Saturday, 28 June 2014

28th - 30th June 2014

Monday, 30th June: The last day of the month already! Dry with sunshine and cloud, much as yesterday, with a light E/SE wind and the prospect of several more days of the same to come. This is the time that the first waders start to appear on return passage, but unfortunately they won't be lingering for long at the Breach Pool (North Wall) at present, due to the lack of muddy margins and the high water level persisting there. One regular observer expressed his frustration at this situation this morning (see below), but in truth most active birders who visit probably feel much the same way. In fairness, there are some management difficulties with the sluices due to access/ownership/land agreements, but this situation has gone on awhile and we can only hope it will be resolved soon - preferably in time for the autumn - but I wouldn't hold your breath! Meanwhile, a small admin note... enquiries reveal the correct spelling of the pool's name is Breach (not Breech)... sorry but such trivia is important to me! Good luck for July (OM).
Ferry Pool: Still lots of activity this morning as the water level drops. The Spotted Redshank was still present, and a Common Sandpiper was new this morning. The Green Sandpiper population had risen to 6, along with 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 30 Black-tailed Godwits, 11 Avocets, 45 Redshank (including the two chicks), 6 Lapwing and 6 Teal. Also there was the rather gruesome sight of a Grey Heron devouring quite a large Mallard duckling. (AH)
Spotted Redshank (above) & Common Sandpiper on the Ferry (AH)

The grizzly process of a Grey Heron dispatching a Mallard duckling (AH)

Medmerry: There were still about 60 Common Scoter off the Coastguard Station this morning, plus a couple of Gannets and Sandwich Terns going east. (AH)

North Wall: It is very frustrating reading about the waders on Ferry Pool when the Breach Pool remains very much a duck pond. With some imaginative management the Breach could rival the Ferry for wading birds. Needless to say it was very quiet this morning, with just a few Tufted Ducks and moulting Mallards; also a brief SE movement of Sand Martins. Little Egrets are learning to fly at Owl Copse, some balancing precariously on bushes. The fields were quiet apart from Common Whitethroats. The Mute Swans on Pagham Rife still have 5 cygnets. (JW) 
Juvenile Little Egret at Owl copse (above) & Mute Swan family on Pagham Rife (JW)
Sunday, 29th June: Dry and pleasantly warm with sunshine and cloud, but with a fairly fresh NE-NW wind.

Selsey Bill (0645-0800hrs): Dry, sun and cloud, wind N/NW 3-4.  (Obs: SH)
Gannet - 14E, 3W 
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Eider - 8 os
Common Scoter - 35 os
Auk sp - 1W
Little Tern - 1 os
Common Tern - 5E, 2W
Sandwich Tern -  5E, 6W, 3os

Ferry Pool: An early morning visit (0610) produced 19 Avocets, including 3 recently fledged birds, 12 Redshank, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Ringed Plover, the Spotted Redshank and a Black-tailed Godwit (SH). Later on (1100) there was a Wood Sandpiper and 4 Green Sandpipers (IP). Also, to add to the mix by midday, another Green Sandpiper (5 in total), more Little Ringed Plovers (4 in total), plus 40 Redshank, 25 Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Teal and a total of 4 juvenile Avocets. Interestingly, two of the four were colour-ringed, suggesting they had not emanated from Medmerry. It looked like one was green over blue on the left leg and yellow over orange on the right, and the other was green over blue on the left and yellow over pale green on the right. Does anyone know their origins? (AH)
Colour-ringed juvenile Avocets (above) & Black-tailed Godwit on the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: The Black-winged Stilts were still being vigilant this morning, and one, possibly two, chicks were briefly sighted (SR). They have settled just about as far as it is possible to get from any viewpoint, making it hard to see the adults and all but impossible to spot the chicks, though one of the adults was reported feeding on their old pool early morning, and one did fly over to check us out on near the breach.
Otherwise there was a Kingfisher in the creeks, a (probably juvenile) Hobby catching insects overhead, a couple of Gannets offshore, one or two Sandwich and Common Terns around, a couple of Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers along the banks, and 40+ Grey Plovers, 15 Turnstone and 10 Dunlin in the tidal creeks. (S&SaH/AH)
Around the breach from the West Sands side the long-staying, but elusive, Curlew Sandpiper was seen again with Dunlin, along with a Greenshank and a Little Ringed Plover. (BI)
Black-winged Stilt (above) & Sandwich Tern over Medmerry (AH)
Ham Farm: Still three or four singing Corn Buntings this evening, plus numerous Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, a Reed Bunting, a singing Chiffchaff and half a dozen Sand Martins in amongst around fifty each of Swift and Swallow, plus at least three Yellowhammers along Ham Lane. (AH)

