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)

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