Tuesday, 7 April 2015

7th - 9th April 2015

Thursday, 9th April: Another bright, pleasant sunny morning with a light breeze from the east......add to it a bit of interesting sea-passage for those lucky enough to be present and you're all set, so what can go wrong ? Well, how about that old sea-watching enemy, coastal fog! Sure enough, at about 1030, a thick bank of fog rolled in and completely blanked out the sea, and it stubbornly remained until afternoon. To make things worse, just a few hundred yards inland it remained fairly clear and sunny - all very frustrating!

Selsey Bill (0700-1145hrs):  Sunny then foggy! Wind light E/SE2.
(Obs: GH/OM/DF/C&ME/AH/JH/DSh et al) Highlight was 15 Little Gulls (6, 6 and 3) going east along with over 100 Brent Geese, some Common Scoter and a few Common and Sandwich Terns. There was also a Black Redstart in the gardens and about half a dozen Wheatears along the front. All was going well until the fog arrived and put paid to our efforts; despite waiting a while and then returning later to try again, it was futile to continue and sea-watching was abandoned.... 

Great Northern Diver - 3os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Little Egret -1E
Fulmar - 1E, 2W
Gannet - 3E, 2W
Brent Goose - 159E
Common Scoter - 86E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 2os
Shoveler - 2E
Dunlin - 5E
Curlew - 2E
Whimbrel - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 47E
Commic Tern - 27E
Little Gull - 15E
Black-headed Gull - 25E
Wheatear - 6 gardens
Black Redstart - 1 gardens
Meadow Pipit - 12N
Swallow - 6N

Brent Geese past the Bill (AH) and below (OM)

 At the Bill today: above - flock of Black-headed Gulls passing, centre - Black Redstart in the gardens, and lower - Beryl James surveys the fog and lack of visibility! (OM)

Selsey (West): At Warner Lane horse paddocks there was a White Wagtail, a Willow Warbler and at least 2 Wheatears, whilst a field nearby held 20 Curlew (OM)

Chichester GPs: Nunnery Lake - A Sedge Warbler was singing this morning on Nunnery Lake. (It is the small lake opposite Ivy Lake by the Selsey Road) Also several Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps about. (AB)
Great Crested Grebe & Long-tailed Tit at Chichester GPs (AB)

Chichester Marina: A Kingfisher was again present; also 10 Tufted Duck, 8 Teal, 2 Gadwall, a Canada Goose, 2 Swallows and several Chiffchaffs (OM).

Sidlesham Quay: A male Ring Ouzel was present in the sheep field just past the Crab and Lobster pub. (IL/AB)

Distant views of the Ring Ouzel at Sidlesham Quay (AB)

Church Norton: Very quiet again this morning - just a couple of Chiffchaffs singing and 100+ Black-tailed Godwits in the harbour being of note. (AH)

Ferry Pool: Three House Martins early on... reported to the Visitor centre (per PH)

Medmerry: Four Red Kites went over Earnley mid-morning. (PH)
Easton Lane-Stilt Pools - There were two pairs of Little Ringed Plovers on the Stilt Pool this morning - one of which was displaying and mating - and nine pairs of Avocets, along with a few Gadwall and Teal, but the three Spoonbills were out snoozing in the middle of the reserve. There were up to ten Wheatears along the fences, along with numerous Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Linnets, and two singing Corn Buntings. The only other migrants, though, were a couple of Swallows, a Chiffchaff and a briefly singing Willow Warbler, whilst a Green Sandpiper flew out of the sluice near the poplars. (AH)
Later (2pm) a Yellow Wagtail was heard at the pools plus a few Meadow Pipits nearby (PH).

Mating Little Ringed Plovers (above), Avocets, Wheatears, Corn Bunting & Meadow Pipit at Medmerry (AH)

Porthole Farm: This evening there were (as a conservative estimate) between 50 and 60 Reed Buntings around the hedges, the arable fields and the settling tanks, the majority of which appeared to be males. There were also around 50 Swallows over the sewage works, at least 30 Chiffchaffs in the sunny sides of the hedges and half a dozen Stock Doves and a couple of Buzzards in the vicinity. (AH)

Reed Buntings (above) & Swallows at Porthole Farm (AH)

Wednesday, 8th April: The weather remains beautiful, after a foggy start, but summer migrants still remain in short supply... 

