Thursday, 26 February 2015

26th - 28th February 2015

Saturday, 28th FebruaryOvercast and damp with occasional showers and a fairly blustery SSW wind. The last day of winter as early spring starts tomorrow - at least for bird recording purposes - though of course in the days ahead there will certainly be more wintry weather yet to come before it really feels like spring has arrived.

Selsey Bill (0650 - 0900hrs): Overcast, showers, SSW 5-6. (Obs: SH/PB/IP)

Red-throated Diver - 5W, 1os
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Slavonian Grebe - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 2W
Gannet - 11W
Fulmar - 2E, 14W
Brent Goose - 19W
R/b Merganser - 2E, 2W, 4 os
Razorbill - 41W
Auk sp - 22W
Kittiwake - 9E, 7W
Mediterranean Gull - 2 os

An additional hour (1530-1630) by SH produced ...
Great Northern Diver - 8os
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Diver sp - 1E

Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
R/b Merganser - 2W

Church Norton: The multiply-ringed Spoonbill flew in mid-morning, briefly settled and fed, before departing again and was roosting in a field along the west side by lunchtime. In the harbour, in fairly dire conditions, there were 20+ Pintail along with numerous Wigeon and Teal, just a single Knot and 30+ Black-tailed Godwits amomg the commoner waders, and there were five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. (AH)
Also, the Green Sandpiper was again at Park Farm, Selsey and there were two Goldeneye in the harbour. (S&SaH)

Spoonbill (above), Pintail & Teal at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Channel/Long Pool: A Kingfisher was present both early and late morning along the channel, c30 Golden Plovers went over and c40 Avocets were at the far end of the channel. There were a few Redshank and Grey Plover in the channel, too, but the only birds of note along the Long Pool were a brief Chiffchaff, a singing Skylark and a pair of very vocal Little Grebes. (AH)

Kingfisher in Ferry Channel (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were six Snipe lurking on the bank at the back of the pool, the pair of Avocets were again present by the road, and a pair of Black-tailed Godwits and a pair of Stock Doves were in with 3-400 Lapwings on the grass. There were 40+ Shoveler on the water, and c300 Brent Geese and Wigeon, plus a few Teal, were in the fields, whilst a Grey Heron was sat on the path to the Visitor Centre. (AH)

Lapwing on the Ferry (above) & Grey Heron near the Visitor Centre (AH)

Chichester GPs: The Tundra Bean Goose was on the fields behind East Trout Lake this morning, along with four Canada Geese and twenty Greylags.

A search of the other pits produced the following - 

Ivy - 26 Tufted Ducks, 4 Pochards, 6 Great Crested Grebes and 6 Mute Swans, plus 4 Cormorants 

Nunnery - 2 Gadwall
Copse - a singing Cetti's Warbler
New - 10 Tufted Ducks and 2 Great Crested Grebes
Drayton - 28 Mute Swans, 24 Shoveler and a few Tufted Ducks, plus 3 Cormorants
Westhampnett - 9 Tufted Ducks (BI)

Tundra Bean Goose and Greylag (above) & Gadwall at Chichester GPs (BI)

Friday, 27th February: A lovely crisp, sunny morning with frost, the sunshine lasting much of the day, but with quite a chilly WSW wind force 3-4....
The early morning found me (and Ads B) over the border in Hants, looking for a drake Surf Scoter that was present yesterday at Stokes Bay (Gosport).... we didn't have long to wait and sure enough it was still there - and what a stonking bird - together with a couple of its Common cousins. It even tempted my esteemed co-editor to go later and see it. So, after a couple of other stops on the way back, I was somewhat late getting to the Peninsula! That's my excuse anyway for not seeing much else on our patch. But what's the odds of this star scoter coming our way? Well we must be in with a chance, especially at the Bill if it tags onto a passing Common Scoter flock heading east, but s*ds law will probably mean I and most of the regulars will miss it; still, keep your eyes open! (For the record, the species has been previously reported but not officially accepted on the Peninsula, so it would be a first). (OM)
On a different note, I have been handed a Nikon binocular eyepiece rainguard that was found about a month ago at East Trout lake, Chi GPs... if it's yours and you want to reclaim it please email my address above (OM).

Selsey Bill (1215-1300hrs): Bright and sunny, wind WSW4. (Obs: OM). No movement at all and a fierce glare over the sea - the only birds of interest were 5 Great Northern Divers and a single Great Crested Grebe offshore and 2 loitering Mediterranean Gulls which eventually moved off W.

