Sunday, 1 February 2015

1st - 3rd February 2015

Tuesday, 3rd FebruaryA cloudy, raw and cold day with a biting N/NE wind; thankfully not too strong, but enough to keep the wind-chill factor feeling like below-freezing all day!

East Head: There were half a dozen Sanderling on the beach and five Great Crested Grebes and seven Red-breasted Mergansers on the water, but not much around the dunes - just a few Skylarks and a Reed Bunting. There were four Knot amongst the Dunlin and Grey Plovers in the harbour., and a Peregrine sped over clutching prey.
Sanderling (above) & Peregrine at East Head (AH)

The three Spoonbills were snoozing away on Snowhill Creek, and there was a Greenshank, a Spotted Redshank, a Snipe and 20 Black-tailed Godwits amongst the roosting waders, and a pair of Stonechats along the fence-line.
There were c250 Golden Plover and similar of Lapwing in the fields with around 1500 Brent Geese. (AH)

Greenshank and Little Egret (above), Spotted Redshank, Spoonbills & Lapwing at Snowhill Creek (AH)

Pagham: A Raven in the fields surrounding Church Barton farm at lunchtime. A good garden tick!. (JDW) 

Medmerry: Chainbridge Field:  One Short-eared Owl was out hunting, and two Grey Herons, a Little Egret, c50 Lapwing were in the area. The Barn Owl was hunting along the Medmerry banks and a Kingfisher was along the dyke by the gate, and two Stonechats were also present.(SR)

Ham Viewpoint:  Two very distant Spoonbills, c500 Brent flew up toward Bracklesham, a Chiffchaff in the new gorse bushes behind the bench, and the Southern Pochard was in the long pool (SR).

Chichester GPs: The Tundra Bean was in the field behind the Trout Lake today with c40 Greylag and c100 Canada Geese. Not much else about except two Little Egrets, a Chiffchaff and a Water Rail on the Triangle Lake. (AB)

Tundra Bean Goose with Greylag Geese at Chichester GPs (AB)

Fishbourne Creek: There were two Greenshanks and the Whimbrel as highlights amongst good numbers of Dunlin, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank. Also two Ringed Plovers there, a species which has been scarce this year so far. There were also 10 Goldeneye in the channel and two Rock Pipits by the seawall.

Earlier a Peregrine flew over the road by Chichester Marina entrance, but there were no Brent Geese at all...... (AB)

Rock Pipit at Fishbourne Creek (AB)

Monday, 2nd FebruaryAt last the wind has dropped, leaving a cold but brightish day....but it was deceptively chilly throughout - requiring full winter gear including double socks and gloves (for me at least!). And talking of deception.... I see that AH sneaked in a bit regarding my SOS award.... thanks Andy, I guess my secret is out now, but thanks to all involved for their support (OM).
I must admit though that this afternoon at Fishbourne channel I wasn't exactly feeling like Mr Nice Guy.... there I was quietly scoping the wildfowl and waders from the bank, when One Man and his Dog (and Gun) appeared - naturally dressed in full macho camouflage gear - and without so much as an excuse me marched straight out across the mud scattering birds in all directions. I shouted my thanks to him but the Camouflage Kid continued to the waters edge where he set up base camp... and that was the end of all hope of birding there! Now it may be legal (?) and I know we must try to be understanding to others.... but it seems unreasonable to me that one person's activities can be so disruptive to others and the wild environment in general... just imagine the outcry and allegations if a birder dared to do that? Let's just hope such activities never return to Pagham Harbour (and yes I know they do still have the right to shoot the foreshore!) (OM).
Selsey Bill (0800-0945hrs): Bright with sunshine and cloud, wind N/NW 2
(Obs: AH/OM/PCP) Less activity than yesterday, but still at least seven Great Northern Divers offshore, and a feeding Sandwich Tern, plus a few Red-breasted Mergansers and distant auks moving east and west. Full log below....
Great Northern Diver - 7 os
Diver sp - 5E, 2W
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 2E, 7W
Brent Goose - 2E
Eider - 1 os
R/B Merganser - 5E, 7W
Common Scoter - 1E, 5W
Mallard - 4 p, over gardens
Auk sp - 65E, 19W
Sandwich Tern - 1 os for about half an hour, drifted off W
Kittiwake - 4W
Mediterranean Gull - 2 os

