Thursday, 29 January 2015

29th - 31st January 2015

Saturday, 31st January: Another cold day, with a strong north-westerly and just an occasional glimpse of the sun....

Selsey Bill: (0730-0915)  (SH/NB/AH/SR/StH)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 5W
Slavonian Grebe - 9os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 27W, 3E, 22os
Common Scoter - 3E
Red-breasted Merganser -  4W, 6E, 11os
Mediterranean Gull - 4os
Kittiwake - 3W
Razorbill - 4W, 2E
auk spp - 63W, 20E, 21os 

Mediterranean Gull (above) & Common Gull at the Bill (AH)

Church Norton: Bird of the day was the male Marsh Harrier, seen towards the North Wall early this morning (NB), over the harbour towards the Ferry late morning (AH), and over the Severals mid-afternoon. (S&SaH/IP) Let's hope this handsome bird settles in for a while. (AH)

Male Marsh Harrier over the Severals (SH)

Otherwise, this morning there were two Spotted Redshanks about - one in along the west side and one in the marsh by the horse field, around twenty Avocets came up out of the channels when a Peregrine went over and there were plenty of the commoner species on the falling tide. (AH)
This afternoon there were also three Goldeneye in the harbour (two drakes and a duck) and two Stonechats on the beach, and at Park Farm, Selsey, there was the regular Green Sandpiper and two Grey Wagtails. (S&SaH)

Spotted Redshank (above), and with a Common Redshank, Teal & Wigeon at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were at least 2000 Lapwings, spread out over all the green areas around the pool at high tide this morning, and there were also around 100 Black-tailed Godwits on the water's edge and possibly 200 Golden Plover tucked away near the new fence-line. There were c80 Shelduck, c300 Wigeon and c40 Shoveler scattered about, too, including several of the latter diving for food with six Tufted Duck! (AH)

Going, going, gone - a diving Shoveler on the Ferry (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: The wintering Whimbrel was still present, but saw just the one Spotted Redshank. Other birds of note were 2 Rock Pipits, c12 Yellowhammer and at least 7 Goldeneyes in the channel. (NB) 

Chainbridge Field: No owls were on show this afternoon in the windy conditions - just a Buzzard, two Kestrels, two Grey Herons, two Reed Buntings and a Meadow Pipit for our efforts, though SR had a Kingfisher along the rife towards Golf Links Lane earlier. 
Also, BI uncovered the reason why the Grey Heron is very often sat out in the rough grass of an evening - see the picture below....(AH/BI/SR)

Grey Heron with his supper at Chainbridge Field (BI) 
(On the enlarged photo it looks very like a Short-tailed Field Vole AH)

Friday 30th January: Another cold and bright morning, pleasant out of the wind, but less so in it....

Selsey Bill (0810-0940hrs): Sunshine and cloud, cool, wind NW4-5. (Obs:OM/JA) Still not much moving, though over a dozen Kittiwakes went west, a Peregrine was hunting offshore and there were still three Great Northern Divers in residence. Full log below... 
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Gannet - 2W
Eider - 1E
R/b Merganser - 13E, 5W, 2os
Common Scoter - 2E
Peregrine - 1os, apparently hunting
Auk sp - 1E, 9W
Kittiwake - 14W
Common Gull - 6W
Mediterranean Gull - 2 os

Selsey area: There was a Woodcock with 16 Snipe and 18 Mallard on a private patch of marsh to the west of Selsey this morning. (OM)

Northcommon Farm - Half a dozen Goldcrests, a Green Woodpecker, a Buzzard and a Kestrel was the total this morning. (SR)

Chichester Marina: The Black Brant was with 500 Brent Geese in the fields north of the access lane to the Marina this morning. The flock was viewable from the gate marked 'No Access Conservation area' close to the third  speed hump as you enter the lane (and is actually part of Apuldram Manor Farm marsh). Also present in the channel/Marina were a Kingfisher, 4 Little Egrets, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, hundreds of Brent Geese, 25+ Little Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 30 Shelduck, c.500 Dunlin, 10 Black-tailed and 1 Bar-tailed Godwits and 15 Teal. On the old canal there were 10 Tufted Ducks and Apuldram marsh also held 6 Gadwall, 10 Teal, a dozen Black-tailed Godwits (one colour-ringed), 15 Curlew and a Cetti's Warbler (OM).

