Sunday, 13 July 2014

13th - 15th July 2014

Tuesday, 15th July: Another bright, breezy summer's day after a grey start....but first and foremost it appears I have been well and truly spammed again (I get a constant stream of fake BT emails and the like) and although I am not sure where I slipped up this time, it seems most of my contacts have now received a spam email purporting to be from me. Whilst I do the necessary this end, please DO NOT OPEN ANY EMAIL PURPORTING TO BE FROM ME for a few days, unless it has a proper birding header to the message followed by (Birder Owen) in brackets. Sorry for the inconvenience. (OM).

Selsey Bill was very quiet during the hour I was there (1000-1100hrs); there was no passage, but the flock of c.150 Common Scoter was viewable offshore to the west, the flock stretching from beyond the shingle bar towards the beach at Hillfield Road, gradually drifting further west on the incoming tide. Otherwise there were 8 Common and 2 Sandwich Terns fishing over the bar and a single Gannet W (OM).
Ferry Pool: Less birds than of late, with a very low tide doubtless luring birds into the harbour. However, there were still 10 Avocets, 8 Little Ringed Plovers, 38 Dunlin, 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Teal and about 30 Lapwing. (AH/OM)
Dunlins on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: The very low tide kept birds in the harbour to a minimum, but there was still a bit to see - highlights being three Whimbrel, up to 60 Sandwich Terns, 4 Little and 25 Common Terns, 4 Med Gulls and a few scattered Curlew, with many more on the foreshore. On the beach a pair of Mute Swans with two cygnets were walking the long trek back from the water's edge to the Severals very slowly. Also there were one or two more Sandwich Terns and half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls. Two Lesser Whitethroats in the hedge by the hide were a surprise, plus a couple of calling Willow Warblers and there was a Reed Bunting and one or two Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers along the Severals. Out in the harbour a juvenile Peregrine was seen several times. A few waders noted, with 8 Whimbrel and 2 Common Sandpiper; also 2 Great Crested Grebes and a single Brent Goose! (AH/BFF/DIS/DM)

The beach at low tide (above), Mute Swan family, Sandwich Terns and Lesser Whitethroat at Church Norton (AH)

The Severals: Female Tufted Duck + 6 ducklings, 2 juvenile Little Grebes, 1 female Teal looking tiny beside the Mallards, 1 Little Egret, 1 singing Sedge Warbler in the bushes, and still plenty of Linnets and Whitethroats about, plus a very active Chiffchaff in an otherwise very quiet copse. There was also a confiding Ringed Plover close by, that came within two metres of me before settling down nearby. Presumably it had a nest or chick nearby. (SR)

Ringed Plover on Church Norton beach (SR)

North Wall: Still very quiet in this location. There seems to be more water than ever in the Breach Pool. If it is a policy to deter wading birds then it is working very well. Against the odds there was 1 Black-tailed Godwit there. In the field behind were 13 Canada and 4 Greylag Geese plus 9 Lapwing. Lapwings are arriving back in some numbers, there was a flock of 47 in the Harbour. There was little to write about in the back fields. At Welbourne an adult Robin sat on the gate with 3 very young ones but the latter flew off before I could focus the camera. (JW) An earlier visit to the Pool did little better, apart from several Sand Martins moving south and the Swallow families still present, plus 2-3 Sedge Warblers and up to 6 Reed Warblers, some still singing (CRJ/OM). A walk down the East side/White's Creek was just a little better, with 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls loafing on the mudflats, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, a single Grey Plover, an adult Shelduck, a Med Gull and a single Common Scoter inside the harbour mouth. Several Little and Common Terns were also fishing in the area (CRJ/OM).

A bird that doesn't often get a mention on here - a Robin at Welbourne (North Wall) (JW)

Medmerry: I timed my Stilt visit this afternoon to coincide with high tide in the hope that the chicks would be out of the gully, on dry land and visible. The banks of the gully, now transformed to a wide channel, were lined with waders but difficult to identify at that distance in the heat haze. A low flying plane displaced many of them, sending up a mixed flock of around 300 including Dunlin and Grey Plover, very impressive for a nature reserve still very much in the making. Fourteen Avocets were counted and 5 Common Terns were feeding in the flooded area near the breach, and 7 Sand Martins flew by. The Stilt parents were visible, at one stage the male harassed a Brown Hare, but the chicks stayed resolutely out of sight.
Stilt Pool: One pair of Avocets now have 3 chicks which they were carefully guarding and another Avocet remains on her nest. Also present were 7 Little Ringed Plovers and 6 Dunlin (SR).
Ham Farm: This evening there were at least three singing Corn Buntings, many Skylarks, of which quite a few look like youngsters, a couple of Whitethroats and about 20 Sand Martins and three Mediterranean Gulls over. Down towards the breach there were two Little Terns, two Sandwich Terns, two Greenshank, 30 Grey Plovers and 50 Dunlin. (AH)
Mediterranean Gull (above), Skylark and Roe buck at Medmerry (AH)

In a lightning visit late this afternoon, the female Black-winged Stilt was a nice surprise actively feeding on the first scrape on the right from the Earnley carpark.
In the area c6 Black-tailed Skimmer - well, skimming about(!),  with one female ovipositing, and 2 Emperors and several Common Blue Damsels also. (AB)

