Saturday, 10 January 2015

10th - 13th January 2014

Tuesday, 13th January: Changeable is the word for today's weather - wet and windy, then sunny and breezy, then big squalls and blue skies....

Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - I walked from the windmill to the breach, hoping to unearth a Black Redstart, but there was not a lot of anything, really. A Stonechat on the go-kart track, and Sandwich Tern going east offshore were the highlights, but otherwise there were just the usual collection of Grey Plover, Lapwing and Dunlin on the pools, 2-300 Brent Geese went over, and single Skylark and Meadow Pipit by the viewpoint, plus three Lesser Black-backs amongst the gulls on the beach.
They were busy this morning, preparing the rough ground/rubble piles area for yet more caravans, and putting more rocks along the front as the sea is already starting to eat into the beach. (AH)

At Chainbridge banks a Short-eared owl was present at 1030hrs (PH), and again at 1550hrs (GJT).
Stonechat (above) & more sea-defence work at Medmerry (AH)
Church Norton: There were  two pairs of Goldeneye and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour this morning, and plenty of the regular waders, but not much else of note other than a big increase in the number of Skylarks along the spit. Having struggled to see more than the odd one all winter there were at least a dozen present, and there was even a bit of song-flight in the sunshine. (AH)
Skylarks over Church Norton Spit (AH)

North Wall: Bright and mild this morning. The Little Owl was sunning itself behind Welbourne stables, but again only visible from the road.
Apart from a Snipe there were no waders on the very high Breach Pool, though there were a few Teal, Mallard, Tufted and Canada Geese present. Across the fields almost every stretch of open water was frequented by Wigeon and Curlew. No big flocks but I had totals of 130 Curlew and 400 Wigeon. Two Greylag Geese were with 40 Canadas near Halseys Farm. A Cetti's Warbler was calling at Bremere bridge. Along the Wall a Green Woodpecker was having a hard time from 3 Magpies who then turned their attentions to a passing Buzzard. But where have all the Black-tailed Godwits gone?. (JDW)
Teal & Green Woodpecker (above) & Wigeon from North Wall (JDW)
 Chichester GPs: The Red-crested Pochard was present again on Triangle Lake late this morning, though initially it took a good deal of finding, being fast asleep underneath overhanging vegetation and mostly obscured, before it eventually woke up and swam around, giving good views. Nearby a fairly showy Cetti's Warbler was present, occasionally giving a good few of it's 'ticking' type alarm calls, (OM/DP/MP) which brings us onto the Dusky Warbler situation....
I could find no sign of it today in a brief search and as far as I can ascertain, the last positive news on the Dusky was from Friday 9th Jan, when it was reliably heard calling repeatedly but not seen. There seem to have been a number of claims since which may well have actually related to the Cetti's Warbler; the editors are not personally able to confirm this one way or the other but I hope it clarifies the situation (OM).
fem Red-crested Pochard at Chichester GPs (Triangle Lake): above with Mallard (OM) and below (DP).
Cetti's Warbler, Chichester GPs (DP)
Chichester Marina: I decided to pay a long-overdue visit to this part of the Chichester channel for a change, and just after arrival a sudden cloudburst caused me to seek shelter in the excellent hide overlooking Apuldram Manor Farm Marsh. The fields and reedbed were well flooded and held a flock of 750 Brent Geese, plus 30 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 5 Gadwall, 15 Mallard, 90 Curlew, 35 Oystercatchers and 10 Black-tailed Godwits, whilst in the reedbed were a calling Water Rail and a Cetti's Warbler.
The channel itself held just a couple of Little Grebes, 38 roosting Oystercatchers, a few Teal and half a dozen Shelduck, and although the adjoining Salterns copse was fairly devoid of birdlife today, its potential will no doubt merit further attention from me in the future (OM).
Views from the hide overlooking the marsh at Apuldram Manor Farm; above Brent flock and the field behind the reed-bed, and below Interpretation (info) board at the hide entrance (OM).
View of Chichester cathedral from Chichester harbour channel in winter sunshine (OM)
Highleigh: At lunchtime a pair of Bullfinches were in a roadside hedge just beyond the junction of Highleigh Road and Lockgate Road - the first time I have seen them at this location. (AH)
Monday, 12th January: A thoroughly miserable day, starting with gale force westerlies and drizzle, before going downhill from there!
SR reports that Stephen Baines, a member of Sussex Birders Facebook group, managed a close photo of the Spoonbill today and confirms it's our previous green-ringed bird from Denmark (one of the two we thought had departed), so possibly the unringed one is still about the area, too.
Further news on the Dusky Warbler, too. M&KG reported hearing it continuously in a bush yesterday in its usual area, but unfortunately it never once showed itself. Today is probably not the day to try and relocate it, but the chances are that it is still in the vicinity of its original sighting.
Selsey Bill: (0830-0915hrs) (AH)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Gannet - 3W
Brent Goose - 8E
Common Scoter - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2os
And that was it!
Church Norton: No sign of the Brambling this morning, though plenty of Greenfinches and Chaffinches around the feeder, and 80-100 Goldfinches in the trees. Also half a dozen Goldcrests and 30+ Long-tailed Tits moving about, but little to report from the harbour bar the regular waders and a brief fly-over by the Peregrine. (AH/SR)
Chichester GPs: A quick look this morning before the rain set in found the female Red-crested Pochard in co-operative mood on Triangle Lake, and there were also half a dozen Little Egrets trying to roost around it, and eight Cormorants fishing on Copse Lake. (AH)
Red-crested Pochard (above), Little Egrets & Cormorants at Chichester GPs (AH)
Medmerry: Chainbridge Field to Ham - The Short-eared Owl was on the Chainbridge Field late this afternoon. It was there yesterday afternoon, too, when the Barn Owl was seen further up towards the Ham Viewpoint. (Nico House)
Sunday, 11th January: A bright sunny morning with a fresh westerly wind....highlights today included three species of diver, three wintering Sandwich Terns and a Brambling. Apparently, an erroneous report of the Dusky Warbler at Chi GPs yesterday related in fact to a Cetti's Warbler (per RBA). The situation today is also a little confusing... a couple of reports from this afternoon seem adamant it was present, but this evening another RBA report again indicates the earlier reports were erroneous......... cannot clarify this end I'm afraid (OM).