Record shots of the Black Brant (lower centre, both) on Apuldram Manor Farm marsh, viewed from the access road to Chi Marina.... a bit distant and obscured, but the best I could do (OM).

Little Egret at Chichester Marina and below - Info board at Salterns Lock gate (OM)

Pagham Lagoon/Spit: There were eight Goldeneye and seven red-breasted Mergansers on the Lagoon this morning, along with four Pochard, c30 Tufted Duck, Wigeon and Little Grebe, plus 44 Mediterranean Gulls and 70 Common Gulls.
Along the spit there were 30+ Skylarks, and the Peregrine was on its island. (AH)

Goldeneyes (above), Red-breasted Mergansers & Common Gull on/over Pagham Lagoon (AH)


North Wall: The most notable thing this morning was the sheer number of Brent Geese in the northern end of the harbour. A very conservative count/estimate was of 2500-3000 birds - they were all the way along White's Creek and way out into the harbour until they started to drift off inland on the dropping tide. A Spotted Redshank was in White's Creek, as were a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, but otherwise it was just good numbers of the regular birds. (AH)

Brent Geese (above) & Redbreasted Merganser in White's Creek (AH)

Thursday 29th January: A cold, bright and breezy morning before clouding over. There are a lot of Brent Geese about at the moment, being very mobile and unsettled - my bold prediction, despite the cold snap, is that they are going to depart quite early this year..... (AH)

Church Norton: Not much new - a Spotted Redshank in the creek towards the beach was a surprise and there were large numbers of Brent Geese in the harbour - a minimum of 500 birds - along with plenty of Wigeon and Teal, whilst there were a few Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits along the sheltered hedges.
A pair of Redshank were getting amorous on the pools by the horse field, and courtship seemed to consist of a triathlon of running, swimming and flying around the pools until his endurance proved worthy of her!

Redshank courtship (above), Spotted Redshank, Wigeon & Long-tailed Tit at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: At least 800 Brent Geese on the field, along with 1000+ Lapwing, 150 Black-tailed Godwits, 80 Shelduck and 300+ Wigeon, plus 40 Shoveler around the pool. (AH)

Chichester Marina: Another look without success for the Black-necked Grebe, though there were still 30+ Little Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Gadwall and 10 Goldeneye present. There were also at least 1500 Brent Geese along the shores with more dropping in all the time. (AH)

Brent Geese over Chichester Marina (AH)

Medmerry: A report from 'Lee' on the SOS says that there were six Spoonbills at Medmerry today - is that the regular three plus the Snowhill Creek birds, or are we up to nine on the peninsula? (AH) See below.....

East Head: The three regular Spoonbills were still at Snowhill creek today at about 1230 - in the easternmost corner from East Head, so too distant to see if there any had rings. (R Best)

Monday, 26 January 2015

26th - 28th January 2015

Wednesday, 28th JanuaryA cool, grey, wet and windy morning with a strong WSW wind force 6-7; conditions are set to brighten later but with the wind veering to a colder NW direction.... then it is predicted to get a lot colder by the weekend.

My thanks go to AH for keeping the blog running during my 3-day sojourn to Norfolk. During this time three of the regulars have put their heads above the parapet and forwarded their Peninsula and Selsey Bill list totals to me, following my comments on an earlier blog. If anyone else would like to be included please forward details.... though I should again clarify that only officially accepted records should be used. Yes I know it was an injustice that the Blue Rock Thrush was rejected and the Surf Scoter was also a valid shout, and observers are free to add what they like to their personal lists, but as neither was officially accepted they won't be included here in the published totals - sorry. Finally, I should add that it is not a competition - I just thought it might be a bit of fun to publish observers' list totals for general interest; it will be done entirely on trust and I'd anticipate those of us who have watched here longest (especially during the 'Pontins years') will have the largest list totals - we shall see - but meanwhile I await any further responses (OM).

Selsey Bill: I gave it half an hour, and literally the only birds past were seven Brent Geese that came from over the houses and disappeared west over the Bill House behind me. I gave up at that point!

