Sunday, 13 September 2015

13th - 15th September 2015

Tuesday, 15th SeptemberA bright and breezy day after a very wet and windy start.....the wind slowly subsiding from almost gale force WSW to SW 5 or 6.....

Selsey Bill (0750-140hrs): A bit of a strange day really, with high hopes of some sea-passage early on after the overnight gales, soon to be replaced with the reality of a slow day with rather little moving. Then the Bill was gradually overtaken by plane-spotters and visitors awaiting the Battle of Britain day fly-past, with masses of people arriving and the whole of the south end of Grafton Road gridlocked for a couple of hours...far worse than any Pom day in May!
On arrival, four visiting birders had got there just before me, and after a little while, the lady of the group called a small black bird jinking about  above the surf, just in front of the Mile basket. It didn't seem to be making much headway and at first I thought it must be a hirundine, but no, it clearly wasn't. We watched it for 15 seconds or so, during which time I formed the impression it was a petrel, but just as I told them this, it dropped down into wave troughs and was not re-located. Enter AH, who had just arrived too late, but despite further searching it could not be found. Was it a petrel? Quite probably. What species? Uncertain, perhaps Stormie. Can I be certain? No... so end of story.  (*not quite...I note this evening that Portland recorded several Storm Petrels today... ah well!) (OM)
Having settled down to continue the watch, a phone call from Bernie Forbes soon had us all scuttling off to the Ferry pool for a Grey Phalarope. Job done, it was time to return to the Bill. Thereafter, despite this interesting start, there seemed to be little happening, with just a few Gannets and terns on the move. A juv Arctic Tern in very similar plumage to yesterday's birds was about the best, but it was hard going.... until the Spitfires arrived... and even they were delayed from 1200 to 1400hrs!  Full log below.... (OM/AH/C&ME et al)
Gannet - 12E, 32W
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
Dunlin - 3W
Common Tern - 1E, 2W
Arctic Tern - 1W
Commic Tern - 3W
Sandwich Tern - 29W
Mediterranean Gull - 3 os gradually drifted W
Meadow Pipit - 2W
Pied Wagtail - 1W
House Martin - 2W
Swallow - 7W
Wheatear - 1 ob

Common Tern past the Bill (AH)

Views from the Bill this morning: above Grafton Road quickly filling up with parked vehicles including a TV broadcast van, below two views of the crowds on the Oval field, and lower, a few shots of the Spitfires and Hurricanes. Sea-watching became a real ordeal for a while, if not impossible, but I guess this special 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain conflict was worthy of priority today (OM)

....and below a couple more plane pics (PB)

Ferry Pool: A very brightly-marked juvenile Grey Phalarope was feeding along the water's edge at the back of the pool this morning. Unfortunately, every time it ventured closer to the road the Avocets shooed it off to the back again! Also the juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper, which had hitherto been the most unco-operative bird decided to feed right alongside the road and was viewable down to a few feet.

Other birds seen included a Green Sandpiper, a Common Sandpiper, c30 Dunlin, nine Avocets, c20 Shoveler, two Pied Wagtails, a Peregrine, a Kestrel, a few Sand Martins, House Martins and Swallows over, and the usual Teal, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits. (BFF/AH/PB/AB et al) 
The Grey Phalarope was still showing well at 7pm. (SR)

Grey Phalarope (above), Pectoral Sandpiper & Peregrine at the Ferry (AH)

More pics from the Ferry Pool: above - Grey Phalarope, centre two - Grey Phalarope and Pectoral Sandpiper, lower - Kestrel (AB)

Church Norton: Not much to report in the poor weather - a Greenshank was in the harbour along with 50+ Grey Plover and 200+ Dunlin, and five Sandwich Terns, a Wheatear that was oddly out on the saltmarsh, a brief Spotted Flycatcher and a few Blackcaps and Whitethroats. (AH)
Later, on the rising tide, there were 4 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, a single Common Sandpiper and 2 fly-by Kingfishers. In the harbour there were plenty of Wigeon, Pintail and Teal with at least 4 Sandwich Terns and single late Little Tern patrolling up and down. Around the back of the hide 3 or 4 Spotted Flycatchers and a Blackcap were present. (BFF)

Wheatear (above) & Greenshank at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall and the Breech Pool were nigh on devoid of waders except Black-tailed Godwits and also a dashing Kingfisher flew by. In White's Creek 2 Spotted Redshanks were the highlights with 3 Yellow-legged Gulls roosting on the salt marsh (BFF).

