Wednesday, 29 July 2015

29th - 31st July 2015

Friday, 31st July: A fine and mainly sunny day, becoming warm later, with a light to moderate mainly easterly wind....

Selsey Bill: (0745-0900) (C&ME)
Gannet - 24E

Common Scoter - 6E
Arctic Skua - 1W
Sandwich Terns - 60+os (over mile basket then coming in to feed)
Sand Martin - 15E
Pied Wagtail - 4E 

Runcton: Two Green Sandpipers flew over south, calling, at 8am this morning. (CRJ)

Ferry Pool: Still virtually birdless for the time of year - just a Common Sandpiper, a Lapwing and six Black-tailed Godwits present this morning. (AH)

Church Norton: There were one or two Willow/Chiffs, a Blackcap and a few Whitethroats around the churchyard and Severals area, plus a few Linnets and Swallows at the latter, but generally very quiet. Half a dozen Sandwich and Common Terns were in the harbour, plus four Whimbrel, 30 Curlew and a mobile flock of c80 Dunlin. (AH)
Later on this morning at there were six Willow Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat about, and a Raven was harassing a Kestrel overhead. Also, a Clouded Yellow was at the end of the path to harbour. (A&YF)

Willow/Chiff (probably a Willow Warbler?) (above) & Linnet at Church Norton (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: There were four Greenshank present this morning, along with half a dozen Whimbrel and Black-tailed Godwits, c20 Curlew and c200 Redshank, plus two Dunlin which flew off from the mud and went off high over the fields to the east. Almost no passerines about, bar a Yellowhammer and a Whitethroat, but there was quite a selection of gulls, including a single Yellow-legged Gull, two Common Gulls, c75 Mediterranean Gulls, a few adult and juvenile Lesser and Greater Black Backs, plus the inevitable Herring and Black-headeds. (AH)

Greenshank (above), Whimbrel, Yellow-legged Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser & Greater Black Backed Gulls at Fishbourne Creek (AH)


Thursday, 30th July: Dry with sunny periods and cloud; wind W/NW 3-4 but feeling pleasant and less chilly than the last few days...

North Wall: No sign of yesterday's Wood Sandpiper or Spotted Redshanks on the Breech Pool early this morning, but there were 62 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Redshank, 4 Dunlin and 9 Teal, and also a Kingfisher whizzing about. White's Creek held rather few waders, but out on the saltmarsh were 2 Greenshanks and 5 Yellow-legged Gulls (4 adults, 1 sub-ad, probably 3rd w - 3rd sum). (OM)
Later on the two Spotted Reshank were back, along with three Snipe and a calling Water Rail on the Breech Pool, whilst a Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were among warblers seen. (E Stubbs)

Ferry Pool: Surprisingly few waders are using the pool at the moment - early on there was just a Little Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper, eight Black-tailed Godwits and the three Avocets present, whilst later on all but the Avocets had gone and there were just 16 Lapwing present, though admittedly a Buzzard was circling overhead! (AH)

Little Ringed Plover (above), Black-tailed Godwits & Lapwing and Buzzard at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: 3 Common Sandpiper, 3 summer-plumaged Knot, 2 Sanderling, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Grey Plover and 200 Dunlin. No sign of any Little Terns today but small numbers of Sandwich & Common Terns noted, plus a Gannet offshore. (BFF/DM/E Srubbs)

Sidlesham Quay: A Sand Martin was among many Swallows over, and 15 Whimbrel were on the saltmarsh at high tide. (E Stubbs)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - A reasonable selection of waders was present this morning, including four Green Sandpipers, at least six Common Sandpipers, 95 Black-tailed Godwits, 20 Lapwing, 40 Dunlin seen in flight, plus at least five Avocet families, the Oystecatcher pair plus chick and the ever watchful Redshank parent, though no Little Ringed Plovers. Also the Shelduck and Tufted Duck families were still on the Stilt Pool.
In the hedges there were several Chiffchaff and Whitethroat families, plus a Corn Bunting and a dozen or so Yellowhammers, whilst there at least 100 Sand Martins and a few Swallows were moving south, and there were a couple of families of freshly-fledged Meadow Pipits among the Linnets and skylarks along the banks. (AH)

Green Sandpiper (above), Avocet chick, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Meadow Pipit, Sand Martin & Skylark at Medmerry (AH)

Wednesday, 29th July: A fine and dry day with sunshine and some cloud, but remaining breezy, with a cool, brisk W/NW wind...

