Wednesday, 30 July 2014

30th - 31st July 2014

Thursday, 31st July: Another pleasant sunny morning with similar weather to yesterday. Early news from AH that the Black-winged Stilts have moved from Medmerry and were on the Ferry Pool today this morning, though they flew off into the harbour at about 4.30pm 

Ferry Pool: All five of the Black-winged Stilts have finally departed Medmerry and - as we all hoped - relocated to the Ferry, where there the youngsters were showing really well to their many 'god-parents' this morning. Hopefully they will settle here for a while, to let all those who put a shift in earlier in the summer see them once more, before they depart.
Otherwise there were 3 Common Sandpipers and a Little Ringed Plover early on,another family of Avocets, including four youngsters, a Ruff (per A&YF), and 2 Kingfisher going up and down the channel to the south of the pool. (AH)
A large flock of Dunlin - c80 birds- flew in later along with 2 Little Ringed Plovers. (AB)
The Black-winged Stilts all took flight together at around 4.30pm, rose up high before dropping back down into the middle of the harbour. (S&SaH)

Images of the Black-winged Stilts on the Ferry (top - AB, middle - SH, below DM)

Images of the Black-winged Stilts on the Ferry - juveniles above, adult below (AH)

Church Norton: The poor relation today! Still about 10 Sandwich Terns and a couple of Little Terns in the harbour, plus at least 7 Whimbrel. A few Blackcaps, Willow/Chiffs, Whitethroats and a Sedge Warbler around the hide and west side, but generally very quiet. (AH)

Juvenile Blackcap at Church Norton (AH)

This evening there was a Hobby and a large flock of mixed Swallows, Sand and House Martins over Park Farm. At Church Norton there was a Fulmar close inshore, 8 Whimbrel 10 Sandwich Terns and 4 Little Terns, including 2 juveniles in the harbour, and a Peregrine on its island. (S&SaH/AH)
Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Had a nice surprise of c12 Small Red-eyed Damsels in the meandering ditch alongside the main path from Earnley - very scarce in Sussex! Black-tailed Skimmers, Emperors and a single female Common Darter also present, and a single Clouded Yellow (also had another in the garden later). On the bird front the best was at least 1 Yellow Wagtail amongst a flock of c100 Pied Wagtails in the fields by the carpark area. (AB)

Wednesday, 30th July: A pleasantly warm and sunny day with scattered cloud and a light NW breeze, though perhaps a bit of a slow news day. 

Selsey Bill:  (JA/GH) A few bits and pieces suggesting some early passage this morning...
Gannet - several E
Redshank - 1E
Common Scoter - 150 os
Peregrine - 1 over
Sparrowhawk - 1 over
Green Woodpecker - 1 gardens
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 gardens
Sedge Warbler - 1 gardens
Blackcap - 1 gardens
Willow Warbler - 10 gardens
Wheatear - 1 ob
Also a few Swallows, Sand and House Martins moving W

Ferry Pool: Still fairly empty - the only waders early this morning were a Dunlin, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 4 Lapwing, and the only other species present were 6 young Shelducks and 80 Black-headed Gulls. (AH)

Juvenile Shelduck on the Ferry (AH)
Medmerry - West Sands/Breach: There were 6 Wheatears around the rubble heaps this morning, all looking like young birds, and also a few Linnets and Pied Wagtails about. It was pretty quiet at the breach - just a couple of Common Terns of note, with most of the waders on the beach on the west side, namely 12 Turnstone, 80 Grey Plovers and 120 Dunlin. (AH)
Wheatear (above), Turnstones & mixed Dunlin and Grey Plovers at Medmerry (AH)

Church Norton: Quiet here, too - it must be the time of year! In the harbour there were still 3 Whimbrel and about 40 Sandwich Terns on the mud, plus a few Curlew and Redshank.
Along the Severals there were a few Willow/Chiffs, Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers, but everything was keeping itself quet and well-concealed. (AH)

This evening there were 70+ Sandwich Terns, including 52 roosting in the harbour, 8 Common Terns and 4 Little Terns, busy feeding in harbour. (S&SaH)

At Park Farm, Selsey there were 50+ Swallows and 67 Linnets. (S&SaH) 

Monday, 28 July 2014

28th - 29th July 2014

Tuesday, 29th July: Cloudy at first with a NW breeze force 3; some sunshine forecast later. After the success of 'our' Black-winged Stilts, news now comes of another Mediterranean species breeding on the south coast nearby............ Bee-eaters have nested and are raising young on the Isle of Wight (thanks to SR for first bringing this to my attention). The news has now been widely released on the birding media so I won't repeat the full location here, but it just goes to show how things are changing .... a near miss for the Peninsula, so perhaps next year!! (OM).

