Thursday, 1 January 2015

1st - 3rd January 2015

Saturday, 3rd January: A grey, wet and windy morning in complete contrast to yesterday's weather. First news today is from the Bill, where a fairly brief sea-watch was not overly productive....

Selsey Bill (0730 - 0900hrs): Rainy, overcast, S/SW4-5 (Obs: JA/SH)
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Slavonian Grebe - 2os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 1E, 4W
Brent Goose - 8E, 2W
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E
Kittiwake - 1E, 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
(0915-1030hrs) (AH)
Great Northern Diver - 2E, 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - c60 offshore feeding
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W, 5E, 2os
Kittiwake - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 2os
Great Black-backed Gull - 11os
Church Norton: There was one Spoonbill roosting on Tern Island this morning - it is beginning to look like the other two did indeed depart on New Year's Day.
Not a lot on offer on a big tide, though the Whimbrel was showing well along the path to the beach, there were half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers and c40 Pintail in the harbour and one or two Goldcrests in the sheltered trees. (S&SaH/AH)
Later in the morning the Spoonbill had gone, but there was a drake Goldeneye in the harbour again, there were 200 Brent Geese in the field behind the Severals, three Great Crested Grebes and two Red-breasted Mergansers offshore and the Green Sandpiper back at Park Farm. (IP)
Roosting Spoonbill (above), Whimbrel with Curlew and Redshank & Whimbrel and Redshank at Church Norton (AH)
Ferry Pool/Long Pool: No geese at all on the fields late this morning, though there were at least 200 Wigeon, 100 Black-tailed Godwit and 800 Lapwing present, and there were c120 Shelduck and c40 Shoveler around the pool.
Very little to report along the Long Pool, though a Sparrowhawk fled by with a kill - judging by the feathers scattered on the path it was a Great Tit, and there were at least a dozen Avovet roosting at the end of the channel. (AH)
Roosting Avocets in Ferry Channel (AH)
Sidlesham: I had just gone out to feed the chickens when I heard a familiar 'cronk-cronk' and sure enough a Raven shot up over our roof, barely clearing it, and headed off west with a Carrion Crow in indifferent pursuit. I'm not sure why we see them so regularly here, as they remain scarce on the peninsula, but I presume we must be on some sort of east-west flight-path for them. (AH)

Chainbridge Field: Both Short-eared Owls were out hunting this afternoon before the weatther really deteriorated. (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: Late this afternoon there were two Yellowhammers in the horse field, a Kingfisher on the mud opposite the sluice and five Rock Pipits spread along the shoreline. (IP)
Friday, 2nd January: For those interested, the Review of the Year for 2014 is now available, and the link is on the title bar list above.
A bright, sunny day after overnight rain, with not much new, but some of last year's favourites have hung on for the new year-list.... and there were plenty of birders around the Peninsula to take advantage!

Selsey Bill (0740-1000hrs): Dry, sunny with cloud, wind WNW5 producing a fairly rough sea. (Obs: SH/PM/OM/C&ME/SR et al)
Red-throated Diver - 8E, 7W
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 1W, 3os
Diver sp - 1E, 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 6W, 1os
Gannet - 4E, 30W
Brent Goose - 1E, 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 11E, 20W, 7os
Common Scoter - 10W
Wigeon - 3W
Guillemot - 1W, 1os
Auk sp - 16W
Kittiwake - 26W
Mediterranean Gull - 1W, 2os

Selsey (West): There were 11 Snipe, a Grey Wagtail and a Chiffchaff this morning (OM).

Views from the Bill this morning: above - nothing special about but a small gallery of observers were determined to add to their year-lists, whilst below - Andy House arrives with the aid of a stick determined not to be beaten but clearly still suffering with his back problem (he won't thank me!) (OM)

Ferry Pool: The Tundra Bean Goose re-appeared this morning, in amongst the Canada and Brent Geese, but could be elusive beyond the back of the pool. The two Greylags were also present, as were the two Ruddy Shelducks early on, before flying into the harbour. Otherwise still large numbers of Lapwing and Wigeon, 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, 30+ Curlew, 80+ Shelduck and 40+ Shoveler present and a Cetti's Warbler was in the roadside reeds. (AH/SH/OM et al)
The Bean Goose was still present late afternoon. (IP)
Long-standing Hampshire birder, year-lister and friend of the Bill, Ron 'Chunky' King happy to have seen the Bean Goose (AH)
Church Norton: No sign of the Spoonbills this morning, but there were a few other bits about. The Barnacle Geese were reported earlier on, but couldn't be re-found as the tide dropped, a Peregrine was upsetting everything, a drake Goldeneye and a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers were in the harbour, as were a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits with the commoner waders. Offshore there were just two Slavonian Grebes, a Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe. Also the Green Sandpiper was at Park Farm, a Water Rail was in the Severals and about fifteen Red-legged Partridge were in a roadside field towards Selsey.(AH/OM/S&SaH/C&ME et al)
Peregrine (above), Goldeneye, Dunlin & Red-legged Partridges at Church Norton (AH)
Just to add a footnote to todays blog - The 30 Barnacle Geese did a couple of circuits of the harbour then passed me rather noisily (I was standing on the beach) and followed the coast south, when lost to view - no doubt passing the Bill ! This was just before 10.30am.
As with unusual Geese passing the bill, they sometimes double back - but this lot seemed pretty purposeful in their direction. (PM)
Barnacle Geese departing Church Norton (PM)
Porthole Farm/Sidlesham SF: A Grey Wagtail and half a dozen Meadow Pipits were in amongst 3-400 Pied Wagtails on the settling tanks and adjacent fields, whilst there were also half a dozen Stock Doves, four Song Thrushes and a couple of Buzzards in the vicinity, and a dozen Skylarks dropped in on the fields on the Medmerry side. (AH)

