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
Gannet - 19E, 8W
Common Scoter - 15E
Common Tern - 2E, 4W, 3os
Sandwich Tern - 5E, 13W
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).
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 Norton: Two 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)