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).

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