Selsey: Park Farm:  The wind was tearing across those fields today but it didn't stop one very determined Skylark from proclaiming his territory.  Most birds were keeping a low profile but there were 40 Curlew, 9 Mediterranean Gulls, 12 Red-legged Partridges, 1 Grey Partridge, 2 Grey Wagtails and a Kestrel (SR).

Ferry Pool: Two Avocets on the pool this morning, plus five Snipe, and the Shoveler flock had increased to c75 birds. Still 500+ lapwing and Wigeon present, plus 30 Black-tailed Godwits and c1000 Brent Geese in the fields at the back. (AH)

Avocets (above), Shoveler & Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: There were at least half a dozen Reed Buntings along the hedges this morning, and in the channel there were a dozen Redshank, four Grey Plovers and c20 Avocets at the far end. (AH)

Reed Bunting (above) & Redshank along Long Pool (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane - A quick look from Easton Lane produced the flock of c25 Fieldfares and 50+ Linnets over, a Stonechat in the car-park and half a dozen Reed Buntings, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits from the bank. 
Ham Farm to Chainbridge Field -  Most notable birds were a Spoonbill that flew in from the direction of the Ferry, and a Barnacle Goose in with c700 Brent Geese on the arable fields. There were at least 400 Golden Plover and a couple of hundred Lapwing on the reserve, plus about 30 each of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, and around 40 Yellowhammers flew from the bank at various points, as well as a few Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits and at least 40 Skylarks, whilst there were still a pair of Stonechats near the pools.

Spoonbill (above), Barnacle Goose, Golden Plovers, Skylark & Yellowhammers at Ham Farm (AH)

Porthole Farm/Sidlesham SF - There was a single Grey Wagtail with c200 Pied Wagtails on the settling tanks, all rather upset with the Buzzard who sat above them, whilst around the farm there were a couple of Chiffchaffs in the hedgerows, about 8 Stock Doves around the barn and also two Mediterranean Gulls in with the Black-headed Gulls. (AH)

Chichester Marina: Nothing at all of interest on the marsh when I visited. The Black Swan on the canal was still grumpy, whilst in the channel it was all very standard fare, with a few Little Grebes and a couple of Great Crested, the regular waders in small numbers and about a dozen inactive Teal and 300 Brent Geese. (OM).

Chichester Marina: Two views of the old Salterns Lock where it adjoins the Chichester channel (OM).

Birdham Pool: Also very quiet with just a handful of Tufted Ducks, Cormorants and Little Grebes (OM). 

Chichester GPs: The Tundra Bean Goose was with 33 Greylags in the field behind East Trout Lake at 10.40. The pits running north from New to Leythorne had a pair of Kingfishers chasing around as well as a pair of Long-tailed Tits gathering nest material, plus 27 Shoveler, seven Pochard, six Great Crested Grebes, four Buzzards and a Red Kite over Leythorne Lake. Not sure how much of this area you cover on the blog but the preponderance of the duck and the Kingfisher pair were on New and Runcton lakes, the southernmost pits (MD). (Thanks Martin, all the GPs included - Eds)

North Wall: Again very quiet. Early on there were just 6 Teal, 2 Redshank and a Black-tailed Godwit along White's Creek. The Breach Pool had just a few Teal, Wigeon and Mallard. The fields behind the Wall all held small numbers of Curlew and Wigeon. On the seaward side of the Wall was a sickly looking Brent Goose. The more healthy geese were heading north in considerable numbers to Marsh Farm. Magpie's appear to be ganging up, I counted 7 together along the Wall and 15 all together.(JDW) 

Brent Goose (above), Magpies & Wigeon from the North Wall (JDW)

Thursday, 26th February: A cloudy, rather damp and gloomy start, with a moderate SW wind and heavier rain due later, although fairly mild....
Talking of grey days, Charlie the African Grey Parrot has apparently recently escaped from Woodlands Road at Selsey Bill... if seen it might brighten the day, but please text SR who will notify the owners (or notify the blog editors), thanks.

