sandwich Terns offshore, plus a Buzzard, 5 Cettis's Warblers, several Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap in the area and 3 Swallows arriving from the sea (SH).

Saturday, 5th April: Mainly cloudy with an occasional hint of brightness but a rather cool SSW wind. It was slow going at the Bill, whilst early reports indicate that overnight migrants were few, though a male Redstart at Church Norton was a bonus.

Selsey Bill 0620-1000hrs: Cloudy with brief sunnier periods, wind SSW1 - S2-3.
(Obs: JA/CRJ/RJS/CN et al).                   Full log..............
Great Northern Diver - 6 os
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Diver sp - 3E
Fulmar - 3E, 7W
Gannet - 11E, 14W
Brent Goose - 36E
Eider - 3E
Common Scoter - 87E, 14W, 2 os
R/b Merganser - 8E, 3 os
Wigeon - 3E
Razorbill - 1 os
Auk sp - 1W
Common Tern - 1E
C/A Tern - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 22E, 2 os
Kittiwake - 2W
Little Gull - 2E
Black-headed Gull = 29E
Common Gull - 13E
Med Gull - 3E
Meadow Pipit - 1N
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens

Church Norton: A quick look round Church Norton early on produced a nice male Common Redstart in the churchyard, but not much else of note. CN/CRJ failed to relocate it there, but did find it or another along the Long Pool sometime later. CRJ also had the Nuthatch singing and calling from one of the pines in the churchyard. AH)
Male Common Redstart in Church Norton churchyard (AH)

Pagham Hbr: North Wall: Several singing Chiffchaffs and up to 4 Cetti's Warblers were readily obvious, but a single Wheatear was the only new migrant I could find, and the often-elusive Water Pipits failed to put in an appearance this morning at the Breech Pool, which held a flock of c.70 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Wigeon and 12 Teal. Along White's Creek and the East side were 2 Wigeon, 2 Knot, 42 Grey Plover and 30 Dunlin, plus a large flock of c.75 Linnets which flew over from the Slipe Field. I ran into AH who was leading an outing, but he had done little better than me (OM).
The only thing to add was a single Sand Martin over the Lagoon, though 2 Spoonbills were reported briefly in the harbour this afternoon before flying off again and up to 5 Spotted Redshanks in the North Wall/Halsey's area (by M Daniel / SOS). (AH)

Ladies man!! Andy House on the North wall sluice, leading an all-female group (OM).
This pair of Wigeon were the only birds present in White's Creek when I arrived (OM).
The flock of c.70 Black-tailed Godwits in flight over the North Fields, and below part of the flock on the Breech Pool (OM).

Friday, 4th April: With the wind swinging back round to the west it was a predictably quiet start to the morning, with the regulars at the Bill - almost all of whom contrived to miss yesterday's star goose - in search of a bit of counselling and group-therapy! Early April days at the Bill usually see the appearance of some of the Hampshire regulars, so it was nice to welcome John Faithfull back for his first appearance over the border this spring.

(above) Following a general shift in the wind from E to W, this morning's gallery was assembled around the bench to seek shelter, rather than the favoured south-east corner of recent days. (below) John Faithfull in action (or should it be inaction?) on his first Bill visit of the year - accompanied by his Faithfull sidekick Sam (clever, eh?). Sam is also a regular, on his 14th year of visits, hence the excitement shown! (OM).

Selsey Bill 0630 to 1130hrs: Dry, cloudy, sunny periods. Wind WNW 3-4, SW later.
(Obs: JA/GH/JF/TR/SR/OM/AH/C&ME et al)
A little bit of movement early on, mainly of Brent Geese (without any other geese!), the most interesting birds being a group of four Black-necked Grebes drifting east on the sea. Not recorded between 2005 and 2012 at the Bill in spring, last year's occurrence of several birds in early April seemed a one-off, but this is the second sighting of the species here this week! Maybe they will become a regular and welcome spring sight. Otherwise there were a few lingering Sandwich Terns, Common Scoters and a gathering of at least nine Great Northern Divers, some feeding voraciously on crabs and small fish. (AH/OM) Full log ....
Great Northern Diver - 9 os
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Diver sp - 2E, 1W
Black-necked Grebe - 4 os, drifted E
Fulmar - 3E, 5W
Gannet - 10E, 10W

Brent Goose - 876E, 3W
Eider - 3W
Common Scoter - 42E, 2W, 4 os
R/b Merganser - 3E, 3W, 6 os
Teal - 2E
Curlew - 4W
Auk sp - 1W
Common Tern - 1E
C/A Tern - 12E
Sandwich Tern - 14E, 4W, 12 os
Black-headed Gull - 20E
Med Gull - 3E, 2W
Swallow - 3N
Meadow Pipit - 3N

Selsey: My first Swallow of the year headed NE along East Beach this morning, Park Lane had 1 Wheatear, 1 Kestrel, 2 Red-legged Partridges, a singing Song Thrush, and a few Chiffchaffs (SR).

Ferry Pool: Eight Avocets this morning, plus the usual wildfowl. (OM)

Church Norton: The elusive Nuthatch put in a appearance in the pines in the car-park (per George Kinnard), but otherwise it was pretty unchanged from recent days - a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps singing intermittently, a few Linnets and Goldfinches around, 30+ Curlew in the harbour and up to a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea.
Birdguides report the Long-tailed Duck as offshore again, and (presumably the Greenlease Farm) Black Redstart as still present. (AH) Ivan Lang later reported a Spoonbill over and a couple of very early Tree Pipits (IL).

Chiffchaff (above) & Goldfinch at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: (Easton Lane - Bracklesham beach) - A single Little Ringed Plover was the best bird on offer when I visited, and a Swallow flew over. On and around the pools were 34 Teal, a pair of Gadwall, 12 Tufted Duck, 16 Shelduck and 14 Curlew. Also logged were three flocks of Linnets totalling 80+ birds, 2 Yellowhammers, a Skylark, a Meadow Pipit and a Common Buzzard. (OM).

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