Selsey Bill (0730-1130hrs): Sunny with lingering sea fog, present all morning but slowly clearing. Calm at first, then a very light SSW breeze becoming SE 1-2. No repeat of yesterday's excitements - so far at least! - though the first flock of nine Whimbrel went east, along with a few Common Scoter and Sandwich Terns, with a few Swallows arriving off the sea.  (Obs: OM/C&ME/AH/DSh et al) Log below...
Great Northern Diver - 6os
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 3E
Brent Goose - 23E
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 3os
Common Scoter - 30E
Teal - 2E
Shoveler - 2E
Dunlin - 1E
Whimbrel - 9E
Sandwich Tern - 37E
Swallow - 23N
Meadow Pipit - 9N
Goldfinch - 6N
Linnet - 10N

Seven (of the nine) Whimbrel past the Bill (AH)

Additional watch: 17.40 - 18.50hrs  (SH)
Great Northern Diver - 6os
Gannet  - 3E
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 3os
Grey Plover - 11E

Sandwich Tern - 10E, 3os

Seen at the Bill this afternoon - is this AH's latest techno device to ensure he doesn't miss anything...? (SH)

Church Norton: The female Black Redstart was at Pigeon House Farm (the buildings east of Greenlease Farm) again this morning, but the only other migrants on show were a Wheatear on the beach, a briefly singing Willow Warbler by the second Several and a few Chiffchaffs. 
In the harbour there were just c200 Black-tailed Godwits and c50 Shelduck, but visibility was awful, whilst a Grey Partridge was on the newly cultivated ground along Rectory Lane. (AH)
Later, at least 2 Red Kites were seen over the harbour at various locations including Norton, the North Wall and long Pool (IL).
After a look at the rather uncooperative Black Redstart and the prospecting Swallows I saw a fox in the next field and heard a quick burst of song from a Blackcap. Then I had a quick look around the harbour where 2 Red Kites that came up off the Norton spit, harried by a crow and setting everything up in the harbour before flying north at 1430 were the definite highlight. Waders included small numbers of Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Dunlin and Grey Plover. 10 Brents put in an appearance, there were loads of Med Gulls around and a stunner of a male Pheasant on the mound! (AB).

Black Redstart (above), Wheatear, Grey Partridge & a couple of combative Pheasants at Church Norton (AH)

Mediterranean Gulls and Swallow at Church Norton (AB)
Halseys Farm to the North Wall: Very quiet, despite the sun burning off the fog, with highlights being just three Black-tailed Godwits, a Shoveler and a dozen Teal on the Breech Pool, the Spotted Redshank at the far end of White's Creek, a few singing Cetti's Warblers and Chiffchaffs and a couple of Swallows over. The Little Egret colony was noisy and busy in Owl Copse, a Snipe was in the harbour and two Jays flew out of there over to Halsey's Farm. (AH)

Little Egrets (above) & Jay from the North Wall (AH)

Ferry Pool: The pool was shrouded in fog till mid-morning, and there wasn't much to report when it did lift - c100 Black-tailed Godwits, four Gadwall and the usual Lapwings and Shoveler was about it. (AH)

Ferry Channel in the early morning mist (AH)

Medmerry: On the reserve today 6 Red Kites passed over; also 10 Buzzards present and the 3 Spoonbills (IL).
On Stilt Pool there were 20 Avocets, 4 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Oystercatchers, 2 pairs Gadwall, 8 (5m3f ) Tufted Duck, 5pairs Teal and 4 Little Egrets.
The 2 imm Spoonbills flew in from the west at 1045 and several Reed & Corn Buntings were in song. A Green Sandpiper was on the first pool by the Earnley carpark and a pair of Little Grebe and a nice Water Vole were on the next reedy pool along (AB).

Spoonbills and Red Kite over Medmerry (IL)

Avocet, Reed Bunting and Water Vole at Medmerry (AB)


Tuesday, 7th April: A beautiful morning, with sunshine and light winds, then a somewhat unexpected cloudbank before the sunshine re-appeared... but at last some reward for those at the Bill in the form of an Osprey and two Red Kites....