Meadow Pipit at Ham Farm (AH)
Sidlesham: A family of freshly fledged Goldcrests were making a racket in the pine tree in our garden to the west of the vilage this evening. (AH)
Juvenile Goldcrest in a Sidlesham Garden (AH)
Saturday, 28th June: Heavy showers overnight with the threat of more to come this afternoon; otherwise cloudy and breezy with a fresh SW 4-5. We've reached that time of year when a lot of the birds stop singing and things can become very slow for the active birder. Even so, there are still a few peninsula highlights around, with the Ferry Pool currently holding much of the interest with its nice selection of waders, and the Black-winged Stilts now keeping us guessing as to the welfare of their young -  but judging by their parent's defensive attentions to any avian intruder that comes too close, it would seem they are progressing well; let's hope so anyway.

Selsey Bill (0600 - 0900hrs):  Cloudy, SW 4-5.  (Obs: SH/PB)
Gannet - 19E, 8W 
Common Scoter - 15E
Common Tern - 2E, 4W, 3os
Sandwich Tern - 5E, 13W
On a quiet sea-watch there are occasional and sometimes dramatic distractions; such was the case today with this RNLI Lifeboat call-out to a stranded and grounded yacht off the Bill (SH).
Medmerry: Both adult Black-winged Stilts still present and defending their area; one chick also briefly glimpsed (SH/PB) And this afternoon there were also 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Yellowhammers and a Corn Bunting, plus the ever-present Avocets. (SH)

Ferry Pool: Three Green Sandpipers and two Little Ringed Plovers this morning, plus the Spotted Redshank, though I didn't see the Ruff. Also a dozen Black-tailed Godwits and Avocets, 4 Lapwings and 40+ Redshank. (AH)

Green Sandpipers at the back of the Ferry (AH)  

Pagham Spit/Lagoon: There seemed to be much less activity in the Little Tern colony, with no more than half a dozen birds seen, but there were several birds bringing in fish. The harbour was very quiet - a single Sandwich Tern, 5 Turnstones and 10 Curlews being about it. On the Lagoon a single Mediterranean Gull, 5 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Little Grebes. (AH)

Little Tern along the Spit (above) & Mediterranean Gull on the Lagoon (AH)

North Wall: Very quiet - the odd Reed or Sedge Warbler briefly singing, a couple of Reed Buntings, a Common Tern and a few Swifts and Swallows over were the highlights. The water-level is still very high on the Breach Pool, and Tufted Duck (16 counted) was the most numerous bird present - never a good sign! (AH)

Tufted Ducks on the Breach Pool (AH)
Church NortonTwo young Kestrels are about to fledge in the garden next to Bluebell wood; also 4 Little and 12 Common Terns around Tern island (SH).
A pair of Great Crested Grebes with at least one chick along hte Long Pool this evening, plus two or three singing Reed Buntings, and around a dozen Lapwings in the channel. (AH)

Chi GPs: Ivy Lake: A total of 15 Common Terns were feeding over the lake, but no hirundines at all. Also a flock over Red Arrows over! (AH)

Common Tern (above) & Red Arrows over Ivy Lake (AH)

... and over Pagham (SH)

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

25th - 27th June 2014

Friday, 27th June: Another dull and cloudy morning, but largely where was all the heavy and thundery rain that was forecast? As the day progressed the weather actually improved, becoming sunny and fairly warm by mid-late afternoon. Perhaps tomorrow then!  Meanwhile, the brisk W wind lured me down for another look at the sea, but this was the worst yet and I only managed to last and hour and a half today (OM).

