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)

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