Selsey Bill (0750 - 0900hrs): Sunny, light W (AH/Dave Sadler)
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Shelduck - 2W
Common Scoter - 1W, 15 os
Sandwich Tern - 3W
Additional watch:(1140 to 1410hrs): (Obs: DS/C&ME/G. Beck)
Great Northern Diver - 3E, 1 os
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Gannet - 2W
Eider - 5E
Common Scoter - 11E, 14 os
Little Tern - 1W
Common Tern - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 9E, 8W
Swallow - 6N
Also a Pod of 5 Harbour Porpoise up and down, feeding 2-300 yds out for minimum of 2 hrs.
Medmerry: The first Cuckoo of the spring heard here this morning, and also a Swallow and a House Martin over (Pete Hughes).
Diver sp - 1E
Gannet - 4E, 1W
Common Scoter - 47E, 16 os
R/b Merganser - 2 os
Whimbrel - 1W
Merlin - 1N
Auk sp - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 10E, 12 os
Med Gull - 3E, 3W
Swallow - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 2N
Goldfinch - 5N
Linnet - 19N
An additional hour this evening produced 6 GND's and 23 Common Scoter offshore, a Gannet E and a single Auk sp W (SH).
Monday, 7th April: As was forecast, a wet morning with a fresh SSW wind, the wind becoming more westerly later with continuing rain. With both blog authors away from the Peninsula most of today, and other regulars either looking elsewhere or not going out, it has all the hallmarks of a slow news day. Time then for a bit of day-dreaming about Pom Skuas. Former patch regular and now Welsh resident Mervyn Jones will be well known to many of those who have watched at the Bill over the years, and for a bit of fun he recently contacted our log-keeper JA, concerning the best day to plan his next visit by using a Pom Probability Chart. The following may therefore be of interest ................
I have been gone from the Bill 12 years now (hard to believe) and have not seen a decent flock, or even a Pom, in the last 5 years so have timed my visits wrong. I know temp’s of over 70 with high pressure bring flocks, but as you’ve kept the Bill records over the last 10 years you may be able to see if there is a BEST date for the Bill over this period, as it seems to me Poms are coming earlier in the Spring. We used to have a bit of fun making predictions as you lot still do, so an Atkinson Pom Probability Chart to replace the Janman/ Jones chart may be good fun and may tell me the best date to come down next time. Hope you all have a great spring, I still miss it and look at the blog every day. Regards, Mervyn.
Reply from Justin…
I have looked at all the Pom data for the last ten years (2004-2013 inclusive) and the following information is based on that only. Unfortunately the logs previous to me taking over (2004 and 2005) did not include full weather info, logs after this (bar the odd day or two) feature detailed weather.
2004 – 99e
2005 – 44e
2006 – 61e
2007 – 32e, 5w
2008 – 82e, 3os
2009 – 18e, 2w
2010 – 28e
2011 – 108e
2012 – 43e
2013 – 15e, 1w
Total for the ten years – 530e, 8w, 3os: Earliest – 1e 14/4/2005. Latest – 1e 31/5/2007
(Note: There have been a few June records; these are not included in any data of this analysis).
The most recorded on any one day is 45 on 26th April 2004 (a very early date for a big day count), next is 39 on 7th May 2008, then 32 on 1st May 2011 and then 31 on 4th May 2006, these are the only days in the last ten years that have featured more than 30 birds.
Although the date that has had the most Poms (64) in the last ten years is the 7th May (so that is still counting for something), the obvious peak is between the 30th April and 4th May, with a smaller peak on 25th to 26th April. Just based on dates and figures, I would say that the best day to see Poms is the 2nd May.
The weather data for the last eight years is quite interesting. One thing it does clearly show is that there have been very, very few days with a light to moderate south east wind (at least days with this weather that Poms were seen), only 9 in fact.
Only 13 birds on 6 days where the wind was north/north west/west (mainly cloudy)
Only 35 birds on 20 days where the wind was south/south west/south south-west (mainly cloud, sun/cloud)
192 birds on 22 days where the wind was north east/north north-east/east north east (mainly cloud or sun/cloud)
144 birds on 20 days with east/east south east/south east/south south east (mainly sun/cloud or sun/hazy)
Hardly any birds seen in rain (this will suit you Merv!).
So clearly east in the wind (as we know) gives a much better chance and in recent years north-east has been better than south-east, although this could be related to the lack of decent south-east winds.
In some ways there are just too many variables to work out the ‘perfect day’, but all things considered, a north-east force 3-4, with a mixture of sun & cloud on the 2nd May gives you the best chance. Don’t shoot me if they all come through on the 14th! Alternatively, any day at the end of April or the start of May, when Owen is present but has gone on a toilet break, normally produces a few! Regards, Justin (end).
Great Northern Diver - 7 os
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Common Scoter - 32E, 15os
Gannet - 1E,1W
Common Tern - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 18E, 5W