Wednesday, 1 April 2015

1st - 3rd April 2015

Good Friday, 3rd April: A damp and gloomy start to the Easter holidays... overcast and murky with misty drizzle and light rain all morning and a moderate SW wind force 3, becoming southerly for a while then more variable as the day progressed, but feeling a bit milder. One of those days when it's probably best to sea-watch, though I was surprised to find very few observers at the Bill when I arrived, and that's the way it stayed... I even covered the last three hours alone, as the weather worsened, resorting to rain hood, then large umbrella and finally the car for shelter (OM).
A short update on the Peninsula Yearlist to the end of March....the total stands at 148 species (subject to acceptance of any rare/scarce species by the relevant records committee).

Selsey Bill (0700-1400hrs): Weather as above... with moderate to fairly poor visibility throughout, ranging from mile basket distance at times to less than half a mile later and irritating, persistent rain. (Obs: JA/IP/OM/BI/CN). The first Common Terns of the year today, but a couple of distant duck flocks in the gloom were just unidentifiable....
Great Northern Diver - 12 os
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 1os
Fulmar - 13W
Gannet - 6E, 11W
Brent Goose - 12E
Eider - 1os
Shelduck - 2W
Common Scoter - 94E, 1W, 4os
Red-breasted Merganser - 7E, 6os
Curlew - 3W
Turnstone - 25ob
Razorbill - 3W
Auk sp - 1W
Common Tern - 7E, 2W
Sandwich Tern - 13E, 15W
Kittiwake - 4W
Mediterranean Gull - 2W
Wheatear - 9ob, 1N
Meadow Pipit - 60N
Swallow - 3N
Chiffchaff - 3 gardens
Additional: (1645 to 1800 hrs):  (Obs: SH/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 14os

Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 14os
Common Scoter - 14E
Ringed Plover - 1E
Short-eared Owl - 1 flew W low, mobbed by gulls, gained height and flew out SW
Common Tern - 1os

Mediterranean Gull - 2E
Swallow - 1N
Pied Wagtail - 1p
Meadow Pipit - 1N

Wheatear - 2ob
Chiffchaff - 1N

Nearby, a Blackcap in a Selsey garden (SH)

Further 1810-1910hrs:Good vis, cloudy, S2, flat sea (JA)
Great Northern Diver - 16 os inc close knit flock of 14!
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 20os
Sandwich Tern - 6E, 1os
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens

Newly arrived Wheatears on the chimney tops at Bill House this morning (OM) whilst centre, a damp sea-watch from the bench and IP/OM enjoy some shelter whilst JA is left out in the rain (in case you recognise the brolly Mr Faithfull it will be returned - eventually!) and below - Great Northern Divers off the Bill (BI)

Selsey (West): Two Red-legged Partridges were at Warner Lane paddocks (BI)
Ferry Pool: A Swallow over the pool early this morning but otherwise it was the usual suspects, including c.40 Shoveler and just a single Avocet (OM), whilst nearby at the Long Pool there was a Kingfisher (BI).
Church Norton: One Wheatear on the old concrete wall, one Blackcap on the path, a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the Churchyard and a Whimbrel on the mud. Also a few Shelduck by the wall and two Grey Partridges in the lane on the way out (BI). This afternoon, 3 male Wheatears, 2 Grey Partridge, a Willow Warbler seen and heard and 15+ Chiffchaffs (SH).
Whimbrel at Church Norton (BI)

Thursday, 2nd AprilCloudy after overnight rain, with the promise of further periods of rain/showers through the day. Still  cool and breezy, but less windy  than of late....

Well, would you believe it.... seems that the old prankster Mr A Lirpaloof had one final trick up his sleeve yesterday and sneaked in a picture of a 1st-sum Common Gull which he labelled as a Med Gull! He nearly got away with it too and was hoping to announce a clean sweep today, but it didn't quite happen, as one keen young observer spotted the ploy and provided detailed reasoning, though perhaps failed to note the significant date and photographer details. Clearly the rest of you had sussed it... the lack of any dark facial mask, slimmer two-toned bill and facial expression being the obvious clues, plus the fact it actually looked more like a Common Gull! Mr Lirpaloof tells me there had in fact been a Med Gull present but when he went to photograph it that bird had gone, leaving just the similarly-plumaged Common Gull; then he struck upon an idea..... oh well, at least he won't trouble us again for another year!! (OM)

Selsey Bill (0945 - 1430hrs): Cloudy, damp, then drier, wind N4 then variable 3  (Obs: C&ME/SR et al). A good shift by some of the regulars this morning produced the first Swallows and House Martin, plus another decent arrival of Meadow Pipits.......
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 8os
Great Crested Grebe - 3os
Fulmar  - 2E, 2W   
Gannet - 7E, 24W                                    
Brent Goose - 38E                          
Eider - 6W  
Shelduck - 1W                                    
Common Scoter - 15os
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 4W, 4os
Razorbill - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 2W
Swallow - 15N
House Martin - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 524N   

