Thursday, 16 October 2014

16th - 18th October 2014

Saturday, 18th October: Still very mild for the time of year, with sunshine and cloud, a fresh S/SSW wind and the risk of showers later. Highlights today were sparse but included the Northcommon farm Yellow-browed Warbler (heard not seen), a late Hobby and the Spoonbill at Pagham harbour.

Selsey Bill: (0720-0930hrs) (Obs: SH/SR/AH)
Gannet - 33W, 4E, 10 os
Wigeon - 4W
Common Scoter - 4W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1W
Sparrowhawk - 1 present
Arctic Skua  - 1W
Common Gull - 1os
Mediterranean Gull - 3E
Kittiwake - 4E
Sandwich Tern - 3E
auk sp - 1W

Swallow - 1E
Meadow Pipit - 4 present
Pied Wagtail - 9 present
Linnet - 40 present
Goldfinch - 40E

As a distraction from the fairly slow sea-watching, an Oystercatcher had found a large shellfish for its breakfast, which the local Carrion Crows quickly spotted. He saw off the first assailant, but another joined in, and somehow, by the end of it he was still shooing off one crow, whilst the other and his breakfast had disappeared!
Oystercatcher and Carrion Crows at Selsey Bill (AH)
Selsey, Northcommon Farm: The Yellow-browed Warbler was heard a couple of times along Paddock Lane, but had not been seen by 8am. (IP)

Selsey, East Beach Pond: I spent some time this morning, looking for the Yellow-browed Warbler without any success. There were, however a Grey Wagtail feeding at the edge of the pond, a handful of Chiffchaffs in the bushes, one Wheatear and two Clouded Yellow butterflies in the vicinity. (SR)

Selsey, Warner Lane Horse Paddocks: 4 Stonechats, 1 Jay, 1 Kestrel this afternoon. (SR)

Ferry Pool: There were 2 Green Sandpipers and the Common Sandpiper present this morning, along with 9 Avocets, 30 Lapwings and the usual wildfowl. (AH)

Green Sandpipers on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: The Spoonbill was roosting in the harbour again this morning, though not much else of note was seen, though a Hobby which flew low over the churchyard from the west before heading away towards the Severals was noteworthy for the time of year. A handful of Swallows went over, there were a few Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests in the churchyard, and 3 or 4 Jays were busy gathering nuts from the trees by the gate, as a replacement for acorns which are sadly lacking this autumn. (AH).
Spoonbill asleep in the harbour (above) & Jays at Church Norton (AH)
On the regular walk from Selsey to Church Norton there was a Red-throated Diver east offshore, a Wheatear, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Blackcap and 2 Swallows. Also the Green Sandpiper was again at Park Farm, Selsey. (S&SaH)
Medmerry: Easton Lane west - Pretty quiet this morning. There were plenty of Linnets about, and smaller numbers of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks alongside them, there were about 200 Teal present, and a couple of Reed Buntings and a single Black-tailed Godwit, but that was about it. (AH)
Medmerry: West Sands Viewpoint - I had a pleasant time at the viewpoint overlooking Medmerry this afternoon. Two birds came across as I sat on the bench, a solitary Wheatear (see pic) gave its endorsement to the commemoration stone, then a while later Meadow Pipits sent out a warning as a Kestrel landed on a nearby fence post (pic attached). 
Apart from those close encounters there was very little about, 18 Brent Geese, 37 Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin, 22 Grey Plover, 50+ Lapwings, 42 Meadow Pipits, c50 Linnets, 12 Pied Wagtails, 1 Buzzard. (SR)
Wheatear on the commemoration stone (above) & Kestrel at Medmerry (SR)

Friday, 17th October: Another very mild, pleasant day, with a warm wind picking up from the south...meanwhile yesterday's comments on a second Yellow-browed Warbler turned out to be something of a prophecy as lightening strikes twice in Selsey....

Selsey, East Beach Pond: A very elusive Yellow-browed Warbler was briefly present early this morning. I arrived at East beach car park at 0745 to dump my rubbish at the council tip, but as the site doesn't open until 0800, took a walk around the pond. At the north end, where the sycamores and sallows are thickest, I was watching a Chiffchaff calling, when suddenly from nearby there was a strident "schu-eest, schu-eest"..... no ifs, buts or maybes with this one - it was a Yellow-browed without any doubt. Desperately scanning around I just couldn't locate it, then it called again from nearby. I contacted AH and SR, but before they arrived it was heard clearly a couple more times, perhaps more distantly, then glimpsed but not definitively seen, in sallows around the pond. And that was it.... so far it hasn't been located and on further visits I made through the day I found most of the small birds had now gone. Also seen there were a Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaffs, several Goldcrests and a Grey Wagtail, whilst 3 Swallows and 6 Skylarks passed overhead. (OM)

Selsey Bill: Highlights up to 9.30am included 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Common Scoters and 4 Brent Geese west and a few Gannets far offshore. (C&ME/SR)