Red-breasted Mergansers (above) & Mediterranean Gull off the Bill (AH)

Church Norton: Highlight this morning was three Ravens - a one and a two, see JDW's report below - over, and the latter two briefly, on the spit. Otherwise it was quiet on the high tide, though there were six Goldeneye together in the harbour, along with two Great Crested and four Little Grebes, and there were seven Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Also there was a Chiffchaff in the first trees along the path to the beach. (AH)

Ravens over Church Norton spit (AH)

North Wall: The Church Lane Little Owl was taking advantage of the wintery sunshine. The Breach Pool was frozen over, and one Mute Swan had a surprise when it made a landing. There were 4 Stonechats behind the Pool, but otherwise there was very little in the fields apart from a few Curlew and Wigeon. 
The highlight was a cronking Raven that flew north across the harbour heading NW. Later when I was up by the Bremere Rife a pair of noisy Ravens flew over heading NE; there were 2 Stock Doves at Honer Cottages, 42 Coot were alongside Pagham Rife adjacent to Honer Farm, and a low flying helicopter disturbed a large flock of Brent Geese, 2000 plus, from fields near Marsh Farm. (JDW)
Little Owl (above), Grey Heron & Mute Swan at the North Wall (JDW)

Ferry Pool: Still plenty of birds - this morning including in excess of 250 Black-tailed Godwits, roughly half by the pool and half feeding at the back of the fields. Otherwise still 200+ Golden Plover, 1000+ Lapwing, 300+ Wigeon and 40 Shoveler. (AH)
Shoveler, Shelduck, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing on the Ferry (AH)

Porthole Farm/Sidlesham SF: A Stonechat, 30 Meadow Pipits and a Buzzard around the fields, and there were 200+ Pied Wagtails on the settling tanks, plus 40 Lapwing over. There were also 20+ Stock Doves in the fields towards Oakhurst Farm. (AH)

Stonechat & Buzzard at Porthole Farm (AH)

Chichester Marina: The Brent Goose flock was again at Apuldram Manor farm marsh, viewable from the Marina entrance road, but several scans failed to locate the Black Brant this morning; geese continued to drop in and there were around 700 when I left. Also present there were 80 Curlew, 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 6 Gadwall and a Buzzard. On the old canal 10 Tufted Ducks and a Black Swan were present, and in the channel off the Marina lock were 4 Great Crested and 10+ Little Grebes, 7 R/b Mergansers, 2 Goldeneye and 155 Oystercatchers (OM).
Fishbourne Creek: Signs of early spring with snowdrops and the first primroses around the churchyard and field edges, with 8 Yellowhammers around the straw heap in the horse paddock. On the receding tide there were 9 Goldeneye and a few Little Grebes in the channel, plus 200 Brent Geese, about the same of Wigeon and 30 Pintail, whilst along the edges and flooded meadow were plenty of the common waders including 120 Black-tailed Godwits. A Greenshank showed well near the Lavant outfall and 2 Rock Pipits were nearby. I was just starting to scan the waders in more detail when a wildfowler walked out across the mud and scattered everything in sight (see comments above & pic's below). Time to go home! (OM).

Early Primroses, Greenshank (lower  bird) with Grey Plover and drake Pintail (with Wigeon) (OM).

The Camouflage Kid marching out across the mud, and (below) base camp at the water's edge... note the sudden distinct lack of birds! (OM). 

