Tuesday, 4 November 2014

4th - 6th November 2014

Thursday, 6th November: A cold bright start this morning fairly quickly gave way to increasing wind and cloud, the gentle SE breeze soon strengthening and moving to the SSW. Having learned of large numbers of Little Auks moving in the North Sea yesterday, I felt an early start at the Bill may pay dividends; several hours later I realised that perhaps today is not the day and we may have to wait a while longer! (OM)

 Sunrise at Selsey Bill this morning (OM)
Selsey Bill (0710-1140hrs): Sunny and bright then cloud. Wind SE2 - SSE4 - SW4-5:
(Obs: OM/PC/AH et al). Little moving offshore early on, though the increasing wind did bring a Bonxie and an Arctic Skua later and 2 Great Northern Divers were offshore.
Great Northern Diver - 1W, 2 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 2 os
Gannet - 15W
Brent Goose - 23W
Eider - 2 os
Shelduck - 2W
R/b Merganser - 1E, 5W
Common Scoter - 9E, 5W
Teal - 7W
Wigeon - 24W
Dunlin - 1W
Arctic Skua - 1W
Great Skua- 1W
Kittiwake - 35W
Med Gull - 1W
Auk sp -14W
Woodpigeon - 10 S
Pied Wagtail - 5 ob
Goldfinch - 30W
Starling - 30 N

Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - The Great Northern Diver was still on the big pool east of the breach this morning, though I couldn'd find yesterday's Black Redstarts. Also on the pools were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 55 Dunlin, 16 Grey Plover, 30 Ringed Plover, 75 Lapwing and 25 Golden Plover, whilst 500+ Brent Geese dropped into the fields beyond the breach. (AH)
The Great Northern Diver was still present late morning, and 2 Stonechats were also in the vicinity. (DM)

Great Northern Diver at Medmerry (DM above & AH)
Stonechats at Medmerry (DM)
Church Norton: Again access was limited with the big tide, but the Whimbrel seems to have settled in for the winter, and there were a few other waders roosting on this side of the harbour, including a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits, 12 Curlew, 60 Grey Plover, 200 Dunlin and 25 Knot, plus a few Wigeon and Teal on the water. (AH)
Whimbrel (above) & Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plovers at Church Norton (AH)
Ferry Pool: Two Greenshank were amongst the roosting waders this morning, though there were no Avocets at all. A Green Sandpiper was at the back, and there were also 24 Black-tailed Godwits, 35 Redshank and 60 Lapwing present, plus 30-odd Shoverler and a dozen or so Teal. (AH)
Greenshank & Black-tailed Godwit (above) & with Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank on hte Ferry (AH)
Pagham Spit: A very late House Martin went over high to the south today. (TG)
Wednesday, 5th November: Another bright, sunny morning, but with a distinct autumnal chill as the wind eased round to the north-west. Please note that the footpath along the North Wall is likely to remain closed all this week (per PC).... added to this the Slipe Field is closed as works continue, so challenging times ahead in this area for a while. Whilst on the subject of general information, there have been a few small queries directed at the blog editors over the last couple of months; it isn't always possible to reply personally as time doesn't permit, though we do try, but I'll try to resolve some of these issues here in the editorials over the next few days or so.... starting with Maps. Most of the sites mentioned in the blog are well known, e.g. sites within Pagham harbour, East Head, Chi Gravel Pits, etc,  but it seems the various sites mentioned in the Selsey area are less obvious to visitors. Since Selsey lost much of its habitat due to development, small pockets of green open spaces are at a premium. There are actually quite a lot of small areas around Selsey which can and do produce birds from time to time, but they are fragmented to the east, north and west. Sites such as East beach pool are well known; others like Northcommon farm are less so but do appear on most maps. I have taken to searching out these pockets of habitat with mixed results, though a few nice things such as Yellow-browed Warbler have resulted. It is not really practical (and probably beyond my ability) to try and produce a sketch plan of all these areas; most can be located by their name (e.g. Warner Lane, Drift Lane, etc) so may I suggest a quick check of Google or an estate agent map could resolve most queries. And if I/we are lucky enough to find a mega at an obscure site, rest assured there will be a map reference when the news goes out! (OM). Today's news...
Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - A Great Northern Diver was feeding in the big pool east of the breach this morning on the rising tide, and there were also 4 Pintail and 40 Teal on the water. There were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Curlew, 10 Grey Plover, 45 Dunlin, 25 Lapwing and 30 Ringed Plover scattered about the pools, a pair of Stonechats were on the rocks by the viewpoint, and the 3 Black Redstarts were still flitting about the rubble piles. (AH)
Great Northern Diver (above), Black Redstart & Stonechat at Medmerry (AH)
Church Norton: A quick look before I had to retreat from the very high tide produced 2 Spoonbills in the harbour - it appeared to be the long-standing juvenile bird and an adult with it. Plenty of commoner waders present, though very few small birds around the churchyard/hide area, not helped by a very visible male Sparrowhawk. (AH)
Distant Spoonbills (above) & Sparrowhawk at Church Norton (AH)
Ferry Pool/Long Pool: A Red Kite flew south-west over the pool at around 9.20 this morning. (PH)
There were plenty of roosting waders this morning, including yet more Avocets - now a flock 22 birds, 3 Green Sandpipers, 5 Dunlin, 14 Black-tailed Godwits, 16 Redshank and 120 Lapwing. Plenty of wildfowl present, too, including 4 Shelduck, 36 Shoveler, 45 Teal and 80 Wigeon.
Not much along the Long Pool bar a few Reed Buntings, though there were plenty of roosting waders and about 500 Brent Geese in Ferry Channel from the far end. (AH)
Avocets (above), mixed roosting flock of waders and duck on the Ferry, and Black-tailed Godwits over the Long Pool (AH)
Tuesday, 4th November: A glorious morning - warm and still after a misty  and chilly start - but then becoming rather dull and wet by afternoon with some heavy and prolonged showers. My initial plans to head straight for the Bill were somewhat scuppered by the traffic situation today; one set of traffic lights at Runcton managed to gridlock the whole of the Lower Bognor Road and surrounds as far back as Pagham village. Yes I know I go on about the problems getting to the Peninsula sometimes, but today was a classic and this grumpy old man can only  anticipate it getting even worse with the amount of development going on. And to think I used to consider the journey was bad in the 1970's! Be warned though, these hold-ups will be a daily routine for some weeks, at least during term time (OM).