Selsey East Beach/area:  (SR)
Eider - 1 ob (moulting fem. present for some weeks) 
Wheatear - 1 ob
Ringed Plover - 1 ob. before flying E
Turnstone - 35 ob
Little Egret - 1E
House Martin - 27 + 1 active nest
Swift - 11
Linnet - 1 ob
Selsey Bill (07.15 - 08.15hrs): cloud, wind N3  (Obs: SR)
Gannet - 8E, 2W
Oystercatcher - 8E, 2W
Common Scoter - c.100 os
Sandwich Tern - 12 os (inc 2 juv)
Common Tern - 12 os
Turnstone - 3 ob
 Moulting Eider off East Selsey (SR)
Ferry Pool: This morning there were 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, a Kingfisher, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Great Spotted Woodpecker on or around the Ferry (CRJ) By mid afternoon there were 5 vocal Common Sandpipers,  still 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Black-tailed Godwits; 18 juvenile Shelduck, 29 Lapwing, 1 Kestrel and a Buzzard (SR).
Church Norton: Around the bushes there were 2 Willow Warblers, 3 Blackcaps, a Whitethroat carrying food and a Song Thrush. In the harbour there were 1 Greenshank, 2 Sanderlings, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 111 Dunlin. There were 70 Sand Martins over and what is presumably the Chichester family of Peregrines were also in the harbour. (CRJ)
Pagham Spit: The Little Tern colony on the Spit still appears to be thriving - at least 20 birds were airborne at one stage, including half a dozen juveniles, and there were still several youngsters being fed on the shingle, too. Also there were a few Sandwich Terns about, families of both Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover with young, and 20+ Turnstones. There were a few Willow Warblers along the gorse, too. (AH)

Little Terns on Pagham Spit (AH)

Pagham Lagoon: Around the Lagoon this morning there was a juvenile Great Crested Grebe, 5 Mediterranean Gulls, 3 Common Sandpipers and 16 Little Grebes. (AH)

Juvenile Great Crested Grebe (above) & Mediterranean Gulls on the Lagoon (AH)

North Wall: The water level still seemed high this morning and the only waders present were 45 Black-tailed Godwits. A pair of Common Terns were feeding along the Breach Pool and half a dozen Teal and a few Sedge Warblers were present, too.
In the harbour there were 6 Yellow-legged Gulls and 20 Mediterranean Gulls, and around White's Creek there were 2 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 20 Curlew, 60 Dunlin and 50 Redshank. (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane - Earnley flood pool: The 5 Black-winged Stilts were again present, plus 21 Yellow-legged Gulls, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 1 Green Sandpiper, 21 Dunlin and 3 Yellow Wagtails (DIS/DM). 
This evening in the same area there were 14 species of wader on show - 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 3 Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, 4 of the Black-winged Stilts, 20+ Avocet (inc 4 pairs with young), 16 Little Ringed Plover, 40 Dunlin, 2 Grey Plover, 11 Sanderling, 1 Black-tailed Godwit and a few Lapwing, Redshank and Oystercatcher.
Also present were 2 Wheatear, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker,1 Green Woodpecker, 20+ Sand Martin, 30+ Swallow, 2 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 2 Yellow-legged Gull and 30+ Mediterranean Gull, along with 24 Hares and 5 Clouded Yellows. (S&SaH)

 Medmerry:- The Black-winged Stilt family, and a young Coot (DM).

Two views of the iconic Spitfire over Medmerry today (DM).