Sunday, 1st FebruaryA bright day with sunshine and cloud, but notably cold due to the brisk N/NW wind with a high chill factor.
Yesterday found me off the Peninsula and attending the Sussex Ornithological Society's excellent annual conference, with this year's subjects as diverse as Ring Ouzel migration, Sandwich Bay Observatory, a Brazilian Rainforest reserve and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper! If you haven't been before it really is worth attending (assuming you are a member of the Society - and if not, why not?) - and it gives you a good chance for a bit of 'networking' with other members. Many thanks to all there who commented so favourably on this blog -  especially the three cheerful ladies who were sat beside me - your encouragement means a lot to Andy and I and it makes the effort worthwhile (OM).
As we start the second month of the year with the daylight hours beginning to extend noticeably, a quick check of the Peninsula yearlist gives a non-too-scientific count of 133 species for January (subject to later scrutiny; this includes for example the unconfirmed report of about 15 Snow Buntings at East Head, but not the Black Brant which is not a full BOU species). (OM).

Just a quick mention for OM, who yesterday won the 'Stonechat award' at the SOS conference for his many years of service (I won't say how many!), including, among other things, a stint as Recorder, three spells on the Records Committee, leading many groups and several years of proof-reading and helping with the SOS report. Well done, mate! (AH)

Selsey Bill: (0730-1000) There were a lot of auks moving, both east and west, and
 those that were identifiable were nearly all Razorbills, around 25 Gannets were feeding around the Mile Basket, and there was a modest movement (both east and west) of Kittiwakes, Red-throated and Great Northern Divers and Red-breasted Mergansers. Full log later. (SH/JA/IP/PB/AB/AH/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 7os
Red-throated Diver - 12W, 2E
Slavonian Grebe - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 81W, 11E, 25 os
Fulmar - 2W
Brent Goose - 14W, 9E
Mallard - 1W
Common Scoter - 16W
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser -4W, 2E, 12os
Kittiwake - 51W, 23E
Razorbill - 2W, 3os
auk spp - 432W, 31E 

Great Northern Divers (above) & Gannet off Selsey Bill (AH)

Chichester GPs: The Tundra Bean Goose was with 40 Greylag Geese on the East Trout Lake (part of the Ivy Lake complex) this afternoon. (BI)

Tundra Bean Goose with Greylag Geese at Chichester GPs (BI)

Church Norton: The male Marsh Harrier was quartering the northern end of the harbour again early this morning. (PB/AB)
It was generally pretty quiet on a big tide, highlights were a drake Goldeneye and a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers  towards the harbour mouth (with one of the latter being the only bird on the sea), the Peregrine on its island and a big flock of Brent Geese which came and went from the arable fields behind the church. 
Unusually a Buzzard was sat out on one of the few bits of exposed ground in the middle of the harbour eating something. (AH/RJS/A&YF/SR)
The Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper were again at Park Farm this morning. (IP)

Brent Geese (above), Teal & Curlew at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: There is nothing rare here, but the sheer spectacle when all the birds go up is something to see. There must be 2000 Lapwing present, along with c200 Golden Plover, c100 Black-tailed Godwit, c300 Wigeon, c100 Teal, plus 40-50 each of Shoveler and Shelduck, and when they all take to the air there seems to be twice as many birds as you imagined on the ground. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwits (above), Lapwing and Golden Plover over the Ferry (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: A Jack Snipe was near the outfall today, and the wintering Whimbrel and two Rock Pipits were also about, though there was no sign of the B lack Brant amongst the 4-500 Brent Geese near the Marina entrance. (AB/PB)

Chainbridge Field: Double delight at 3.30 when for a few moments I managed to have two species of Owl in the scope at the same time. A Short-eared Owl was hunting just in front of the hedge at the end of the field, whilst a Barn Owl hunted higher up in the next, sheltered field. The Short-eared Owl managed to spook a single Snipe and there was a pair of Stonechats, a Buzzard, a Kestrel, a Grey Heron and c70 Lapwings. (SR)

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