Pied Wagtails at Porthole Farm (AH)
Chainbridge Field to Ham Farm: Two Short-eared Owls finally showed quite well around the Chainbridge Field very late in the afternoon, but other highlights were few. One or two flocks of Lapwing and Golden Plover went over, as did a few Brent Geese, there were a couple of Buzzards about along with a pair of Stonechats and a few Meadow Pipits
At Ham Farm a Water Rail was in one of the small pools again, six Gadwall were on one of the larger ones and a Reed Bunting flew over, but otherwise it was quiet. (IP/SH/SR/AH)

Gadwall at Medmerry (AH)
West Wittering: A brief early-afternoon visit at low tide on a sunny day proved to be a bit of a mistake.... Snowhill marsh held no Spoonbills and rather few birds of any sort when I was there, whilst the constant flow of traffic and visitors everywhere (can I still call them dudes?) proved to be too much of a distraction, so I was soon on my way. A flock of several hundred Brent Geese, 300 Lapwings and plenty of Wigeon were about my sum total. (OM)

Fishbourne Creek: Much better.... still loads of dudes but some good birds too. A Firecrest in the car park was a good start and a Spotted Redshank was feeding in the creek amongst good numbers of Wigeon, Redshank and Lapwings, with a showy Rock Pipit nearby. A Lesser Black-backed Gull was amongst the gull roost and a Stonechat was along the fence line, but the highlight was a Jack Snipe at a traditional site in this general area. (OM)

Chi GP's - Ivy Lake: A late afternoon visit produced just small numbers of the regular wildfowl including a few Gadwall, Pochard and a gaggle of Greylags for the year-list, whilst a Kingfisher was the most welcome addition here. (OM)
 Thursday, 1st January: Was it really only March 2013 that this blog began... it seems much longer than that somehow! So as we enter our third year of editing, AH and I wish a great new year to you all and hope we will go from strength to strength with the blog as things progress.
The year began with a cool, dull and grey day, which remained mostly dry, but with a strong, cool SW wind. (OM/AH). No doubt many birders will be out and about for much of the day to get their year-lists started, and a good selection of species at the Bill, including 3 Bonxies, got things off to a good start, as did an unexpected flock of Barnacle Geese at Church Norton....

Selsey Bill (07.30 - 10.00hrs): Grey, cloudy, cool, wind SW 6-7  (Obs: SH/JA et al)
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 8W
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Diver sp - 1E, 4W
Slavonian Grebe - 2 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W, 1 os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 4E, 70W, 12 os
Brent Goose - 10W
R/b Merganser - 20E, 4W, 6os
Peregrine - 1W
Guillemot - 19W
Razorbill - 4W
Auk sp - 2E, 41W, 4os
Great Skua - 3W
Kittiwake - 4E, 25W
Med Gull -  4os
Mediterranean Gull (above) & Common Gull past the Bill (AH)

Church Norton: A very interesting start to the new year began with a flock of 31 Barnacle Geese, which appeared from the east, circled round the whole harbour several times before settling out on the mud. Where they originated is anyone's guess, but a nice sight, nonetheless and, suspect, going on everyone's year-list!
Also two Spoonbills (presumably of our resident ones) took off from Tern Island and disappeared away to the west, whilst in the harbour there were a couple of Goldeneyes and at least half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers, and the Whimbrel showed briefly near the bench.
It was interesting in the bushes, too, where a Treecreeper put in an appearance at the bottom of the path to the harbour, with a Firecrest and several Goldcrests present there as well, and a Chiffchaff was near Park Farm. (AH/PB/AGB/IP/S&SaH/SR/et al)
Barnacle Geese (above), Spoonbills & Knot at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Easton lane: A large flock of 800 Brent Geese was present but there was no sign of any grey geese amongst them. Also seen were 200+ Golden Plover, 500+ Lapwings, 3 Snipe and 2 Reed Buntings (S&SaH).
Long Pool: The two Ruddy Shelduck were in the channel at the end of the Long Pool and a Water Rail was stood on the path, right in front of me on the way back! (IP)

Fishbourne Creek: A quick look produced two Greenshanks and two Spotted Redshanks near to Dell Quay, and there was a flock of seven Little Grebes in the channel. (IP) Later a Whimbrel was near the boatyard slipway and a pair of Stonechats were nearby (BI).

Birdham: A large flock of Brent Geese on a roadside field along the Straight. (BI)

Ivy Lake: Nothing much apart from the usual wildfowl, though there was one Kingfisher on one of the smaller pits. (IP)

Ferry Pool: Almost no geese on the field today - just 30 or so Canadas, whilst there were 120 Shelduck, 40 Shoveler, 200 Wigeon and 200 Lapwing on/around the pool. (AH)

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