Church Norton: A visit this morning - which included the Oak Copse - produced 1 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaffs, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Merlin,  2 Siskins over, 20 Goldfinch, 5 R/b Mergansers os,  and a Short-eared Owl by the 1st Several. (CRJ).

North Wall: Not much new to report despite the lovely weather - highlights were 2 Rock Pipits along the wall, a couple of Kingfishers zipping about, a fly-over Greenshank, a heard-only Spotted Redshank and at least a dozen Snipe in the harbour on the high tide, and as many again going in to roost on the Breach Pool. There were also a dozen or more Reed Buntings in the reeds, 2 Cetti's Warblers calling and a few Golden Plover went up with the Lapwings. (AH/OM/TG)
Nice Southern Hawker along the track to the North Wall today, sheltering from the rain.
Not alot else there as the workmen were all by the sluice - Greenshank in White's Creek and a single Golden Plover over were the highlights. (AB)

Two views of the mist lingering over the Breach Pool early this morning before the sun got to work, and an atmospheric Little Egret taking advantage of the still conditions (OM).
Rock Pipit (above) & Grey Heron on the North Wall (AH)

OM was complaining about the slow traffic on his journey down - it didn't improve as he tried to leave! (AH)

Southern Hawker at the North Wall (AB)

Pagham Spit/Lagoon: The Spoonbill was roosting on Tern Island, and there were many hundred Brent Geese and Wigeon in the harbour, along with 50+ Pintail and Teal, but not much else of note on the big tide. There were a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits along the spit, and there was a big flock (200+) of Greenfinch feeding along the strandline.
There were 2 Rock Pipits, 2 Linnets and a Stonechat on the path between the lagoon and the harbour, and there were still 40+ Little Grebes on the lagoon itself, along with 60 Brent Geese, 25 Wigeon and 30 Tufted Ducks. Also a Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow were near the first houses. (AH)
Spoonbill on Tern Island (above), Little Grebe & Painted Lady on the Lagoon (AH)

Selsey Bill: All rather quiet in a brief visit this morning, although a Wheatear was present (CRJ).
Selsey area: I didn't arrive until about 10.00 so opted to check out the area rather than make a late appearance at the Bill. At Northcommon Farm there were 85 Curlews feeding on the wet fields, some of which soon flew off; also a Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrests, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Buzzard there. Drift Lane marsh produced a male Blackcap, 8 Snipe, a Little Egret and a Jay, plus 50 Curlews which flew over calling and settled in the nearby windmill field (presumably some of those from Northcommon?). At nearby Warner Lane paddocks a Cetti's Warbler (seen and heard) was a surprise; to the best of my knowledge I cannot recall one there before so assume this is a migrant? A couple of Stonechats, a Kestrel and a few Meadow Pipits were the only other birds observed. Finally, a rather elusive Black Redstart was at the back of the Coastguard cottages, with 2 Stonechats in the nearby field (OM).
Jay in the sallow clump at Drift Lane marsh (OM).
Medmerry: West Sands: I was watching a Black Redstart on the rough ground past the caravans when 2 more appeared, making a total of 3 (female/juvenile birds); also a pair of Stonechats and about 20 Meadow Pipits with 6 Pied Wagtails there (SR). 

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