Church Norton: The Whimbrel was back again this morning, in the company of a Curlew, but it was difficult to see much at all in the drizzly fog, though there were a few Black-tailed Godwits and Grey Plovers on the mud and a couple of Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits in the bushes. (AH)

Whimbrel and Curlew (above), & Black-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Hard to see much, but there were four Mediterranean Gulls and a Common Gull amongst the Black-headed Gulls, a pair of Oystercatchers - unusual here - on the bank, plus the usual big numbers of Lapwing, Wigeon and Brent Geese. (AH)

Chichester Pits: Ivy Lake Complex - I retreated inland from the drizzly fog, but it wasn't much better here! The Tundra Bean Goose was present in the fields again, with 40 Greylag and 70 Canada Geese. It would appear that the Tundra Bean Goose reported recently at Warnham LNR, Horsham is in fact a different bird - despite this bird's apparent disappearance fom the pits - as that was reported as present as well today.
Also seen this morning were a Kingfisher, which whizzed through and a calling Cetti's Warbler , but very little was on the water - just four Pochard, 20 or so Tufted Ducks and eight Great Crested Grebes across all the pits. (AH)

Bean Goose in the fog! (above), Pochard and Tufted Duck & Canada Geese at Chichester Pits (AH)

Chainbridge Field: There were two Short-eared Owls present late this afternoon, and there was a Mediterranean Gull, 200+ Lapwing and 100+ Golden Plover in the vicinity. (SH)

Monday, 23 February 2015

23rd - 25th February 2015

Wednesday, 25th February: Cloud with sunny periods and a little milder, with the risk of an odd shower but a mainly dry outlook for the day; wind W/SW 3-4.
Observant readers may have spotted that we have introduced a small box to the top right of the blog marked 'Today's Highlights' .....this is something we are trialling and it gives a very brief indication of what we consider to be the day's most interesting birds or birding events. We are not quite sure if it will be workable and there will surely be times when it's hard to find much to add (such as late Feb!!) but we hope it will be a quick and useful 'ready reckoner' - doubtless you will let us know if you think otherwise!

East Head: Pretty quiet around the Head - there were half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers and Great Crested Grebes on the water, a total of 28 Bar-tailed Godwits on the mud, along with 45 Knot and many hundreds of Dunlin, and a dozen or so Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, plus a pair of Stonechats around the dune edges. There were at least 1000 Brent Geese on the fields, with more arriving all the time. (AH)

Knot (above), Dunlin, Turnstone & Skylark at East Head (AH)

Snowhill Creek: No sign of any Spoonbills this morning, though there was a Greenshank, two Spotted Redshank and half a dozen Black-tailed Godwits amongst the birds on the pools, and a Cetti's Warbler called once. (AH)

Greenshank in Snowhill Creek (AH)

Ferry Pool: Still masses of birds, and not much different to yesterday, though possibly 1500 Lapwing, and there were 300 Wigeon on the pool itself, and around 200 Golden Plover dropped in several flocks. (AH)

Golden Plover (above) & Wigeon on the Ferry (AH)

North Wall & Fields: A quiet, mild morning along the Wall. The Breach Pool was full to overflowing and held just a few Mallard, Teal and Wigeon, but no waders. Two Cetti's Warblers were calling along Pagham Rife. On Honer Reservoir there were 7 Little Grebes, 7 Tufted Duck and 9 Coot. At Honer there was a single Chiffchaff, 2 Jays and a Skylark displaying on high. Both Chaffinches and Dunnocks were singing in Owl Copse where 3 Grey Herons were involved in nest renovations. A few Wigeon and Curlew in the large field just east of Marsh Farm. Around 1200 Brent Geese north of the farm and another large flock was in the vicinity of Sefter Farm. Primroses in flower at several locations. (JDW).

 Fairly quiet on the North wall this morning.... Grey Heron, a few Wigeon and early Primroses (JDW).

Selsey Bill: I took Mum to the hospital this morning. Rather than come home afterwards, put her feet and have a cup of tea, she wanted to go birding for the afternoon! It was very pleasant sat at the Bill in the afternoon sun, where there were up to 5 Great Northern Divers and a female Eider offshore (Paul James).
At East Beach there was an adult Mediterranean Gull and 6 Turnstones (BJ/PJ).
Medmerry: Chainbridge Field - 3 Short-eared Owls (15:50 onwards), a pair of Stonechats and 2 Reed Buntings (BJ/PJ). Also 1 Kingfisher, 2 Buzzards, 1 Kestrel, 30 Lapwing (SR)

Ham:  1 distant Spoonbill, 1 Short-eared Owl, Southern Pochard, c700 Brent Geese, 1 Kingfisher, 9 Pied Wagtails, 1 Stonechat, 2 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels, 22 Yellowhammers and Skylarks everywhere (SR)

Chichester GPs: This morning the Tundra Bean Goose was still with the Greylags in the field behind East Trout Lake. Also 2 singing Cetti's Warblers and a singing Chiffchaff (PJ).

