Saturday, 7 March 2015

7th - 9th March 2015

Monday, 9th March: Overcast and cold, with a fresh SSE wind, later going SSW, but remaining dry throughout much of the day with the increasing risk of rain by late afternoon.

Selsey Bill: Ideal conditions for a sea-watch, but..... from 0740-0840hrs this morning, just three Common Scoter and 23 Brent Geese east, with five Great Northern Divers, the Eider, two Great Crested Grebes and seven Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. (AH/GH/T&PR) Additionally 0845-0930hrs there were 2 R/b Mergansers os, a single Dunlin on the beach and just a single Meadow Pipit N (CRJ).

Great Northern Diver off the Bill (AH)

Medmerry: Greenwood Farm - A Merlin was seen chasing a Skylark (unsuccessfully!) near the farm this morning. (PH)

Breach area - Very quiet, just half a dozen Grey Plover, Curlew and Oystercatcher on the pools, with a dozen Shelduck, and no passerines at all. (AH)

Grey Plovers at Medmerry Breach (AH)

Chainbridge to Ham - Still 30+ Yellowhammers along the bank, with similar of Meadow Pipit and Skylark, plus a few Reed Buntings. A Stonechat was by the bridge and c30 Stock Doves, plus a few Lapwings were out on the reserve. (AH)

Yellowhammer (above), Meadow Pipit, Stonechat & Stock Doves at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry PoolThere were two Avocets this morning, plus six Redshank and 40 Lapwing, along with 70 Shoveler, 20 Shelduck and 300+ Wigeon. (AH) Also, a Chiffchaff was briefly singing near the Visitor Centre. (PH)

Church Norton:  There were 250 Brent Geese, 22 Shelduck, 8 Wigeon, 8 Pintail, 5 R/b Mergansers offshore, the leucistic Curlew, 90 Black-tailed Godwits, 20 Starlings in the Churchyard, 4 Long-tailed Tits and 2 Reed Buntings. (CRJ). Also 3 Slavonian Grebes offshore (A. Gray).

North Wall: More a morning of what was not rather than what was. Yesterday afternoon the Brent Geese were very restless and vocal and giving all the indications that they would soon be off. Today not a Brent to be seen around the fields and only about 10 out in the Harbour; presumably the main flock went overnight. Similarly Wigeon numbers are way down and very few were to be seen this morning. A pair of Stonechats were at the back of the stable field. On White's Creek 2 Spotted Redshank, 1 male Red-breasted Merganser and 30 Wigeon. The water level on the Breech Pool is very low; just 40 Teal, 9 Tufted Ducks, 1 Water Rail and 15 Black-tailed Godwits there. Forty Curlew in the Honer fields and 2 Pintail, 4 Teal and 2 Oystercatchers feeding in the mud opposite Owl Copse. (JDW).

 North Wall this morning; from the top, pair of Pintail, drake Teal, Oystercatcher and Kestrel (JDW)

Pagham Lagoon/Spit: Pretty quiet - and no Wheatears! Best bird was a Peregrine sat out on the new spit opposite the beach. (AB)

Peregrine off Pagham Spit (AB)

Sunday, 8th March: Much cloudier today but still mild and dry with a moderate W/SW wind force 4... and the spring-like weather has had an immediate effect with the first reports of Wheatears on the Peninsula; up to four at Pagham North Wall and Spit being reported by midday.

Selsey Bill: Still not really happening past the Bill, though in excess of 100 Brent Geese and a few Red-throated Divers went eastwards, and the regular Eider and up to eight Great Northern Divers were offshore. 
(0630-0900hrs) (SH/IP/JA et al)
Great Northern Diver - 8os
Red-throated Diver - 8, 2os
diver sp - 3E
Slavonian Grebe - 3E, 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 1os
Fulmar - 1W
Brent Goose - 188E, 1W
Common Scoter - 2E, 2W, 4os

Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 1W, 7os

Turnstone - 9W
Sandwich Tern - 1os
Pied Wagtail -  2N, 1p

Meadow Pipit - 5N
& a Common seal offshore

Great Northern Divers off Selsey Bill (AH)
North Wall: Spoils for the first Wheatear of the spring go to Peter Callis. A day earlier than last year's first, it proved to be one of four seen around the east side of the harbour (see below). Another one was also seen here, but otherwise it was fairly quiet, except for the strange noises emanating from Owl Copse's heronry! There were 60+ Black-tailed Godwits (some starting to acquire summer-plumage), two Snipe, 30 Teal and 60 Wigeon on the Breech Pool, with 50+ Curlew on the fields behind, but the only other passerines of note were a couple of calling Cetti's Warblers and a handful of Reed Buntings. A Spotted Redshank was in White's Creek, as were another 50+ Black-tailed Godwits. (AH/PC/C&ME)

Wheatear (above), Black-tailed Godwit & Spotted Redshank from the North Wall (AH)

This afternoon there was no sign of any Wheatears, but there was a Rock Pipit along the wall and then a Water Rail walked across it and into the harbour! (S&SaH)

Rock Pipit on the North Wall (SH)

