Sunday, 7 December 2014

7th - 9th December 2014

Tuesday, 9th December: A bright, clear and frosty start before the grey cloud started with an increasing NW breeze; it seems that the weather may go downhill over the next couple of days, with a storm gathering in the Atlantic....
Selsey Bill: (0830-0930hrs): Not much moving bar a couple of Red-throated Divers and a few Great Northern Divers offshore in an hour this morning; log below: (OM)
Great Northern Diver - 1W, 6 os (of which 2 later flew W)
Red-throated Diver - 2W
Slavonian Grebe - 1 os
Gannet - 2E
R/b Merganser - 2W, 4 os
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens

Selsey area: I checked out the areas around the village but found rather little overall....
Drift Lane area  - 18 Snipe, 18 Mallard, 2 Grey Wagtails and a Stonechat.
Coastguards: All very quiet except for a large flock of 120 Curlews feeding in a wet field behind the old cottages.
Northcommon Farm - 1 Mistle Thrush, 20 Blackbirds, 2 Goldcrests, 3 Meadow Pipits.
Warner Lane/Chainbridge field - no sign of the Brent Goose flock, just a Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk and 5 Meadow Pipits.
East Beach and Pond: 2 Goldcrests, 6 Long-tailed Tits. (OM).

Selsey selection... well come on, it was a slow news day, so you've got to expect a few padders and common species! From the top... Mallards at Drift Lane, Grey Wagtails at the same location, Kestrel at Warner Lane, Mistle Thrush at Northcommon Farm, and finally... suspect origins for a Muscovy 'Bitsa' Goose now resplendent on East Beach pond! (OM).

Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - Still a Black Redstart and a couple of Stonechats near the viewpoint, plus 23 Common Scoter offshore. (DF)
Church Norton: Best bird of the morning was a Firecrest in the trees at the bottom of the path to the harbour, along with a dozen or so Long-tailed Tits, one or two Goldcrests and at least 50 Goldfinches. The three Spoonbills were on Tern Island, and there were a pair of Goldeneye and 8-9 Avocets far down the main channel.
Around a dozen Slavonian Grebes and half that of Great Crested Grebes were offshore, but a long way towards the east in Bognor Bay. There were 4 more Great Crested Grebes in the harbour, and amongst the waders the one-legged Bar-tailed Godwit was still going strong. (AH)
Also a Woodcock between Norton and the beach and a probable Little Stint roosting with other waders on the groyne inside Church Norton spit (P. James, per SOS website).
Another busy day in Spoonbill world! (above), the one-legged Bar-tailed Godwit with a Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin, & Great Crested Grebes in the harbour (AH)

North Wall: A mild, windless morning, the calm before the storm? Owl Water was frozen over and the Breach Pool was fringed with ice. The water level is even lower today. I was intrigued to see 4 Robins feeding out on the mud. The usual cast were present - 130 Teal, 34 Wigeon, 87 Black-tailed Godwits, 8 Common Snipe and 2 Spotted Redshanks. There has been an influx of Blackbirds during the last week and they have now almost stripped all the rose hips along the Wall. A flock of 470 Brent Geese was in the field immediately east of Owl Copse. (JDW)

At East Head a single Barnacle Goose with the Brents in the field adjacent to the far end of the car park. Also three Sandwich Terns and 14 Red-breasted Mergansers while on Snowhill Marsh there were five Spotted Redshanks, two Greenshanks and a Stonechat. (P. James, per SOS website).
Barnacle Goose with Brent Geese at East Head (Andrew Killick)
Monday, 8th December: A beautiful, bright winter's morning, though the north-westerly breeze had a chill in it.
Selsey: Chainbridge Field - Finally the mystery goose gave itself up, well spotted by CRJ, and it is a juvenile White-fronted Goose! It was showing well on the playing field late this morning with about 7-800 Brent Geese, and the Black Brant and Pale-bellied Brent Goose were in the same flock. (CRJ/AH)
Needle in a haystack! The juvenile White-fronted Goose with Brent Geese on Chainbridge Field (top 3 AH, in flight CRJ)

Pale-bellied Brent Goose (above) & Black Brant with Brent Geese on Chainbridge Field (CRJ)

