Saturday, 16 May 2015

16th - 18th May 2015

Monday, 18th May: A cold and wet morning, with a strong SSW wind, picking up to gale force... the driving rain made conditions decidedly unpleasant, so sea-watching seemed the best option......but the rough seas and poor visibility at times didn't help the cause. We are approaching the time for Storm Petrels; blowed if I could find one today, but a Selsey fisherman reported up to 20 offshore at the can bet they are out there somewhere! (OM)

Selsey Bill (0645-1245hrs) Cloudy, then rain by 0830, wind SSW5-6, increasing 7 and gusting 8. On my arrival, GH had just arrived but he soon disappeared, just as AH turned up, but by 0900 he left too so it was a lone vigil thereafter, made more comfortable when I retreated to the car! (OM). A Manx Shearwater through west at reasonable range was the highlight, with some Gannets, a couple of Sanderling and a Fulmar west, and a couple of Great Northern Divers still offshore, plus a few lingering Little, Common and Sandwich Terns being the only other birds about. Full log below.... (OM/AH/GH)
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Fulmar - 2E, 1W
Gannet - 7E, 72W
Manx Shearwater - 1W (1000hrs)
Common Scoter - 8E
Kestrel 1 p (Oval Field)
Turnstone - 5W
Sanderling - 2E
Ringed Plover - 1W
Auk sp - 1W
Swift - 7N
Little Tern - 5os
Common Tern - 30os
Sandwich Tern - 6os

Gannet and Common Tern (above), Sandwich Tern, Sanderlings & Ringed Plover and Turnstone past the Bill (AH)

Gannet and Common Tern (with trick-of-the-light dark-looking belly) over a rough sea at the Bill and Kestrel hunting over the Oval Field (OM).

Church Norton: Up to ten Little Terns were feeding on the far side of the harbour this morning, plus a few Common Terns, but almost no waders bar a couple of Curlew and a displaying pair of Ringed Plovers. The Lapwing was still in the pea-field along Rectory Lane and a Grey Partridge was by the hedge opposite the turning to Church Norton off the main road. (AH)

Ringed Plover (above), Lapwing & Grey Plover at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Gadwall population had increased to a dozen birds this morning, and there were also five Avocets and 20 Shelduck present, plus a Lesser Whitethroat in the hedge by the pull-in. (AH)

Gadwall on the Ferry (AH)


Sunday, 17th May: Dry and mainly sunny through the morning, with cloud set to increase by afternoon. Wind fresh NW/SW 3-4. Although the sea-passage numbers have been fairly abysmal this spring, the variety of species has proved more interesting, and JA's early morning coverage and persistence at the Bill paid off again when a Serin arrived N from the sea at 06.17hrs, whilst some of us were still in bed!

Selsey Bill: (0510-0810hrs) (JA/SH/IP/AH/PC/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 2os

Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Gannet - 63E, 8W
Shelduck - 3W, 2p

Common Scoter - 7E
Avocet - 7S
Sanderling - 19W

Turnstone - 3W
Great Skua - 1os
Kittiwake - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 16E, 20os
Common Tern - 20E, 50os
Little Tern - 12os
Swallow - 8N

House Martin - 10 gathering mud
Serin - 1 heard calling as it flew in at 06.17 

Common Tern (above) & House Martins at Selsey Bill (AH)

There were c150 Common Terns, c40 Sandwich Terns and c20 Little Terns feeding around the bar early this evening as the tide started to rise. (AH)

Common Terns off the Bill (AH)

Church Norton: Plenty of Little, Common and Sandwich Terns in the harbour and offshore, but few waders bar a couple of Whimbrel, a Curlew and the Dunlin flock. The Cuckoo was active along the front of Priory Wood again, but only the odd Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat were singing. A Mistle Thrush and a Grey Partridge were in the paddock along Rectory Lane. (AH/IP)

Mistle Thrush (above), Grey Partridge, Sandwich Terns, Mediterranean Gull, Sedge Warbler & Linnet at Church Norton (AH)

This afternoon a Spoonbill was in the harbour again - it appears to be the multiply colour-ringed one present up till the New Year. There was very little else of note, though. (AH)

Spoonbill at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just seven Avocets, c50 Black-tailed Godwits, a single Teal and four Gadwall present this morning. (AH)

Pagham Spit/ North Wall: At least a dozen each of Little and Sandwich Tern feeding between the old and new harbour mouths, and there were several Skylarks and a few Linnets along the spit, though it was otherwise quiet. 
The Breech Pool was devoid of birds - and, to a large extent - water. (AH)

Sandwich Tern (above) & Skylark at Pagham Spit (AH)

Chichester GP's: A fairly casual mid-morning visit found nothing unusual. At Westhampnett the watersports were in full swing and there were virtually no birds to be seen, whilst Ivy Lake was equally as busy with water ski-ing taking place, although some birds were to be seen there including a dozen Common Terns, 15+ Great Crested Grebes, several Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and a noisy Cetti's Warbler. It was also routine fare at Drayton Pits, with 2 Common Terns, 25+ Canada and 10 Greylag Geese (a pair of each with young), probably 30+ Tufted Duck, 3 pairs of Gadwall and 2 pairs of Pochard (OM).