Monday, 28th July: A cooler, grey start to the week, with a brisk north-easterly and thunder rumbling ..... then the skies blackened, yet somehow the Peninsula missed out on the severe morning thunderstorms and flash floods that hit the county just a little further along the coast at Worthing and all points east! As the cloud eventually subsided it became warm, sunny and humid by afternoon, before the threat of more thundery showers later.

Selsey Bill (0830-1000hrs): Thundery with heavy cloud and sunshine. Wind NE3. (Obs: OM/BFF) We were kept on our toes trying to assess whether the ominous black clouds would give us a soaking at any minute, but in the event they didn't. The birding was very slow save for the unusual appearance of a Green Woodpecker along the beach!  Log....
Gannet - 4E
Common Scoter - c.150 os
Dunlin - 1W
Green Woodpecker - 1W along beach; later seen in gardens
Common Tern - 12 os fishing
Sandwich Tern - 5 os fishing
Swift - 6 p
Two views of the weather at the Bill this morning from the same spot: (above) looking east (left) where ominous thunder clouds are gathering, and (below) looking west (right) with the bright sunshine playing down on the Isle of Wight, highlighting the white Culver cliff (OM).
Selsey: A Common Tern was over our house in the middle of Selsey - a rare occurrence despite them being regular on the nearby coast. (SH)
Ferry Pool: The Ferry would appear to have been refilled with water from the harbour and, predictably, wader numbers have dropped right away - the sum total this morning being one Common Sandpiper, one Dunlin and one Lapwing! (AH) A bit later things had improved slightly; a couple of Avocets, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 12 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Dunlin, 14 Lapwing, 9 juv Shelduck and a Stock Dove (OM/BFF/SR).

Common Sandpiper on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: Still at least 50 Sandwich and 30 Common Terns in the harbour, plus 30 Dunlin, 3-4 Whimbrel and a dozen Curlew. A juv Peregrine practised a sortie across the mudflats without much success except for disturbing everything. Not much activity in the bushes around the hide/churchyard area - a family of Song Thrushes on the elderberries, a couple of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, two Willow Warblers calling and a few juvenile Robins and Blackbirds was about it. (AH/BFF/OM)

Song Thrush at Church Norton (AH)
This evening there were 60+ Sandwich Terns, 20+ Common Terns, 4 Little Terns, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (and a juvenile on the beach), a Common Gull, 3-4 Whimbrels and 20+ Dunlin in the harbour and 50+ Swallows/Sand Martins and half a dozen Swifts over. (AH/S&SaH)

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull at Church Norton (AH)
Medmerry: Two mature gentlemen took the long stroll (at a sensible pace) from Easton's Lane - Earnley flood pools ('Stilt pool') and then most of the way towards the breach, by which time the weather was warm and sunny. En route we passed BI on his pushbike, enviously eyeing up his mode of transport. Birding highlights were all 5 Black-winged Stilts (2 ads, 3 juvs) together and showing quite well for a time, a Wood Sandpiper on a saltmarsh pool (viewable from beach) and 15 Yellow-legged Gulls roosting on the mudflats (only one juv, all the rest ads or near-ads) - views of the latter being somewhat hampered by a serious heat haze. The clear non-avian highlight was a count of at least 20 Clouded Yellow butterflies which obviously find this habitat to their liking! Back-up birds included a Green and 5 Common Sandpipers, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 12 Dunlin, 4 Avocets, 2-300 Linnets, 40 Pied Wagtails, 3 Kestrels, 3 Buzzards and several Yellowhammers (OM/BFF).

Clouded Yellow, Medmerry (BI).

Wood Sandpiper, Medmerry (BFF). (This record shot is the best we could do between us in the circumstances, even though we both had a camera. I wouldn't even publish mine! OM)

Chichester Gravel Pits: lunchtime. Not much about - family parties of Long-tailed Tits and Chiffchaffs, a single Willow Warbler and all 3 species of hirundine over Ivy Lake with a single Swift - but the highlight was a pair of Kingfishers that were very active around Nunnery Lake. Quite a few Common Blue Damsels present along the main path near the road. (AB)

Kingfisher (above) & Common Blue Damselfly at Chichester Pits (AB)

Friday, 25 July 2014

25th - 27th July 2014

Sunday, 27th July: Still warm and quite humid, with cloud and a light NW wind.