Black-winged Stilt (above) & Black-tailed Skimmer at Medmerry (AB)
Monday, 14th July: Sunny and bright with a light NW breeze and the prospect of more summer-like weather through the week. Yesterday found me many miles away from the patch, looking at old railways and steam trains (ok, I confess!), but it's good to know the blog is in AH's capable hands during my absence(s). Many thanks to all those of you whose efforts to establish the situation and put in the time to locate the young Black-winged Stilts finally paid off. And thanks also to those who kept me informed by email, text or phone regarding these developments. And what good news it was too ...... perhaps against the odds, all three Stilt chicks still survive and appear to be thriving, largely due to the adults being such good and attentive parents, (with a little assistance of course from all who took part in the nest watch scheme during the early stages). It's early days yet and I don't want to be counting any chickens.... but it looks like Medmerry might enter the record books in due course (OM).  
Ferry Pool: An early visit (6.45am) found a very good selection present this morning, the pool looking almost crowded with birds, all busily feeding....  10 Avocets, 14 juvenile Shelduck + 1 adult, 2 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 roosting Common Tern, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 4 Teal, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Little Ringed Plover, 1 Spotted Redshank (looking paler by the day), 41 Dunlin, 1 adult Redshank + 2 juveniles, 14 Lapwing, c20 Black-headed Gulls and a Stock Dove.  The star of the show however has to be the Kingfisher demonstrating it's hunting skills from the posts toward the back of the pool; catching the fish then taking it back to the post, knocking it against the post then turning it around and swallowing before dipping down to catch another (SR). 
Kingfisher (above), Little Ringed Plovers & Spotted Redshank and Greenshank on Ferry (AH)
Pagham Hbr: Visitor Centre area:  A calling Yellowhammer was a surprise, also 2 Green Woodpeckers, 9 Whitethroats including 4 juveniles, 8 Swallows, Reed and Sedge Warblers still calling.  Many Gatekeeper, Comma, and Peacock butterflies around (SR).

A sign that autumn is not far away! (SR)
Medmerry: At the breach this morning, there were 50+ Dunlin and Grey Plover, a dozen Turnstones, a Mediterranean Gull, the pair of Little Terns - still fish passing, and two or three each of Common and Sandwich Tern.
From the Coastguard Station there were at least 150 Common Scoters on the sea. (AH)


Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull and Sandwich Terns (above), Turnstones & Common Scoters at Medmerry (AH) 

Chichester Gravel Pits: About ten Common Terns at a windy Westhampnett Pit today. (BI)
Common Tern on Westhampnett Pit (BI)
Sunday, 13th July: A very gloomy start before brightening into another pleasant summer's day. And some much more promising news from Medmerry on the Black-winged Stilts...

Selsey Bill: 0700 to 0800 (SH)
Gannet - 9W, 8E
Common Scoter - 10E, 5os
Mediterranean Gull - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 10W
Common Tern - 2W, 1E
Grey wagtail 1ob

Medmerry: Both the adult Black-winged Stilts were in their usual area early on, but again no sign of any chicks. Also around the breach area were 2 Avocet, 20 Grey Plover, 40 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 3 Turnstone, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Tern,1 Sandwich Tern and 4 Common Tern. (S&SaH)
I spent well over an hour this morning watching the two adult Black-winged Stilts, they seemed very quiet, feeding and preening, so I couldn't help thinking the chick/s were no long there. Then I moved further along the beach and took a look nearer the breach, and to my relief a long-legged chick came into view briefly before disappearing into the gully. A few moments later one of the parents came into view, chasing off an intruder and soon both parents were there with the chick now out of sight. 
Two Kestrels were also about, 4 adult Avocets with 3 well grown chicks, 5 Yellowhammers, and good numbers of Skylarks and Linnets, and small flocks of Dunlin were feeding on the small pools in the fields. There were also at least 3 Brown Hares.
Breach: 1 Common Tern feeding, 3 Greenshank, c25 Black-tailed Godwits, 18 Grey Plover, and c25 Dunlin.
Stilt Pool: Very quiet although the Avocets were having to defend against a Great Black-backed Gull. Two Avocets on nests, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Canada Geese, and the usual Mallard family with one odd partially leucistic one. Four more Little Ringed Plovers on other scrapes. (SR)
The adult Black-winged Stilts were in their usual location at 19.15, and all 3 young Stilts appeared in open ground 100 metres to the west and they showed for several minutes. They still seem a lot smaller than the adults.
Also present were 30 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling and 6 Grey Plover, and the last three Avocet chicks are growing well, too. (S&SaH)

North Wall area: Still quiet along the North Wall. Waders on the Breach Pool were represented by 5 Lapwing and a single nicely plumaged Black Tailed Godwit. In the field behind were 10 Curlew. Along with the Mallard were 11 Teal who have only recently arrived. 2 Common Terns were fishing the Pool. Goldfinches were feeding on thistles along the Wall and Little Egret flying lessons continue at Owl Copse. (JW)
In the harbour there was a single Whimbrel, about 40 Curlews and Lapwings and 4 Yellow-legged Gulls, plus a Mediterranean Gull and at least 50 Sand Martins and Swallows over. (AH)

Little Egret, Grey Heron & Goldfinch from North Wall (JW) & Swallow on North Wall (AH)

Ferry Pool: Two Greenshanks on the pool again at high tide, but no Spotted Redshank or Common Redshank bar a couple of attentive parents with young to watch over. Still 10 Little Ringed Plovers, 10 Avocets, one Common Sandpiper, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 25 Dunlin and 40 Lapwing. (AH/SH)

Ever-watchful Redshank (above) & juvenile Avocet on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: This evening there were still 2 Whimbrel in the harbour, plus 20+ Sandwich Terns, 10+ Common Terns and several Little Terns feeding in the harbour and offshore.(with other terns). There were also half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and two or three Gannets far offshore. (AH)
Mediterranean Gull (above) & Little Tern on Church Norton beach (AH)

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