Thursday, 1 May 2014

1st - 3rd May 2014

Saturday, 3rd May: Very bright, but chilly early on, turning into a pleasant spring morning, but eastward passage was mighty slow at the Bill, and the harbour was fairly quiet, too, save for a smart male Garganey on the Ferry.

Selsey Bill (0500 - 1330hrs): Sunny and bright, with a fresh breeze NE3, veering more E/SE later. Many observers early on but most had left by 1000hrs! Once again most of what limited movement there was occurred in the first couple of hours or so and thereafter passage was little above zero. Disappointing is an appropriate word (OM). Log...
Great  Northern Diver - 6 os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E
Fulmar - 3E, 1W
Gannet - 58E, 62W
Eider - 1 os
Shelduck - 5W, plus the 2 'regulars' present
Common Scoter - 19E
Oystercatcher - 4E
Whimbrel - 3E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 45E
Sparrowhawk - 1 gardens
Great Skua - 3E, 1 os
Little Tern - 25 os gradually drifted away E
Common Tern - 35E
Common/Arctic Tern - 39E, 150 os (mostly Common), gradually drifted away E or NE
Sandwich Tern - 43E, 16 os later drifted E
Kittiwake - 3E, 1W
Swift - 12N
Swallow - 15N
Sand Martin - 2N
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens
Willow Warbler - 1 gardens

Highlights from this morning at the Bill: from the top - flock of Bar-wits approaching and passing over observers, three Bonxies, and Sparrowhawk on a beach groyne (all Paul Matson),
A Great Black-back with a flatfish too large to eat, receiving some unwanted attention at the Bill (AH)
A fairly unflattering pic of a group of old guys at the Bill early afternoon in the heat of the day - observers names being with-held to prevent any further embarrassment! (CRJ)
Medmerry: West Sands - A Greenshank, 10 Bar-tailed Godwits and many Shelduck on the pools. A Wheatear and the singing Corn Bunting by the rubble heaps. (K&MG/AH)
Wheatear at Medmerry (AH)
Ferry Pool: A smart, if typically unco-operative, drake Garganey was at the back of the pool (well spotted, the Galtry's!), and still there at midday. Also 90 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Gadwall and 3 Shoveler. (AH) Also a smart Whinchat at the back of the ferry (PM).
Drake Garganey on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: Possibly a few more waders in the harbour this morning, including a single Knot, 20+ Whimbrel, 10+ Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Grey Plover and 60+ Dunlin. Quiet in the bushes - only a single Willow Warbler behind the hide giving any indication of being fresh in today.
Late afternoon in the harbour - a superb summer-plumage Knot, 18 Bar-tailed Godwits, 38 Black-tailed Godwits, a single Sanderling amongst 250 Dunlin, 24 Whimbrel, 4 Grey Plover and 4 Little Terns. (AH) 
Knot & Bar-tailed Godwits from Church Norton (AH)
North Wall: Very quiet along the Wall and the Breech Pool. Most of the action was on the flooded field north of the stables; 27 Mute Swans, 6 Shelduck, 3 Greylag Geese, 12 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Lapwing and 1 Little Ringed Plover (JW).

Friday, 2nd May: A fairly cool, grey start to the month, but with some sunshine, whilst the summer migrants are still arriving undeterred.... meanwhile spring sea-watching at our chosen spot has been hard going up until now with rather few highlights overall. Having said that, the blog authors were chastised this morning by other regulars at the Bill, for sounding a tad too pessimistic in our  recent write-ups and not emphasising the good stuff......sorry if this appears the case. I think I can speak for AH when I say that we don't envisage any large-scale changes as undue optimism is not our strong suit, but point taken, so here goes... two Black Terns brightened our morning, whilst the arrival of our first Swifts at the Bill was enough to gladden the heart. Mmm - we'll have to think about this! (OM)
Selsey Bill: 0520-1400hrs: Cloud, some sun, dry. Wind NE 3 (Obs: JA/OM/CRJ/AH/GH/SR et al). Still no real seabird passage bar a Bonxie and a few Common Scoter east, but a couple of Black Terns dropping into the large offshore feeding flock of mixed terns was a bonus, and there was a steady inward flow of Swifts and Swallows, and a Hobby, too. Full log below:
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Diver sp - 2E
Gannet - 69E, 44W
Fulmar - 1E, 9W
Eider - 1 os
Shelduck - 2 p (local birds)
Common Scoter - 19E, 4W
Gadwall - 5W
Oystercatcher - 8W, 2 os
Whimbrel - 2E
Grey Plover - 3E
Dunlin - 3E
Great Skua - 1E
Little Tern - 25 os, fishing back and forth, drifted away E
Common Tern - 15E, also 150 os, eventually drifted off E or high NE
Black Tern - 2E (both spent time feeding os before eventually moving off E)
Sandwich Tern - 66E, 12 os drifted away E
Razorbill - 1E, 2W
Auk sp - 6W
Sparrowhawk - 3 over gardens
Hobby - 1 N
Swift - 34N
Swallow - 56N
Wheatear - 2N, 2 ob
Redstart - 1 gardens
Whitethroat - 1 gardens
Reed Warbler - 1 gardens
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens
Willow Warbler - 3 gardens
Goldfinch - 6E
 Rather distant Black Tern (above), Little Terns and Little & Common Terns off the Bill (AH)
Northcommon Farm: 1 Whinchat, 1 Kestrel, 2 Red-legged Partridges, 2 Swallows. (SR)