North Wall: Wood Sandpiper was on the Breach Pool this morning, though it was very flighty, twice taking off and circling round, once dropping back on the pool, the second time landing in White's Creek, before finally heading inland and dropping in somewhere towards the trees at the back of the uncropped fields. 
Also on the pool were two Green Sandpipers, two heavily-moulting Spotted Redshank, a Whimbrel, three Dunlin, a dozen Redshank and c30 Black-tailed Godwits. Apparently the Environment Agency had to open the sluices in response to the heavy weekend rain but, as a consequence, they have left the water level just perfect!
Not much else to report - there were a few Reed and Sedge Warblers in the reeds, a Swift and a few Sand Martins went over with the ever-present Swallows, a Kingfisher was briefly by the sluices, and in White's Creek there were three Common Sandpipers, along with 40 Lapwing and c150 Redshank. (AH/PC et al)

Wood Sandpiper (above), Spotted Redshanks, Common Sandpiper, Sedge Warbler, Swallows and fighting Black-tailed Godwits from the North Wall (AH)

There were plenty of birds on Breech Pool this afternoon on the low tide, but frustratingly the Wood Sandpiper remained absent. A Snipe probed the mud at the water's edge and a Water Rail was out in the open, whilst there was also a Green Sandpiper, a Spotted Redshank, 18 Redshank, 63 Black-tailed Godwits (one with an injured leg), 9 Lapwing, 18 Teal and 8 Canada Geese. (SR)
In addition to the above, looking at the back of the Breech Pool through the gap in the hedge in the adjacent field, I  found two Snipe, another Green Sandpiper, and a Common Sandpiper, along with a juvenile Little Ringed Plover. (CRJ)

Selsey Bill: (0705-0830) (C&ME)
Gannet - 10E, 6W
Fulmar - 1W
Common Scoter - 3W
Common Sandpiper - 1E
Common Tern - 5os
Sallow - 2p
House Martin - 10p

Ferry Pool: By contrast, the Ferry was dead - just a single Little Ringed Plover, the three Avocets, eight Black-tailed Godwits and six Redshank on the pool. (AH)

Long Pool: On a quick look it was pretty quiet, too, though there was a mother Tufted Duck with three well-grown ducklings, a pair of Reed Buntings gathering food, a couple of families of Whitehroats, and three Buzzards over. (AH)

Tufted Ducks (above) & Reed Bunting along Long Pool (AH)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

26th - 28th July 2015

Tuesday, 28th JulyYet another cool and very blustery day, though remaining dry, with the wind whipping in from the west to north-west....

Selsey Bill (0645-1045hrs)wind strong W6-7. Another good morning for Manx Shearwaters, with 52 recorded going east by 9am, including several flocks of five or more, and all following the same line along the horizon. They were mainly distant and not everyone got onto every bird (OM et al!) but all were seen by at least two observers each time. Not much else to be seen though, with markedly fewer Common and Sandwich Terns offshore, but there were still quite a lot of Gannets, mostly well out to sea. Full log below... (AH/OM/GH/SR/C&ME/JD/DF et al)
Gannet - 68E, 20W
Manx Shearwater - 53E (all bar one before 0900 when passage appeared to stop)
Common Scoter - 4E, 11W
Turnstone - 5W
Common Tern -  10W, 20os
Sandwich Tern - 4W, 5os
House Martin - up to 6 present, still collecting mud from the puddles

Additional  1720 -1830:  (SH)
Gannet - 4E, 4W
Fulmar - 1W

Little Tern - 3W
Common Tern - 11W
Sandwich Tern - 4W
Guillemot - 3E

 House Martins still collecting mud from the puddles at the Bill-tip (DM)

That long-standing marker on the horizon - the Mixon - is coming down imminently, to be replaced, according to a gentlemen from Trinity House, by a double-triangle - but I suspect it will always be known by birders as the 'Mile Basket'! (AH) An enquiry about its age however, made by SR to the Trinity House Records manager (Mr N. Jones), revealed a big surprise... quote ' Thank you for your enquiry, which has been passed on to me. The Mixon beacon was established in 1793 and rebuilt (at least once) in 1856.'    Wow!... by my reckoning, that makes it even older than most of the regulars! (OM)

OM doing a little pruning as he was having difficulty seeing the shearwaters! (AH)

