Tuesday, 25 November 2014

25th - 27th November 2014

Thursday, 27th November: Another very overcast and dull morning with the risk of showers and just a light NE breeze. A glance at today's local weather forecast showed the promise of some brightness later with the wind veering SE, perhaps making it feel a little less chilly..... we shall see!
Selsey: East Beach - A Black Redstart along the sea wall/gardens this morning. (SR)
Medmerry: Easton Lane westwards - Best birds of the morning were a pair of Grey Partridge on the raised bank opposite the brick and flint barn, followed by a Spoonbill out in the middle before flying off east into the fog. (Presumably this is the bird that dropped into the Ferry on Tuesday).
Also of note were a Green Sandpiper, a Redwing and two Kingfishers (C&ME), but otherwise it was just good numbers of the usual fare, including a couple of Peregrines, a pair of Stonechats, 20+ Yellowhammers and Skylarks, 50+ Linnet and Goldfinch, and 200+ Meadow Pipit and Pied Wagtail.
The only waders seen were about 40 Lapwing, though there were plenty of wildfowl about including 28 Common Scoter offshore, and 25 Shelduck, 20 Wigeon, 8 Gadwall, 200+ Teal and simlar of Canada Goose spread about the pools and fields. (AH)
Yellowhammers (above), Linnets & Pied Wagtail at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just the usual ducks this morning, including c20 Shelduck, c30 Shoveler and Teal, with c50 Wigeon and 100+ Lapwing in the field. (AH)
Three Avocets also appeared early afternoon (J. Edwards}.

Church Norton: In the harbour the two Spoonbills showed well around mid-day by Tern island (they had been distant). A Spotted Redshank was close to the shingle bank and further out on the mud there was the leucistic Curlew, but nothing at all out to sea. Later I managed to see the 2 Ruddy Shelducks very distantly out in the harbour swimming with Shelducks on the rising tide early afternoon and a Kingfisher also put in an appearance (J. Edwards}.
Wednesday, 26th November: A truly dank and gloomy day, with intermittent heavy drizzle and no sign of the sun, but at least yesterday's nagging wind had subsided...