Selsey Bill: (0730-0930hrs) (Obs: SH/SR/PB/IP/CN)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 4E, 4os

diver spp - 2E
Slavonian Grebe - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 4W, 1os
Gannet - 10E
Brent Goose - 1E
Shelduck - 4W
Common Scoter - 5E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W, 5os
Sanderling - 1ob
Kittiwake - 2W, 1E
Sandwich Tern - 3os
auk spp - 5E

Church Norton: The Brambling, last seen before Christmas, was on the feeder by the bench and the leucistic Curlew was in the harbour. (BI)
There were 13 Avocets and a Kingfisher in Ferry Channel this morning. (SH/PB)
The Spoonbill was roosting on the island late this afternoon, and five Stock Doves were with around 100 Wood Pigeons flying around over the Priory. Interestingly, SR noted a green ring on the Spoonbill, which one of the original three had, but it was thought to be one of the two that had departed. All very confusing! (AH)
This morning the Grey Wagtail was still around Park Farm, but no sign of the Green Sandpiper. Offshore at Church Norton there were two Slavonian Grebes plus a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and a single Mediterranean Gull.
In the harbour, as the tide rose, the Spoonbill was feeding in the channel beside the spit, there were 4 Goldeneye feeding by the mouth (2 drakes, 1 sub-adult drake and a female) plus another pair of Red-breasted Mergansers. Along the spit there was a male Stonechat with another pair in the bushes opposite the 1st Several. (IP/CN)

 Spoonbill at Pagham Hbr (ringed Denmark} (K&MG}
Medmerry: Easton Lane west - This afternoon there were two unringed first-winter Spoonbills on the pools - presumably two of the three birds from Snowhill Creek. Also present were two Stonechats,15 Reed Buntings, one Yellowhammer, 20 Skylarks, 50+ Meadow Pipits, a Green Sandpiper and six Kestrels. (S&SaH)

Chichester GPs: The female Red-crested Pochard was on Triangle Lake, where there was also a Kingfisher and a Water Rail.
I was advised that the Dusky Warbler had been refound just west of the bungalow and was being watched by a small group of birders. (IP)

North Wall: A cold, blustery SW wind along the Wall this morning. The highlight was a Little Owl sunning itself in the hedge behind the Welbourne stables. It can only be seen from the end of Pagham Lane. It was quiet along the Wall, just some 60 Teal and a few Mallard and Wigeon, 4 Mute Swans and 3 Canada Geese on the Breach Pool, and two Roe Deer in the field behind.
There were 90 Curlew in Honer Field, and a Buzzard was hunting along the east side of Owl Copse. In fields to the north of Marsh Farm there was the largest single gathering of Brent Geese I have seen this winter - at 1030 I estimated 2600 birds. They were soon disturbed by someone shooting and some 700 flew back to the Harbour whilst the remainder relocated in the original area. The Bremere Rife was very high even at low tide. (JDW)
Bizarrely, the Tundra Bean Goose was swimming on the Breech Pool with 12 Canadas early this morning, also heard Kingfisher and Water Rail (KF).
Brent Geese over the North Wall (above) & Bremere Rife (JDW)

Ferry Pool: Plenty of birds on the field again - approximate numbers thus - 400 Brent Goose, 60 Canada Goose, one Greylag Goose, 300 Wigeon, 40 Shoveler, 20 Teal, 600 Lapwing, 100 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Curlew, 300 Black-headed Gull, plus three Mediterranean Gulls went over eastwards. (AH)

Wigeon over the Ferry (AH)

Saturday, 10th January: A very stormy night gave way to a blustery grey day with the odd bit of sun...

Selsey Bill: (0740-1000hrs) (Obs: SH/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 5os

Red-throated Diver - 1W, 2os
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 1os

Gannet - 14W
Brent Goose - 6W, 8E
Red-breasted Merganser - 9W, 1E, 8os

Kittiwake - 18W

There was a Chiffchaff at East Beach Pond this afternoon. (SH)

Church Norton: There were six Slavonian Grebes together offshore this morning, whilst in the harbour the Spoonbill was back on Tern Island on the rising tide, and there were a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers, a sub-adult male Goldeneye, two Little Grebes and a drake Pintail on the water.
A pair of Stonechats was in the horse's field, there were three Chiffchaffs in Park Lane and 30-40 Long-tailed Tits in one big, noisy flock along the front by the hide.
There were plenty of common waders on the mud, including 2-300 Knot and 1000+ Dunlin, and a large flock of (2-300?) Black-tailed Godwits came up distantly off the North Wall. There were also two or three Bar-tailed Godwits and 50+ Ringed Plover present, along with the leucistic Curlew. (AH/S&SaH)

Red-breasted Mergansers (above) (SH), Knot & Spoonbill (AH) at Church Norton

Fishbourne Creek: A brief walk from Apuldram church to Chichester Harbour yielded half a dozen Yellowhammers in the horse paddocks and a flock of mixed Tits along the hedgerow. On the choppy water were a few Pintail and fifty Wigeon sheltering in the creek. Most of Gulls seemed to be around the sewage works with mainly Black-headed Gulls on the water with a few Common Gulls. (BI)

 Yellowhammer and Stonechat at Apuldram/Fishbourne creek (BI)

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