Selsey Bill (06.55- 08.30hrs): NW2-3 cloudy, humid  (Obs:SH/JA)
Gannet - 6E, 1W
Shelduck  12W (all juv's)
Common Scoter - 150 os
Dunlin - 1E
Turnstone - 4W
Green Woodpecker - 1 gardens
Common Tern - 76 os
Sandwich Tern - 5os
Med Gull - 3os
Swallow - 36W
Sand Martin - 9W
Swift - 20 p
Medmerry: Breach (05.45hrs  SH)
Quiet; just 60 Dunlin, 40 Grey Plover and 2 Common Terns
Earnley side - Best bird this morning was a Wood Sandpiper present on the Stilt Pool. There were plenty of other waders on the reserve, including at least 3 of the Black-winged Stilts though they were keeping low out in the middle, 2 Green Sandpipers on the first pool, a total of 6 Common Sandpipers, mostly near the breach, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 6 Avocets, a flock of 15 Sanderlings on the beach, 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Curlews and the big flock of Dunlin and Grey Plover still at the breach.
There were still a few Little, Common and Sandwich Terns around the breach area, plus a couple of juvenile Mediterranean Gulls.
There were at least 5 Wheatears this morning, along with several Yellowhammers, 20+ Skylarks, 50+ Meadow Pipits and at least 500 (and probably double that number!) of Linnets, with many of them young birds and present absolutely everywhere. Also, (per RJS/A&YF), a Hobby and 2 Clouded Yellows this morning, and at least 40 Pied Wagtails in the bean-field next to the car-park. (AH)
Wood Sandpiper (above), Sanderlings, juvenile Common Tern, Yellowhammer with a large cricket & juvenile Linnet at Madmerry (AH)
Ferry Pool: (06.40hrs  SH)
Black-tailed Godwit - 8
Avocet - 1
Redshank - 1
Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: The Terns were the star attraction, very noisy with good numbers of juveniles.  Parents flying around with fish in their bills presumably trying to encourage the youngsters to catch their own....c.80 to 100+ of Sandwich and Common, with the majority assembled out on the mudflats. Also:
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
Mediterranean Gull - 3
Whimbrel - 2
Dunlin - 60+
Curlew - 5
Turnstone - 1
Redshank - c30
Wheatear - 1 fem (on the broken concrete)
Willow Warbler - 12+
Blackcap - 3
Also several Long-tailed Tits in mixed tit flock. 
The Severals were generally very quiet, but still occasional bursts or Reed and Sedge Warbler song. Also a Cetti's Warbler, a Chiffchaff, 7 Linnets, a Little Grebe  (juvenile) and a Buzzard. (SR/S&SaH).
Still masses of Sandwich Terns in the harbour this evening, with a couple of Little Terns and a few Common Terns. Also 2 Sanderling in with 100+ Dunlin, and 4 Whimbrel and 20 Redshank. (AH)

 Sandwich Terns (above) & Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)
Greenlease Farm(SR).
Green Woodpecker - 2 (1 juvenile, 1 adult)
Kestrel - 1
Red-legged Partridge - 3 (juveniles)
Swallow - 23
House Martin - 19