Selsey area: Warner Lane paddocks / Drift lane marsh: Four Stonechats and about 20 Meadow Pipits around the paddocks, 4 Snipe and a Chiffchaff on the marsh. At the Chainbridge field quieter than of late with just 2 Stonechats and a Cetti's Warbler of note. Coastguards/West St produced nothing except 3 Swallows.(OM).
Northcommon Farm: The Yellow-browed Warbler was still present in the area by five-bar gate in Paddock Lane this morning. (A&YF)

Church Norton: There were still at least 5 Wheatears along the spit this morning, along with a dozen Skylarks, 50+ Linnets, 20+ Meadow Pipits and 6 Goldfinches, with another 50+ of the latter over west, with 5 Swallows.
The churchyard/hide area was very quiet save a few Jays toing and froing, whilst in the harbour there were a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits, 20+ Grey Plovers, about 50 Dunlin and at least 100 Brent Geese near the harbour mouth. (AH) 

Goldfinches & Wheatear (above) Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwit & Brent Geese at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: The only waders present were 9 roosting Avocets, though there were plenty of Wigeon and Teal, and Shoveler numbers had increased to 28 birds. (AH)

Shoveler and Teal on the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: Very quiet along the Wall just a few Goldfinches and Reed Buntings. Three Swallows flew over. No waders at all on the Breach Pool. At Honer Reservoir there were 5 Stonechats feeding in a recently ploughed field. On the Reservoir were 5 Little Grebes, 12 Tufted Duck, 9 Coot and 2 Pied Wagtails (JDW).

Stonechat at Honer Reservoir (North Wall) (JDW)
Thursday, 16th October: A beautiful, warm autumn morning with a light SW breeze 2-3, increasing a bit later and clouding over quite a bit.

Selsey, Northcommon Farm: The Yellow-browed Warbler was still present in sallows on Paddock Lane this morning, along with 3-4 Chiffchaffs and up to 10 Goldcrests. (C&ME/AH/OM/BFF/DM/PC et al). This little blighter has been almost impossible to photograph over the last few days due to the prevailing light conditions and the active nature of the bird in the foliage, but at last some images have been obtained by a couple of our more determined local photographers..... many thanks chaps. The bird has been generally faithful to the area near the metal five-barred gates near the pines, and it was certainly more vocal today, but at one time it was calling from the far (northern) end of the tree line for a while....... I did just wonder then if two birds might actually be involved, but this was quickly dismissed as wishful thinking. Fair enough... but you never know! (OM).

Yellow-browed Warbler, Selsey - 3 images above by Dorian Mason, the 2 below by Ads Bowley, and hte bottom one by Martin Peacock 


Below... three views of some of today's observers.....(OM)
1. Brief glimpses and it's gone again! 
2. Frustration and anticipation!

3. There at last...... click! 
Selsey Bill 0745-0915hrs): The sea was once again dead, producing just 60 Gannets, 11 Brent Geese and 7 Oystercatchers all moving W and 6 Med Gulls  offshore. A Rock Pipit was on the beach and 5 Chiffchaffs in the gardens, but otherwise it was the usual fare with just a little vis mig noticed..... 40 Goldfinch, 50 Meadow Pipits and 5 Swallows passing through. A Sparrowhawk flashed past and a noisy flock of 50 Jackdaws was very obvious overhead.  (OM/BFF/DM)
Part of the Jackdaw flock over the Bill this morning (OM)
Ferry Pool: The Common Sandpiper was present, along with 9 Avocet, 5 Shelduck, 12 Shoveler, 40 Wigeon and 50 Teal. (AH)
Common Sandpiper (above) & Shelduck on the Ferry (AH)
North Wall: A lovely sunny morning. In the horse field were 40 Goldfinches and 2 Pied Wagtails, 10 Swallows flew over. Along White's Creek the usual mixture of Redshank, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits; surprisingly there were 4 Avocets on the mud just west of the Creek. Along the Wall were up to 20 Reed Buntings and singles of Chiffchaff, Stonechat and Wheatear. Not a single wader on the Breach Pool, the usual Kingfisher was present and 2 Canada Geese have appeared overnight. (JDW)

Kingfisher (above) & Wheatear along the North Wall (JW)
Medmerry: The Curlew Sandpiper was still on the pools, along with 30+ Dunlin and Ringed Plovers, exactly 50 Golden Plovers, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and 30 Lapwing. A Kingfisher flew through and a Peregrine and 5 Skylarks went over, and there were 20 Pied Wagtails, 50+ Meadow Pipits and 300+ Linnets on the rough ground. (AH/OM/BFF/DM)

Pied Wagtail at Medmerry (AH)
An audition for the remake of Last of the Summer Wine at Medmerry! (Aka Dorian Mason, Bernie Forbes & Owen Mitchell) (AH)
Church Norton: Not much to report - the Whimbrel was in the harbour again, 30 Swallows went over, and there were a few Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and a couple of Jays in the churchyard. (AH)

Whimbrel at Church Norton (above - AH) and (below- BM)


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