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)

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