Thursday, 29 May 2014

29th - 31st May 2014

Saturday, 31st May: A bit of summer weather for the end of May, and the bird-watching feels 'summery', too, looking at nesting birds rather than migrants.... meanwhile an end-of-month sea-watch failed to produce any skuas and the Pom challenge is set for a draw - albeit the highest score-draw on record! (OM). 

Selsey Bill (0615-0905hrs): Dry, sunny, wind E2-3.  (Obs: JA/C&ME) No skuas this morning to round off the spring, and for the first time in months no Great Northern Divers seen either; have they all now departed? However, a Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler in Bill House garden hinted that a few late migrants are still arriving. Log...
Fulmar - 7E, 3W
Gannet - 36E, 1W
Eider - 2 os
Common Scoter - 44E, plus large flock c.150 os
Oystercatcher - 3 ob
Little Tern - 2 os
Common Tern - 7E, 4 os
Arctic Tern - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 2 os
Herring Gull - 578 os (well done JA!!)
Med Gull - 2E
Swift - 2 p (local)
Whitethroat - 3 gardens
Sedge Warbler - 1 gardens
Medmerry: The Black-winged Stilts are still sitting tight on the edge of their pool, though the Avocets and Little Ringed Plovers have small chicks running around nearby. A pair of Shovelers arrived there early this morning, a White Wagtail and a Wheatear were nearby (per MD), and 2-3 Corn Buntings, up to 10 Yellowhammers, a Reed Bunting, several Skylarks and a what appeared to be a newly arrived Reed Warbler were seen from the path. Also at least 4 Mediterranean Gulls amongst Black-headed Gulls catching insects (and 9 or 10 later on behind a plough), a Sandwich Tern over and an early Painted Lady by the car-park. (AH/IP/MD et al)

Black-winged Stilts changing nest-duty (above), Yellowhammer & Painted Lady at Medmerry (AH)

Medmerry - Porthole Farm: This evening there were 6+ Yellowhammers, 20+ Linnets, 2 Skylarks, 5+ Whitethroats, a calling Cuckoo and 2 Stock Doves around, and 50+ House Martins, 30+ Swifts and 100 Swallows over the sewage farm. (AH)
Whitethroat at Porthole Farm (AH)

Church Norton: Quiet early on - a Lesser Whitethroat singing between the Severals, up to 3 Reed Buntings along the Severals, 2 Red-legged Partridge on the beach and a Common Tern plus a couple of Curlews in the harbour was about it. (AH/IP)
Friday, 30th May: Similar weather to yesterday; cloudy and dry but with a brisk and fairly cool easterly wind. As we approach the end of the month, there is just today and tomorrow left to add a countable Pom to the title challenge - perhaps unlikely but you never know. It will also soon be time to reflect on this year's spring passage; last time I saw JA (our log-keeper) I queried how the totals were going..... there was some sort of mumbled reply that included the words "good for Poms" but also "rubbish totals" and "lowest ever" .... so I'm guessing it won't be a classic spring! I must admit to feeling short-changed on tern and wader movements at least, despite putting in a good few hours, but on the plus side it seemed better for passerines this year. Ah the joys of spring, every year much the same but different; it will be interesting to know the final results (OM). 
Selsey Bill (0650-0900hrs) E4 cloudy (JA/SR): Little moving again - a Bonxie west being the highlight - but just a hint of inward migration, including a Whitethroat and two Meadow Pipits in off the sea. Full log below -
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Gannet - 37E, 5W
Fulmar - 2E, 4W
Common Scoter - 120os
Sanderling - 9W
Dunlin - 1W
Turnstone - 5obs
Bonxie - 1W
Common Tern - 9E,17os
'Commic' Tern - 6E
Sandwich Tern - 14os
Little Tern - 4os
Meadow Pipit - 2N
Swallow - 1N
House Martin - 2N
Whitethroat - 1N
Church Norton: Again, just a suggestion of birds on the move, but no rarities! A Spotted Flycatcher was in the dead tree by the concrete wall, a Lesser Whitethroat was singing intermittently by the Severals, and in the harbour 32 Sanderlings with 38 Dunlin and 44 Ringed Plover in one big flock. (AH)
Spotted Flycatcher (above) & Sanderling and Ringed Plover at Church Norton (AH)