Medmerry: West Sands to the breach -  A quick look produced plenty of roosting waders, including around 30 Knot, 80 Dunlin,30 Grey Plover, 200 Lapwing and 40 Golden Plover. There were at least 50 Skylarks over the fields at the back and the usual 20-30 Common Scoter offshore. (AH) 
Lapwing and Golden Plover (above) & Common Scoter at Medmerry (AH)
Church Norton: There were 2 Goldeneye and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour at high tide, and the usual suspects were also present - the 3 Spoonbills on Tern Island, the 2 Ruddy Shelduck  at the far end of the harbour and the Whimbrel near the bench. (AH)
Spoonbills and others on Tern Island (AH)

North Wall: A fine clear morning with a cold northerly breeze. A Green Woodpecker and 16 Moorhens were in the horse field. The Breach Pool, at one point, was quite congested with 200 Brent Geese, 98 Canada Geese, 140 Teal and 88 Black-tailed Godwits. The highlight was 3 Spotted Redshanks. Also present 2 Little Grebes, 2 Common Snipe and a Kingfisher. The fields had good numbers of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Wigeon and Brent Geese. Along the Wall were 7 Robins, and a single Yellowhammer and Rock Pipit (JDW).  
One of seven Robins on the North Wall, and Spotted Redshank on the Breach Pool (JDW) 
Sunday, 7th December: A cold night but early frost subsided as cloud developed and by early morning there had been a few showers. Although remaining cloudy at first with a moderate W/NW wind, the forecast is for sunny periods to develop.....

Selsey Bill: Still not much on the move, though there were a few Razorbills and Guillemots about and several Great Northern Divers on the sea. 
(0730-0915hrs) (JA/SH)
Great Northern Diver - 6os
Great Crested Grebe - 4W
Gannet - 2W
Brent Goose - 9E
Common Scoter - 41W, 6os
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 1W, 3E, 4os
Bonxie - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Razorbill - 6W
Guillemot - 3W
auk sp - 14W, 2os

Ferry Pool: A Raven over this morning. (PH)

Church Norton: Nothing much new today, but most of the regulars were present, including the 3 Spoonbills on Tern Island, the Whimbrel in the harbour and the pair of Stonechats on the spit. Offshore there were just a couple of Slavonian Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes and 3 Red-breasted Mergansers. Also, 2 or 3 Chiffchaffs were seen/heard around the reserve, there were 80+ Goldfinches in the churchyard and 60+ Greenfinches on the spit.
There was a huge amount of upheaval amongst the waders in the harbour on the rising tide, but the cause was mostly unknown, though a probable distant Peregrine was likely. At one point a Merlin did appear over the spit, joining in with the wader mayhem before shooting off low to the east, but it was a secondary contributor rather than the root cause.
There were at least 1000 Lapwings up at various times, possibly many more, and 100+ Golden Plover with them. (AH/IP/S&SaH)

North Wall: Windy, but clear this morning. Water levels on the Breach Pool are again very low, though it contained 144 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 170 Teal, 28 Mallard, 12 Wigeon and 1 Water Rail, and there was a Rock Pipit along the wall.
There were c.400 Wigeon on Bremere Rife and 134 Curlew on the back fields. (JDW)
View of the Breach Pool, minus most its water (above) & Wigeon on Bremere Rife (JDW)

Medmerry:  Ham: A large flock of c.2000 Brent Geese contained the Black Brant late morning at least (PH)
Later, SR was unable to locate it, but the as-yet unidentified grey goose sp was present; she managed a couple of distant record shots but as will be seen these are inconclusive, so we await a better view and photo in due course. There was also one Brent carrying an orange ring on its left leg but it couldn't be seen clearly. (SR)
Also in the waterlogged field were 39 Ringed Plovers with a Dunlin and 17 Meadow Pipits.  The ploughed field opposite was buzzing with Pied Wagtails, I counted over 60, plus half a dozen Lapwings.  Two Kestrels 3 Skylarks, a Stonechat and a Buzzard were close by.  On the long pool close to Ham Viewpoint the Southern Pochard was keeping company with half a dozen Mallard, two Little Grebes and assorted Coots (SR).
The sewage works had a Grey Wagtail, 18 Pied Wagtails and another Buzzard.(SR).
Distant inconclusive views of the grey goose sp amongst a dark-bellied Brent Goose flock at Ham (SR}

West Wittering: A Pale-bellied Brent was present today amongst the dark-bellied flock; also a Weasel and Golden Plover in the same area (J-PC}

 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Golden Plover flock and Weasel at West Wittering (J-PC}


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