Pagham Lagoon/Spit: There were another two Wheatears along the Spit this morning - a male and a female, and in the harbour there were four Goldeneye and two Red-breasted Mergansers, along with many hundreds of Brent Geese. Very little on the Lagoon, bar a couple of Pochard, though there were a pair of displaying Little Grebes. (AH/GK& RB)

Wheatear (above) & Goldeneye from Pagham Spit, & displaying Little Grebes on Pagham Lagoon (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Barnacle Goose was again present, with a handful of Brent Geese, and there were six Avocets and 80 Black-tailed Godwits along the pool-side, and at least 500 Wigeon on the field. (AH)

Barnacle Goose on the Ferry (AH)
Medmerry: At the caravan end of Medmerry there were six Meadow Pipits and two pairs of Stonechats but little else. However at Chainbridge - Ham three Short-eared Owls were still present this afternoon (PH).
Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - In the fields and on the fence line there were Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, a few Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers and several Stonechats. In the middle of the reserve there were Wigeon, Shelduck, Teal and Little Egrets, and on the pools six Avocets, three Spoonbills (the colour ringed birds) and twenty or so Brent Geese. (BI/PH)

Yellowhammer (above) & Stonechat at Medmerry (BI)

Church Norton: A Firecrest was in the churchyard this morning. (A&YF)
This morning there were two Goldeneye and two Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour, three Slavonian and five Great Crested Grebes offshore, two Cetti's Warblers in the second Several, and two Chiffchaffs at Park Farm. (S&SaH)

Saturday, 7th March: A welcome change in the weather to fine, sunny and quite spring-like conditions, with a moderate to fresh SW wind 4-5. The onshore wind  prompted just a little early passage - and tempted a few observers down to the coast....resulting in a total of 6 hours coverage this morning. And a Sandwich Tern that went eastwards with purpose was surely the first spring migrant of the species - though doubtless my esteemed co-editor will declare it a winter lingerer! (OM).

Selsey Bill (0630-1230hrs): Sunny, dry, SW4-5. (Obs: SH/PB/AB/AGB/IP/JA/OM at al).
Red-throated Diver - 18E, 2W, 1os
Black-throated Diver - 1E, 1os
Great Northern Diver - 1W, 7os
Diver sp - 6E
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1os
Gannet - 3E, 2W
Fulmar - 1E
Brent Goose - 61E
Eider - 2E, 2W, 3os
Common Scoter - 9E
Red-breasted Merganser - 9E, 10W, 2os
Shoveler - 1 fem W then settled on sea, before eventually departing E!
Curlew - 1E
Peregrine - 1 area
Razorbill - 2W
Auk sp - 3W
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Pied/alba Wagtail - 2W
Meadow Pipit - 1 beach

At the Bill this morning: above - the early shift of regulars; centre - the later shift of sporadic visitors included (l-to-r) Steve 'the Hat' and Messrs Fairbank and King; lower - a solitary newly-arrived Meadow Pipit which put in an appearance (OM).

Ferry Pool: The numbers of wildfowl are dropping, but most of the Shoveler reported over the last few weeks seemed to be still present; also 2 Avocets still there and a Peregrine sitting on a post at the back of the field (OM). There was no sign of the Green Sandpipers this morning, but the Barnacle Goose was in amongst a flock of about 100 Brent Geese (but no sign either of the Pale-bellied or hybrid Brent) Also a singing Chiffchaff, plus two Gadwall and two Mediterranean Gulls were present, and a Spotted Redshank was nearby in Ferry Channel. (AB/AGB/PB).

Barnacle Goose amongst Wigeon and Brent Geese (above), Avocet & Shoveler on the Ferry (AB)

Church Norton: Up to 10 Buzzards up around the harbour; also 7 Slavonian Grebes and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, a Cetti's Warbler calling at the second Several and several Goldcrests and 6 Stonechats in the area. 
Nearby the Green Sandpiper, a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Chiffchaff were at Park Farm. A male and two female Goldeneye were in the harbour mouth at high tide, and there was a single Bar-tailed Godwit, five Avocets, ten Knot and the leucistic Curlew in the harbour (S&SaH/IP/AB/AGB/PB).

Stonechat at Church Norton and Lesser Black-backed Gull at Park Farm (SH)

Chichester Gravel Pits: Highlights were a nice male Bullfinch showed well, a couple of Chiffchaffs and a Kingfisher. No sign of the Bean Goose with only a single pair of Greylags seen. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls were amongst the large number of Common and Herring Gulls on Ivy Lake. (AB)

Bullfinch at Chichester GPs (AB)

Medmerry:  Eastons - The "Stilt Pool" held a tight flock of 12 Avocets, which at times appeared to be paired. In addition to this there was a single Spoonbill which flew over the reserve flushing all the ducks (Wigeon, except for a lone female Red-breasted Merganser) and then settled by the ruined building. There were at least 8 Yellowhammers, numerous Skylark displaying and a sole Corn Bunting in with a Skylark flock by the pools.(IP). In addition there were 28 Fieldfare roosting in trees by the first sluice and a Cetti's Warbler calling in the same area (SH).

 Avocets at the Medmerry 'stilt pool' (IP)

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