Wednesday, 4 March 2015

4th - 6th March 2015

Friday, 6th March: Misty and murky to start, with the sun soon breaking through to give a fine day with a light SW breeze...

First news is of a report from yesterday... a hybrid Black Brant x dark-bellied Brent Goose was in amongst a large flock of the latter at Summer Lane, Pagham, together with singles of Pale-bellied Brent and Barnacle Goose (per David Cooper). Interestingly, although the Barnacle has recently been reported this year, the hybrid and Pale-bellied Brents have not, so perhaps they are new in? A fuller report with some good photos can be viewed at Dave's excellent blog at:

 Two images of the hybrid Black Brant x dark-bellied Brent Goose (D. Cooper)

Pagham: I had a look at Summer Lane this morning but no geese at all. At the nearby sewage works were plenty of Pied Wagtails, a single Grey Wagtail and two Reed Buntings (BI).

Selsey Bill: Nothing moving again - just a single distant 'diver sp' east - in the hour I was there, though there were still half a dozen Great Northern Divers, a Slavonian Grebe and the resident Eider offshore. (AH et al)

Eider off Selsey Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: The two Green Sandpipers were again at the back, there were four Snipe asleep on the bank, as were the two Avocets, and there were two Redshank by the road. Otherwise there  were still 70+ Shoveler on the pool and 50 or so Lapwing and Brent Geese and 4-500 Wigeon on the fields. (AH)

Shoveler on the Ferry (AH)

Farmland north of the North Wall: Fairly quiet on a walk from Brimfast Farm to Bramber Farm and back to Marsh Farm. Highlights were half a dozen Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings, a Stonechat, a flyover Grey Wagtail and a scattering of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. (AH)

Yellowhammer at Brimfast Farm (above) & Meadow Pipit at Marsh Farm (AH)

Medmerry:  Eastons - At the 'stilt pool'  were three Spoonbills, (they appeared from the colour rings to be the Church Norton birds) and also a female Red-breasted Merganser (BI). Later, there were 8 Avocets settled and feeding well there, plus a Peregrine and 3 Spoonbills out in the middle of the reserve, plus 3 'boxing' Hares, whilst 2 Great Crested Grebes were close inshore on the sea (PLS). (Presumably just 3 Spoonbills involved? Eds)

 Spoonbills and fem Red-breasted Merganser on the 'stilt pools' at Medmerry (BI)

Ham Farm - Chainbridge area - Late this afternoon there were at least 30 Yellowhammers between Ham Farm and Chainbridge Field this afternoon, along the bottom of the banks, and with them were 20+ Linnets, 20+ Goldfinches, 5+ Reed Buntings, 20+ Skylarks and 100+ Meadow Pipits. 
There was a Chiffchaff in the hedge by the bridge, and on the newly ploughed fields by Ham Farm there were at least 200 Pied Wagtails, and a few Mediterranean Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gulls. A Buzzard and a couple of Little Egrets were around, but bar a few displaying Lapwing, and a few Ringed Plovers and Curlews there was not much else to report from the reserve. (AH)

Reed Bunting (above), Yellowhammers & Little Egret at Medmerry (AH)

Chichester GPs: All the pits from Ivy Lake in the west to Peckham/Leythorne in the east - Combined counts were as follows: 29 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 52 Canada Geese, 1 Greylag Goose, 7 Mute Swan, 10 Pochard, 116 Tufted Duck, 1 Gadwall, 54 Shoveler, 22 Mallard, 165 Coot, 8 Moorhen, 2 Little Egret and 1 Kingfisher. No passerines of note in spite of a good search, though there were 2 Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Long-tailed Tits and 5 Chaffinches. No sign of the Tundra Bean Goose or associated Greylags at 13.30. (MD)

Thursday, 5th March: A beautiful, still and sunny morning, but not much change in the bird world.....

Selsey Bill: A group of 16 Eider dropped in offshore from the west early this morning, but not much else bar a Partridge (presumably Red-legged) heading west over the sea, and a few Great Northern Divers. (GH)

Eider off Selsey Bill (GH)

Church Norton: The ever-elusive Whimbrel briefly appeared from the vegetation first thing, but had gone back into hiding by late morning. There were four Slavonian and three Great Crested Grebes offshore, but birds in the harbour were unchanged from yesterday, though three groups, totalling about 200 birds, of Brent Geese set off purposefully out of the harbour heading east, though at least 1000 more remained in situ. There were still 20+ Skylarks on the spit. (AH) Also, a Raven could be heard in the trees behind the Severals. (A&YF)

Whimbrel (above), Slavonian Grebes, Ringed Plover & Skylark at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry Breach: A Kingfisher near the breach this morning, plus a few Ringed Plovers, but otherwise quiet. (GH)
Eastons: There were two Avocets and a Spoonbill on the pools this morning (PH).

