Tuesday, 10 March 2015

10th - 12th March 2015

Thursday, 12th MarchAnother bright and breezy morning, still with a chill in the air, but better than forecast....
Oval Field update: There was a meeting of the Selsey Town Council last night where the public were admitted, but despite considerable opposition the Council voted to proceed with the plans (on a 5:4 vote in favour - surprise, surprise!). I don't want to allow this matter to dominate the blog, but it is a matter of concern as it would adversely affect the situation for us sea-watchers. If you are concerned too, please be prepared to make a formal objection in due course, and meanwhile send an email to offer your support to no2ovalfield@gmail.com ... you will then be kept in the loop, thanks (OM).

Selsey Bill: (0800-1045) (C&ME)
Great Northern Diver 1E, 4os
Red-throated Diver - 9E
diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Brent Goose - 36E
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 9os
Back-tailed Godwit - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 3E, 2os

Medmerry: (Western side): The first Little Ringed Plover of the spring was on the Stilt Pool this morning, along with the three Spoonbills. Also 3 Jays, 2 Yellowhammers, 6 Meadow Pipit,1 Greenshank and 10 Avocets (RJS/CRJ)

Ferry Pool: The three Green Sandpipers were at the back again early on, and there were two Avocets, a Black-tailed Godwit and two Great Black-backed Gulls among the usual Shoveler, Wigeon and Lapwings - many of whom were indulging in display flights. (AH/PH)

Displaying Lapwing (above) & Wigeon on Ferry (AH)

Long Pool/Ferry Channel: A Spotted Redshank was along the channel with about 20 Redshank and half a dozen Grey Plovers, and at least a dozen Avocets were tucked away at the far end. There were about four Chiffchaffs along the hedges - possibly newly arrived, see below - and a few Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were around, plus three Buzzards above. (AH)

Spotted Redshank (above), Redshank, Reed Bunting & Buzzard from Long Pool (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: There were two Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank on show, despite the very low tide, and the channels were full of birds, including 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, 500 Brent Geese and 30 Pintail. There were massses of gulls, with half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls and 200+ Common Gulls amongst them. 
There were about half a dozen Chiffchaffs along the hedges, more than I have seen here previously this winter, and (see above), suggesting some inward movement. Not many other passerines on show, though two Rock Pipits were unusually obliging. (AH)

Greenshank (above), Common Gull & Rock Pipits at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

North Wall: A chilly SE breeze along the wall. A very confiding Spotted Redshank was on White's Creek, along with 60 Black-tailed Godwits, with a further 42 on the Breach Pool, along with 55 Teal, 4 Tufted Duck and 2 Gadwall. In the fields were 34 Curlew and 3 Brent Geese, whilst along the wall were 3 Cetti's Warblers, 2 Linnets, 5 Long-tailed Tits and a Green Woodpecker. (JDW)

Linnet (above) & Curlew from the North Wall (JDW)

Wednesday, 11th March: A cold, but brighter than forecast, day, with the wind brisk and south-easterly. A quiet milestone was reached today.... it's our second birthday! OK, perhaps it would be more accurate to say it's the second anniversary of the blog going live, but either way things have developed steadily since then and we haven't yet missed a day's coverage with our reports, though as I've said before it will doubtless happen sometime. Meanwhile, many thanks to all who support or use this site and make our efforts worthwhile, we hope it will continue to be of interest. (OM/AH).
HANDS OFF THE OVAL FIELD! One other item which will concern all sea-watchers at the Bill is a local council plan to develop the Oval Field - that is the open field (old Pontins sports field) close to where you park at the undeveloped bit of Grafton Road. The plan is for an Observatory, auditorium and cafe and probably more right on the coastal edge - this would doubtless lead to the whole field being swallowed up with car parking space and in time more houses, the road being developed (nice yellow lines) and the existing little bit of vegetation/trees removed to 'tidy up.' There is a local council meeting at Selsey Town hall tonight at 7.30 - if you can't attend please at least register an objection. Not only is this last little bit of open space so important for us birders but it is a wonderful amenity for local people. One can only wonder if some greasy palms will be involved if this goes ahead, so please keep up with the news if you are concerned. Keep in touch via no2ovalfield@gmail.com

Selsey Bill (0730-0930hrs): Cloudy, cool, some sun, SE4  (Obs: OM/GH/AH/C&ME)
No movement, bar a few Brent Geese and a single Gannet, though of course it is early in the season. The usual Great Northern Divers, Red-breasted Mergansers and the Eider were offshore but little else. Full log below...
Great Northern Diver - 5 os
Gannet - 1E
Brent Goose - 19W
Eider - 1 os
R/b Merganser - 4E, 1W, 3 os
Mediterranean Gull - 1W

Selsey West: There were 15 Snipe on some private marshland, and at Northcommon Farm a Chiffchaff was present plus two Green Woodpeckers and one Great Spotted (OM).

Ferry Pool: There were three Green Sandpipers and three Black-tailed Godwits at the back this morning, plus a pair of Avocets and 50 or so Lapwings, many of which were display-flying. A Kingfisher flew through, but the main activity on the pool was with the Shovelers - 75 or so, of which two-thirds were male - which were displaying, flying about and generally being much more active than is their usual sedentary way. (AH) A later visit at about noon revealed that the Green Sandpipers, Black-tailed Godwits and Shovelers were still present, but the Avocet numbers had increased to 14 (OM).

Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

 Avocets on the Ferry Pool (OM)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pools - There was one Spoonbill in the ditch behind the Stilt Pool this morning, and at least four pairs of Avocets staking their claim on it. Few other waders were to be seen, bar a couple of Sanderling on the beach, whilst there were 20+ Gadwall, and similar of Teal, Wigeon and Shelduck scattered about the pools. 
A flock of 35 Shoveler flew in from the west and circled several times before continuing eastwards over the reserve. Passerines almost completely comprised of Skylarks (50+), Yellowhammers (20+) and Meadow Pipits (50+), along with just a handful of Reed Buntings. (AH/TR)

Spoonbill (above), Avocet, Shovelers, Sanderling & Meadow Pipit at Medmerry (AH)

Chichester GPs: Ivy Lake complex - A quick look at the pits to check for early hirundines drew a blank, but there were two active Chiffchaffs singing occasionally and two Cetti's Warblers doing likewise (OM).

Tuesday, 10th March: A fine day after a cold start, with sunny spells and light winds; northerly at first, eventually becoming more easterly....

Selsey Bill (0700-1000hrs): Sunny with cloud, dry, N/NW 1, becoming more E 2 later. (Obs: OM/AH) Still not happening - just a few Brent Geese east being the only real movement, but up to eight Great Northern Divers, a Slavonian Grebe and a small group of displaying Red-breasted Mergansers, were offshore. Full log ....
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 8 os
Slavonian Grebe - 1 os
Brent Goose - 40E
Eider - 1 os
Red-breasted Merganser - 6 os (displaying)
Oystercatcher - 18 on the shingle bar at low tide
Curlew - 9 on the shingle bar, flew off W
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 4, shingle bar 

Selsey Bill views this morning: above - the sun rising, a deserted beach and early hopes of migrants...but
below - low tide, so the daily meeting of the Dog Walking Club (Selsey chapter) moves to the beach! (OM)

Pagham Spit: A Wheatear was on the spit this morning. (R&GH)

Church Norton: Quiet here - a couple of Reed Buntings and a Chiffchaff were in the first Several, a Peregrine went over and c300 Brent Geese were lingering on the foreshore, looking eager to get on. (AH)
Wigeon at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: A Grey Wagtail went over, a couple of small groups of Brent Geese dropped in, there were four Snipe and two Green Sandpipers at the back, a couple of Black-tailed Godwits and 50+ Lapwings were along the bank, plus the usual numbers of the usual wildfowl. (AH) Also the Chiffchaff was singing well again outside the Visitor Centre. (PH)

Brent Geese over the Ferry (AH)

Chichester Marina: Initially the marsh appeared very quiet with just a single Buzzard, but unexpectedly a female Marsh Harrier suddenly appeared and began hunting over the area late morning, scattering previously hidden birds in all directions, including a flock of 25 Snipe, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 15 Curlew, 40 Brent Geese, a few Lapwings and Teal and a pair of Gadwall. Once the harrier had left, a couple of Water Rails and 2 Cetti's Warblers resumed their calling activities and a pair of Long-tailed Tits were collecting nesting material. Along the old canal there were half a dozen Tufted Ducks and a pair of nesting Mute Swans; the latter have set up home right beside the footpath by the Yacht Club, and when I passed the female was collecting nesting material and displaying three eggs (OM).

Marsh Harrier (fem) at Chichester Marina marsh (Apuldram Manor farm) and Mute Swan nest with three eggs (so far!) (OM)

Birdham Pool:  Nothing unusual on the pool - just half a dozen each of Tufted Duck, Cormorant and Little Grebe, although a large flock of 500+ Brent Geese flew west across the back fields towards the Chichester channel (OM).

Cormorants on Birdham Pool (OM)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm - There were a pair of Grey Partridges in the arable field next to the sewage works - very close to where a pair were seen last summer. A Grey Wagtail was with a couple of hundred Pied Wagtails around the sewage works, a couple of Buzzards were up and soaring, and there were a few Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings in the hedges. (AH)

Grey Partridge (above), Grey Wagtail, Yellowhammer, Buzzard & Wren at Porthole Farm (AH)

Chainbridge Field - This evening the Barn Owl was out and hunting, and one - and possibly two - Short-eared Owls were also active. (AH)

Barn Owl at Chainbridge Field (AH)

Breach viewpoint: No migrants located, but the 3 Spoonbills were again lazing out in the middle of the reserve. Most of the waders and wildfowl appear to have moved on except for a small flock of 30 Brent Geese, and a gathering of 50+ Pied Wagtails was feeding on newly ploughed fields (OM).

Chichester GPs: Ivy lake - two Chiffchaffs, one singing, and two Goldcrests around the path. A small flock of Long-tailed Tits around the brambles, and a calling Cetti's Warbler. A few Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes on the water, but otherwise fairly quiet. At Westhampnett Pit there were 24 Tufted Ducks, a pair of Great Crested Grebes. (BI)

North Wall area: A warm spring morning along the wall. Highlight was a pair of Cetti's Warblers displaying noisily to the west of the Breech Pool. The Pool is very low on water although it tops up at high tide. 60 Teal still there with a few Wigeon, 4 Tufted Ducks and 2 Gadwall, and waders were represented by 44 Black-tailed Godwits. 
Along White's Creek there was a Spotted Redshank and a Kingfisher. Chiffchaffs were singing at five locations. A pair of Green Woodpeckers were prospecting the same nest hole they bred in last year along Pagham Rife. 
A small mixed flock of Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and Yellowhammers were at Honer reservoir. On the water were 12 Coots and 2 Little Grebe, and there were 5 Yellowhammers at Bramber Farm. A pair of Little Owls towards Chalder Farm. A pair of Buzzards at Marsh Farm. (JDW)

Cetti's Warbler (above), Little Owl, Spotted Redshank & Roe Deer from North Wall (JDW)

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