Monday, 16 February 2015

16th - 18th February 2015

Wednesday, 18th February: Another splendid bright, sunny and clear morning with frost and a gentle breeze. 

Ferry Pool: Very similar to yesterday, with 500+ Lapwing and Wigeon on the field, plus a few Golden Plovers, and the regular Shoveler and Shelduck on the water. (AH)

A handsome pair of Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: Very pleasant in the sunshine, but new birds were at a premium! Highlights were a Peregrine, which came up off the spit and returned to its island, six Goldeneyes and a Red-breasted Merganser in the harbour, 20 Mediterranean Gulls along the beach, 20 Skylarks on the spit and a Stonechat along Rectory Lane. Otherwise there were plenty of Wigeon and Teal in the harbour, plus the usual waders, though there was not a single bird on the water offshore. (AH)  A Spoonbill dropped into the channel near reedy marsh early afternoon, having come from the harbour, then after a short while flew off, heading over the Ferry Pool and westwards in the direction of Medmerry (TG-P).

Peregrine (above), Mediterranean Gull, Dunlin & Wigeon at Church Norton (AH)

Tuesday, 17th FebruaryA gloriously sunny morning, with a hint of a cool northerly breeze to keep it crisp.....

Ferry Pool: At least 500 Lapwing and 500 Wigeon on the fields, all put up by a Sparrowhawk, after they ignored both a Buzzard and a pair of Kestrels. Also 40 Shoveler, 30 Shelduck and a dozen Teal on the water. (AH)

Sparrowhawk (above), Lapwing & Wigeon over the Ferry (AH)

Ferry Channel/Long Pool: Highlights were a Spoonbill which flew along the channel and disappeared west over the Ferry, a Spotted Redshank in the pool beyond the bench and a huge flock of Avocets which briefly flew up from there usual roosting site at the end of the channel - difficult to count, but probably around 50 birds.
Not much along the Long Pool - a couple of Meadow Pipits flying about, a pair of noisy Little Grebes and half a dozen Tufted Ducks was about it. (AH)

Spoonbill (above), Spotted Redshank and Avocets along Ferry Channel (AH)

Chichester Marina: On and around the marsh this morning were 127 Black-tailed Godwits (two colour-ringed), 78 Curlew, 6 Gadwall, 2 Buzzards, 2 Water Rails, 2 Cetti's Warblers and a Reed Bunting. There were however just a handful of Brent Geese throughout and no sign of the Black Brant, whilst on the old canal a Black Swan was getting a bit touchy towards other wildfowl. There was little to see on the channel at high tide, but as the water receded a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers appeared, plus 20 or so Little Grebes and then a selection of the commoner waders and c.100 Brent Geese (OM).

Black Swan on the old canal at Chichester Marina (OM)

Birdham Pool: I decided to check out the pool again but could find no sign of the Mandarin Duck despite a prolonged look. There were 16 Gadwall and 8 Tufted Ducks amongst the Mallard, plus 6 Little Grebes, and a gathering of 10 Cormorants showed all the signs of being a regular roost, judging by the guano over the waterside trees. A showy Kingfisher was dashing about in the sunshine but there was little else of note save for a small flock of Long-tailed Tits (and the footpath is again very wet and muddy!) (OM).

Cormorants at roost at Birdham Pool - the bottom left bird in the lower pic appears to be of the form sinensis judging by the gular angle and notably pale head (OM)

Monday, 16th February: Generally cloudy though mainly dry through the morning with a fresh S/SSW wind, but things are set to go downhill with a forecast of rain by early afternoon....

Selsey Bill: (0810-0900hrs) (AH)
Great Northern Diver - 7os
Red-throated Diver - 7E, 2W
Slavonian Grebe - 3os
Gannet - 12os (around Mile Basket)
Red-breasted Merganser - 11E, 7W
Common Gull - 3E
Also, a belated record (from Sat 14th Feb)... an amazing mid-late afternoon count on a rising tide produced at least 18 Great Northern Divers - including groups of five and six which later combined to a single fairly close-knit feeding group.... this is a new record count for the species here, beating the previous total of 16 recorded last year (Christian Melgar, per SOS website).

Oystercatcher (above), Common Gull & Red-breasted Mergansers past Selsey Bill (AH)

Selsey - Park Farm:  The Green Sandpiper was again present, also a Grey Wagtail, a small flock of feeding Brent Geese ranging around the area, 2 Kestrels, a Buzzard, 40 feeding  Curlew, a Green Woodpecker and 8 Red-legged Partridges (SR).

Church Norton: I was pleasantly  surprised to find the Whimbrel back in its familiar haunt near the bench, because it hasn't been reported for several weeks now. Otherwise there were six Goldeneyes in the harbour, half a dozen Ringed Plovers, including a displaying pair, and ten Skylarks on the spit, and plenty of the regular stuff on the high tide. Also a huge flock - of maybe 2000 - Brent Geese came up from the North Wall area. (AH)

Whimbrel (above), Curlew, Goldeneye & Ringed Plovers at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Barely a dozen Lapwings again this morning - have they moved off already?, though there were still 400 Wigeon present, along with 60 Shelduck and 40 Shoveler. (AH)

Shelduck on the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Easton's area: Two Spoonbills were present although somewhat distant out in the centre of the reserve, whilst a Whimbrel flying over the saltmarsh was a surprise; otherwise it was fairly standard fare. Although a somewhat belated report, one of the RSPB volunteers saw a definite four Short-eared Owls on Saturday (14th). (PH).

Note: Contrary to previous reports, it seems the Easton's Lane car park may not yet be officially open.... although the lock may have been unofficially damaged/removed. (PH) Hopefully the situation will be clarified in the near future; let's just hope this is not the precursor to an invasion by 'travellers' use the politically-correct name!! (OM).

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