Selsey Bill (0810-0940hrs): Dry, cloudy, wind W4.  (Obs: OM/AH)
A poor watch, producing only four species worth a mention....
Gannet - 3E, 2W
Common Scoter - 3E
Common Tern - 4 os fishing, and
Sandwich Tern - 7 os, fishing back and forth
Ferry Pool: The interesting selection of waders were still present this morning, namely Spotted Redshank, Ruff and two Green Sandpipers, along with about 20 Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Redshank (2 chicks), 11 Avocets and 6 Lapwings, plus up to 8 Teal and up to 20 fast-growing young Shelduck. (AH/OM)
Spotted Redshank and Ruff with Redshank (above) & a Shelduck(ling) on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: A couple of Gannets along with a few Little, Common and Sandwich Terns were offshore, and along the Severals there were one or two bursts of Whitethroat and Sedge Warbler song. (AH) 
Medmerry: There was a pair of Ringed Plovers just east of the breach this morning with 4 chicks. Later on, the Black-winged Stilts were seen out in the middle, still chasing off anything encroaching too near. (PH)

On the Avocet pools at Medmerry, ten or so Avocets, singles of Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover, plenty of Linnets and Skylarks about and a constantly singing Corn Bunting. A Little Tern over the pools and a few Sandwich Terns fishing just offshore. About ten Common Scoter were still offshore from the Coastguard station at high water. (BI)
At Porthole Farm this evening there were about half a dozen Yellowhammers and similar of Stock Doves, at least 50 each of Swift, Swallow and House Martin were over the sewage farm, and a young Hare along Ham Lane somehow ended up on somebody's doorstep as it retreated from the middle of the road. (AH)
Swift and House Martin over Sidlesham SF (above) & a young Hare on a Ham Lane doorstep (AH)
Thursday, 26th June: A real contrast to recent days - cool, breezy and with heavy cloud cover..... and a forecast of rain later. The fresh ESE wind tempted me to put in a bit of time sea-watching, but it didn't pay off today with no hint of any shearwaters! (OM).
Selsey Bill (0805-1135hrs): Dry, cloudy, wind fresh E/SE 3-4.  (Obs: OM/PC). A small movement of Common Scoter and a trickle of Gannets and Sandwich Terns was about it...
Gannet - 26E
Common Scoter - 74E
Sandwich Tern - 14E
Common Tern - 1W
House Martin - 2 local birds over Oval field
Additional watch 1530-1700hrs: (Obs: SH)
Gannet - 64E, 9W, 28os
Fulmar - 1E
Common Scoter - 27W
Common Tern - 6E, 4W
Sandwich Tern - 12E, 2W
Little Gull - 1E
Kittiwake - 1E
Med Gull - 1E, 1ob 
 View from the Bill-tip, looking west: you know it will be a slow sea-watch when the Isle of Wight stands out this clearly! Note how prominent the white Culver cliff appears (centre) (OM).
 Sandwich Terns heading east and fishing off the Bill (OM) 
 Classic view of a local fishing boat passing the Bill-tip, close in and followed by an entourage of mainly Herring Gulls - not a hint of a petrel with them, but always worth a check! (OM)
 Ferry Pool: The Spotted Redshank, Ruff and a Green Sandpiper all still present this morning, along with 20+ Black-tailed Godwits, 40+ Redshank (including the two chicks), 6 Lapwings, 4 Avocets, 8 Teal and a pair of Stock Doves. (AH/OM)

Ruff (above), Black-tailed Godwit & Redshank with chick on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A young Grey Heron upsetting all the birds in the harbour revealed at least 60 Curlew and 20 Shelducks. There were also a few Little and Common Terns feeding in the harbour, and 2 singing Blackcaps, a Chiffchaff and a Great Spotted Woodpecker around the car-park. (AH)

Great Spotted Woodpecker at Church Norton (AH)
North Wall: A Kingfisher flew across the wall and on the saltings was an adult Yellow-legged Gull, at first with the Great Black-backed Gulls but then flew off towards the Ferry, and there were say 150 Curlew here too (ARK/per SOS)

Wednesday, 25th June: Another pleasant summer's day, fine and sunny with a variable light-moderate breeze, though feeling a little fresher than of late.
Not much birding news received by early evening; my excuse is that I spent most of the day gardening, so I can hardly complain! (OM)

Selsey Bill 1700 to 1800hrs: Sunny and quite warm, wind light E/SE  (Obs: SH)
Gannet - 2E, 3W