Ferry Pool: Around 120 Black-tailed Godwits, along with 20 Redshanks were roosting on the pool, but the only other birds present were the three Avocets (an adult and two juveniles), plus a Common Sandpiper and six Lapwing. (AH/OM)

Adult Avocet chasing off any Black-tailed Godwits wandering too near its young on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There were six Little Terns feeding along the main channel, including at least two juveniles - hopefully locally bred! - though the Sandwich Terns seem to have moved out, with just a couple of stragglers, in with half a dozen Common Terns, being still present. There were 100+ Dunlin, 40+ Redshank, 50+ Curlews and the odd Whimbrel on show on the high tide, but it was generally fairly quiet, and the bushes yielded just a couple of scruffy moulting Chiffchaffs and a couple of Blackcaps, plus a few Swifts over high. (AH)
Later, with the tide dropping, numbers had increased... no sign of the Hudsonian Whimbrel, but  6 Eurasian Whimbrel, 430 Dunlin the majority of them adults, with 7 Sanderling lurking amongst them and 9 Grey Plover. At least 8 Little Terns dashing around with a few Common and Sandwich Terns lingering in the harbour. A very dark juvenile female Peregrine caused a mass panic as it flew low around Tern Island before departing west. (BFF/DIS/DM)

Adult and juvenile Little Tern (above), Common Tern, Dunlin flock, Chiffchaff & Large White at Church Norton (AH)


Monday, 27th JulyAnother very windy day, with the direction veering round from WSW to NNW, but mainly dry at least, and brightening up bar a few brief showers......

C&ME got an interesting history from BTO of a colour-ringed Avocet present on the Ferry on 2nd July. It was ringed as a chick at Dunkirk in Cambridgeshire in the summer of 2008, was seen at Snettisham, Norfolk at the end of that August, then at Martin Mere and RSPB Marshide in Lancashire in April 2009 and 2010. It then popped up at Topsham in Devon in October of that year, before resurfacing at Titchfield Haven, Hants in June 2012, and was back there again the following summer, where it had paired, but not apparently bred successfully. It eventually reached us in June 2014, where it was seen at Medmerry, complete with a family of chicks, and was then seen there again this summer before relocating to the Ferry.

Also of interest are the House Martins at the Bill this year... very well done to SR, who reports as follows "I took part in the BTO UK House Martin Survey this year and, whilst the Bill wasn’t one of the randomly chosen 1-km squares, I thought it would nevertheless be interesting to map any locally found nests, submitting them to BirdTrack as casual records as recommended.  I finished my search 24th July as by this time Martins are starting a new brood and have been known to build fresh nests or move to another so continuing could have caused double-counting.
Each red dot on the map represents an active nest.  Two further nests were taken over by House Sparrows and breeding was already underway when the Martins arrived and at least five other nests appeared to be unused, all but one were close to the active nests.  All our Bill nests are tucked up high in gables with close access to the sea and all are on properties built within the last 20 years (except one on Bill House!). Seventeen active nests were found (34 adults) so it’s no wonder we saw so many mud gathering birds at the puddles.  There is the potential, assuming they all have 4 chicks and 2 broods, that the Bill could have nurtured 136 more House Martins!  I have no idea how this compares to other years but perhaps this can stand as a benchmark for future summers.
Other areas of Selsey didn’t fare so well.  Last year East Beach had 3 nests I was aware of but two of these now have detractors fitted and the third came down in wet weather.  Only the one nest was found and this was on a church.  To the west of the village two were found, one above a burglar alarm under a gable in Large Acres also had a Herring Gull nest on the roof.  Only two were found on the new housing estate as you enter Selsey and Church Norton had one on the corner cottages.

I also searched a few other areas on and around the peninsula for comparisons and found Hunston (alongside the canal) has the most with 22.  East Wittering with all its new houses has 24 nests but only 11 seem active, North Mundham (near gravel pits) has 6 active nests, Itchenor has 8 artificial nests on the Harbour Masters office, whilst at Bracklesham and West Wittering I had no success and failed to find any nests, active or otherwise, in my survey square at Bosham Quay."