Chi GPs- Ivy Lake: 26 Common Terns feeding this evening, plus 7 Great Crested Grebes and a Black Swan. (AH)

Medmerry: Stilt-watch this morning - The Little Ringed Plovers have 2 chicks on the Stilt pool and the pair the other side have 3 chicks. There are at least 5 Avocet chicks too. A Hobby was hunting along the beach early am, and there were also 2 Cuckoos, a Corn Bunting, a female Wheatear around, plus 2 Knot and 2 Grey Plovers, and there were 5 Gannets offshore. The highlight, though, was a Mole that ran up the bank. (AB)
Little Ringed Plover chick (above) & Black-winged Stilt at Medmerry (AB)
Little Owl (above) & Mole at Medmerry (AB)
above - an Avocet (or should it be Exocet?) in 'pursuit mode' at Medmerry, centre - work proceeds as a pair of Mute Swans zoom by, and below - Little Ringed Plover sheltering chick (M. Davis)

Ferry Pool: At midday there were 2 Avocets, 4 Gadwall, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Tufted Ducks, 7 Shelducks and 2 chicks, 1 Little Egret and 1 Redshank present, and nearby in Yeoman's Field a Cuckoo was carefully watching the hedgerows from its usual perch. (SR) This evening there were 3 Teal, 6 Gadwall, 3 Avocets and 18 Black-tailed Godwits present, plus a Hare in the field to the south of the Ferry. (AH)

Thursday, 29th May: Cloudy but with some east in the wind today, with the same predicted for tomorrow, though it has probably come too late... or has it?
Also, there is a sighting I must mention - whilst I was in West Wales, of a former Selsey resident, now just a rare spring visitor, on his new summering grounds - selling tickets to Skomer Island! (AH)

Former Selsey sea-watching stalwart, Mervyn Jones, working hard for the South & West Wales Wildlife Trust (AH)

Selsey Bill 0700-1300hrs: Cloudy, E/SE 3, cool. (Obs: DF/PC/AH/OM) Little moving this morning, a couple of Arctic Skuas being the highlight, though still several Great Northern Divers around... log below:
Fulmar - 3W
Gannet - 14E, 1W
Eider - 1 os
Common Scoter - 62E, also large flock c.120 os
Sanderling - 29E
Dunlin - 4E
Arctic Skua - 2E
Little Tern - 6 os drifted E
C/A Tern - 14E, 20 os
Sandwich Tern - 12E, 8 os drifted E
Auk sp - 2E
Swift - 2N

Common Scoter flock passing the Bill, and sea-defence works going on right in front of the wall, including straightening the bent green triangles (OM). 
Church Norton: Most of the interest was in the harbour, where a few very late migrant waders could be seen, including 2 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Sanderling, 40 Dunlin and at least 50 Ringed Plover, along with a few feeding Little and Common Terns. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing by the concrete wall, and there was a bit of song from the regular warblers and a couple of Reed Buntings, a few Linnets and a single House Martin about. (AH)

Dunlin (above) & Ringed Plover at Church Norton (AH)
Medmerry: During a 4-hr Stilt watch this afternoon, sightings other than the resident waders included 2 Little Terns briefly fishing over the pools, a Wheatear, a Buzzard, a Cuckoo and finally a Little Owl (OM). Of interest, also reported today were a Painted Lady Butterfly, 7 species of Dragonfly along the ditches, and a Nemophora degeeralla, the below pictured moth, the male of which apparently has the longest antennae of any British moth! (per PLS).