Chichester Marina: A pair of Coots seen yesterday with two lil babies in tow on the canal just opposite the Marina entrance. Probably the earliest I've personally noted... (AB per SOS website)
Tuesday, 24th FebruaryFairly bright with sunshine and cloud and a cool, brisk W/NW wind. 
A short update on our longest serving regular Beryl James.... I spoke to her very recently and although she has to return to hospital for a few more tests, I'm pleased to say she sounds much more like her old self. She is already back to her organising duties and asks me for a small bit of publicity, so how could I refuse a lady.... especially as it involves my old mate Bernie Forbes (who incidentally is in hospital today for a small op... good luck mate). So... please note that Bernie will be giving an illustrated talk on 'The Birds of Lesvos' on behalf of the Sussex Wildlife Trust at 7.30pm on Friday 6th March at St Peter's Church Hall, Selsey (behind the main church as you enter the town). All welcome and entrance cheap!

Selsey BillNothing moving offshore, bar a couple of Red-throated Divers east and one west, but there were around six Great Northern Divers and a female Eider on the sea. (AH & the SOS)

Eider off Selsey Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Still up to 300 Golden Plover and 1000 Lapwing on the field, along with approximately 500 Wigeon, 6 Curlew, 40 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Shoveler, 20 Shelduck, 10 Teal and 800 Brent Geese. (AH & the SOS)

Golden Plover on Ferry Field (AH)

Church Norton: One of the Spoonbills that has recently been frequenting Medmerry was back in the harbour today - initially along the rife on the west side, before roosting on the island at the end of the Long Pool. Nearby there were c48 Avocets (a very good winter count for Pagham), and early morning there was a Spotted Redshank and a Snipe in the channel and c12 Reed Buntings along the Long Pool.
Out on the mud there were 30+ Pintail, 3-4 Bar-tailed Godwits and Knot and a handful of Ringed Plovers amongst large numbers of Dunlin, Grey Plover, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck and Brent Geese. There were a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers at the back of Tern island, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a few Common Gulls in the harbour, with more of the latter offshore, along with a single Mediterranean Gull. A solitary Great Northern Diver, which flew in and landed on the sea was the only bird seen offshore. (AH & the SOS)

Spoonbill (above), Avocets, pair of Pintail & Bar-tailed Godwit at Church Norton (AH)

Monday, 23rd February: A cold WSW wind becoming more W/NW, bringing squalls of heavy rain and brighter interludes...the squalls becoming a bit too regular for comfortable birding!

Selsey Bill (0800-1015hrs): Cloud, sun, heavy showers. Wind WSW5-6  (Obs: OM/AH)
Still not much evidence of migration, with nearly as many birds going west as east. Around eight Great Northern Divers, a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers and 3 Sandwich Terns offshore, plus 12 Red-throated Divers going east, were the highlights. Full log below...
Great Northern Diver - 1W, 8os
Red-throated Diver - 12E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 4W
Brent Goose - 6E, 1W
Shelduck - 1E
Eider - 1 os
Red-breasted Merganser - 12 os
Common Scoter - 4E, 1W
Auk sp - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 3W
Mediterranean Gull - 2W

Selsey (west): I drew an almost complete blank at a couple of regular sites and just a single R/b Merganser offshore at Coastguards! (OM).
Church Norton: Very little to report - plenty of Wigeon and Teal about, 20+ Pintail in the harbour, and 100+ Knot on the mud with several hundred Dunlin, and 40+ Grey Plover flew in from the beach. (AH)
Wigeon and Teal (above), Grey Plovers & Great Black-backed Gulls at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Still around 300 Golden Plover on the fields, with double that of Lapwing and Wigeon, a big flock (1000 birds?) of Brent Geese at the very back, beyond the new fences, and a Kestrel hunting along the verges.(AH)

Golden Plover (above) & Kestrel at the Ferry (AH)

Chichester Marina: Decidedly quiet on the marsh this morning with just 30 Teal and 22 Black-tailed Godwits of note. The channel was well full on a rising tide but surprisingly devoid of birdlife...just 4 R/b Mergansers and 2 Great Crested Grebes on the water and 35 Shelduck, 70 Curlew and c.100 Oystercatchers roosting on the shore, before a hefty shower caused me to abandon any further scanning (OM).