Ferry Pool: There were two Green Sandpipers at the back this morning, 79 Shoveler were on/around the pool, plus six Tufted Ducks, and in the fields 500 Wigeon, 200 Brent Geese and a maximum of 50 Lapwing. (AH)

Long Pool/Ferry Channel: A few Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Reed Buntings along the fields, plus three Buzzards together overhead, a pair of Little Grebes and eight Tufted Ducks on the pool, and in excess of 20 Avocets roosting at the far end of the channel. (AH)

Little Grebe on the Long Pool (above), and Avocets in Ferry Channel (AH)

North Wall: A really nice spring day. On the Breech Pool were the usual Teal and Mallard plus 4 Tufted Ducks and 3 Gadwall, though the only waders were 2 Common Snipe. In Honer Field 2 were 60 Curlews, 25 Black-tailed Godwits and 11 Moorhen. Grey Herons were still busy at Owl Copse, where Dunnocks were in full song. The main Brent Goose flock was again just east of Marsh Farm and I estimated the flock at 2600. A Buzzard flew over carrying nesting material. (JDW) 

Gadwall (above), Brent Geese & Dunnock from the North Wall (JDW)

Wednesday, 4th March: Another gloriously bright - but cold and windy - morning, as we await a turn in the wind direction.....

Selsey Bill (0745-1015hrs): Sunny, some cloud, cold, WNW4-5 (Obs: OM/GH/C&ME et al). Half a dozen Eider and Great Northern Divers offshore, but still not really any evidence of movement. Full log below...
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Great Northern Diver - 6 os
Diver sp - 2E
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
Fulmar - 1W
Brent Goose - 6W
Eider - 6 os (including 3 drakes amongst a flock of 5) 
R/b Merganser - 3E, 6W, 6os
Mediterranean Gull - 1W

Church Norton: Huge numbers of Brent Geese in the harbour - maybe 2000 at the peak - with a lot of coming and going and that sense of impending activity. They want to be on their way! Not much else to be seen bar the usual waders and wildfowl, but there were at leas 20 Skylarks along the spit. (AH)

Brent Geese (above), Wigeon, Skylark & Ringed Plover at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: A Kingfisher flew through and a Snipe flew over this morning, and there were 120 Black-tailed Godwits, 80 Lapwing and 60 Shoveler around the pool, plus 2-300 Wigeon and Brent Geese on the fields. (AH)

Wigeon over Ferry Field (AH)

North Wall: A pleasant sunny morning along the Wall. On a rising tide there were 160 Black -tailed Godwits along White's Creek along with 2 Spotted Redshanks. A Spoonbill had been reported on Breech Pool but I was unable to locate it. Along with the usual Teal, Mallard and Wigeon were 2 pairs of Shoveler, and 2 calling Cetti's Warblers were along Pagham Rife. 

At Owl Copse there was a group of 7 Grey Herons and the first Little Egret of the spring. 

On Honer Reservoir there were 11 Tufted Duck and 5 Little Grebes, and in the field behind were 15 Mute Swans and a single Black Swan. Along the hedgerow in that location was a mixed flock of Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and Long-tailed Tits. 

Brent Geese were gathering in the large field to the east of Marsh Farm and I counted 1600 but small groups were arriving all the time. (JDW)

Black-tailed Godwits (above), Shoveler & Grey Herons and Little Egret from the North Wall (JDW)

Runcton: A Moorhen in my front garden this morning, presumably feeding on seed spilled from a feeder. It has been a long time since I last had one in the garden. (CRJ)

Moorhen in a Runcton garden (CRJ)

Medmerry - Breach viewpoint: Having gained proper entry at the 'guardhouse' I was soon challenged by a security patrol near the viewpoint parking area by the 'posh' caravans, but after a friendly chat all was well. My heart then sank somewhat as I viewed the changes in this area, with groundworks and concrete-laying for more caravans going on apace on what up until recently used to be a nice little undeveloped spot for migrants; nothing we can do I'm afraid so let's just hope it doesn't lose all its attraction.
Out in the middle of the reserve three Spoonbills were preening and lazing and at least 500 Brent Geese were scattered in various groups around the lagoons. A high tide roost of waders included 190 Grey Plover, 120 Golden Plover and c.100 Dunlin, though strangely I couldn't locate a single bird offshore.(OM).
Eastons: Fantastic views of a (colour-ringed) Spoonbill this afternoon on the 'stilt pools' – it was feeding on the nearest edge of the northernmost pool, completely unconcerned as we walked by. A Red-breasted Merganser also dropped in briefly (PH). Also a Green Sandpiper and a Peregrine there (PLS).

(above) view of Medmerry from the Breach Viewpoint, with scattered groups of Brent Geese and (below) two views of the ongoing works on the area previously good for passerine migrants; I suspect we might struggle to find such delights as Snow Bunting from now on; we shall see! (OM).  

Chichester GPs - Drayton pits: Wildfowl numbers are predictably declining, but a count still produced 60 Shoveler, 38 Canada Geese, 12 Greylags, 45 Tufted Duck, 30 Pochard, 40 Gadwall and 31 Mute Swans, with most of the latter hemmed into a corner of one lake by a single dominant bird. Two Snipe and two Green Woodpeckers were also logged but there was little else of note (OM).

View of Drayton GPs with some of the Mute Swans hemmed into one corner (OM)

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