Nemophora degeeralla moth (PLS)

Around the Ham Farm area this evening there were 2-3 singing Corn Buntings, at least 10 Lapwings on the uncultivated ground, and a Grey Heron sat on a Hawthorn bush! (AH)

Lapwing (above) & Heron in a hawthorn bush at Medmerry (AH)

Monday, 26 May 2014

26th - 28th May 2014

Wednesday, 28th May: Cloudy, damp, dull and quite cool, wind WNW4; a potentially unfavourable wind for sea-watching again, but we shall see if the reality proves otherwise. Meanwhile a brief admin update: in case you hadn't realised by now (and it appears some of you haven't yet sussed it!), we've adopted a colour code for the blog text, which seems to work, thus we have bright red for newly-found rares, orange for newly-found scarcities (and date headings), light blue for Selsey/Bill area, green for the Pagham Hbr area, dull pinky/red for Medmerry area and light purple for other areas including Fishbourne and the gravel pits. Easy!  On with today's news ....

Selsey Bill 0900-1130hrs: Cloudy, cool, WNW 4.  (Obs: C&ME/ME et al) A Storm Petrel west at 0940hrs was the highlight on an otherwise quiet watch (M. Eade)

Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Fulmar - 2E, 3W
Gannet - 7E, 17W
Storm Petrel - 1W 0940hrs Common Scoter - 70+  os
Little Tern - 4 os  

Razorbill - 1E, 1W   
Swift  - 4 p             
Additional watch: 1645 to 1800hrs:  (Obs: SH)
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Fulmar - 1E, 1W

Gannet - 9E, 24W
Eider -  7 os
Common Scoter - 1E, 58 os

Ferry Pool: The sight of House Martins, Swifts and Swallows feeding over the pool seemed promising but most of the birds seen recently seemed to have left, including the Avocets.  Three Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Redshank, half a dozen Shelduck along with the 2 ducklings, 9 Coots and 2 young, a pair of Tufted Ducks, a handful of Lapwings, and a calling Cetti's Warbler was about it (SR).

Medmerry: The 24-hr watch on the Black-winged Stilts (and the Avocets) continues, and one of the potential threats - namely a Fox - was perusing the area today.

Highlights from Medmerry today: from the top - a Fox on the prowl, a Black-winged Stilt, an Avocet and a resting Swallow (D. Mason).
Tuesday, 27th May: Cloudy and dry with some brief sunnier periods, wind NW 4. The prospect of a fresh north-westerly did not fill me with joy as I reached the Bill this morning, anticipating a very slow and dull sea-watch, but in the end things turned out quite well, the highlight being 2 Storm Petrels (at least) lingering offshore for around 40 minutes. Bearing in mind one was also seen yesterday, it seems quite likely that there will be further occurrences, so perhaps the following info on today's sightings will be of interest....
I first picked up two birds close together at 0750hrs, at a distance estimated at 3/4 mile, in the general area of two fishing boats, whilst the tide was coming in (having just covered the shingle bars). Both were showing the distinctive fluttery flight just above the waves, stopping and jinking before flying quite quickly west, in and then out of view, but certainly giving glimpses of their white rump bands. After a short while this was repeated, then one bird overtook the other and continued west, the other apparently turning back or dropping on the water. The bird in view continued west again in and out of view as I managed to get SR (and later JD) to see it, passing quite close to a fishing boat. At this range the upperparts looked black, but I clearly saw the white rump band, which is somewhat unusual here due to the low sea-level watchpoint. On one occasion there was also a hint of a paler underwing flash as the bird stuttered in flight before moving on, but I cannot be more precise. I saw at least one bird on several occasions up to 0830hrs, the last time as it passed behind a fishing boat when it did not then re-appear. There may or may not have been more than two birds involved, but two is the minimum. As the tide came in things went quiet and they were not re-sighted by 1030hrs. It is not clear whether the state of tide/shingle bars or fishing boats had any bearing  on things, but it's possible (OM).

Selsey Bill (0650-1030hrs): Dry, cloud, some sun, wind NW 3-4. 
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Fulmar - 2E, 4W
Gannet - 2E, 4W
Storm Petrel - 2 os/W (0750-0830hrs, see above)
Dunlin - 2E
Sanderling - 6E
Common Scoter - 29E, 85 os
Little Tern - 2 os
Common Tern - 30 os
C/A Tern - 11E
Sandwich Tern - 7 os, drifted off E
Arctic Skua - 1E
Auk sp - 2W
Swift - 4 p
At last! At the Bill the mass of shingle in front of the gardens, dumped there by the winter storms, has finally been cleared to reveal the path again and make access a whole lot easier (OM).