Church Norton: Unsurprisingly, not much doing, though the strong westerly often brings some of the birds over to the west side of the harbour - and, as a case in point, there were four Pintail with the Wigeon and Teal in front of the hide. Otherwise, there were half a dozen Black-tailed Godwits and 100 Knot on the mud, along with 50+ Grey Plovers and Curlews and many hundreds of Dunlin. There were a few Goldcrests, Goldfinches and Greenfinches at the bottom of the path, but not much else. (AH)

Pintail (above), Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit & Knot at Church Norton (AH)

Tuesday, 27th January: Another grey morning, though less breezy, getting colder as it brightened.
Long Pool: The male Marsh Harrier was hunting over the harbour at 8am, before drifting away towards the Ferry, and what was presumably the Tundra Bean Goose - though all I could see was a darkish 'grey' goose with a lower, less harsh call than a Greylag - heading over towards the North Wall area.
Otherwise pickings were thin - plenty of Redshank and Teal, plus a few Grey Plovers in the channel, no passerines to speak of at all, and several hundred Brent Geese and a single Goldeneye in the main channel. (AH)
Male Marsh Harrier over the harbour (above) & Grey Plover in Ferry channel (AH)

Ferry Pool: Still many hundreds of Lapwing on the field, and the regular Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon and Shelduck around the pool, plus four Tufted Ducks. It is surprising just how much diving some of the Shovelers do, disappearing under water for 20-30 seconds at a time, and coming up with clumps of vegetation, whilst others seem content to filter-feed on the surface. (AH)

Medmerry: There were two (ringed) Spoonbills on the Stilt Pool this morning at 9.30, and a Raven went over Marsh Barn. (PS)

Chainbridge Field - Late this afternoon the Barn Owl was showing extremely well, and there was a single Short-eared Owl present as well. (PS)

North Wall: The Church Lane Little Owl was in view until it retreated in the face of 7 Magpies. A Spotted Redshank and a Little Grebe were in Whites Creek along with a few Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits. The main occupants of the Creek were Wigeon and Teal, and 700 Lapwing were roosting nearby. Very little activity on Breach Pool, just small numbers of Mallard, Teal and Wigeon, the latter were regularly coming in for a wash and brush up. 

Brent Geese were again moving in large numbers to fields north of Marsh Farm. I tracked a huge flock down and estimated there were in the region of 2500 geese. At this point they were disturbed and many flew back to the harbour. A large group then settled in the large field east of Marsh Farm and I counted 1800. Back on the Wall I counted a further 1400 geese in the harbour, which would give a total of well over 3000. (JDW)
Spotted Redshank in White's Creek (above) & Brent Geese flocks over the North Wall (JDW)

South Mundham: There were 32 Mute Swan, 7 Stock Dove, a Kestrel and a Mistle Thrush present. (CRJ)

Honer Reservoir: There were 13 Coot, 27 Black-headed Gull, a Grey Wagtail and a Stonechat around the reservoir today. (CRJ)
Marsh Farm, Sidlesham:  There were 47 Curlew, a Buzzard, 3 Stock Dove and 3 Stonechat present today. (CRJ) 

Monday, 26th January: A grey and breezy morning, brightening up slowly as the day progressed...

Selsey Bill: Between 8-8.30am, nothing moved bar four Red-breasted Mergansers east and a Mediterranean Gull west, though there were a pair of the former on the sea along with three Great Northern Divers. (AH)

Great Northern Diver off the Bill (AH)
Church Norton: A surprise this morning in the form of a singing Coal Tit in the birches at the bottom of the path to the harbour. Annoyingly, no sooner had I got the binoculars on it than a Wood Pigeon decided to crash-land in the tree and spook it. I heard it singing again briefly in the edge of the wood but I couldn't relocate it.

Otherwise it as very quiet - the Peregrine flew across the harbour to settle on its island, a Jay was in the churchyard, a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, and I found two or three Goldcrests as I looked for the Coal Tit. (AH)

Medmerry: There was a Firecrest in the hedges along Ham Lane this morning, and the three Spoonbills were viewable from the Ham Viewpoint later on.(PH)

Chainbridge Field: There vwere three short-eared Owls present this afternoon between 3.30 and 4.00pm, and a possible Jack Snipe was flushed nearby. (CRJ)

Short-eared Owl at Chainbridge Field (CRJ)
Chichester Marina: I had a good look for the Black-necked Grebe without success this morning, though there were at least 40 Little Grebes along the channel, along with 8 Goldeneye, 15 Great Crested Grebes and 35 Red-breasted Mergansers. (AH)

