Saturday, 30 August 2014

30th-31st August 2014

Sunday, 31st August: August goes out on a high, with warm sunshine and the wind dropping to a brisk breeze, and lots of birds! Birds of the day were two Pied Flycatchers at the appropriately named Flycatcher Corner, but there was evidently a huge movement/fall of many of the commoner migrants.

Selsey Bill: 06.15 to 09.00hrs (JA/SH)
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 69W, 9E
Little egret - 1E
Eider - 3os
Sparrowhawk - 1W
Kestrel - 1W
Greenshank - 1 on beach
Turnstone - 12ob
Sandwich Tern - 2W, 6os
Common tern - 6W
Tree Pipit - 1W
Grey Wagtail - 6W
Yellow Wagtail - 49W, 20 ob
Swallow - 739W
Sand Martin - 38W
House Martin - 17W
Wheatear - 20 ob
Willow Warbler - 30+ in gardens
Chiffchaff - 5 in gardens
Northcommon Farm:
There were two Pied Flycatchers this afternoon, well found by GH, and showing well at Flycatcher Corner..Also a Spotted Flycatcher, a Sedge Warbler and a few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs in the hedges, plus 4 Yellow Wagtails over. There were 500-1000 Sand Martins over the adjacent fields, and similar of Swallows over the fields in Warner Lane. (AH)  A Whinchat was also there later on. (SR) And a male Redstart, too. (IP)
Pied Flycatcher (above) & with Spotted Flycatcher at Northcommon Farm (AH)
Spotted Flycatcher (above) & Willow Warber at Northcommon Farm (AH)
Horse Paddocks, Warner Lane: 3 Whinchats, 2 Whitethroast, 3 Willow Warblers, 1 Kestrel, c150 Swallows and House Martins, and just as I was climbing the stile to leave a male Redstart popped up on the fence. (SR)
Church Norton: On the walk from Selsey there were 22 Wheatear, 20+ Whitethroat, 50+ Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 200+ Swallow, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Sparrowhawks and 4 Buzzards (S&SaH)
There was also a Whinchat on the beach and 2 Redstarts and 2 Spotted Flycatchers at Greenlease Farm (IP)
Around the hide there were still 2 Redstarts, 5+ Spotted Flycatchers, a couple of Lesser Whitethroats and a Garden Warbler, plus a total of 41 Yellow Wagtails went over west and 3 Whimbrels were in the harbour. (AH et al)
A Merlin flew low over the harbour and there were a total of 14 Buzzards over the west side. (DIS/RI/DM)

Redstart (above) & Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)
This evening, in addition to the above, there were 100+ Mediterranean Gulls, 400+ Black-headed Gulls, 12 Gannets, a Fulmar, 6 Sandwich Terns and 2 Common Terns offshore, a Swift over and still 13 Wheatears on the beach. (S&SaH)

Medmerry: Around the viewpoint to the breach there were 12 Wheatear, 3 Whinchats and 25 Yellow Wagtails this morning. (RJS)
Easton Lane westwards this afternoon - 4 Wheatears, 2 Whinchat, Yellowhammer and a Green Sandpiper, plus hundreds of hirundines, mainly Swallows & Sand Martins. (IP)
Porthole Farm: A brief look along the sparse hedges and stubble this evening produced at least 12 Whinchats and a conservative estimate of 40+ Wheatears, along with 2 Redstarts, 20+ Yellow Wagtails and 200+ Linnets. (AH)

Whinchats at Porthole Farm (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Black-tailed Godwits and 40 Lapwing this morning. Along the hedges there were 30+ Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, with 5+ Blackcaps and Whitethroats and 100+ Goldfinches. (AH)

Blackcap (above) & Goldfinches on the pond near the Visitor Centre (AH)