Selsey Bill selection...(top two) which-way-up Sandwich Tern (what a picture!) and in normal flight mode, (bottom two) Common Tern and House Sparrow (D. Mason)

Ferry Pool: Early this morning there were 4 Avocets, 2 Gadwall and a Teal amongst the usual Shelduck and wildfowl (OM). Later the Avocet count had risen to 6, plus many Swifts overhead, and a singing male Reed Bunting (SR).
Church Norton was quiet again on the high tide; a dozen or more Common Terns were present with the nesting Black-headed Gulls on Tern Island, with 2 Sandwich Terns and a Whimbrel nearby, whilst 2 Great Crested Grebes were in the channel, a Song Thrush was belting it out and 3 each of Blackcap and Whitethroat were also singing (OM).

Song Thrush, Church Norton (D. Mason)

Sidlesham: A late report of a Turtle Dove in the observer's garden on 26th May (no other details, per P. Driscoll, SOS website)
Chi GP's: Ivy Lake: Seven Common Terns and 30 Swifts were present over the lake at noon, but little else save for a couple of Blackcaps and a Cetti's Warbler (OM).
Medmerry: East side banks from caravan park: Highlight was undoubtedly a Hobby being hotly pursued by a Lapwing; also 1 Buzzard, 1 Corn Bunting, 2 Grey Plovers in full summer plumage, 15 Sanderling, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Shelducks, 5 Little Egrets, 8 Swifts, 3 Swallows, 3 Skylarks, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Whitethroat and 1 Pied Wagtail (SR). Easton Pools
this evening (during a Stilt-watch): A Hobby, 1 Cuckoo, a Little Owl, 15 Ringed Plovers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers and a Corn Bunting (PB/SH).
Monday, 26th May: What a difference a few hours can make; yesterday evening I was enjoying a calm, clear and starlit evening listening to Nightjars on a West Sussex common, with every expectation of waking to a fine Bank Holiday morning. But come the dawn, oh dear, things obviously changed overnight to give cool, overcast and rainy conditions with a brisk northerly wind ... so much for my weather forecast, and it didn't improve all day! Meanwhile a glance at the official forecast for the next few days does not make good reading for the regular sea-watchers, with lots of north and west in the wind predicted, so presumably little chance of any Poms appearing. The joint leaders in the Pom challenge - JA and OM - are currently stuck on 77 apiece, so one bird could now win it before the month  (and the challenge) expires... or will it just fizzle out into a draw! We shall soon know, but  for the record my bet is that there will be joint title holders again. Lastly, AH is away for a few days, so if anyone is able to take a few pics in his absence I would be grateful... or you'll have to put up with mine (OM).

Selsey Bill 0540 to 0945hrs:  Cloud, rain/showers, wind N/NE 4  (Obs: SH/JA). Predictably little passage given the conditions, but at this time of year at the Bill (and into June) there is always the chance of a Storm Petrel appearing, and bang on cue one was logged today by two lucky observers.
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1W
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Storm Petrel - 1W, settled on sea (0855hrs)
Gannet - 45E, 14W
Common Scoter - 9E, 65os
Whimbrel - 1E
Turnstone - 2E
Sanderling - 5 ob
Arctic Skua - 1W
Little Tern - 7E, 8 os
Common Tern - 15E, 50 os
C/A Tern - 11E
Arctic tern - 1 os
Sandwich Tern - 6E, 15 os
Auk sp - 3W
Additional watch 1600-1800hrs: Rainy. (Obs: SH)
Great Northern Diver - 1 os
Gannet - 11E, 1W
Fulmar - 2E
Eider - 8 os
Shelduck - 4W
Common Scoter - 60 os
Little Tern - 8 os
Common Tern - 30 os, gradually drifted off E
Kittiwake - 1W
Swallow - 1N