Medmerry: Breach Viewpoint:  High tide and windy but it didn't put the Corn Buntings off from singing from its usual fencepost, a Cuckoo was heard but not seen, 5 Grey Plovers, 3 Avocets, 2 Kestrels and 2 Sandwich Terns. (SR)  Also there was a Gadwall, three Whimbrel and a singing Meadow Pipit. (PH)
Beach east side - There was a pair of Ringed Plovers with at least two tiny chicks from a nest we've been keeping an eye on since 23rd April (PH) 
Ham:  A calling Corn Bunting on the bank near Chainbridge, further along were at least two more.  Toward the centre of the reserve a single Brent Goose, 4 Avocets, c35 Shelduck but apart from a flock of 14 Linnets and c25 Skylarks not much else of note. (SR)
A Raven was along the bank before flying off north, and there were a pair of Little Grebes and a d on the pools. (PH)
Stilt Pool:  Didn't stay long as it was by now extremely windy.  Avocets seem to be doing particularly well this year with at least 22 present and 3+ broods of young, three Little Ringed Plovers, Ringed Plover, a Whimbrel and again, plenty of Skylarks, plus another d
uck Mallard and eleven ducklings. Along the beach two Wheatears, 14 Dunlin, three Grey Plover, another three pairs of Avocets with chicks, six Whimbrel, 38 Shelduck, 12 Lapwings and up to five Redshank. (SR/PH)

Saturday, 16th May: To quote from the Met Office weather report for Selsey... "morning cloud breaking to allow some sunny spells. Feeling pleasant by the afternoon in the sunshine. A noticeable westerly or northwesterly breeze will take the edge off the temperature. Maximum Temperature 18C." The same report also advises that Selsey is 6 metres above mean sea level.... well I've learnt something! The report makes no mention of the sea-watching prospects for today however, and after yesterday's interesting results I think I'll make no comment either...! (OM)

Selsey Bill (0515-0830hrs): (JA/IP/AH) Pretty quiet, but there was still an Arctic Skua through, a few Gannets and Sandwich and Common Terns moving offshore, and still a couple of Great Northern Divers, plus a notable westerly movement of Swallows. Full log.....
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Gannet - 48E, 18W
Fulmar - 2W
Common Scoter - 2E
Mallard - 3 p
Sanderling - 12W
Auk sp - 1E, 6W
Arctic Skua - 1E (l/p)
Little Tern - 2E
Common Tern - 31E, 2os
Commic Tern - 4E
Sandwich Tern - 12os
Meadow Pipit - 1N
Pied Wagtail - 1 p
Swallow - 3N, 96W

Great Northern Diver (above) & Sandwich Tern off the Bill (AH)

Church Norton: Most surprising bird of the morning was a Black Tern, found among Common Terns feeding in the harbour on the rising tide, but it had disappeared again within a matter of minutes. Also, seven Bar-tailed Godwits were seen heading east, fairly close inshore, but carried on rather than coming into the harbour. 
The Spoonbill was roosting near the island before taking flight and heading off down the harbour, and there were at least 40 Common Terns, 20 Sandwich Terns and 10 Little Terns spread about the harbour and offshore. There were also at least half a dozen Gannets offshore, and in the harbour there were a couple of Whimbrel and Curlews.
Not much in the bushes, though the Cuckoo was conspicuous all morning as it worked its way along the front of the Priory Wood, and a few Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats were evident, too. (AH/IP)

Cuckoo (above), Spoonbill, Gannet & Common Terns at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just 40 Black-tailed Godwits this morning, plus the usual three Avocets and four Gadwall. (AH)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm area - There was a pair of Grey Partridges in the uncropped field near the barn this evening, and another pair were again around the buildings at Oakhurst Farm Also, there were still a couple of hundred Swallows and House Martins over the sewage works, and a couple of Yellowhammers and Whiethroats in the hedges. (AH)

Grey Partridges at Medmerry (AH)

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