North Wall: Great to see the water level has dropped on the Breach Pool with immediate results - this morning there were in excess of 50 Black-Tailed Godwits, plus a Green Sandpiper and a Common Sandpiper with rings on its legs - red top and yellow bottom on left leg and yellow on right leg. (PC)
Saturday, 26th July: Still fine and warm with a light N wind, but with the prospect of the recent high temperatures gradually slipping away to give fresher weather after the weekend. I received an email late yesterday from Bill regular Chris Northwood, explaining he had been absent from the patch as he had been in hospital since June, but was now well and truly on the mend and going back to work next week - he even apologised for missing out on the Stilt-watch! I'm sure we all wish him the speediest of recoveries and hope to see him back at the Bill very soon (OM).
Selsey Bill (0650 to 0730hrs): Sunny, dry, wind N/NE3 (Obs: SH).
Gannet - 9E, 2W
Common Scoter - the flock of c.150 still os
Turnstone - 9W
Sandwich Tern - 17 os
Common Tern - 16 os
Medmerry: Breach - West Sands (0545hrs: SH)
Grey Plover - 20
Dunlin - 30
Little Tern - 6
Common Tern - 4
Arctic Tern - 1
Sandwich Tern - 1
At Medmerry this morning there was a noticeable dearth of small birds - just a few Linnets. At Earnley Pools a pair of Avocet rigorously protecting 4 biggish chicks, even chasing off Little Ringed Plovers. Also a single Clouded Yellow butterfly. (CRJ)
Medmerry (Earnley side) 17.00 to 19.00
112 Canada Geese on the stilt pool
2 Greylag Geese
3 Mediterranean Gull
5 Sanderling
23 Dunlin
1 Common Sandpiper
5 Little Ringed Plover
1 Whimbrel
4 Black-winged Stilts 2ad 2 juv
12 Avocet - the parents of the last brood intent on crossing path
3 Buzzards
1 Wheatear
2 Clouded Yellow

Ferry Pool: (0630: SH)
Little Ringed Plover - 1
Spotted Redshank - 1
Redshank - 2
Avocet - 7
Black-tailed Godwit - 4
Buzzard - 1
All change at 9.30 - 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Avocets and 30 Lapwing, but no Redshank of either type. (AH)
Common Sandpipers & Black-tailed Godwit on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton:  (0830hrs: S&SaH)
Sandwich Terns - 100+ (82 roosting on mud bank),
Common Tern  100+ (76 roosting)
Little Tern - 4
Peregrine - 1
Willow Warbler - 6
Swallow and Sand Martin  - mixed flock 50+
Large mixed tit flock second Severals inc. 20 Long-tailed Tits
Later this morning an attempt to count the huge numbers of terns present gave conservative figures of 150 Sandwich Terns, 50 Common Terns and at least 4 Little Terns. At least 6 Whimbrel were present, along with 2 Common Sandpipers, a dozen Curlew, around 30 each of Dunlin, Turnstone and Redshank and half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls. (AH).
Sandwich Terns at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall: a quick visit this morning produced just 6 Redshank and 12 Dunlin in White's Creek, and on the Breach Pool 10 Black-tailed Godwits and a Mediterranean Gull with the Black-headed Gulls (BI).

Friday, 25th July: The hot weather continues; fine, sunny and dry with a welcome fresh NE breeze along the coast, and just the possibility of the odd thundery shower later... which sure enough appeared late afternoon! 
Ferry Pool: Still pretty quiet - single Little Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper, 3 Avocet, 3  Redshank, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, a single Dunlin and 30 Lapwing being the only waders present. Also 2 Med Gulls (AH/BI)
Little Ringed Plover (above) & Shelduck on Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: By far the noisiest and most conspicuous birds present this morning were the Sandwich Terns - at least 100 birds in several big flocks, intermittently taking to the air and shrieking the whole time! Also in the harbour were a few Common Terns, 4 Whimbrel, 40 Curlew, 30 Redshank and 150 Dunlin. A single Wheatear was on the beach and a few Sedge Warblers, Reed Buntings, Linnets and Whitethroats were along the Severals. (AH).
Wheatear (above), Sedge Warbler & Sandwich Terns at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry (Ham): Highlights were all 5 Black-winged Stilts, along with 8 Avocets including 1 very small chick dashing about, 1 Greenshank in the pool close to the gate, 7 Common Terns, 6 Sandwich Terns, 4 Corn Buntings including 2 young, one still being fed by its parent, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Kestrels and c200 Swallows and House Martins including many juveniles fly-catching over the barley field. 
Looking across to the Breach there were c40 Grey Plover, and what looked like 2 Golden Plover but they were quite distant, along with c30 Dunlin and 4 Black-tailed Godwits. (SR)
Additional records included a flighty Green Sandpiper. 2 Yellow-legged Gulls dozing on the marshland, and many Clouded Yellow butterflies, especially at the Easton viewpoint.
West beach/Coastguards: The Common Scoter flock was still present offshore numbering at least 150 birds (BI).