Tuesday, 20 January 2015

20th - 22nd January 2015

Thursday, 22nd JanuaryA cold, crisp, sunny and bright winter's morning following a heavy overnight frost; wind light NE 2-3. 
Those observers that keep any sort of Peninsula patch birdlist might like to view the 'Site totals and Maps' page (see title bar) which I have now updated. It gives species totals for the Peninsula, Selsey (all) and Pagham Harbour, plus an estimate for the Bill-tip - and I even declare my personal patch list! If anyone wants to do likewise please submit details to me and I would be happy to include your total (OM).

Ferry Pool: Not as many birds as yesterday, but still well in excess of 1000 Lapwing, 100 Black-tailed Godwits and 400 Wigeon. A Snipe was in amongst the Teal and there were three Tufted Ducks on the water. (AH)

Snipe with Teal (above) & alone on the Ferry Pool (AH)

Church Norton: A Raven went over west, then two reappeared going north over the harbour. Otherwise there was not much to report - just plenty of the common waders and wildfowl looking smart in the winter sun on the high tide. (AH)

Ravens (above) Grey Plover, Wigeon & Teal at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Ham Viewpoint: The three Spoonbills were in their usual place in the middle of the reserve, and the Southern Pochard was again on the long pool along with half a dozen Tufted Ducks, Mallards and Coots (SR).

Chainbridge Field: A Short-eared Owl appeared on the red bin at 4 o clock, hunted around the field flushing a dozen Meadow Pipits before homing in on a vole, transferring it to its talons and flying off.  A Kestrel, 2 Stonechats, 1 Curlew and 2 Buzzards were also present (SR).

Selsey: Warner Lane horse paddocks: Two Stonechats, a Green Woodpecker and 2 Song Thrushes (SR).

Wednesday, 21st January: A grey, cold and gloomy morning, with a bit of south-easterly in the breeze...

Chichester Marina (Birdham): The Black Brant has re-surfaced, in amongst a large flock of 800+ Brent Geese in the fields to the north of the entrance track - actually part of Apuldram Manor Farm marsh. Also present were a few Teal, a pair of Gadwall, a Buzzard, a Cetti's Warbler and a calling Water Rail. (OM)

Poor record shots of the Black Brant (centre) feeding with dark-bellied Brent Geese, Chi marina (Apuldram Manor farm marsh) (OM)

Selsey Bill (0815-1045hrs): Cloud, cool, SE3. (Obs:OM/AH) Very little moving, but at one stage there were nine Great Northern Divers in view at the same time - a remarkable sight, and not one that can be seen at many places in Southern England. There were also four Eider, including a smart drake, on the sea, and two Slavonian Grebes..... full log below 
Great Northern Diver - 9 os
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Diver sp - 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 2 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Shelduck - 2E
Eider - 4 os (including ad drake)
R/b Merganser - 3E, 22W
Wigeon - 6W
Common Scoter - 2W, 3os
Med Gull - 4 os

Great Northern Divers at Selsey Bill (AH)

Selsey (West): A look around the area produced very little, a dozen Snipe and a Kestrel being the only birds of note (OM).

Medmerry: Breach area - With Bunn's leisure apparently closed until 1st March to birders, I parked at the Medmerry windmill and yomped along to the Breach viewpoint. The three Spoonbills were viewable from there (year-tick at last!) but they were right out in the middle of the reserve. There were also 23 Common Scoter and a Great Crested Grebe offshore, whilst a swirling flock of 150+ Grey Plovers was flying around over the channel and lagoons, and on the way back a Kingfisher along the sluice ditch near the windmill was a surprise. (OM).

 Medmerry windmill (you can park here and yomp to the viewpoint) and a bit of local history (OM).

Church Norton: Not much new - the Peregrine buzzed the waders before retreating to its island, a single Red-breasted Merganser was in the harbour, there were thirty Common Gulls offshore, but otherwise it was the regular waders and wildfowl. (AH)

Curlews at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: A huge number of birds on here at high tide - conservative estimates include 270 Golden Plover, 350 Black-tailed Godwit, 2500 Lapwing, 20 Curlew, 400 Wigeon, 120 Teal, 30 Shelduck, 55 Shoveler, 25 Canada Goose, 40 Mallard and 2 Gadwall. (AH)