Selsey East beach - Church Norton: A late morning walk produced a Hobby (Park Farm), an Arctic Skua W offshore, 2 Cuckoos and 4 Reed Buntings at the Severals (S&SaH).
Ferry Pool: 4 Avocets busily feeding, 16 Black-tailed Godwits snoozing, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Redshank, a dozen Shelduck with 2 ducklings at the back of the pool, 3 Tufted Ducks and a Gadwall. One of the Coots was feeding a tiny chick, also there must have been at least 20 Swallows feeding just above the water (SR).
Church Norton:  Sadly the hide has been recently  vandalised (see picture); hopefully it will soon be repaired. Two Cuckoos were calling from different directions and a number of Chiffchaffs along the path.   In the harbour 2 mating Oystercatchers, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Shelducks, 6 Curlew, c40 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 6 Swallows, most of the Gulls and Terns were roosting out of sight but 2 Little Terns were clearly visible, and a few Sandwich and Common Terns rested on the edge of Tern Island.
Church Norton hide after recent vandalism (SR).

Friday, 23 May 2014

23rd - 25th May 2014

Sunday, 25th May: Bright and sunny with scattered cloud and a fresh breeze, SSW 4. The following info has been released by the RSPB so can now be repeated here, but what a fantastic start for Medmerry:

Medmerry: The pair of Black-winged Stilts is still attempting to nest on the Earnley Flood Storage Pool, and a 24-hour RSPB watch is now in place. If you would like to volunteer to help, we are organising a rota of 4-hour shifts (6am-10, 10-2, 2-6 and 6-10) and would welcome more help. We have a great welfare unit for volunteers courtesy of the Environment Agency's contractors, Team Van Oord, with cover and toilets. We also have the opportunity for paid night cover (10pm-6am, 3-5 nights/week). If you are interested in either day volunteering or night work and would like to know more or be allocated a spot on the rota, please contact me or the Medmerry and Pagham Harbour team at this email address ( or via RSPB Pagham Harbour 01243 641 508.
If you are just visiting to see the birds, the best parking is just south of Earnley Concourse on the hardstanding opposite where the new RSPB car park will be, but please do not block the gates either side. It is then a 30 minute walk - go down the track opposite to the new floodbank and then turn right and walk down to the beach. Sorry, we do not have permission to allow any visitors to enter the welfare unit or toilets. Please note that the road beyond the new Earnley car park is STRICTLY private for vehicle access - please do not abuse that and upset our neighbours. Many thanks. Adrian Thomas, RSPB.
Selsey Bill 0610-1000hrs: Mainly sunny, wind SSW 5-6. (Obs: JA/AH/SR et al) Five Arctic Skuas going east was the highlight, with the latter 3 all joining together. Otherwise small numbers of Gannets, Common Scoters and Terns, some apparently moving about rather than through. Full log below...
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 10E, 24W
Eider - 5 os slowly drifted W
Shelduck - 1E
Common Scoter - 50E, 35 os
Sanderling - 2W
Turnstone - 6 ob
Arctic Skua - 5E
Common Tern - 4E, 8 os
C/A Tern - 7E
Sandwich Tern - 13E, 6 os
Kittiwake - 4W
Auk sp - 1E
Ferry Pool: Two Avocets this morning, along with 40 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Gadwall and 4 Redshank, plus a few Swifts over. (AH)