Saturday, 30th August: Cloudy after overnight rain with a moderate westerly breeze, but the prospect of a brighter and drier day ahead. As this weekend slips away into autumn proper - the start of September - the forecast is for high pressure to build.........interesting!
Selsey Bill 06.30 - 09.00hrs:  Cloud, W4    (Obs: SH/JA)
Gannet  - 13E, 84W
Fulmar - 5W
Eider - 9 os
Common Scoter - 3W
Little Egret - 1W
Turnstone - 3W
Arctic Skua - 1W (juv)  
Common Tern - 4W, 8os
Sandwich tern - 8W
Swallow - 206SW
Sand Martin - 5W
Yellow Wagtail - 3W
16.30-18.00hrs (JA/SH)
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 16W, 13E
Mediterranean Gull - 4W
'Commic' Tern - 3W
Common tern - 25W including a very white bird
Arctic tern - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 6W
Swift - 2S, 2W
Grey Wagtail - 1W
Yellow Wagtail - 3W

Church Norton: Possibly the rarest bird on the peninsula this year was seen by S&SaH this morning, between the Severals - a Marsh Tit! A common and even garden bird in most of the country, this is the first record at the south end of the peninsula in a dozen years or more.
Otherwise it was more of the same, really - between 6 and 8 Spotted Flycatchers, a Redstart, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, a Reed Warbler and a few Blackcaps, Whitethroats and Willow Warblers around the hide area, and several Whimbrel and a couple of Sandwich Terns in the harbour. (AH)
Garden Warbler (above) & Redstart at Church Norton (AH)
To add to the above list - we saw a Grey Wagtail, a Peregrine, 4 Sparrowhawks and 4 Buzzards, plus a Bar-tailed Godwit in the harbour and 3 Gannets, 3 Sandwich Terns and 10 Common Terns offshore. (S& SaH)
Medmerry: Breach area - A Marsh Harrier drifted westwards over the reserve early on, then flew way out to sea, before turning back and flying towards East Head. Also there were up to 8 Wheatears, a Grey Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipits and 30 Linnets around the rubble heaps, and in the pools there were 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Sandwich Terns and 50+ Ringed Plover and Dunlin. (AH)
Marsh Harrier (above), Wheatear, Bar-tailed Godwit & Meadow Pipit at Medmerry (AH)
Easton Lane to the pools: Very quiet, only bird of note was the Barnacle Goose with roughly 400 Canada Geese. (BI)
Ferry Pool: Almost no waders again with the water level still very high - just a single Green Sandpiper, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 7 Avocets present, along with 23 Shelduck and 14 Teal. (AH)
Spot the odd one out! A Shelduck and 4 Avocets on the Ferry (AH)
Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: Three Wheatears in the dairy field and a Redstart by the sunflowers this morning. (BI)

North Wall: It was very windy sthis afternoon, so keeping the birds down - but birds of note were as follows:
2 Whinchat by the horse paddocks
Marsh Harrier flew over Owl copse and headed out over the saltings
c40 Sand Martin
c20 Swallow
c20 Black-tailed Godwit on Breach Pool with another 30+ on the saltings
c16 Little Egret
c7 Grey Heron
c40 Lapwing (PB)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

27th - 29th August 2014

Friday, 29th August: Cloudy with a mainly dry forecast for the day with some sunny periods and the possibility of some heavy showers, but also with a persistent and fairly brisk W/SW wind force 4-5 perhaps gusting 6.
Selsey Bill: Not much moving early on - just the usual Gannets offshore, 5 Eider on the sea, a few Common Scoters, Common Terns and Sandwich Terns going back and forth. Also 3 Swifts and about 10 Sand Martins overhead and a Mediterranean Gull on the beach.  No reports of the Wryneck thus far. Full log later. (JA/AH/GH et al) An hour this evening produced just 4 Gannets west and 2 east, and 6 Common Terns west and 1 east (SH)
Common Terns (above) & Gannet off Selsey Bill (AH)
Warner Lane: There was a Whinchat in the horse paddocks this morning. (BI)
Whinchat at Warner Lane (BI)

North Wall: The Osprey was present again around midday, until the gulls pushed it off westwards. Also  a Kingfisher and 100+ Black-tailed Godwits on the breach pool, a Yellow Wagtail in the horse field and a Whimbrel in the harbour. (BI) Also the first 3 Wigeon of the autumn in White's Creek. (ARK per SOS)

