Thursday, 16 April 2015

16th - 18th April 2015

Saturday, 18th April: Bright, dry and sunny but with a fresh-strong NE wind keeping the temperature down....

Selsey Bill (0545 - 1000hrs): Sunny, ENE5 (JA/SH/PB/AB et al)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Fulmar - 2E, 4W
Gannet - 27E, 7W
Brent Goose - 20E, 1W

Pale-bellied Brent Goose - 1E with 3 Dark-bellied at c0915 (presumably the bird seen at Medmerry earlier)
Common Scoter - 12E, 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E
Lapwing - 1N
Whimbrel - 4E
Arctic Skua - 2E, 1os
Great Skua - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 86E
Common tern - 10E
Arctic Tern - 2E
Commic Tern - 18E
Guillemot - 1W
auk sp - 2E, 6W
Swallow - 26N

House Martin - 3N
Meadow Pipit - 4N
Yellow Wagtail - 1N
Linnet - 3N

Whimbrels (SH) (above), Gannet and a very big cruise-liner at the Bill (AH)

(1600-1835) (SH/JA/GH)
Great Northern Diver -  3os
Fulmar - 1W
Manx Shearwater - 1E
Gannet - 26E, 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 15E (inc one flock of 12), 3W, 2os 
Grey plover - 3E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 7E
Whimbrel - 1E
Curlew - 2E
Turnstone - 1E
Great Skua - 1E
Kittiwake - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 22E
Common Tern - 6E
Arctic Tern - 3E
Commic tern - 35E

Little Tern - 1E
Swallow - 1N

The dangers of cutting the corner at the Bill at low tide (SH)

Medmerry: Breach - A Pale-bellied Brent Goose was with four Dark-bellied Brents in the big pools. It was struggling to balance/walk but wasn't obviously injured and appeared to have flown off a little while later. Very little else, bar a couple of Curlews, three Sandwich Terns offshore and c50 Linnets around the viewpoint. (AH)

Pale-bellied Brent Goose (above), with a Dark-bellied and three Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Black-winged Stilt was on the pool again, roosting with 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, and the Spotted Redshank and Green Sandpiper were also again present. Reed, Sedge and Cetti's Warblers were all present in the roadside reeds, and a Sand Martin went over. (AH/AB/PB)

Black-winged Stilt with Black-tailed Godwits (above), performing a one-footed landing & Spotted Redshank on the Ferry (AH)

Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry (AB)

Church Norton: Half a dozen Blackcaps and a couple of Chiffchaffs were around the sheltered hedges, a dozen Swallows were feeding low over the sheep-field, a pair of Mistle Thrushes were in the Priory and four Sandwich Terns were roosting on Tern Island, but there was barely a wader to be found in the harbour. (AH)

Blackcap (above), Swallow & Mistle Thrush at Church Norton (AH)

Friday, 17th April: A cold and breezy start, with the wind more north than east, though with a bit of sunshine now and again breaking through the cloud.....then a few showers before the wind became ENE and the sky brightened...
Selsey Bill (0545 - 1330hrs): Cloudy, a few showers then sunny. NE - ENE4
Slow, but steady at the Bill this morning, with seven Little Terns and 100+ Sandwich Terns and 200+ Common Scoters, and a few Fulmars, Gannets and auks going the other way. A Wheatear just made it to land into the headwind, but few other migrants were seen. Full log below.       (Obs: JA/SH/AH/OM/BI/C&ME/DSh et al)
Red-throated Diver - 4E
Great Northern Diver - 6os
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Fulmar - 9E, 18W
Gannet - 94E, 53W
Little Egret - 1 out S (until lost from view)
Canada Goose - 1E
Brent Goose - 60E
Shelduck - 3E (possibly local birds)
Common Scoter - 262E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 1W, 2os
Tufted Duck - 2E
Shoveler - 13E
Whimbrel - 6E
Turnstone - 20E
Guillemot - 1E, 1os
Razorbill - 1os
Auk sp - 2E, 94W
Little Tern - 7E
Common Tern - 8E
Commic Tern - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 145E
Kittiwake - 1E
Common Gull - 14E
Wheatear - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 5N
Swallow - 17N
Goldfinch - 4N
Additional watch -  16.00-1800hrs(Obs: JA/SH/IP)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Diver sp - 1E
Manx Shearwater - 1E
Gannet 21E, 1W
Common Scoter - 6E
Dunlin - 3E
Whimbrel - 3E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 17E
Grey Plover - 16E
Little Tern - 4E
Commic Tern - 11E, 7os
Sandwich Tern - 34E, 15os
Little Gull - 1E  