Gadwall (above), Lapwing and Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and an idea of the number of birds on the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: Generally quiet along the Wall. Before the rising tide there were 200 Wigeon, 1000 plus lapwing, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers and a single Spotted Redshank in or around White's Creek. Just a few Tufted Ducks, Teal and Mallard were on the Breach Pool with 86 Curlew in the field behind. 
After a wash up in the Beckett Barn reservoir most of the Brent Geese were flying on in a NE direction. The flock of 91 Canada Geese are still in the field due west of Bremere bridge. They all went on full alert when I was seen and then a fox appeared and walked straight through them without causing any apparent alarm. (JDW)

Chichester GPs: A search around the Eastern side of Chi G P s mid to late afternoon failed to produce Dusky Warbler or Red-crested Pochard, but there were 10 Little Egrets on Triangle Lake, a Kingfisher on Ivy Lake and on the field south of West Lake were 54 Greylag Geese and a single Canada Goose. (CRJ).

West Itchenor: A walk along the harbourside in the twilight drizzle, but out of the chill easterly, unsurprisigly didn't produce a lot, but a wintering Whimbrel here was a surprise. At least 1000 Brent Geese drifted in in variably sized flocks, there were five Red-breasted Mergansers on the water, plenty of Grey Plover and Dunlin on the foreshore and quite a few Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits in the woodland edge. (AH)

Whimbrel in the twilight at West Itchenor (AH)

Tuesday, 20th January:  Another very cold and frosty start, with cloud and hints of sunshine. 

Medmerry: The three Spoonbills were out in the middle of the reserve this morning. Two looked to be colour-ringed, so presumably these are the ones that were in the harbour before Christmas, though are too distant to be 100% certain. Also a Peregrine hunting the local Teal, but without success. (PH)

Church Norton: A pair of Goldeneye were in the harbour, along with five Red-breasted Mergansers, four little Grebes, thirty Pintail and 200+ Wigeon. Half a dozen Skylarks were along the spit and the Peregrine was on its island, but otherwise all was quiet on the high tide. (AH)

Goldeneye in the harbour (above) & Skylark in a Buddleia on the spit (AH)

Ferry Pool: Still at least 1000 Lapwing, now on the fields on either side of the pool, and 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, too. Around 400 Wigeon were out on the grass and there were at least 40 Shovelers around the largely frozen pool first thing. (AH)

Shovelers on (above), and over the frozen Ferry (AH)

North Wall: Surprisingly warm along the Wall. There were 14 Pied Wagtails in the ploughed field at the end of Church Lane. Not a lot happening on the Breach Pool - just 15 Tufted Ducks and a few Teal and Mallard, although 12 Common Snipe flew in and lost themselves in the reeds at the back. 
A Rock Pipit was along the Wall, there were 700 Wigeon in the field between the Wall and Halsey's Farm, and to the south of Bremere bridge there was a flock of around 1200 Brent Geese intermingled with 90 Canada Geese. There were 900 Lapwing in the large field east of Manor Farm along with 170 Curlew. In Owl Copse there seems to have been a spurt in the growth of lichen with many trees now well festooned. (JDW) 

Lichen in Owl Copse (above) & the view from the North Wall at high tide (JDW)

Pagham Lagoon/Spit: The first-winter drake Scaup was present again early on, but in the time it took to retrieve the camera it had gone! (TG)
No sign of it later on, though there were three Goldeneye, four Pochard, fifteen Tufted Duck and 30+ Little Grebes present, along with half a dozen each of Common and Mediterranean Gulls.
Not much to report from the spit, though there were a further twenty Mediterranean Gulls around the new harbour mouth. 
Having not visited for a while, I was shocked by the scale of the erosion in front of the houses. (AH)

Little Grebe (above) & Moorhen on Pagham Lagoon (AH)

Mediterranean and Black-headed Gull on Pagham Spit (above) & the scale of erosion there (AH)

Chichester GPs - Drayton Pits: A frosty morning visit hoping for some of the scarcer cold weather wildfowl, but no luck, although numbers of the commoner species had obviously increased. There were several hundred Coots and c.150 Tufted Ducks, but otherwise the most numerous species was Gadwall, with 120 present, followed by 70 Shoveler and 70 Pochard. At least 6 Great Crested and 15 Little Grebes were logged, plus 6 Snipe and a Jack Snipe which unexpectedly flushed. Other species included 2 Cetti's Warblers, a Great Spotted and 2 Green Woodpeckers, 2 Jays and a dozen Long-tailed Tits. (OM).

Gadwall were very conspicuous this morning at the Drayton pits, although remaining fairly distant on the unfrozen spots (OM)

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