Osprey from North Wall (BI)

Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: No sign of the Cattle Egret, but 4 Wheatears, plus plenty of Whitethroats and Swallows. (BI)
Church Norton: At least 5 Spotted Flycatchers along the sheltered hedges and still 3 Redstarts behind the hide. Also present were a Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps and up to 10 Whitethroats, with a few House Martins and Sand Martins overhead.
In the harbour there was a Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, a Mediterranean Gull, 5 Grey Plover and 100+ Dunlin. (AH et al)
Spotted Flycatcher at Church Norton (AH)
This evening the Curlew Sandpiper was again amongst 100+ Dunlin. Also 12 Sandwich Terns were roosting in the harbour and there were at least 20 Grey Plovers present. (AH)
Sandwich Terns from Church Norton (AH)
Ferry Pool: Just a single Little Ringed Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 5 Avocets was the extent of wader activity, along with 22 Teal and 8 Shelducks. There were 2 Common Sandpipers in Ferry Channel. (AH)
Little Ringed Plover on the Ferry (above) & Common Sandpipers in Ferry Channel (AH)
Ivy Lake: there were three fly-around juv Ruff, 20 Pochard, 10 Common Terns and say 1000 Sand Martins. (ARK per SOS)

Thursday, 28th August: A grey gloomy start, brightening up somewhat as the day progressed. Bird of the day was a Wryneck at Selsey Bill....
Selsey Bill: OM's perseverance with a small plot of land on Seal Square paid off this morning with a Wryneck in the hedge. It was fairly elusive, but showed well several times from 10.30 till 11.30am. To see it, park in the car-park at the end of Hillfield Road and take the cut-through between the gardens opposite the tea-van. The plot is by the electricity sub-station on the left, but it is private and can be viewed over the fence. (AH) (It had not reappeared by 1430) (OM).

A sea-watch 0920-1020hrs (OM/PC) proved to be very quiet, producing just Gannet 2E and 4W, Common Scoter 1W, Sandwich Tern 4W, Commic Tern 3E and Sand Martin 30SW. Then OM became restless, deciding it was time to check the gardens.... it didn't look very promising, but a Swift and a few more Sand Martins flew over the Oval field before heading out SW, at least 4 Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat were logged, and then the Wryneck appeared!
Wryneck at Selsey Bill (AH)

Selsey: Northcommon Farm & Warner Lane: No obvious migrants in the hedgerows, but there were masses of hirundines hawking over the hay fields, which apart from a handful of Swallows were almost exclusively Sand Martins. It was difficult to accurately estimate the total, but there were at least 200 over each of five different fields, so there must have been 1000+ in the area (OM).

Church Norton: A fading summer-plumage Curlew Sandpiper was a new bird in the harbour. Otherwise there were a couple of Whimbrel, 10 Grey Plovers and 200+ Dunlin present. There were 2 Redstarts, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 5+ Blackcaps and similar of Whitethroat around the hide area, at least 10 Whitethroats along the Severals, 8 Gannets, 2 Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern offshore, a steady westward stream of Swallows and Sand Martins and also 2 Yellow Wagtails flew over. (AH/OM et al) Later (mid-afternoon) an Osprey reported flying south over the harbour (IL).

Curlew Sandpiper (above) & Redstart at Church Norton (AH)

This evening a young Marsh Harrier was hunting over the harbour more or less continuously from 6.15 -7.15pm (AH/S&SaH) 
Marsh Harrier over Pagham Harbour (AH)
Ferry Pool: There were 4 Green Sandpipers at the back, along with 1 Dunlin, 5 Avocets, 14 Black-tailed Godwits, 22 Teal and 9 juvenile Shelducks. (AH/OM)

