Saturday, 17 May 2014

17th - 19th May 2014

Monday,19th May: Another bright spring morning, mainly sunny with some cloud, and a fairly fresh east-south-easterly, soon becoming warm (if sheltering from the wind!). So with high pressure still prevailing and a hazy horizon things were all set for a perfect Pom day - there surely just had to be some moving in the Channel. And there were.... trouble was that conditions dictated it was one of those frustrating sessions when most bypass our bit of the coastline and cross-over further east, thus we managed only one all morning! Three early but distant Spoonbills moving east were some compensation, but passage had died by late morning and although I was last to leave the Bill (1300hrs), it was with some relief when a call from IL gave me the excuse, with news of a somewhat reluctant Wood Sandpiper at the back of Ferry Pool (OM).

Selsey Bill 0620-1300hrs: Sunny, bright with some light cloud. Wind E/SE3-4. (Obs: OM/GH/CRJ/AH). A Pomarine Skua past at 8.10, and another possible soon after that landed out near the 'Mile Basket' had OM and CRJ prepared to sit it out awhile to see if they could supplant JA from the top of the Pom-King leader-board. A clash of the Titans! (Though it looked a little bit like two gentlemen of a certain age sat in their folding chairs enjoying the sun). Otherwise what was presumably the three Spoonbills from Medmerry flew east early on, and there was a modest passage of Sandwich and Common Terns, quite a few Common Scoters toing and froing, and a dozen House Martins were busy gathering mud at the back of the Oval Field. And for a little distraction, there was a fishing boat marooned on the spit on the falling tide, with two rather baffled looking sea-farers checking their navigational equipment. (AH) Full log below...
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E
Fulmar - 1E, 2W
Gannet - 18E
Spoonbill - 3E, distant, 0640hrs (OM/GH)
Common Scoter - 238E, also 70 os
Whimbrel - 1E, 1W
Bar-tailed Godwit - 4E
Grey Plover - 2E
Knot - 1E
Sanderling - 3E
Turnstone - 2E
Arctic Skua - 4E
Pomarine Skua - 1E (0811)
Skua sp - 1E distant settled os
Little Tern - 4E
C/A Tern  - 33E
Sandwich Tern - 95E
Swift - 6 p, screaming flock
Swallow - 4N, 3p
House Martin - c.12 p
Additional watch 1715 to 1915hrs: (Obs: SH).

Fulmar - 1E
Gannet -  14E, 5W
Common Scoter - 40 os
Sanderling - 6W
Arctic Skua - 1E

Great Skua - 1E
Auk sp - 1E
Sandwich Tern  - 4E, 2W

House Martins (above), Sandwich Tern and grounded fishermen at the Bill (AH)

Medmerry: The two Black-winged Stilts still present this morning. (PH)

Porthole Farm - a Grey Wagtail was a surprise this morning. Otherwise 4 Yellowhammers. 8 Linnets and 3-4 Whitethroats. (AH)
North Wall: A Marsh Harrier over this morning. Also a Wheatear, a Cuckoo and a Common Sandpiper seen. (PC)
Ferry Pool: A Wood Sandpiper was hiding at the back of the pool this morning. (TR et al)
Church Norton: Quiet in the brisk wind - a mother Song Thrush was watching over two or three freshly fledged youngsters in hte car-park, and in the harbour 4 Sanderling with 70-80 Dunlin and a group of around 40 Ringed Plovers that are presumably passing through. (AH)

