Sunday, 10 August 2014

10th - 11th August 2014

Monday, 11th August: A bright, blustery morning with the odd sharp shower. The main news is the return of our Black-winged Stilt family after their trip to Pulborough Brooks....followed by the Long-tailed Skua  returning to Church Norton beach and showing its socks off! Even I managed to catch up with the skua at last! I thought at first my photos were pretty reasonable, but some hopes... I've already seen some great shots by others as today turned into a photographers delight;  there are going to be some really superb photos out there, so I certainly won't burden you with mine. Many thanks though to all for their input/pics/information today (OM).
Ferry Pool: Our old friends, the Black-winged Stilt family - all five of them - were back on the pool this morning. Also an adult and four juvenile Avocets were there, too - presumably the last family from Medmerry. Not much else, though, just half a dozen Black-tailed Godwits and forty Lapwing. (CRJ/OM/AH)
Black-winged Stilts on the Ferry (AH)
Adult and juvenile Black-winged Stilt on the Ferry Pool (AB)
Church Norton: No sign early on of the Long-tailed Skua, but it reappeared late morning and continued to show well until early afternoon at least. In the harbour there were 2 Whimbrel, about 30 Sandwich Terns and 40 Dunlin. There were several Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Whitethroats in the bushes around the hide and a dozen or so House Martins feeding out of the wind nearby. (AH/OM) There was good news today from IL, RSPB warden, concerning the Little Terns.... it seems at least 12 pairs bred this year, raising a good number of young, and some birds are still feeding young which are well off fledging yet... surely the best breeding success for a good many years. Whilst on the subject of Norton, birders will be pleased to note that repairs to the vandalised Hide have begun today by a group of volunteers....... there is a good deal to be done and it will be a little while before the job can be completed, so please be patient - and careful - if visiting over the next couple of weeks (OM).
The youthful Hide repair team volunteers in a (glamour!) line up after a hard day's work: l-to-r are Dave Sneller, Trevor Gibson-Poole, John Dodd, Dorian Mason, Dave Sadler and Bernie Forbes (OM).

Long-tailed Skua, Church Norton beach (3 above AB; 2 below DM )


SR and RJS watching the action (OM)
Whimbrel (above) & Willow Warbler at Church Norton (AH)
Selsey Bill: 0705-1005 and 1115-1215hrs: Heavy showers, sunny periods and cloud. Wind strong WSW 6-7. (Obs: CRJ/OM/RJS/MG). There was some amusement when the observers realised they had all turned up in the same make, model and colour of car! The birding was less than exciting though, also being interrupted by a hasty departure to see the Skua. Then during a late afternoon sea-watch, SH joined a select band of observers who have actually seen the Long-tailed Skua at the Bill....
Gannet - 1E, 2W
Fulmar - 1W
Common Scoter - 5E, 8os
Ringed Plover - 1W
Sanderling - 25 ob, departed W
Turnstone - 49 ob, most departed W
Whimbrel - 2W
Little Tern - 4W
Commic Tern - 57W
Sandwich Tern - 12W
Med Gull - 2 juvs os
1700 - 1845hrs  (SH).
Gannet - 2W
Fulmar - 2E, 2W
Manx Shearwater - 1W (1755)
Eider - 5os
Turnstone - 2W
Commic Tern - 3E, 20W, 7 os
Sandwich tern - 5W
Long-tailed Skua - 1W close in along shoreline (1740)
Arctic Skua - 1W
Med Gull - 1W
Dick Senior with the line-up of Granddad-mobiles at the Bill; transport of choice for the discerning old duffer! (OM)
Ivy Lake: There were at least a dozen Common Terns this morning, nearly all juveniles, along with a fly-by Kingfisher, 3 Gadwall, at least 4 pairs of Great Crested Grebes with young, several Willow Warblers calling from the bushes and 200+ hirundines, of which the vast majority were Sand Martins. (AH)
Common Terns (above), Gadwall and juvenile Great Crested Grebe at Ivy Lake (AH)

Sunday, 10th August: A truly miserable morning, as the tail of Hurricane Bertha hit, though our patch at least was nowhere near as wet as the worst forecasts.... and although gale force winds persisted, the rain had largely eased by midday. Fortunately, the wind direction at the Bill was SSE, allowing observers to benefit from a good deal of shelter at the 'southeast corner' wall.... until the wind finally veered to the SW soon after 1100hrs.