Teal on the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Highlights of the SOS walk from Easton Lane to the beach on the western side of Medmerry RSPB Reserve. Along the way a good flock of 25+ Yellow Wagtails were feeding in the fields, together with several Wheatears. Other birds seen were Yellowhammer, Whitethroat and many Sand Martins passing through.
In the buffeting wind there was a distinct lack of waders on the pools but a summer-plumaged Little Grebe was some compensation. Whilst lunching on the beach 2 Sandwich Terns flew west and a total of 6 Common Terns flew off towards the Isle of Wight. Out in the middle of the reserve were hundreds of Canada Geese, 2 Common Buzzard, 2 Kestrels, at least 2 Greenshank and a very brief appearance of a Common Sandpiper.
I was desperate to find Whinchat for the party on the return journey and sharp-eyed Paul managed to find 2 birds on the barbed wire fences, and before we knew it 6 of these gorgeous birds were in view.
Also seen were 2 Roe Deer and a Clouded Yellow butterfly. (CRJ)
Wednesday, 27th August: Overcast but just about remaining dry, with a fresh ENE wind, perhaps hinting at more promising conditions for bird-finding. As from this Sunday, AH will be holding the fort for a week with blog duties during my absence... it will be business as usual but please be understanding as (apparently) he has to put in some time earning a living in between the rigours of family life, birding in the field and writing the blog! (OM).

Selsey Bill (0815-1105hrs):  Cloud but dry, ENE F4/5 (Obs: SR/C&ME/GH)
Gannet - 29E, 13W
Fulmar - 1E, 2W
Eider - 4 os drifting E
Common Scoter - 48W then settled os
Turnstone - 30E, 11W
Oystercatcher - 1 ob
Common Tern - 4E
Commic Tern  13W
Sandwich Tern - 2E, 32W

Swallow - 28E, c25 overhead
House Martin - 18E
Sand Martin - 12E
Wheatear - 3 ob
Pied Wagtail - 1 ob
Yellow Wagtail - 8NE, 2ob   

Ferry Pool: There were 3 Green Sandpipers again this morning, along with 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Dunlin, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Avocets, 16 juvenile Shelduck and 22 Teal. Also a flock of 12 Greenshank flew out of the harbour and south-west over the Ferry, there were 2 or 3 Yellow Wagtails in with the cattle, and there was a big flock of, mostly, Long-tailed Tits moving along the hedgerow.(AH)
Long-tailed Tit at the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: There was a Redstart in the churchyard (per R&GH), 2 Spotted Flycatchers behind the hide, along with a few Whitethroats and Blackcaps and a Sparrowhawk. In the harbour there were 2-3 Whimbrel and 50+ Dunlin, plus 20+ Sand Martins and Swallows over. (AH)
Spotted Flycatchers (above) & Whitethroat at Church Norton (AH)

Quite an eventful walk this evening, with a hovercraft in the harbour, quad and motor bikes on the beach and a naked man lingering around the hide!
There were a few birds, too - 7 Sandwich Terns in the harbour, 2 Wheatears on the beach, a Willow Warbler, a Whitethroat and a Sparrowhawk along the Severals, and a Swift over the north of Selsey. (S&SaH)
North Wall: A Kingfisher along White's Creek along with 58 Redshank and 72 Black-tailed Godwits. The Breach Pool was full to overflowing and only contained Mallard and Teal. Common Whitethroats were at several locations and I counted over 30, plus plenty of other migrants including Lesser Whitethroats, Willow Warblers, Spotted Flycatchers and Whinchats. There were 4 Whinchats together in the maize field just south of Bramber Farm. No sign of the Cattle Egret at Marsh Farm but there were 14 Pied Wagtails there. Around Honer reservoir there were well over 100 Sand Martins as well as one each of Common and Green Sandpiper. The Swan family along Pagham Rife still have 5 cygnets, they no longer bother to move when I walk by. On my walk round I also noted 5 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels, 2 Jays and 1 Little Owl. A very pleasant morning (JDW).  