Little Grebes (above), Goldeneye & Red-breasted Merganser with Great Crested Grebe at Chichester Marina (AH)

North Wall: A quiet, mild morning. Apart from Lapwing there were no waders at all in or around White's Creek, just Wigeon and Teal, most of whom appeared to be asleep. There were just a few Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and Tufted ducks on Breach Pool, with small groups of Curlew in the fields behind the Wall. 
Wigeon on White's Creek (JDW)

Honer Farm areaOn the reservoir at Honer there were 15 Coot, 4 Tufted Ducks, 3 Little Grebes and 2 Mute Swans. There were 14 Reed Buntings feeding in the field to the east of the reservoir and 2 Stock Doves at Honer Farm. Brent geese were flying NW from the harbour and appeared to be settling above Marsh Farm, and there were 2 Kestrels and 2 Buzzards in the same area. (JDW)
Kestrel (above), Reed Bunting & Coot and Little Grebes around Honer Farm (JDW)


Friday, 23 January 2015

23rd - 25th January 2015

Sunday, 25th January: A bright sunny start, before deteriorating into a grey and breezy day....

Selsey Bill: (0730-0930) (SH/IP/SR/PC)
Great Northern Diver - 8os
Red-throated Diver - 7W, 4E, 8os
diver sp - 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 3os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W, 3E, 3os
Fulmar - 1W
Brent Goose - 7E
Common Scoter - 10E
Red-breasted Merganser - 26os
Mediterranean Gull - 4os
Razorbill - 1os
auk sp - 1E

Chichester Marina (Birdham): The Black-necked Grebe reported on yesterday's WEBS survey (on the SOS) was still there this afternoon, just north of the marina and showing well. In addition there was a Kingfisher that flew along the canal. (IP)
Along the canal the single Black Swan was surviving in this chilly weather along with 13 Tufted Ducks, 23 Coot, 2 Mute Swans and assorted Mallard. The pond at Birdham Pool was full to overflowing and the path alongside no longer usable, there was very little here apart from a handful of Tufted Ducks and a sleeping Grey Heron. The sea was very busy with racing dinghies, 10 Little Grebes and a Great Crested was about it. 
From the hide overlooking Apuldram Manor Marsh Farm a distant pale Buzzard was keeping watch, a good 80% cream coloured bird standing out against the trees. There was a calling Cetti's Warbler and a few Curlew, but otherwise very quiet with just a single Coot on the water. (SR)
Black Swan at Chichester Marina (SR)

North Wall: A splendid male Marsh Harrier was quartering the reeds behind the Breach Pool this afternoon. The Canada Geese flock was still around, but there was no sign of the Tundra Bean Goose with them. (JDW) 

Church Norton: A Great Northern Diver, and two Red-throated Divers went east offshore, and one of the latter west, and there were an encouraging 12 Slavonian Grebes on the sea along with a Great Crested Grebe and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.
There were at least 1000 Brent Geese in the harbour, a pair of Stonechats by the first Several and four Buzzards over the Priory.
The Green Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail were both present again at Park Farm, along with a Chiffchaff in Park Lane. (IP/S&SaH)
Fishbourne Creek: The wintering Whimbrel was along the near bank, a couple of Greenshank and Spotted Redshank were out in the channels, and at least 100 Black-tailed Godwit dropped in. Nine Goldeneye and at least a dozen Little and Great Crested Grebes were in the channel towards the marina, and there were four Gadwall and 30 Pintail amongst the Wigeon and Teal. A pair of Stonechats, a couple of Reed Buntings and Cetti's Warblers and three or four Rock Pipits were along the path, and a dozen Yellowhammer were around the stables. (AH/DM/RI)
Whimbrel (above) & Black-tailed Godwits at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Ferry Pool: At least 100 Black-tailed Godwits and 500 Lapwing present, along with a pair of Gadwall, 30 Shelduck, 40 Shoveler and 200 Wigeon. (AH)

Gadwall, Shoveler, Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Chainbridge Field - The two Short-eared Owls appeared from the bank at about 4.30, flew purposely off over the far hedge and never re-appeared! No sign of the Barn Owl either, though the Buzzard was on the hedge again and a Stonechat was near the bank. (AH/BI)

Easton Lane west - This afternoon there were two Stonechats, 24 Skylarks, a Green Sandpiper and five Reed Bunting from the banks, and there were also two Buzzards about, one of which was perched on the Barn at Marsh Farm to ensure that the Little Owl didn't show! (S&SaH)

Saturday, 24th JanuaryAnother bright, sunny and dry day, with a cool NW wind but not quite so cold as the last few days.........