Monday, 14th September: A pretty dire day, with a strong southerly, veering south-westerly wind and heavy showers and the odd glimpse of the sun.....

Selsey Bill (0740-1210hrs): Cloud, heavy showers, bright interludes, wind S/SW 5-6. (Obs: OM/AH/MJ/ES)  A Hobby shot through early on, and two Balearic Shearwaters went east before 9am. There were also two juvenile Arctic Terns lingering offshore, and there was a regular stream of Sandwich Terns and Gannets going both ways, plus a few Mediterranean Gulls west, with quite a few Swallows offshore, too. Full log below....
Fulmar - 4W
Gannet - 75E, 40W
Balearic Shearwater - 2E (singles 0840 & 0855)
Common Scoter - 6E
Hobby - 1 along beach headed NE inland (0745)
Common Tern - 1W
Arctic Tern - 2 os then W
Commic Tern - 3W
Sandwich Tern - 3E, 19W
Swallow - 140W
Mediterranean Gull - 6W

Juvenile Arctic Terns (above) & Gannet at the Bill (AH)

(1715-1830hrs) (SH)
Gannet - 24E, 8W
Shag - 2W
Common Scoter - 4E
Sanderling - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 11W
Sandwich Tern - 3E, 8W, 3os
Commic Tern - 1E, 3W

Sidlesham: A female Marsh Harrier was over fields around Sidlesham Common, opposite the Grey Stag pub early this morning. (SaH)

Ferry Pool: There were three Spotted Redshank on the pool this morning, plus eight Dunlin, seven Avocets and c40 each of Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing. (AH)

Spotted Redshanks (above), Dunlin & Avocets on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: Firstly, mention must be made of the car park situation here..... following the morning rain the area had returned to quagmire status with thick, clinging mud coating vehicle tyres and footwear alike. Unfortunately this co-incided with a visit by Mervyn Jones (ex-Selsey, now Wales resident) who had agreed to join me and Surrey-based Eric Soden today. I had suggested this location as a meeting place, quite overlooking this little problem, and to put it bluntly dear old Merv quickly managed to get himself very mucky and his car covered in mud inside and out; it was too late by the time he phoned so we eventually all met at the Bill! In truth though the car park at Norton is certainly no joke in wet weather at present.... enough said. (OM)

Selsey old-boys Mervyn Jones and Eric Soden on a trip to Pagham Hbr....with MJ displaying his mud-coated footwear - and his efforts to clean up! (OM)

Mud at Church Norton! (AH)

There were at least five Sandwich Terns and a Common Tern in the harbour this morning, along with 20 Grey Plovers, 30 Ringed Plovers and a couple of hundred Dunlin. There were fair numbers of Swallows and House Martins about, though the bushes were unsurprisingly quiet, with just a handful of Blackcaps, Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs seen. (AH)

Grey Plover (above), Sandwich Tern, Blackcap & Whitethroat at Church Norton (AH)

Later, a Pied Flycatcher (BI) and a Spotted Flycatcher (AH) were seen, plus a Redstart behind the hide (per RBA).

Pied Flycatcher (BI) (above) & Spotted Flycatcher (AH) at Church Norton

Medmerry: The two Garganey were with six Gadwall on the first pool from Easton Lane car park at 14.15pm (BI) Earlier on they were not on view, but there were a Greenshank, four  Whinchats and two Wheatears by the poplars. (SR)

Garganey at Medmerry (BI)

Sunday, 13th September: A cool, grey day with a brisk south-easterly wind, a hint of some brightness and the threat of some rain....

