Sunday, 19 October 2014

19th - 21st October 2014

Tuesday, 21st October: Gales and rain overnight as ex-hurricane Gonzalo reached UK shores. Dull and cloudy though still comparatively mild, with very strong W/SW winds predicted to turn NW later, and even some brightness once the storm passes through.  

Selsey Bill (0740-1040hrs): Rain at first with wind WSW 7, falling later to bright and sunny W5 (Obs: CRJ/DF/BFF/DM/AH/C&ME). Hurricane Gonzalo failed to blow anything very different past the Bill this morning - highlights being just a juvenile Arctic Skua, a few Brent Geese west and an Eider on the sea! Full log below....
Gannet - 1E, 1W
G C Grebe - 1W
Brent Goose - 28W
Common Scoter - 1W
Eider - 2 os
Arctic Skua - 1W
Med Gull 5w/present
Meadow Pipit - 15W
Pied Wagtail - 12W
Linnet - 10W

Selsey area: Warner Lane paddocks:  Not surprisingly there were few birds about although 4 Stonechats seemed oblivious of the windy conditions. A Sparrowhawk swept through very low, and a Kestrel took shelter against the hedge.  Two Pied Wagtails flew over, and the usual chattering flock of Goldfinches were about.  Further along the path at Drift Lane Marsh a single Snipe was visible (SR).
Ferry Pool: Unsurprisingly, not much here either - a couple of Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Avocet, 40 Lapwing and the usual wildfowl being the total. (AH)

Church Norton: Just about the only site on the peninsula to offer any shelter, but birds were few and far between on the high tide in the harbour. The Spoonbill was still showing, though, as was the Whimbrel, and there were a couple of hundred Brent Geese present with two or three small flocks appearing from the east and dropping in.
The sheltered hedges along the harbour edge provided all the passerine activity, with a big roaming mixed flock containing at least 10 Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests and maybe 20 Long-tailed Tits amongst the Blue and Great Tits. (AH/BFF/DFM et al)

 (above) Little Egret, Whimbrel and Spoonbill (DM), and (below) Brent Geese, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff & Long-tailed Tit at Church Norton (AH)

Monday, 20th October: Another unseasonably mild, if breezy day....dry but cloudy with a little sunshine and a fresh W/SW 4.
Selsey Bill (0750-1020hrs): (Obs: OM/SR/AH) Still fairly quiet - a Shag, a few Gannets, Common Scoter and Eider moving offshore and a few Woodpigeons, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and Swallows overhead, plus an unusually big flock of Magpies over the houses. There was just enough early on to suggest there might be a few things departing, but it very soon fizzled out....... (OM).
Gannet - 2E, 15W
Great Crested Grebe - 2W
Shag - 1W
Brent Goose - 9E, 12W
Eider - 2E, 1W
Common Scoter - 5E
Med Gull - 4 os
Woodpigeon - 140 out S/SW
Swallow - 9W
Pied/alba Wagtail - 19W
Meadow Pipit - 58W
Skylark - 11W
Starling - 25 out S
Linnet - 30W
Goldfinch - 130W
Goldcrest - 2 gardens
Magpie - an unusual gathering (for the Bill at least) of 14 around the houses/Oval field
Juvenile D/b Brent Goose on the sea off the Bill; this solitary bird spent some time resting before eventually heading off W (OM).
Part of the unusually large gathering of Magpies at the Bill (AH)
Selsey area: Drift Lane Marsh: A Brambling was calling from the sallows late morning, before eventually flying off into the east side of the marsh. A second visit early afternoon failed to re-locate the Brambling, but did produce 8 Snipe, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Clouded Yellow and three Roe deer (OM).
Warner Lane paddocks4 Stonechats, 2 Reed Buntings, 8 Meadow Pipits and a Sparrowhawk present. (OM)
Northcommon FarmQuiet today with just 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests (and no sign of the Y-b W) (OM).
Roe Deer at Drift Lane marsh (OM)
Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - A Wheatear was on the rocks, and there were still plenty of Meadow Pipits and Linnets about. The only waders on the pools were a Curlew, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and 30 roosting Lapwing, though there were a Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Common Gulls and 2 Mediterranean Gulls amongst the gulls sat on the mud. (AH)
Wheatear (above) & Lesser Black-backed Gull and Common Gull at Medmerry (AH)
Ferry Pool: The Ruddy Shelduck was on the water again early on, though soon departed, and there were also 9 Avocets, a Green Sandpiper and 40 Lapwing present. (AH/OM)
Ruddy Shelduck with Common Shelducks on the Ferry Pool early this morning (OM).
Church Norton: The regular Whimbrel was in the harbour this morning, as was the Spoonbill, roosting amongst the Cormorants. A pair of Mistle Thrushes were around the churchyard/hide area, along with 5 Jays, 4 Chiffchaffs and plenty of Goldcrests. (AH)
Whimbrel (above), Spoonbill amongst the Cormorants, Mistle Thrush & Chiffchaff at Church Norton (AH)
Sunday, 19th October: A dull and cloudy morning after a fairly wet and windy night, but mainly dry with the promise of a little sunshine later and a brisk W/SW wind. However, conditions look set to get interesting later in the week, with the prospect of a spent hurricane ('Gonzalo') currently racing across the Atlantic towards the UK. 
Selsey, Park Farm: A Short-eared Owl drifted over, then back over houses in the north of Selsey (SaH), before reappearing and heading for the Severals area. (IP)