East Head: The three Spoonbills were still asleep on Snowhill Creek, though there was no sign of the Dartford Warbler this morning. Also around the creek were a Kingfisher, a Water Rail, a Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank. (S&SaH)

Kingfisher (above) & Greenshank at Snowhill Creek (SH)

North Wall: The Tundra Bean Goose was present again on the Breach Pool this morning. (PC)

Church Norton: Quiet again - both Peregrines on the island a a drake Goldeneye in the harbour were the highlights. Also the Green Sandpiper was back on the Park Farm Reservoir.(IP/S&SaH)

Goldeneye in the harbour (SH)

Ferry Pool/Long Pool: At least 1000 Lapwing and 100 Black-tailed Godwits on the field early this morning, along with 30 Curlews and 200 Wigeon, with 30 Shoveler, 15 Shelduck and 25 Teal around the edges of the pool.Just a Water Rail and a Reed Bunting along the Long Pool, plus a Spotted Redshank, 20 Redshank and five Grey Plovers in the channel. (AH)

Curlews over (above) & Lapwings on Ferry Field (AH)

Medmerry: Chainbridge Field to Ham - The Barn Owl was hunting over the rough field this afternoon, and there were two Short-eared Owls, too, getting agitated with a Buzzard that settled on the hedge and was reluctant to budge.
Not much along the bank, though - just a few Skylarks, Linnets and Reed Buntings, a couple of hundred Brent Geese were in the arable fields and 200 Lapwing and a dozen Golden Plover went over into the reserve, as did a Buzzard. (AH)
Barn Owl (above), Short-eared Owls & Buzzard at Medmerry (AH)

 Friday, 23rd January: Another very cold morning with a heavy frost which was slow to clear, then dry, bright and sunny with a light E/SE wind. 
East Head: There was a report of 15 Snow Buntings here yesterday , but no luck in tracking them down this morning. The three Spoonbills were still on Snowhill Creek, a Dartford Warbler was around the crabbing pool, and there were two Spotted Redshanks and a few Snipe also there. There were also a few Meadow Pipits and three Stonechats in the dunes. (BI)
There was also a female Common Scoter in the harbour and just one Sanderling on the beach. (AB)

Spoonbills & Spotted Redshank (above) (BI), Stonechat & Brent Goose (AB), all at East Head

Pagham Lagoon: There were ten Goldeneye on the lagoon early morning, with quite a bit of displaying, and even a bit of mating going on! Not much else - there were still four Pochard and 30+ Tufted Duck and Little Grebe present. (AH)
Goldeneyes getting amorous on Pagham Lagoon (AH)

North Wall: The Tundra Bean Goose was showing nicely this morning on the Breach Pool, with about 40 Canada Geese and a few Wigeon and Teal. Two Water Rails put in a brief appearance, as did a Kingfisher and a Reed Bunting. 

The Little Owl was tucked in at his usual site near the stables - only viewable from the car-parking area, and two Stonechats were in the horse field.

In the harbour there were 7 Red-breasted Mergansers, 30+ Pintail, 10 Black-tailed Godwits and huge numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Lapwing, Dunlin and Grey Plovers. (AH/JDW)

Tundra Bean Goose on the Breach Pool (AH above & JDW below)

Reed Bunting (above) from the North Wall & Dunlin in White's Creek (AH)

Medmerry: Ham Viewpoint - At midday the 3 Spoonbills were feeding in their usual spot, and also present were 11 Yellowhammers, c50 Skylarks overhead, c60 Stock Doves, 5 Meadow Pipits, 2 Stonechats, 3 Reed Buntings, 1 Redshank, c200 distant Brent Geese and 2 Buzzards. In the field behind the viewpoint were c100 Golden Plover and c80 Lapwing. The Southern Pochard was still on the long pool and showing nicely. (SR)