Saturday, 13 December 2014

13th - 15th December 2014

Monday, 15th December: Dry with cloud and some brighter periods and a moderate wind. The large Brent Goose flock (together with the grey goose duo) seemed to be absent from the Peninsula today - or at least I and others could not locate it - and by late afternoon it was reported from Climping. Not too many highlights either today, but 5 Slavonian Grebes were at the Bill and the Southern Pochard and a couple of Short-eared Owls were at Medmerry..... (OM).

Selsey Bill (0810-0925hrs): Cloud with some brightness, wind WSW4  (Obs: OM)
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Great Northern Diver - 1 os
Slavonian Grebe - 5 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Eider - 1 os
R/b Merganser - 2W
Med Gull - 10 os

Selsey areaWarners Lane: A vocal Cetti's Warbler and a Stonechat were around the paddocks, whilst the Drift Lane area held 20 Snipe and a Green Woodpecker (OM).

Stonechat at Warner Lane paddocks (OM)

Medmerry: Chainbridge to Ham: No sign of the goose flock in the area, but of interest was the presumed escape Southern Pochard still on the long pool near the Ham watchpoint. At least 2 Short-eared Owls were active at Chainbridge field to the annoyance of a Buzzard, a Kestrel and the local corvids. (OM/SR). There were four or possibly five large grey geese (probably Greylags and very distant) among 30 or so Brents out in the middle of the reserve.    Very little else seen, c50 Wigeon, 3 Yellowhammers, 6 Stonechats, 3 Kestrels, 2 Buzzards (SR).

 Southern Pochard on the long pool at Ham, and Short-eared Owl at Chainbridge field (OM).

Church Norton: Another short afternoon visit to look at the harbour didn't produce much out of the ordinary - even the Spoonbills were not in their usual spot though they were reported as present earlier. There were 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and plenty of the commoner wildfowl and waders present, and I bumped into Lee Evans who reported 8 Slavonian Grebes offshore. (AH)
A (fairly) rare visitor to the peninsula - Lee Evans (AH)
Grey Plover (above) & Shelducks at Church Norton (AH)
Sunday, 14th December: A grey and blustery day, with a fresh WSW wind, though comparatively the Bill a sea-watch produced a selection of species including all three commoner divers, a Slavonian Grebe and a couple of wintering Sandwich Terns.
Also one other development this afternoon...... AB/PB located a Tundra Bean Goose, together with an imm White-fronted Goose and a Pale-bellied Brent, in amongst a large flock of dark-bellied Brent at Climping beach. It's not yet known whether this is the Bean Goose recently seen at Shoreham, but I'm fairly confident the Brent flock (and the White-front) is commuting between the Peninsula and Climping, so it is most certainly worth checking out any flocks on our patch.... there's a good chance a Bean Goose might be with them! (OM).
Selsey Bill: (0730-1000hrs): (SH/JA/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 14W, 1os
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 22W
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 2W
Shelduck - 4W
Wigeon - 2W
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 7W, 7os
Grey Plover - 2W
Herring Gull - 1000+ in huge feeding flock, distant offshore
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Kittiwake - 2E, 15W
Sandwich Tern - 2W
Razorbill - 3W
Guillemot - 2W
auk sp - 2E, 78W

Chainbridge to Ham viewpoint this afternoon
2 Buzzards
6 Kestrel
20+ Yellowhammers
10+ Reed Bunting (SH)

Ferry channel: A Spoonbill flew from the Ferry out into harbour, and there were 18 Avocet in the channel. (SH)

Church Norton: Highlight this morning was a Raven being pursued by two Carrion Crows across the harbour and departed over the trees behind the first Several, cronking its objections!
The other highlights were a Water Rail briefly wandering in the sallows from the path between the two Severals, my first sighting on the Peninsula this year, and a Green Sandpiper that flew from a ditch just beyond Park Farm.
There was also a possible, but by no means definite, Dartford Warbler, skulking in the gorse  on the seaward side of the path beside the first Several. I did not see anywhere near enough of the bird, but I saw a small passerine on three brief occasions which gave the impression on the brief glimpses that it MAY have been a Dartford Warbler, and I am reporting it to encourage others to look.
Other birds of interest included a Kittiwake far offshore, a Peregrine sat on its usual island and seven Bar-tailed Godwits on the shoreline with very large numbers of Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plover. (IP)
Raven pursued by a Carrion Crow at Church Norton (IP)
Not much to add from a brief look this afternoon, though two of the Spoonbills were back on the island, there was a Red-breasted Merganser and 4 Little Grebes on the water nearby and the leucistic Curlew was out on the mud. (AH)

Knot and Dunlin (above), Spoonbills & Grey Plover at Church Norton (AH)

Saturday, 13th December: A fine winter's day; dry, sunny and bright with some light cloud soon dispersing and a light to moderate NW wind.
I am indebted to John Arnott who responded to my request for information on the bumble bees seen at the Bill on 11th December (see blog for that date). John has commented as follows... 'Your bumblebee photo would be of a queen bee at this time of year. This is fortunate because it makes ID easier as a Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris. Workers of B. terrestris and White-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lucorum are almost indistinguishable. So, the buff tip to the abdomen is pretty obvious in your pic, especially the darker band of buff at the anterior end....the yellow can be quite dark on some individuals, becoming gold to orange.' (OM).

Pagham village: The juv White-fronted Goose was present amongst a flock of Brent Goose in the fields around the sewage works at Summer Lane this morning (per RBA).

Medmerry A report received from a colleague today that there were up to 4 Short-eared Owls and a Hen Harrier in the Medmerry area today. (PH)
Selsey: Chainbridge Field - Having missed every Short-eared Owl there has been this autumn, SH found not one, not two, but three this afternoon over the Chainbridge Field! (Presumably these are some of the four reported above.) Two flew off northwards, but one continued hunting along the bank till dusk. Also a Green Sandpiper flew out from the Medmerry side of the bank and a Biuzzard went over. (SH/AH)
Short-eared Owl at Chainbridge Field (SH)
Ferry Pool: Today there were 4 Snipe, c10 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Shovelers + many(!) Lapwings present. (R. Iredale & S. Bignold)
Church Norton: Collected sightings for today - There was a total of 1 Slavonian Grebe, 4 Great Crested Grebes and 6 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore.
In the harbour the 3 Spoonbills were actually seen feeding, flying and preening before settling on the island, and there was a female Goldeneye and 4 Red-breasted Mergansers on the water, along with 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, a couple of Ringed Plovers and big roosting flocks of Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover and Redshank.
There was also a Chiffchaff on the path to the beach, and around Park Farm Selsey there was the now regular Green Sandpiper on the small reservoir, a Grey Wagtail and 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. (S&SaH/ R. Iredale & S. Bignold/AH)
Great Spotted Woodpecker at Park Lane, Selsey (SH)

Daily picture of the 3 Spoonbills! (above) , Red-breasted Mergansers, Knot and Grey Plover & Redshank at Church Norton (AH)



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