Eider - 6 os
Sandwich Tern - 5E
Common Tern - 5E, 7os
Med Gull - 2W

Ferry Pool: The Spotted Redshank and Ruff were still at the back of the pool early this morning. Also present were half a dozen juvenile Lapwings, 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 11 Avocets, 40+ Redshank (including 2 chicks) and 8 Teal. (AH)

Juvenile Lapwings on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A Peregrine over the Severals this evening, 4 Sandwich Terns offshore, a couple of Blackcaps singing, and 15 Curlew and 6 Common Terns in the harbour. (AH) 


Sunday, 22 June 2014

22nd - 24th June 2014

Tuesday, 24th June: The glorious weather goes on....warm, calm and sunny at first, with a light W/SW breeze developing and some cloud building later. After arranging with CRJ to try our luck at the Bill with a bit of gentle sea-watching this morning, we expected it to be a lonely vigil, but it didn't quite turn out that way, with no less than ten observers eventually paying a visit - six locals and a group of four occasional visitors from Berkshire. Alas the latter quartet arrived a little too late to see the birds of the morning, a flock of 4 Balearic Shearwaters east at 0905hrs, albeit fairly distantly, eventually passing behind the 'mile basket' (OM).

Selsey Bill (0710-1040hrs): Sunny, warm, some cloud. Calm at first, W/SW 2-3 later.
(Obs: CRJ/OM/DF/DS/JD et al). Four Balearic Shearwaters east were the clear highlight, but there was also a small movement of Common Scoters and a few Gannets and terns moving about offshore. Full log below:
Gannet - 24E, 2W
Balearic Shearwater - 4E, 0905hrs
Eider - 2 os
Common Scoter - 51E, 1os
Little Tern - 2W
Common Tern - 10E, 4W (probably fishing, moving back and forth)
Sandwich Tern - 5 os fishing (as with Common Tern)
Kittiwake - 1E
Med Gull - 2W
Swift - 4p, local birds, probably breeding.

The 'Berks Boys' (four furthest right) join some of the locals on the Wall (OM).

Selsey: The Common Scoter flock off the west side near the Coastguard tower had reduced to only 7 birds this morning (OM/CRJ).

Ferry Pool: The Spotted Redshank and Ruff were still in residence this morning, along with 2 Green Sandpipers, 45 Redshank (and 2 chicks), 12 Avocets, 11 Black-tailed Godwits, a Little Ringed Plover, 6 Lapwing and 8 Teal. An adult and young Grey Heron kept upsetting everybody by flying around, and a Cuckoo flew over. (AH/CRJ/OM) Later I saw the smashing Spotted Redshank and Ruff, two Green Sandpipers and the Black-tailed Godwits put to flght by a Buzzard (picture attached) (ARK).

Spotted Redshank with Redshank (above) & young Grey Heron on the Ferry (AH)
Buzzard disturbing Black-tailed Godwits and other waders over Ferry Pool (ARK)
Church Norton: Very quiet, just the odd snippet of Blackcap or Chiffchaff breaking the almost complete still of a flat calm morning. There were half a dozen Sandwich Terns and one or two Little and Common Terns in the harbour, and a Cuckoo called once. (AH)

Sandwich Terns on the rising tide at Church Norton (AH)
This evening there was a young Chiffchaff at Park Farm, 30 Swallow, 12 Swift, and at least 2 Sand Martins over the Severals, a male Gadwall on the 2nd Several and 2 young Fox cubs in the nearby corn field. (S&SaH)

Fox cubs at Church Norton (SH)

Medmerry: West Sands to breachThe 2 Black-winged Stilts were just about visible as they occasionally rose to ward off threats, but the distance, vegetation and heat haze made viewing very tricky indeed. Wader numbers were well down from the last few days, but included 25 Turnstone, 1 Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover (one rose from probable nest area) and a somewhat agitated adult Little Ringed Plover which actually settled on the beach in front of us for a while. There was also a hint of early return passage with at least 7 Sand Martins passing through along the coast (OM/CRJ). As we were leaving, we met a couple of Coastguards in blue uniforms heading the other way and thought nothing of it, then we met Alan Kitson............

I attempted to reach Medmerry Breach via West Sands, and met Owen and Chris who gave no indication that anything was amiss, but as I went forward on the beach I was intercepted by men in blue - the bomb squad no less who forbade me to go further on the pretext of an unidentified object on the beach, the beach now being closed and sealed off! Could Owen or Chris have left their lunch box out there I wondered .......! (ARK).

