Current birding news from Selsey Bill and other important Peninsula sites including Pagham Harbour and Medmerry nature reserves. Visiting birders are always welcome and submissions for the blog should be sent to BOTH co-editors as follows:- firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com (if absent Deputy Editor firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday, 21st December: The winter solstice - our shortest daylight hours of the year producing a fairly dank, grey and cloudy day with a fresh westerly wind....
Selsey Bill (0730 - 0930hrs): Cloudy, W4-5 (Obs: JA/SH/PB) Red-throated Diver - 2E,7W, 1os Great Northern Diver - 6 os
Diver sp - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 2 os
Slavonian Grebe - 2W, 2 os
Gannet - 30W Common Scoter - 1E, 2W, 1 os
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 3W, 3 os Eider - 1 os
Wigeon - 2W Grey Plover - 4W
Dunlin - 2W Razorbill - 8W
Guillemot - 1W
Auk sp - 19W Kittiwake - 3W Mediterranean Gull - 2 os
Additional from 1140-1220hrs: (AH)
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Common Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W, 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 2W (adult & 1st winter)
Common Gull - 4W
Common Gull past Selsey Bill (AH)
Medmerry: Chainbridge to Ham viewpoint -The juvenile White-fronted Goose was still on its own in the same area as yesterday, just to the north of Chainbridge Field. Seen from along the bank were 18 Skylark, 5 Corn Bunting, 12 Yellowhammer and 6 Stonechat, and out on the reserve there were 200+ Brent Geese, 1000+ Lapwing and 100+ Golden Plover, and the female Southern Pochard was still on the long pool south of the farm. (S&SaH/PB)
Female Yellowhammer at Ham Farm (SH)
North Wall: A damp and murky morning. There were 14 Long-tailed Tits along Church Lane. The Wall has been heaving with birds the last few days but not today - the flooded field north of the stables has previously held good numbers of Lapwing and Golden Plover but today was host to a solitary Pheasant.
The Breach Pool had a handful of Teal, Mallard and Wigeon, but no waders. The fields along the Wall were almost empty - just a few Moorhens and Curlew. A Rock Pipit was along the Wall.
All the action was in the field immediately east of Marsh Farm. Here there were 1700 Brent Geese (no strangers), 470 Wigeon, 170 Black-tailed Godwits, 77 Curlew, 90 Black-headed Gulls and 14 Common Gulls. (JW)
Ferry Pool: There were c120 Black-tailed Godwits today, along with 30 Curlew and at least 1000 Lapwing, which were quite a sight when they all took to the wing. Otherwise there were c40 Shelduck and similar of Teal, a drake Gadwall, 8 Shoveler and a couple of hundred Wigeon, which were mostly in the fields. The two Ruddy Shelduck were seen in flight over the harbour and dropped in beyond the Long Pool. (AH)
Some of the Lapwing over the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: Late this afternoon from the west side - 1000+ Brent Geese flew west over Norton from the North Wall, there were 5 Goldeneye, 3 Avocet, and a Spoonbill in the harbour and 2 Buzzards over the fields. (S&SaH)
Saturday, 20th December: Dry and fairly bright with sunny periods, but cooler with a brisk W/NW wind. First news today is from the Bill, where the highlights were a few Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, eight Slavonian Grebes and a small movement of 100+ Kittiwakes and almost 100 auks....
Selsey Bill (0740 - 0930hrs): Cloud/sun, wind W5. (Obs: JA et al)
Red-throated Diver - 5W, 5 os
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Diver sp - 1E, 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 2W, 6 os
Great Crested Grebe -1E, 4W, 2 os
Gannet - 88W
Brent Goose - 2W
Eider - 1 os
R/b Merganser - 2W, 7 os
Kittiwake - 114W
Common Gull - 43W
Med Gull - 2 os
Razorbill - 2W
Auk sp - 96W
Selsey: Chainbridge Field - Late this afternoon both the Barn Owl and a Short-eared Owl were showing around the field and adjacent rife, whilst in the fields to the north the juvenile White-fronted Goose was sat out, all on its own. (S&SaH)
Distant shot of the juvenile White-fronted Goose north of Chainbridge Field (SH)
Ferry Pool: The two Ruddy Shelduck were on the edge of the pool along with exactly 100 Shelduck, c40 Teal, 14 Shoveler and c60 Wigeon. In the fields there were c40 Golden Plover with around 6-800 Lapwing and at the back there were 12 Black-tailed Godwits and c30 Curlew. (AH)
Ruddy Shelducks (above) & Golden Plovers and Lapwing on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: The three Spoonbills were back where I left them - snoozing on Tern Island! Not much out of the ordinary, otherwise - the Whimbrel and a Stonechat seen by others earlier on, a couple of Peregrines, a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits and plenty of the commoner waders was about it. At Park Farm Selsey, the now regular Green Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail were on the reservoir. (S&SaH/AH)
Spoonbills and Grey Heron (above) & Bar-tailed Godwit at Church Norton (AH)
Chichester GP's - Drayton Pit: A quick look at Drayton pit from the level crossing side; half a dozen each of Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Shoveler and Pochard. A couple of Little Grebes, five Cormorants and plenty of Coots was about it - a slow day! (BI).
Friday, 19th December: After a wet and windy night the rain soon cleared through by early morning, to leave a bright and breezy day. Although it remained fairly mild throughout, the fresh W/NW wind took the edge off the temperature and ensured that extra layer of clothing was needed...
North Wall: Quite big numbers of birds on the falling tide, though nothing unusual. A massive flock of c.2000+ Lapwings was swirling about early on, but although something was obviously disturbing them I certainly could not see it. A flock of several hundred Wigeon also joined in the melee before calm was restored. Later on, a big flock of Brent Geese settled on the water and mudflats; frantic scoping was commenced but no grey geese were apparent, then the flock became skittish and within two minutes the whole lot had taken flight, heading off in the direction of the North Fields (OM).
A small section of the Lapwing flock at the North Wall (OM)
Pagham Lagoon: Four Goldeneye were present (a drake and 3 fem-types) but they were surprisingly difficult to see at times due to their constant diving. Also logged were a Pochard, 30+ Tufted Ducks and a similar number of Little Grebes, a Great Crested Grebe, a pair of Kingfishers chasing each other about, just a couple of Med Gulls and a Chiffchaff (OM).
View of Pagham Lagoon in the winter sunshine, drake Goldeneye (centre) and drake Tufted Duck (lower) (OM).
Church Norton: Two Spoonbills were still roosting on the Tern island and a Chiffchaff was behind the hide (BI).
Medmerry:West sands to breach - a single Stonechat, two Meadow Pipits, 20 each of Golden & Grey Plover and 50 Dunlin (BI).
Ham Farm - The Southern Pochard was still present on the same pool (BI).
Selsey: Chainbridge Field -I made it out this afternoon for a quick look for owls and was pleasantly surprised to find two Short-eared Owls almost immediately, though they both soon drifted off over the hedges to more sheltered fields, and then whilst trying to relocate them I stumbled upon a Barn Owl hunting along the reedy rife between the ploughed fields just to the north. Well worth a bit of pain! (AH)