Song Thrush on parental duty at Church Norton (AH)
Sunday, 18th May: Another bright sunny day, with high pressure and a turn to the south-east for the wind; proof that it is not all over for the spring came in the form of a close Pomarine Skua past the Bill  - not entirely unexpected given the conditions - and more interest from Medmerry. As Confucius (and OM) say "never turn your back on a south-easterly." Oh yes... a south-east is forecast for tomorrow too!
Selsey Bill 0515-1230hrs: Sunny, warm, NE1 - ESE 2. (Obs: SH/IL/OM/CRJ/AH/PC/JD et al). Although there was little moving, a very close Pomarine Skua flew east at 8.30, maintaining the species' enigmatic reputation, and was by far the highlight. An Arctic Skua also went east, along with 40+ Sandwich Terns, plus around 100 Common Scoter, with another 50 or so lingering offshore, along with up to 5 Great Northern Divers still offshore, resplendent in summer plumage. Full log below...
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Great Crested Grebe - 2 os, later flew E
Gannet - 7E, 2W
Fulmar - 1E, 2W
Eider - 4 os
Common Scoter - some delaying before moving; final tally 149E, 55 os
Shoveler - 2E
Curlew - 1W
Whimbrel - 5E
Ringed Plover - 1 os, flew off E
Sanderling - 5E
Pomarine Skua - 1E (l/p, 0832hrs)
Arctic Skua - 1E
Little Tern - 1E
Common Tern - 20E, 3W
Sandwich Tern - 44E, 2W
Swallow - 4 p os and beach
House Martin - 1 p
Also: Bat Sp - 1 N (SH) (slightly bigger than pipistrelle - the bat that is!)
Medmerry: Most of the interest elsewhere was at Medmerry, where the Pomarine Skua was first picked up heading east, and the two Black-winged Stilts were still present on the west side (PS et al), and three Spoonbills dropping in near the breach. One was present early on, along with a flyover Yellow Wagtail and two Corn Buntings (KT), but at around 9.30 one (re-)appeared from the west, made to land, regained height and was joined by two more, before all three settled on the pools. Also a pair of Little Terns there, plus 7 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover and 2 Curlew and a calling Cuckoo. (AH)
above - Avocet and Spoonbill at Medmerry (K.Tubb)
Spoonbills (above) and Little Tern at Medmerry (AH)
A return visit to Medmerry this evening, this time to the Ham Farm area was rewarded with a very obliging Cuckoo, and at least 5 singing Corn Buntings in quite a small area. There were also numerous singing Skylarks, several pairs of Linnets, and Lapwings, too, shooing away the gulls and crows. One of the most pleasing aspects of the development of Medmerry has been the amount of habitat created for birds like the Corn Bunting, and I think there are more there now than I can ever recall. Lets hope they continue to prosper. (AH)

Cuckoo (above) & Corn Buntings at Medmerry (AH)

Church Norton: Very quiet in the bushes, but a surprisingly large number of Curlew (40+) flew out of the creeks when a low-flying aircraft disturbed everything in the harbour. Also 50+ Dunlin, 10 Grey Plover, 50+ Oystercatcher and 30 Shelduck.(AH)
Ferry Pool: Just the usual 50+ roosting Black-tailed Godwits and 5 Gadwall, plus a Whitethroat singing from an unusual location - see picture below! (AH)
Saturday, 17th May: Dry and rather cloudy at first, with a very light breeze. Highlights of the day were from CRJ (on his pushbike!) of a fly-over Woodlark and 2 Black-winged Stilts at Medmerry.

Selsey Bill 0500-0900hrs: Cloudy, wind very light N1. (Obs: IP/JA/CN). A decidedly slow watch for the few stalwarts present!
Great Northern Diver - 8 os
Gannet - 4E
Eider - 1 os
Common Scoter - 32E, 14 os
Whimbrel - 4E
Sanderling - 3E
Little Tern - 1E, 2 os
Common Tern - 17E, 25 os
Sandwich Tern - 30E, 6 os
Swift - 1N
Swallow - 10N, 4 p
House Martin - 4 p

Ferry Pool: A summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank present this morning, and 3 Lesser Whitethroats between the Visitor centre and Rookery Lane. (CN/CRJ)

Medmerry: In addition to finding a Woodlark, CRJ uncovered two Black-winged Stilts at Medmerry today. Also seen this afternoon were a Whinchat, a Corn Bunting, 2-3 Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers, several Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Lapwing, 7 Grey Plover, a Common Sandpiper, a Little Tern, and at least a dozen Avocets, including several young. (AH/IP/SH/PB). Also 3 Cuckoos in the area (PS).

Black-winged Stilts at Medmerry (AH)

Avocet (above), Whinchat & Yellowhammer at Medmerry (AH)

Church Norton: Still three or 4 Whimbrel in the harbour, plus 8 Curlew, a single Bar-tailed Godwit, 50+ Dunlin, 4 Little Terns and a calling Cuckoo early this evening. (AH)

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