Kingfisher  White's Creek, Spotted Flycatcher North Fields and Mute Swan family Pagham Rife (JDW)

An Osprey was feeding in front of sluice gates (around 6pm) adjacent to North Wall about 50 metres out half way to channel. It was 'put up' by an Environment Agency hovercraft on at least two occasions but kept hold of its prey eventually landing on the Church Norton side of the channel where it was feeding on its quarry until we left at around 7pm. (D. Meagher per SOS)
Hunston: A Little Owl was sitting on a roadside telegraph post very early this morning. (SH)

Ivy Lake: A Swift over early this morning (SH). Two Common Terns and up to 40 Pochard present, as well. (JD)

Sunday, 24 August 2014

24th - 26th August 2014

Tuesday, 26th August: Better than yesterday, and at least it was mild and the wind light, despite the dreary, grey start......but then heavy showers set in later!

Selsey Bill 0650-0735hrs: Mild, cloudy, NE 2-3. (Obs: CRJ)
Gannet - 1E, 5W
Common Scoter - 30 os
Commic Tern - 13 os
Sandwich Tern - 7 os
Med Gull - 1 os (imm)
Wheatear - 1 ob
Willow Warbler -  2 gardens.
Ferry Pool: Most unusual birds on here were 2 Turnstones that dropped in at the back. Despite being a common bird within a hundred metres range, they are extremely rare on the Ferry. Otherwise there were 3 Green Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 5 Avocet, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Dunlin and 4 Teal. (OM/AH)
Church Norton: A good selection of passerines today - presumably the same as Sunday's birds. Around the hide there was a Garden Warbler (and possibly two), a Redstart, 4-5 Spotted Flycatctchers, a Chiffchaff, a Lesser Whitethroat, and 5+ Blackcaps, Whitethroats and Willow Warblers.
Along the Severals there was a Whinchat and 10+ Whitethroats, a single Gannet was offshore, in the harbour there were 2 Sandwich Terns, 3 Whimbrel, 10+ Grey Plovers, 250 Dunlin and 5+ Black-tailed Godwits, and 20+ House Martins and 50 Swallows went over. (OM/CRJ/AH)
Garden Warbler (above), Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat & Redstart at Church Norton (AH)

(Bank holiday) Monday, 25th August: Grey, wet and windy with heavy rain and a strong southerly-based wind predicted to make this a typical Bank Holiday! Once again sea-watching may be the best option. Meanwhile, may we just take the opportunity to again thank the contributors who provide info and photos for us to use; just one plea though.... the earlier you can get the info/photos to us the better. We endeavour to get the news out daily and often find ourselves working late into the evening to process the influx of info that suddenly appears at this time....... not grumbling honest, but if you can help it would be much appreciated (OM/AH).

Selsey Bill (06.30 - 09.00hrs): Grey and squally, wind F4 SSE (JA/SH/AH)
Fulmar - 3E, 4W
Gannet - 148E, 17W

Common Scoter - 6E, 15os
Arctic Skua (juv) - 1W
Kittiwake - 2E, 3W

Mediterranean Gull - 1ob
'Commic' Tern - 6E, 4os

Sandwich Tern  -10E, 3W
Sand Martin - 6E
Swallow - 2E

Common Scoters (above) & Gannet past the Bill (AH)

Church Norton: This morning in the dire conditions there were 2 Whimbrel, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Knot, 8 Grey Plover, 30 Curlew (including the leucistic bird), 200+ Dunlin, 40 Turnstone and 120 Ringed Plover out on the mud. There were also 9 Sandwich Terns and one Common Tern roosting in the harbour, and a steady stream of Swallows and Sand Martins feeding low over the mud. Passerines were all but non-existent, though a flock of Goldcrests were moving about the oaks in the churchyard. (AH)

 Whimbrel & Black-tailed Godwit (above) & Swallows at Church Norton (AH)
Ferry Pool: Just 3 Avocets, 2 Black-tailed Godwits and a Dunlin this morning. (AH)

Sunday, 24th August: A cool start to a fine sunny morning with a gentle W/SW breeze, but cloud bubbling up and increasing later.