Medmerry: Earnley side - There were 2 Jack Snipe and 15 Common Snipe in the 'Stilt Pools' - they should be viewable on the islands/causeways from the raised bank. (PH)
West Sands to the breach - A Swallow swooped infront of the car as I parked it at 1.10 today, it continued to hawk for insects around the rubble site and viewpoint for a while giving two visiting birders good views. Two Black Redstarts were around the rocks, along with half a dozen Meadow Pipits and 3 Pied Wagtails. In the thick mist I could make out the Great Northern Diver, a Kestrel, a Buzzard, 3 Shovelers, and large numbers of assorted Plovers crowded together on the muddy islands at high tide. (SR)
Ferry Pool: There was a Barn Owl hunting along the verge of the fields between the Visitor Centre and the village on the east of the road at 6am this morning, with possibly another one further back (though it was dark and I was in a vehicle!) (SH)
Later on, the two Ruddy Shelducks were on the pool, with 82 Common Shelducks, 40 Teal, 35 Shoveler and there were 200+ Lapwing on the field. Also a Buzzard and a Kingfisher  presumably the one seen at the Long Pool as below (AH/E.Stubbs}.
Not much to report along the Long Pool - a Kingfisher along the channel, a Jay and a pair of Reed Buntings was about it. (AH)
 Ruddy and Common Shelducks on the Ferry (above) & Reed Buntings along the Long Pool (AH)
Church Norton: There were 2 Fieldfares in the churchyard this morning - the first I have seen on the peninsula this autumn. A walk along the spit produced 2 Greenshank, a Red-breasted Merganser, 4 Great Crested Grebes and 50 Wigeon, but no passerines at all, and it was hard to see most of the harbour as it was shrouded in drizzly mist (AH}. The two Spoonbills were seen distantly on the mudflats and the regular Whimbrel also showed, as did 'Milky' the leucistic Curlew with several of its more normal congeners. A single Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Shelduck and 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also noted (E. Stubbs}.
(On the subject of Greenshank, it will be interesting to see if any stay the whole winter in the harbour. Though they are a regular and fairly common wintering species in a variety of locations in Chichester Harbour, for some reason they almost never over-winter at Pagham, and December/January records are few and far between, but currently there appear to be three birds that have settled in. Time will tell.) (AH)
Fieldfares (above), Greenshank & Red-breasted Mergansers at Church Norton (AH)
Tuesday, 25th November: After yesterday's pleasant brightness it was back to gloomy weather again today..... mainly overcast, damp and rainy with a brisk NE wind making things decidedly chilly. It's now less than six weeks until the start of the new year and although the short days of winter mean less birding time there will no doubt be some surprises ahead. It is also a busy time for the editors with behind the scenes admin activity, such as compiling the Peninsula yearlist, whilst AH has also taken on the extra burden of researching data for a Review of the Year 2014, which we hope will appear in due course. Meanwhile keep looking..... we would be delighted to add one or two new species to the list before the year's end!
Selsey Bill: Nothing moving - just one Great Northern Diver offshore and 11 Red-breasted Mergansers west. (DF)
Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - No sign of the Great Northern Diver this morning, or any Black Redstarts, in the dire conditions, though there were 15-20 Common Scoter offhore, 4 Grey Plovers and 20 Dunlin on the pools and a couple of Kestrels on the rough ground. (AH)
Later on a Black Redstart and a Stonechat were along the rocks, the Great Northern Diver was refound, and a Green Sandpiper briefly dropped in on the flooded field south of the viewpoint. Nearby, at Sidlesham Sewage Farm there were 3 Chiffchaffs, and there were c3000 Brent Geese on the cropped fields. (BFF/DM)
Kestrel at Medmerry (AH)
Ferry Pool: The 2 Ruddy Shelduck were hunched up roosting on the north side. Out of the blue an immature Spoonbill flew in briefly into the field by the pumping station before relocating onto the Ferry only for a few minutes before flying off. On checking Dorian's photos we realised that this was a ringed bird and different from the other ringed bird in the harbour! (BFF/DM)
Spoonbill at the Ferry (DM)
Church Norton: A very quck look produced the two Spoonbills looking about as enthusiastic as I was about the weather, and a reasonable selection of the commoner waders. (AH)They were still there later, along with a Peregrine. (BFF/DM)
Spoonbills (above), Grey Plover & Redshank at Church Norton (AH)
Chichester GP's: Drayton Pits: An hour spent this morning checking out the pits in poor weather did not produce anything unusual, but there was a little bit of variety which made it seem worthwhile. Wildfowl numbers were fairly low, the most interesting being 45 Gadwall and 24 Shoveler amongst the several hundred Coots present. Three Water Rails were seen or heard and 3 Snipe were along the fringes of the lakes. At least 6 Chiffchaffs were logged, plus 2 Cetti's Warblers, - with one of the latter showing well for a time - whilst the best of the rest included 2 Jays, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 10 Reed Buntings, 6 Redwings and a Mistle Thrush (OM).
East Head: As soon as we arrived the rain came on making the walk out onto the head very unpleasant! Little was seen on the walk out except a very confiding Sanderling, on the beach. Out in the channels the only bird noted was a single Great-crested Grebe. Walking back in the dune slack we found a single Jack Snipe that dropped rapidly back down into cover. On the greensward 320 Golden Plover, 52 Ringed Plover and estimated 2400 Brent Geese. (BFF/DM)
Sanderling at East Head (DM)
West Itchenor: Found a bit of a shelter from the strong north-easterly wind and the drizzle, but not much to report along the east side of Chichester harbour - highlights were 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 200 Lapwing, 6 Grey Plover, 8 Curlew, 40 Dunlin, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Shelduck and 60 Brent Geese, plus a few Little Egrets, one of which decided to take refuge high up in an oak tree. (AH)
Bar-tailed Godwit (above) & Little Egret at West Itchenor (AH)

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