Selsey Bill: An Osprey in off the sea was followed by two coasting Red Kites (actually the rarer of the two species at the Bill), to brighten up a steady morning on the sea-passage front, with a moderate passage of Sandwich Terns and Common Scoter moving east to make it feel that at last proper spring movements were underway. It was one of those mornings when it felt like the sea might dominate the land for bird-sightings and so there was good coverage, (though unfortunately AH chose to depart before all the action; on hearing the news his later comments about him working to pay taxes to support a bunch of jammy old pensioners living off the fat of the land were all taken in good spirits!) Full log below: (Obs: AGB/KF/CRJ/OM/DF/JD/DS/M&CE et al)
0700-1430hrs: Dry, fine, then cloud then sun, wind light NE then SE 2.
Red-throated Diver - 5E
Great Northern Diver - 8os
Diver sp - 5E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1os
Fulmar - 3W
Gannet - 25E, 6W
Grey Heron - 1NW (came in from miles out 1230hrs)
Mute Swan - 2E
Brent Goose - 41E
Eider - 2os
Shelduck - 2ob
Common Scoter - 175E
Red-breasted Merganser - 16E, 8os
Shoveler - 11E
Pintail - 2E
(small duck sp - 4E 1220hrs - ID not clinched)
Osprey - I in NW (0955hrs; well done KF)
Red Kite - 2 coasted NE over the Bill House, disturbing the gulls
Dunlin - 6E
Turnstone - 12W
Curlew - 1E
Common Tern - 5E
Sandwich Tern - 84E, 3os
Black-headed Gull - 32E
Mediterranean Gull - 2E
Sand Martin - 3N
Swallow - 56N
Wheatear - 1 gardens, 1N
Meadow Pipit - 46N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 1N
Linnet - 20N
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens

Osprey arriving from the sea at the Bill (it's the best I could do!) and lower, flock of 31 Brent Geese passing (OM)

Medmerry: Both the Osprey going west (GH), and the two Red Kites going east (GH/PH) were seen over Medmerry this morning. Also 2 Spoonbills and 6 Mediterranean Gulls (BFF/DM).
Breach area - Two Corn Buntings were singing on the fences near the viewpoint early this morning, though there were few other passerines about, bar a few Linnets and Meadow Pipits. Twelve Curlews were sat on the beach before heading off east, and seven Brent Geese went over high, also heading east, four Sandwich Terns were lingering offshore, and there were eight Knot in with 30+ Grey Plover and 20+ Dunlin and Ringed Plover around the pools.
Also four Brown Hares were chasing each other about on the cultivated field opposite. (AH)

Corn Buntings (above), Sandwich Terns, Curlews & Brown Hares at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were still four Knot in with at least 200 Black-tailed Godwits this morning, along with an Avocet, four Gadwall and 50+ Shoveler. (AH) Also a Green Sandpiper was at the back early on. (DF) Later, 3 Avocets and 5 Mediterranean Gulls (BFF/DM)

Knot and Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: A lovely spring morning but quiet on the bird front. On White's Creek there were 60 Redshank, the long staying Spotted Redshank (showing no signs of breeding plumage) and 11 Black-tailed Godwits, along with a pair of Mallard with a single duckling. 

The Breech Pool is looking very sad - lots of mud and only open water left is in the middle section. Still 40 Teal were in residence with a few Mallard, 2 Tufted Ducks and a single Shoveler. There were singing Cetti's Warblers all the way along the Wall and a lot of Reed Bunting activity. Lots of gargling noises emanating from Owl Copse was a clear sign that the Little Egrets are back in residence. There were also three Jays in the Copse along with several singing Chiffchaffs. At Bremere Bridge a Cetti's Warbler was carrying nesting material. In the big field east of Marsh Farm were a pair of Wigeon and Canada Geese and 5 very active Brown Hares. (JDW)

Mute Swan on a very dry Breech Pool (above), Little Egret & Reed Bunting from North Wall & Brown Hares at Marsh Farm (JDW)

Church Norton: Very quiet - two Swallows over, a briefly singing Blackcap and a few Chiffchaffs were the only migrants on show. There were plenty of resident birds around the churchyard, including four Jays, though the only obvious birds in the harbour were Shelduck and Curlew. (AH) Later, 3 R/b Mergansers, 6 Brent Geese, 2 Mediterranean Gulls and 5 Swallows (BFF/DM). Also, a female Black Redstart was seen at Pigeon House Farm and three Sandwich Terns and a Gannet were offshore. (D & J Killick per SOS)

Birdham: A Red Kite drifting over was a garden tick for the observer! (PLS)

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