Church Norton: Not much change from yesterday. A few Curlew and Shelduck viewable on the high tide and two Sandwich Terns along with half a dozen Common Terns around Tern Island was it for the harbour. Along the west side, 2 different calling Cuckoos, 4 Reed Buntings, 20+ Linnets, plenty of Whitethroats, and a bit of song from the Reed and Sedge Warblers in the Long Pool. (AH) Also a Hobby at the Severals late morning (SH) and two 1st-summer Little Gulls reported from 'Pagham Harbour' on Birdguides.
Linnet (above) & Reed Bunting gathering nest material at Church Norton (AH)
Medmerry (0600-1000hrs): Three Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 7 Avocet chicks, a Hobby, 2 Wheatears and 2 Corn Buntings (SH)
Chi GPs: Drayton Pits: Nothing unusual when I visited, the most obvious birds being Swifts, with c.50 present. Three pairs of Canada Geese had 20 young between them, and a further 12+ Canadas and 4 Greylags were loafing about on the opposite bank and partly obscured from view by vegetation; doubtless there will be additional young in due course. Other wildfowl included 9 Pochard (four pairs and a female) and 18 Tufted Ducks, plus a pair of Mute Swans with 7 cygnets. Additional sightings included a Buzzard, 2 Stock Doves, a Green Woodpecker, 2 Grey Herons and 2 Little Egrets, whilst at least 7 Reed Warblers, 2 Cetti's Warblers and several Whitethroats were all in song. At Westhampnett no hirundines bar a couple of Swallows, but 5 Common Terns and a sixth bird which I'm sure was an Arctic, with its translucent wing panel, clean pencil line to the primary edges and long tail; trouble was it remained at the distant west end most of the time due to the watersports activity before deciding to drift off high over the A27 (presumably towards the private pits opposite) (OM).
Three pairs of Canada Geese with 20 assorted young of varying sizes, Drayton GPs (OM).
Saturday, 24th May: Another windy day, and still from the south, with little indication of any migration....but as always, odds and ends located by the persistent observers.
Selsey Bill 0800-1300hrs: Cloudy, wind SSW5, becoming S3-4 by late morning. (Obs: JA/AH/OM et al). A quieter day than yesterday, with little moving at sea bar some Common Scoters, one flock of Sanderling and one flock of 'Commic' Terns, but still up to four Great Northern Divers offshore, whilst a newly-arrived Hobby was a surprise. Full log below...
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Fulmar - 2E, 1W
Gannet - 12E,16W
Eider - 1 os
Common Scoter - 94E, plus large flock c.90 os
Sanderling - 12E
Turnstone - 3 ob
Oystercatcher - 3E
Hobby - 1 newly-arrived bird along the beach, headed off E
Little tern - 2 os drifted E
Common Tern - 4E, 8 os
C/A Tern - 32E
Sandwich Tern - 25E, 6W, 6 os
Guillemot - 2W
Razorbill - 1E
Auk sp - 4E, 2W
Swallow - 1N
Ferry Pool: Four Avocets this morning, plus about 40 Black-tailed Godwits. (AH)

Avocet on the Ferry (AH)
Medmerry: A Hobby flew over low, along with 3 Dunlin, 6 Turnstones and 2 new Avocet chicks. (S&SaH) An Arctic Skua chased a Sandwich Tern over the beach before moving off E this afternoon (OM).
Fishbourne Creek: A few birds along the harbour this morning, but not a single wader amongst them. There was a loose group of 8 Brent Geese at the top end, 12 Great Crested Grebes, 150+ Mute Swans and a Black Swan with them, 8 Shelduck and 7-8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Along the path there was a Reed Bunting, a Cuckoo, a pair of Linnets, a Blackcap, 5+ Whitethroats and a calling Cetti's Warbler, and around the riding school up to 5 Yellowhammers in with a couple of Linnets and 20+ each of young Goldfinches and Greenfinches, plus numerous Swallows and one House Martin. (AH)
Brent Geese (above), Whitethroat & Yellowhammer at Fishbourne Creek (AH)
Church Norton: Early evening there was still a Whimbrel in the harbour, along with 20+ Curlew, whilst 4 Little Terns and 10 Common Terns were feeding near Tern island. Also a Cuckoo and 2 Linnets present. (AH)
Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)
Friday, 23rd May: A blustery but dry morning with sunshine, cloud and a strong southerly wind force 6-7, gusting to gale 8 at times. Sea-watching was perhaps the best option, producing a few dribs and drabs including a Bonxie and 4 Manx Shearwaters, but no big movements, although news of a Pom Skua further west at Portland shows that an odd bird (or title-winner) might yet appear before the end of the month! (OM).
Selsey Bill 0540-0930hrs: Blustery, heavy cloud at first, brighter later, wind S7.
(Obs: JA/DF/AH/A&YF et al).
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Fulmar - 24E, 7W
Gannet - 254E, 6W
Manx Shearwater - 4E
Eider - 5 os
Common Scoter - 45E, 70 os
Great Skua - 1E
Kittiwake - 1E
Auk sp - 1E, 2W
Common Tern - 5E
C/A Tern - 7E
Sandwich Tern - 22E
Swallow - 1N