Selsey Bill: (0730-0930hrs) (Obs: SH/PB et al)
Gannet - 25W, 1E
Brent Goose - 8W
Eider - 1W, 1E, 1os
Common Scoter - 16W, 23E, 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 12W
Sparrowhawk - 1p
Kestrel - 1p
Arctic Skua - 2W
Mediterranean Gull - 7W

Guillemot - 1W
auk sp - 3W, 1os

Swallow -2E
Meadow Pipit - 25W
Pied Wagtail - 42W

Additional 15.00 - 16.00hrs (Obs: SH)
Gannet  - 3E, 20W
Common Scoter - 2W
Eider - 3os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os

Arctic Skua - 1 os chasing gulls
Med Gull - 3os
Kittiwake - 1W
Razorbill - 1W
Guillemot - 3W
Linnet - 12W
Meadow Pipit - 2W

Ferry Pool: The Ruddy Shelduck was on the pool again this morning, with 8 Common Shelduck, but the only waders present, as the water level rises, were the 9 Avocets. (AH) Later the Spoonbill was seen in Ferry Channel from the Long Pool bench (CN/DS).

Ruddy Shelduck on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: A big movement of Linnets and Goldfinches this morning - maybe 1000 birds in total, heading south in flocks of 20-50 birds, along with 100+ Pied Wagtails. Also 12 Swallows were seen (including a flock of 11 going out to sea), a Kingfisher flew over the horse's field, 3 Sparrowhawks were in a bush at the back of the first Several, and a Wheatear was at the start of the spit. (IP)
Also seen, later on, were 4 more Wheatears, 4 House Martins and a juvenile Peregrine. (S&SaH)
Honer Farm: The flock of 5 Stonechats was still around the Resevoir, in company with 5 Pied Wagtails, and 5 Little Grebes were on the water. A dead juvenile Mute Swan was along Pagham Rife. (JDW)
North Wall: Not much activity on the Breach Pool - just a dozen Teal and Mallard present, as the water level is very high. There were about 8 Reed Buntings and a couple of Chiffchaffs along the hedgerows and a handful of Swallows went over. (JDW).
Reed Bunting on the North Wall (AH)
The tide was reluctant to drop this morning in White's Creek, keeping wader numbers low, but a flock of 11 Greenshank got up briefly and dropped down out of sight further into the harbour and a Common Sandpiper flew down the creek. Also about were 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 200 Lapwing, a dozen scattered Grey Plovers and 100+ Wigeon, including a few males back to their pristine winter best. (AH) 
Wigeon (above), Grey Plover & Lesser Black-backed Gull in White's Creek (AH)

East Head: 40 Golden Plovers roosting on the marsh, 100+ Linnets and 10 Skylarks in the dunes, 6 Stonechats, (four in the dunes, two at Snowhill), also 150 Brent Geese at Snowhill creek with 20 Black-tailed Godwits (BI).

Medmerry: Easton Lane late afternoon -
2 Buzzards
2 kestrels
1 Merlin (female)
1 Black-tailed Godwit
1 Green Sandpiper (S&SaH)

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