Wheatear just making it to land (above), Sandwich Tern & Fulmar at the Bill (AH)

SH trying to use his binoculars to read text messages. Time for a visit to Specsavers! (AH)

Brent Geese (above) (BI top), and Common Scoter passing the Bill, with dark skies promising a few showers (OM)

Ferry Pool: The Black-winged Stilt was present again, and was by the roadside late morning. A Spotted Redshank and a Green Sandpiper were also present, and up to 100 Black-tailed Godwits were roosting at high tide. (AH/SH/IP/T Sweetland)

Visitor Centre area: An early afternoon visit paid dividends when a singing Nightingale was located on the cycle track path, at the far end, a short distance from where it joins the Tramway. Also 2 Whitethroats along the path (OM).

Black-winged Stilt on the Ferry (AH)
 Whitethroat along the cycle path near the Visitor centre (OM)

Medmerry: All five Spoonbills were out in the middle of the reserve late this  morning, though otherwise it was pretty quiet, with just a few Yellowhammers and Skylarks around, plus a big flock 100+ LInnets. The Avocets were still on the pool and there was a single Little Ringed Plover, but no sign of any Stilts at mid-day! (BI)

Five Spoonbills at Medmerry (BI)

Northcommon Farm: Just two Green Woodpeckers of note. (BI)

Warner Lane Horse Paddocks: Just a few Linnets and the two Red-Legged Partridges present. (BI)

Mapsons Farm, Highleigh: Two Red Kites went over at 0915hrs (T Sweetland)

Sidlesham: A Short-eared Owl went east over our garden on the west side of the village at dusk. (AH)

Church Norton: Typically bleak in the strong NE wind, though there were still a few bits. Two Spoonbills flew across towards the North Wall at 0840hrs, before crossing towards the North Wall and then back towards the Ferry. (T Sweetland) Are these different to the Medmerry birds? 
Also there were around a dozen Whimbrel (heard more than seen) in the harbour, plus three Sandwich Terns, and one or two Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were in the sheltered bushes around the car park and churchyard. (AH/T Sweetland)

Chiffchaff above) & Blackcap at Church Norton (AH)

Thursday, 16th April: A bit grey and breezy at first, though the wind was not as cold as a North-easterly can be, but by afternoon warm sunshine was to be had, especially in such sheltered spots as sitting behind the Wall at the Bill.....

Selsey Bill (0725-1530hrs): Cloud then sunny, wind NE/E 3-4. The Bill was productive for those with the time (and patience) to sit it out, with a Garganey and two Velvet Scoters late morning plus over 300 Common Scoter. A fly-by Garganey claimed on a sea-watch can sometimes attract a raised eyebrow or a sharp intake of breath from others, but today's specimen, seen by a number of observers at shinglebar range, can surely stand the rigours of a steward's enquiry, it's dark breast, paler belly and pale grey forewing with white secondary bars surely clinching it. Otherwise a steady trickle of Sandwich Terns and the odd Common Tern was enough to keep the interest alive through the day, plus a Yellow Wagtail and some hirundines in off the sea. Full log below. (OM/C&ME/AH/IL/ et al)
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 2os
Fulmar - 6W
Gannet - 34E, 20W
Brent Goose - 22E
Common Scoter - 307E
Velvet Scoter - 2E (1220hrs)
Garganey - 1E (1120hrs)
Turnstone - 20E
Whimbrel - 12E, 1W
Peregrine - 1W
Common Tern - 23E
Sandwich Tern - 222E
Great Skua - 1E
Kittiwake - 1E
Black-headed Gull - 10E
Auk sp - 2W
Swallow - 52N
Sand Martin - 2N
House Martin - 3N
Meadow Pipit - 36N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 2N
Yellow Wagtail - 1N
Wheatear - 1N
Goldfinch - 9N
(also plenty of unidentifiable passerines arriving!)
Additional watch: (16.50 - 19.00hrs) (Obs: JA/SH)
Red-throated Diver - 5E
Great Northern Diver - 6 os 

Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Gannet - 17E, 4W
Sandwich Tern - 83E, 11os
Commic Tern - 4E
Little Tern - 1E
Arctic Skua - 5E (3d/p, 2l/p)
Swallow - 4N

Sandwich Tern (above) & Common Scoters past the Bill (AH)

Newly-arrived Meadow Pipit on the beach at the Bill (DM)
 Views from the Bill today: (above) ex-Sussex birder and long-term Swedish resident Colin Messer (centre) makes a welcome visit, flanked by Dorian Mason (left) and Bernie show-us-your-knees Forbes. (below) - migrants-eye view from the shoreline to the Wall and (lower) the new sea-defences almost completed (OM)

Selsey: Northcommon Farm; we walked the entire length of Golf Links Lane, with scant reward recording a single Wheatear, 2 pairs of Red-legged Partridge and the best find  -   a Lesser Whitethroat which briefly sang from the hedgerow. (BFF/DM/CM)

Ferry Pool: The Black-winged Stilt was at the back again first thing, but had gone again by mid-morning. (Apparently a visitor reported one out in the middle of Medmerry yesterday (per PH), so maybe that is where it is going.) Not much else of note, though the Reed Warbler was in the roadside reeds, a Whimbrel flew over and 50+ Black-tailed Godwits were on the banks. (AH/OM/AB)
Whimbrel (above) & Mute Swan at the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane west - A Yellow Wagtail went over and three White Wagtails were briefly on the Stilt Pool early on. Two Spoonbills were out on the reserve, with the third one joining them from the ditches behind the Stilt Pool, and on the pool there was a Sand Martin, nine pairs of Avocets and two pairs of Little Ringed Plovers (with another displaying bird on the reserve). 
Other sightings included a Cuckoo which flew across from the poplars, a Short-eared Owl that was disturbed by gulls and briefly took flight, a couple of Swallows in off the sea and three Sandwich Terns heading east. A couple of Wheatears and single Whitethroat, Blackcap and Willow Warbler were the only other indications of migration, though there were plenty of Skylarks and Yellowhammers, plus a couple of Corn Buntings along the banks. 
Finally, a flock of fifteen Whimbrel went high east over Easton Lane car park. (AH/AB/PLS)
(Note: A visitor reported that the stilt dropped into feed on the stilt pool this lunchtime, and then flew back onto the seaward side into the nearest lagoon - per PH)
Ham: An evening bike ride to Ham Viewpoint gave me my first Whinchat, on the perimeter fence.  A Short-eared Owl hunted over the east side and I could have sworn there were FIVE Spoonbills present, four busily feeding and one roosting.  A Cuckoo gave a short call at 7.10 and Corn Buntings, Cetti's Warblers and a couple of Skylarks continued to sing as the light faded (SR) (Observers are asked to try and check out the Spoonbill numbers. Eds)

Spoonbill (above), Short-eared Owl, Little Ringed Plover, Whitethroat & Whimbrels at Medmerry (AH)

 Skylark (above) and singing Corn Bunting at Medmerry (AB)

Church Norton: In the harbour there were four Bar-tailed Godwits on Tern Island, five Sandwich Terns on the exposed metalwork and at least 12 Whimbrel and five Brent Geese. A Lesser Whitethroat briefly broke into song behind the hide, but not many other migrants about. A Lapwing was in the ploughed field on Rectory Lane. (AB/BFF/DM/CM)

Lapwing at Church Norton (AB)

North Wall: Highlights were a cracking male Redstart at Bramber Farm and, coming back along the Wall,  a male Marsh Harrier was heading north, being harassed by six Shelduck. 
In Honer 2 field there were four Whimbrel amongst 14 Curlew, a Brent Goose has appeared on Breech Pool and the Mallard family at the sluice are still intact.  (JDW) 

Mallard family from North Wall (JDW)

Fishbourne Creek: around 10 Yellowhammers around the dung heap with Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker in the trees. Not much in the creek -  just 2 Whimbrel and 2 Wigeon and a Common Whitethroat briefly singing from the harbour bank.(BFF/DM/CM)

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