Gannets (above) & Fulmar passing the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Two Avocets again this morning, plus the usual Black-tailed Godwit flock and half a dozen Gadwall. (AH)

Church Norton: The strong wind was keeping birds low, though A&YF heard a Willow Warbler early on, and there was a Cuckoo near the Mound and two more along the west side, along with a Reed Bunting and several Linnets. A single Whimbrel and a half dozen Curlews was about all the harbour could offer. (AH)

Reed Bunting at Church Norton (AH)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

20th - 22nd May 2014

Thursday, 22nd May: Cloudy with a forecast of sunshine and showers; wind SW3-4. Another quiet day, with the season moving on from migration to breeding.....
Selsey Bill: A short look from 7.45-8.15hrs produced just 2 Gannets, 2 Common Terns and a Sandwich Tern west. (AH)
Church Norton: Not much activity today, but there was a little group of 4 Common Sandpipers on the beach between the Severals. Otherwise, a Cuckoo was calling from the Priory, the usual Linnets, Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers were along the Severals, and at least 20 Curlews and a Grey Plover were in the harbour. The three Moorhen chicks in the moat of the Mound are nearly fully grown now. (AH)
Common Sandpiper (above), Linnet and young Moorhen at Church Norton (AH)
Ferry Pool: No sign of the Wood Sandpiper early on, though there was a Common Sandpiper present, along with the Black-tailed Godwit flock, two or three Redshank and Lapwing, and a pair of Shelduck with two newly hatched young. (AH) Early evening 9 Whimbrel flew over the Tramway heading east, and there were also a Cuckoo and 2 Jays about. (AH)
Common Sandpiper on Ferry (AH) 
Wednesday, 21st May: Deadly quiet on the sea-watching front today and it's beginning to look like the migration party is over for another spring, with most of the migrant birds back in now and many already on nests or with young. But whilst the quantity may be over, the quality can suddenly improve markedly, and so we hope for a stray wanderer to overshoot and brighten things up, before the whole migration process starts all over again. So keep your eyes open for a birding surprise on the Peninsula these next couple of weeks or so... you can bet something decent will appear (OM). 

The Black-winged Stilts that have been present at Medmerry for the past few days appear to be breeding. Access, particularly parking, is extremely limited and there is still construction machinery moving around nearby. RSPB are doing everything we can to protect the birds but in the meantime please be aware that we will, if possible, try to make the site more accessible to visitors over the coming weeks. If there is anyone able to help with a 24hr watch on the site, please get in touch with me at the Pagham Harbour visitor centre on 01243 641508. Thank you for your cooperation. Pete Hughes (RSPB Warden).

Selsey Bill 0710-0845hrs: Cloud with some sun, wind light NE 1-2. (Obs: CRJ/GH):
A very slow sea-watch that lasted all of an hour and a half - the only birds of note being a late flock of Brent Geese passing and an incoming Hobby. Log ....
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Gannet - 3E
Brent Goose - 8E
Common Scoter - 50 os
Eider - 3 os
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1E
Sanderling - 8E
Hobby - 1N
Auk sp - 1W
C/A Tern - 1E

Church Norton: Very quiet - a Cuckoo calling and a Red-legged Partridge in the churchyard were the somewhat modest highlights! (OM)
A few bits this evening despite the gloom and wind - a single drake Common Scoter fairly close offshore, along with a Little Tern and 2 Sandwich Terns, plus 50 Dunlin on the beach, a Hobby twice did a low flyby over the Priory and into the corner of the harbour, and a Cuckoo was sitting in the dead tree behind the concrete wall. (AH)
Common Scoter off Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Wood Sandpiper continues to lurk at the very back of the pool, and a pair of amorous Avocets (the first on here for several weeks), plus a flyover Cuckoo were the most notable birds, whilst there were still 6 Gadwall and 80-odd Black-tailed Godwits in residence. (AH)
 Avocets on (above) & Black-tailed Godwits over the Ferry (AH)