Selsey Bill (06.30 - 08.30hrs): Sunny, bright, wind light W/SW 1-2. (Obs: PB/SH/JA/IP).
Gannet - 31E, 13W
Common Scoter - 11E,1W, 20 os

Redshank - 1W
Turnstone - 30 ob
Common Tern - 30 os, 7W
Sandwich tern - 10E
Sand Martin - 233E

House Martin - 33E
Swallow - 60E
Yellow Wagtail - 5W

At Park Farm this morning there were 4 Yellow Wagtails  This afternoon around 150 hirundines went over the north of the town , mostly Sand Martins, but including 4 Swifts. Also 5 Buzzards were seen soaring high over the north of Selsey - they are still a real rarity in Selsey despite being common elsewhere on the peninsula. (S&SaH)

Yellow Wagtail at Park Farm (SH) 

Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: A visiting bird-watcher reported seeing the Cattle Egret here again this morning. (AH) Also there were 2-3 Spotted Flycatchers on the fence near the cattle grid with a mix of a few Willow Warblers and Whitethroats. (BI)

A message picked up by SR on the Sussex Birders facebook. Please take heed....
"I'm not naming names, but people need to show respect at Marsh Farm, a huge lorry of hay bales has been delayed because this person has ignored the signs saying 'NO VEHICLES- DEAD END' causing all sort of upset for the farmer. I hope this isn't anyone on the group but if it is, pay attention to the signs and respect landowners, we birders have enough access issues as it is."

Church Norton: A Pied Flycatcher was seen early on behind the hide, but frustratingly could not be re-found. (IP) Also about were 4-5 Spotted Flycatchers, 2-3 Redstarts, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Garden Warblers, 5+ Blackcaps, 10+ Willow Warblers and a Wheatear. There were still 20+ Whitethroats along the Severals, 2 Wheatears on the beach and there were several hundred Sand Martins over the fields and harbour, with a pure albino House Martin amongst them, which the other birds did not appear to like and repeatedly chased it off.
In the harbour there was a Whimbrel, 150 Dunlin and 50 Ringed Plovers, along with 2 Common Terns feeding in the harbour mouth. (AH/S&SaH/PB/AB/IP/C&ME/C&JM/BI)
Wheatear (above) (SH) & albino House Martin with Sand Martins (CM) at Church Norton
Spotted Flycatcher (AB), & Redstart (BI above & CM below) at Church Norton
 Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper was on the pool again this morning, along with three Avocets, including two juveniles, 8 Black-tailed Godwits and 22 Lapwings. There were a Common Sandpiper and a Greenshank in Ferry channel, but it was quiet in the adjacent bushes - with just a few Whitethroats and Willow Warblers present. (AH)

Juvenile Avocets on the Ferry (AH)
Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - The most unusual sight of the morning was of a Spotted Flycatcher on the fencing around the new sluice at the end of the caravan park, along with two Willow Warblers. There were also at least 5 Wheatears and 40 Linnets around the viewpoint, and on the pools there were 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 8 Curlews, 1 Knot, 25 Dunlin and 40 Ringed Plovers. There were still 2 juvenile Little Terns feeding offshore and up to 10 Sandwich Terns roosting or feeding along the shoreline. (AH)

Spotted Flycatcher (above), Wheatear, Bar-tailed Godwits & Sandwich Tern at Medmerry (AH)

Easton Lane - Two Common Sandpipers on the first sluice pool, ten Yellow Wagtails over and a single Clouded Yellow. (BI)

Common Sandpipers at Medmerry (BI)

Ham Farm: The long-standing Barnacle Goose of highly suspect origins was back amongst 220 Canada Geese on the stubble this evening, along with 2 Greylag Geese. Also a Little Grebe with a well grown chick was on one of the new ponds and about 50 Swallows went over. (AH)

Barnacle Goose with Canada Geese at Medmerry (AH)

Sidlesham. For the second day running a Yellow Wagtail dropped into our garden, and the third Swallow brood of the season look ready to leave their nest. (AH)

Swallows in a Sidlesham shed (AH)