Porthole Farm - A pair of Grey Partridges were in the wheat field east of the buildings this evening, but otherwise it was quiet - a few Yellowhammers and Whitethroats about, 5 Pied Wagtails and a couple of hundred (mostly juvenile) Starlings around the sewage farm and a few Swifts and Swallows over. (AH)

Monday, 23rd June: Anticyclonic conditions still prevailing to give another warm and sunny day with a light SE breeze.

Sidlesham Ferry Pool: Took a brief look at the Pool (7am), but was a bit confused at first by seeing 2 independent chicks taking insects off the shallows around the 'island' back right of the pool. They look like 2/3 week old Avocet chicks and must surely have taken a long walk from Medmerry, which makes me wonder if there is a chance the Stilts will do the same. No sign of the Ruff as yet, but the Spotted Redshank was busily feeding; also 10 adult Avocets, 1 juvenile, (plus the 2 chicks mentioned above); 11 Black-tailed Godwits; 4 Teal; 12 Lapwing; 2 Shelducks with 18 young; Coots and Mallard with young (SR).
In addition to SR's sightings, a little later on the Ruff was present again, and there were a total of 46 adult Redshanks, plus two young chicks. (AH)
Redshank chicks (above) & Spotted Redshank and Redshank on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: Very little in the harbour - just a dozen Curlew. It seems like the usual little group of summering waders has decamped to Medmerry! Along the west side was quiet, too, with most of the singing now ceased and quite a few newly fledged birds skulking in the undergrowth. However, a Sedge Warbler and one or two Whitethroats still gave the odd burst of song, and the twenty or more Linnets were as conspicuous as ever, and a few House Martins were overhead. (AH)
Sedge Warbler (above), Whitethroat & Linnet at Church Norton (AH)
Stilt pool area - the Black-winged Stilts were a bit further back towards there old home and both adults were still chasing off anything that got too close. There were still several Avocet families, including 4 very young chicks, a pair of Little Ringed Plover and a Cuckoo in the area. (S&SaH)
Cuckoo (above) & Avocet chick at Medmerry (SH)
Ham Farm area - Four Sand Martins were with the Swallows over the fields - bang on cue for the first returning birds here. There were still around 5 very active singing Corn Buntings, plus numerous Skylarks and Linnets, along with families of Greenfinch, Whitethroat and Meadow Pipit, a pair of Stock Doves and half a dozen Lapwing. Around the breach there were still 50+ Grey Plover and a dozen or so Turnstones and Dunlin. (AH)
Corn Bunting (above) & Stock Dove at Medmerry (AH)
Sunday, 22nd June: More warm and sunny summer weather with light breezes and high pressure still dominating. Clearly one local observer couldn't sleep, resulting in some early morning sightings (thanks Sam!)

Ferry Pool (SH) (05.45hrs):
31 Redshank
1 Spotted Redshank
1 Ruff
1 Kingfisher
7 Avocets; one young bird with them, perhaps a Medmerry bird?

1 Cuckoo

Selsey: Still a few Common Scoter off Coastguards today but numbers seemed down, maybe 20 birds present (BI).

Medmerry: West Sands to the breach (SH) (06.30hrs):
50 Grey Plover
10 Dunlin
3 Turnstone
2 Black winged Stilts - both parents seen in the same area as yesterday, with the female sitting tight and the male close by (not possible to see young due to distance/habitat).

Earnley-breach late afternoon - the Black-winged Stilts were right out in the very centre of the reserve, but still chasing off all-comers. Several families of Avocets are still about - it is difficult to know just how many nesting attempts there have been this year, but it must be between 5 and 10, more than all previous years combined!
Otherwise, there were a pair of Common Terns, a pair of Little Terns, about half a dozen Sandwich Terns offshore, around 50 Grey Plover and 20 each of Turnstone and Dunlin at the breach, plus a pair of Little Ringed Plovers. Around the weedy banks by the Stilt pool there were at least 50 Linnets, including many young, 200 juvenile Starlings, a family of Reed Buntings and about 20 Skylarks. (AH)

Common Tern (above), Sandwich Tern & Skylark at Medmerry (AH)