North Wall & Pagham Spit: Still several Reed Buntings and plenty of Reed & Sedge Warblers along the Breach Pool. Also a pair of Common Terns, 3 Great Crested Grebes and 15-20 Tufted Ducks. (AH/JW) The Spit was devoid of birds bar a few Linnets and Skylarks, and the harbour seemed similarly empty - still a few Dunlin and Curlew, plus 4 Great Crested Grebes being about it, save the immature gull flock. There were also 7 Great Crested Grebes on the Lagoon. (AH)
North Wall: Still very quiet. The flooded field north of the stables is all but dried up, just a few Shelduck loafing around. A pair of Gadwall on the Breech Pool along with some 20 Tufted Ducks and the single Great Crested Grebe. Three Greylag Geese in the back field and a Cuckoo calling at Honer. (JW)
Common Tern over Breach Pool (AH)
Roe Deer at the North Fields and a Heron eyeing up a Common Tern at the Breech Pool (JW). Jim failed to mention any of these in the write-up he supplied but we assume they are all connected!
Tuesday, 20th May: Another promising morning with a notably fresh south-easterly, but despite the potentially good conditions it was more like a party that is almost over, perhaps looking like sea-passage is all but done and dusted. There were however still a few waders about and Medmerry stole the show again today, followed by the Ferry Pool...

Selsey Bill 0635-1135hrs: Hazy cloud after early showers, wind SE4-5, decreasing 3.  (Obs: OM/CRJ/JD/DF/AH et al). What little movement there was occurred before 0900, with just a single Arctic Skua east, plus a few Common Scoters and some Sandwich and Common Terns, and some Sanderling on the beach. Full log below... (AH)
Great Northern Diver - still 5 os, most in fine s/plum
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Eider - 4 os
Common Scoter - 63E, 50 os
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Gannet - 14E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 4E
Turnstone - 3E
Sanderling - 27E
Auk sp - 2E, 1W
Arctic Skua - 1E
Little Tern - 3E
C/A Tern  - 43E (most appeared to be Common)
Sandwich Tern - 53E
Kittiwake - 1E

Summer-plumaged Sanderling (above) & Common Scoter at the Bill (AH) 

Ferry Pool: The Wood Sandpiper still skulking up at the far end, plus the usual roosting Black-tailed Godwits. (SH et al)

Medmerry: Once again Medmerry was left to take the honours, with a Curlew Sandpiper joining the two Black-winged Stilts this morning. Also on the pool a Little Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper and up to 10 Avocets (though sadly only one chick seen this morning.) Elsewhere along the track, at least 3 singing Corn Buntings, half a dozen Yellowhammers and Skylarks and numerous Whitethroats. (ARK/PH/AH)
The Curlew Sandpiper and Stilts still present this evening along with the other birds reported earlier, plus a Little Owl and 2 Little Terns. (IP)

 Black-winged Stilt (above), Curlew Sandpiper & Yellowhammer at Medmerry (AH) 
North Wall: On fields north of the stables I counted 18 Ringed Plovers; nice to see but not quite what I had hoped for. On the Breech Pool were 20 Tufted Ducks, a pair of Teal and a Great Crested Grebe. No signs yet of a GCG family. Have no idea what the Tufted Ducks are planning to do, the numbers fluctuate daily. There are 2 pairs on Pagham Rife and 1 pair on Bremere. Common Terns are now seen fishing on a daily basis on the Pool, they come in from the north so I guess they originate from the gravel pits rather than the Harbour.  Not a single bird on Honer reservoir. Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs feeding young in and around Owl Copse (JW).
Common Tern on the Breech Pool (JW)
Selsey: A short visit to Northcommon Farm was disappointingly bird-less, so I checked out the adjacent Warner Lane paddocks, which was little better today: three pairs of Whitethroats, several each of Swallow and House Martin and a pair of ubiquitous Red-legged Partridges were the meagre highlights... save for the delights of a ewe that had literally just given birth to twin lambs as I arrived (OM). 
Highlights from Warner Lane...Red-legged Partridges and ewe with just-born lambs!! (OM)