North Wall: A pleasant change not to be blown along the Wall! Two Green Woodpeckers were in the horse field at Welbourne. On White's Creek were 18 Redshank, their Spotted cousin and 16 Teal. Later on a rising tide there were 160 Black-tailed Godwits and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, plus a Wheatear along the Wall. The water levels in the Breech Pool were the lowest I have ever seen them; at low tide there was no water showing at either end. A few Teal remain and 5 Common Snipe were sheltering in the reeds. A Bar-tailed Godwit was with Redshanks and Oystercatchers at Owl Water, Chiffchaffs were singing in several locations and Stock Doves were calling in Owl Copse. Five Brown Hares were in the large field east of Marsh Farm. (JDW)                                 

 Two Green Woodpeckers and an Oystercatcher on the North wall this morning (JDW)

Church Norton: A regular walk based around the area this evening, although unspectacular, produced an interesting variety of species... a Jay near Greenlease Farm, at least 10 Lapwings displaying in the fields east of Park Farm, 2 Reed Buntings at the second Several, together with 14 Tufted Ducks and 4 Little Grebes all in summer plumage. Two Swallows were over the first Several, and a large female Peregrine was notably active around the area, being seen several times. Offshore 5 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great Crested Grebe were present but there were few waders in the Harbour, the most numerous being at least 50 Ringed Plovers. A pair of Grey Partridges were on the beach beside the second Several, but later moved to the field behind the Several, where they were then joined by a second  pair. A Water Rail and c.10 Chiffchaffs were also logged (IP/S&SaH).
Grey Partridge on the beach near the Severals (SH)
Chichester Marina: On the marsh this morning things were very quiet - until a marauding Sparrowhawk decided to hunt the area and perch up in the reed-bed! Suddenly a flock of 24 Snipe - which had been invisible - flew out from the marsh and took to the air, whilst 4 now-resident Lapwings went on the defence. There were also 24 Teal, 2 pairs of Gadwall, 2 Grey Herons, 2 Shelduck, a pair of Canada Geese and 36 Curlew, plus the regular Cetti's Warbler and 3 different Water Rails calling quite frequently. On the old canal, there are two pairs of Mute Swans nesting (one at either end) and 10 Tufted Ducks still present (OM).

 View of the marsh this morning at Chichester Marina, and Tufted Ducks on the old canal (OM)

Birdham Pool: Fifteen Tufted Duck on the pool was a notable increase, and other species included 2 Grey Herons, 10 Cormorants roosting, a pair of Shelduck, a pair of Gadwall, 2 Shelduck, a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker and a pair of Long-tailed Tits nest-building (OM).

Long-tailed Tit with nesting material, Birdham Pool (OM)
Chichester GPs: Ivy lake complex: A brief early afternoon visit failed to produce any hirundines for me, although others were apparently more fortunate earlier on. A Blackcap was singing as were two noisy Cetti's Warblers and several Chiffchaffs, but otherwise it was all very uneventful (OM).

Wednesday, 1st April: Mainly sunny and bright with periods of cloud, but with the cold W/NW wind persisting - having reduced to just a force 6 today! Once again it was pleasant enough watching the sea if in a sheltered spot, but very different if exposed to the full blast of the wind. The date hadn't escaped my notice, and with my co-editor being absent on a short trip to the Principality it was time for a little fun this morning..... a couple of duff birding texts from a Mr A Lirpaloof (read it backwards!) were duly sent as AH was driving down the motorway, but to his credit he managed to see through my little jape and sent an appropriate reply! (OM)
May I just remind contributors - and especially the regulars - that if you have any Selsey Bill sea-watch records to submit it would greatly help if you added our official log-keeper Justin Atkinson to your email list so he gets a copy of the submission direct. This saves him the time-consuming exercise of having to trawl through the blogs later, and also ensures he is aware of the current Bill sightings... his email is
Selsey Bill (0730-1400hrs): Dry sunny, windy, WNW6  (Obs: GH/OM/C&ME/SR/RJS et al)
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Great Northern Diver - 7os
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 10E
Brent Goose - 39E
Eider - 4 os
Common Scoter - 26E, 20os
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 5W, 4os
Curlew - 1W
Greenshank - 1W
Turnstone - 10 ob
Auk sp - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 6E
Mediterranean Gull - 2E, 1os
Meadow Pipit - 563N (most after 1100hrs)
Pied/alba Wagtail - 3N
Linnet - 6N
From the top: morning gallery at the Bill, Turnstones forced by the high tide into a corner near the Wall, 1st-sum Med Gull and a dustbin flanked by two young ladies with plenty of scope! (A Lirpaloof)

Ferry Pool: early this morning there were six Avocets, 20 Lapwing and c40 Shoveler and Wigeon (AH).
Along the Long Pool there were over 20 Linnets, six Reed Buntings and at least 10 Chiffchaffs, plus two pairs of Little Grebes and a pair of Great Crested Grebes. There were 30+ Redshank and six Teal in the channel (AH).
 Linnet and Reed Bunting at the Long pool (AH).

Church Norton; A Swallow arrived N from the sea (RJS)

East Head:  Three Sandwich Terns feeding off the end of East Head, and large numbers of Meadow Pipit about (C. Piper)

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