A couple of items of interest on colour-ringed birds seen on the Peninsula.... firstly, this from SR - I've had a reply to my sighting of 3 colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwits on Ferry Pool 11th May. They were ringed as chicks on 13th July last year in northern Iceland; one spent September - May around Pagham Harbour, Hayling Island, and the Ferry Pool. The other two likewise, but their travels also included the Exe Estuary, Farlington, Fishbourne, and the Breach Pool (SR).
Secondly, the ringed Herring Gull at the Bill on 24th July (see blog)... nothing too glamorous I'm  afraid... it was ringed (as a 1st calendar year) in Greater London at Rainham Tip on 16th November 2013 (OM).

Church Norton: The main news of the day was the continuing presence of the Long-tailed Skua, which continues to pop up at different sites to keep everyone on their toes! This time it was on the beach opposite the 1st bungalow past the southern end of the reserve, (i.e. beyond the second Several reed-bed), remaining long enough for JA to make a rare twitching excursion from the Bill, and though it flew off mid-afternoon it had returned by early evening.
Otherwise not a lot to report -  this morning between the squalls a dozen Common Terns, 2 Little Terns, 20 Swallows, 40 Redshank, 2 Whimbrel and 5 Little Egrets, were found around.the sheltered areas. This afternoon there were up to ten Sandwich Terns and three Little Terns in the harbour, and about 50 House Martins feeding around the hedge by the hide. (AH)

Common Terns and Redshanks (above) & House Martin at Church Norton (AH)

Selsey Bill (0600 - 1330hrs): Heavy rain/showers and gales SSE-SW 6-8. (Obs: JA/SH/SR/CRJ/AH/OM et al). With expectations high it was a bit of an anti-climax really; no shearwaters or  rare skuas, though there were a few Fulmars, Gannets and Common and Sandwich Terns moving into the wind, the regular Eiders and Common Scoters were on/over the sea and a trickle of Swifts were moving overhead: later a Bonxie and an Arctic Skua put in an appearance.... log below:
Gannet - 67E, 21W
Fulmar - 7E, 8W
Eider - 2 os
Common Scoter - 39E, 70 os
Turnstone - 14 ob
Knot - 1W (sum/plum)
Whimbrel - 2W
Black-tailed Godwit - 5E
Auk sp - 2W
Commic Tern - 213E, 17W
Sandwich Tern - 50E, 4W
Great Skua - 1W
Arctic Skua -1W
Kittiwake - 1E (juv)
Sand Martin - 9E
Swallow - 2E
Swift - 24 out S/E
15.30 to 18.00 (SH/SR/JE/AH/JA)
Gannet - 7E, 6W
Great Crested Grebe - 4os
Eider - 5os
Common Scoter - 1W
Sanderling - 1E
Dunlin - 1E
Whimbrel - 3W
Turnstone - 6 ob
Common Tern - 22W
Little Tern - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 3W
Swift - 21W
Swallow - 1S (out to sea), 1N (in off sea!)

Young Gannet (above), Common Scoters and Eider off Selsey Bill (AH)

Medmerry: breach area - very unpleasant in the gusting wind and rain, and no sign of the skua! However there were 2 Wheatear, 4 Yellow Wagtail and 2 Pied Wagtails around the rubble heaps, and 2 Little Terns, about a dozen each of Common and Sandwich Tern, 3 Sanderling and 30 Ringed Plovers around the pool by the breach, plus a single Swift struggling to make headway into the wind. (AH)

Ringed Plovers at Medmerry (AH)
Ferry Pool: Still a Common Sandpiper and two Little Ringed Plovers this morning, plus 40 Lapwing and 16 Teal. (AH)

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