Horse Paddocks, Warner Lane: 1 Wheatear, 3 Whitethroats, 2 Linnets, 2 Red-legged Partridges, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Cuckoo (heard only) (SR)

Medmerry: 2 Greenshank & 6 Whimbrel this morning at the western end. (PH)
Church Norton: Cold and windy and the only place any migrants could be found was on the beach beyond the second Several, where 4 Wheatears were hiding. Otherwise a Cuckoo was calling around the Priory and there were still a few Whimbrel in the harbour. (AH)
Wheatears at Church Norton (AH)
 Ferry Pool: 4 Sand Martins over early on, and at least 60 Black-tailed Godwit and 6 Gadwall still present. (AH)

Chi GP's: Ivy Lake area: Rather more lively than the Bill!. On and around the Lakes were - 30 Common Terns, 16 Great Crested Grebes, 60 Tufted Ducks, 6 Gadwall, 1 Black Swan  20 Swifts and lesser numbers of Swallows, House and Sand Martins. In the general area were 8 Blackcaps, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiff Chaff, 2 Cetti's Warblers and a Bullfinch. 3 Little Egrets flew over. On the Scrapyard Lake we counted 80 Cormorant nests, 71 of which were occupied. The Tern nesting rafts have been taken over by Cormorants and Herring Gulls, not a Tern to be seen. (JW and MW).
Thursday, 1st May: Well, here we go, the long-awaited merry month of May is upon us, and the day began with early rain, soon becoming drier but cloudy with a gradually freshening south-westerly. At the Bill an early flurry of activity once again quickly died away, although a variety of migrants were to be found in the gardens. There was nothing happening at sea by late morning, and with the showers beginning to resume I decided this was the day to take it easy and leave early, following several days of long watches and early starts. I was driving along in relaxed mode and nearly home when my mobile rang..... you've guessed it, 3 Poms off Hurst (Hants) and heading for the Bill! Too late for me but a quick call to AH sent him heading Bill-wards...but nothing by 1pm. The Pom can be a cruel mistress sometimes (OM).
Selsey Bill (0625-1045hrs): Early rain, then cloudy with some showers, wind SW2-4.
(Obs: OM/GH/CT/AH/MH et al).
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Diver sp - 1E
Fulmar - 1E, 3W
Gannet - 2e, 14W
Brent Goose - 26E
Common Scoter - 87E
Shelduck - 3W
Whimbrel - 7E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 22E
Arctic Skua - 1E
Little Tern - 10 os, gradually drifted E
C/A Tern - 15E, 180 os, all gradually drifted away E or high NE
Sandwich Tern - 5E, 10 os gradually drifted off E
Sparrowhawk - 1 gardens
Swallow - 3N
Wheatear - 6 ob
Whinchat - 1 gardens/ob
Sedge Warbler - 2 gardens
Reed Warbler - 1 gardens
Whitethroat - 2 gardens
Garden Warbler - 1 gardens (& GH had another at East Beach Pond)
Blackcap - 2 gardens
An additional watch (1640 to 1830hrs) produced no skuas and more of the same really, apart from 12 Eider and 3 Ringed Plovers (JH/SH).

Whinchat (above) & Wheatear at the Bill (AH)
Great Northern Diver (above) & displaying Common Terns at the Bill (AH)
Ferry Pool: A group of seven Common Sandpipers on here early this morning (IL), down to five by mid-morning, and none at all by lunchtime despite the high tide. (AH)
Common Sandpiper on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: A Whinchat here, too, with up to five Wheatears on the beach above the second Several, and nearby a Lesser Whitethroat and a singing Willow Warbler, but not much other evidence of migration. In the harbour at least 8 Little Terns, 20 Dunlin and about half a dozen each of Whimbrel and Bar-Tailed Godwit. Also 9 Brent Geese flew east, well out to sea. (AH)
Lesser Whitethroat at the Severals (AH) and below, Little Tern at Church Norton (DM)  

North Wall: The flooded field north of the stables looks ideal for migrant waders, water and lots of mud, but not many takers this morning...1 Little Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin in full breeding plumage, 3 Lapwing and a poorly looking Grey Plover plus a pair of Mute Swans. The Tufted Ducks that were on the Breech Pool appear to have sorted out their pairing arrangements and largely dispersed. Apart from the Tufted a few drake Mallard and a pair of Teal were all that was to be seen. The first juvenile Grey Herons are on the wing. There appears to be 3 pairs of Swallows around the stables. (JW).

Swallow at North Wall stables (JW)
Ivy Lake: A first-summer Little Gull this morning, plus a Black Swan! (AB) A look late this afternoon failed to produce the Little Gull, but there were 50-100 Swifts and similar of House Martin, Swallow and Sand Martin feeding high over the lake in the heavy cloud. (AH)
Medmerry: Porthole Farm - Two Cuckoos were calling against each other late this afternoon, and there were 50+ House Martins and 100+ Swallows over the sewage farm, plus one or two Yellowhammers and Whitethroats. (AH)

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