Sketch Map of the House Martin nests at Selsey Bill 2015 (with thanks to SR)

Selsey Bill 0645-1145hrs: (AH/OM/SR/GH/C&ME) After yesterday's Balearics, it was slightly surprising that this morning it was Manx Shearwaters on show, including a flock of five, but only just as most were distant. Also a pale phase Arctic Skua went east, and a Little Tern and a Fulmar west, but the Gannets and terns were mostly feeding way out. ..
Gannet - 35E, 75W
Fulmar - 1W
Manx Shearwater - 15E
Oystercatcher - 3W
Turnstone - 6 ob
Arctic Skua - 1E (l/p)
Little Tern - 1W
Common Tern - 12W, 50 os
Sandwich Tern - 6W, 20 os
Kittiwake - 1E
Sand Martin - 3 SW
Additional (1505-1605) (BI)
Gannet - 4E, 1W
Arctic Skua d/p - 1E at 1530
Common Tern - 1E, 3W
Sandwich Tern - 2W

and (1710-1830) (SH)
Manx Shearwater - 1W
Fulmar - 2W
Gannet - 4E, 3W
Common Scoter - 2E
Common Tern - 15W
Sandwich Tern - 7W
Little Tern - 1W

Fulmar (above) & Common Tern off the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Predictably empty, given the conditions - just three Avocets, nine Black-tailed Godwits and a juvenile Shelduck present this morning. (AH/OM)

North Wall: The water level has finally been reduced, despite all the rain, on the Breach Pool, and consequently there were two Common Sandpipers, a Dunlin and 27 Black-tailed Godwits on there this morning. (PC)
Church Norton: Around 40 Swifts were feeding high over the harbour, drifting slowly west this morning, but otherwise much as usual, with c30 Sandwich Terns and c20 Common Terns on the mud, a couple of Little Terns on the far side, a few Whimbrel and Curlew along the main channel, and c100 Dunlin and 10 Grey Plovers starting appear as the tide dropped. (AH)

Sandwich and Common Terns at Church Norton (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: A Grey Partridge was in with six Red-legged Partridges, and there were 50+ Sand Martins, along with 20+ each of Swallow, House Martin and Swift feeding overhead. (S&SaH)

Sunday, 26th July: Heavy cloud with rain spreading in from the west after a few dry hours early on. Cool for the time of year with fresh-strong southerly-based winds... finally producing the first confirmed sightings of Balearic Shearwater for the year.
Selsey Bill: 06.45 to 09.20hrs:   (Obs: SH/JA/CRJ/PB/IP/AH)
Gannet - 65E, 24W, 12os 
Fulmar - 4W
Great Crested Grebe - 2W
Balearic Shearwater - 2E (0720,0738), 1W (0650)
Common Scoter - 6E, 3W
Turnstone - 10 ob
Dunlin - 1E, 2W
Common Tern - 44os
Sandwich Tern - 13os
Kittiwake - 3E
Swift - 1E, 2W
House Martin - 5p
Sand Martin - 2S

Additional 1330 to 1510: (Obs: SH/JA)
Gannet - 224E, 26W, 25 os

Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Common Tern - 6E
Sandwich tern - 9E

And 1640-1800 (SH/AB/AH/SR)
Gannet - 1E, 45W, 20os
Common Scoter - 35E

Eider - 1E
Turnstone - 15ob
Dunlin - 11W
Whimbrel - 11W

Kittiwake - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 10W
Common Tern - 2W
Little Tern - 3W

Juvenile Kittiwake (above), Gannets, Common Tern, juvenile Black-headed Gull, Turnstones & the regulars enjoying the summer weather! (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were two Common Sandpipers this morning, along with three Avocets, eight Redshank and 44 Black-tailed Godwits. (AH/PB)

Redshanks over the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There were three Knot present early on, along with c50 Dunlin, five Grey Plovers, a Common Sandpiper, at least three Whimbrel, c20 Black-tailed Godwits, five Turnstones and plenty of Redshank and Curlew. There were also at least 60 Sandwich Terns and 20 Common Terns out on the mud and a couple of Great Crested Grebes in the channels. (AH/CRJ/JD et al)

Whimbrel (above), Sandwich and Common Terns and a packed hide at Church Norton (AH)

Late this afternoon there were two Sanderling in with at least 200 Dunlin, and four Little Terns feeding near the harbour mouth, though otherwise numbers were similar to this morning. (AH)

Sanderling and Dunlin (above), Whimbrel and Dunlin, & just Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

Chichester GPs: Ivy Lake - There were several hundred Sand Martins feeding over the water this afternoon, with just a few Swallows among them, at least twenty Common Terns including half a dozen or more juveniles were present, too, along with a Kingfisher that flew through and a Gadwall on one of the small lakes. (AH)

Juvenile Common Tern (above) & Sand Martins on Ivy Lake (AH)