Selsey Bill (0630-0830hrs): Cloud, SE4-5. After two Kingfishers in 35 years, now two in a week, much to the delight of the Log-keeper who missed last week's by a whisker. This one flew along the beach from the east and disappeared over the Bill House garden. Also three Lesser Redpolls went over - which, by our calculations - is the 200th species seen on the peninsula this year.
Aside from that excitement it was very quiet, with nothing moving on the sea, bar a few Common Scoter, Gannets, Sandwich Terns and Mediterranean Gulls, and very little visible migration except for a few Yellow and Grey Wagtails, Meadow Pipits and Siskins. Full log below...  (JA/SH/AB/AGB/PB/AH/SR/C&ME et al)
Gannet - 148E, 8W
Shag - 4E

Common Scoter - 4E
Kestrel - 1 p
Sandwich Tern - 16 os
Mediterranean Gull - 18E
Kingfisher - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 5E 

Grey Wagtail - 1 p
Pied Wagtail - 2 ob
Meadow Pipit - 2E
Sand Martin - 1E
House Martin - 6 p
Swallow - 64E
Siskin - 2E
Redpoll - 3N

Shag (above) & Kestrel at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Pectoral Sandpiper was reported present again down by the road, but was mostly keeping out of sight behind the reeds. There were also still two Common Sandpipers, a Green Sandpiper, two Dunlin, two Ringed Plovers, eight Avocets and the usual Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings on the pool, and a Wheatear was at the back. (AH)
This evening there were eight Yellow wagtails among the cattle. (AH)

Avocet (above), Common Sandpiper & Yellow Wagtails on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: The Curlew Sandpiper was again present near the bench, and there were also a Whimbrel, half a dozen Knot and twenty Grey Plovers in with 300+ Dunlin, but there were no terns at all.
Around 65 Siskin went over, along with a Raven and a Hobby, but migrants were thinly spread. A Whinchat was at the back of the Severals, a couple of Spotted Flycatchers and a flurry of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were around the mound, a Wheatear was in the hedge behind the hide, and there was another flurry of activity around an otherwise birdless Greenlease Farm, with a Redstart, a Wheatear, another couple of Spotted Flycatchers, a Blackcap and half a dozen Chiffchaffs all in a single Sycamore tree with a selection of commoner birds. (AH/S&SaH/AB/AGB/PB/A&YF)
A later walk to Norton (from the east of Selsey) produced a bit of variety (S&SaH).......
Common Tern - 3 (2 adults still feeding a juv)
Sandwich Tern - 10+ (including an adult feeding a juv on the sea)
Wheatear - 4 ob
Whinchat - 1
Siskin - 57E
Swallow - 200+ E
Sand Martin - 4E
Chiffchaff  - 10  
Willow Warbler - 1  
Goldcrest - 2

Curlew Sandpiper (above), with Dunlin, Grey Plover, Spotted Flycatcher & Chiffchaff at Church Norton (AH)


Medmerry: (11.30-13.30hrs)
Easton viewpoint – 2 Green Sandpipers, 1 Greenshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Kingfisher and 2 Yellow Wagtails overhead. 
Stilt pools10 Dunlin, 1Ruff, 2 Common Sandpipers, 420 Canada Geese, 15 Teal, plus 3 Wheatears on beach.
Offshore – ca.10 Gannets (mostly going east), 4 Sandwich Terns.

From Breach view and East side – 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Kingfisher, c.30 Dunlin, c. 20 Ringed Plover, 3 Sandwich Terns (PH)
Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool (late afternoon) - There were two Garganey in the small pool to the north on the poplars late this afternoon with about eight Gadwall. 
Other sighting included 3 Buzzards, 1 Sparrowhawk, 60+ Yellow Wagtails, 7 Whinchats, 5 Wheatears, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 50+ Swallows, 50+ Sand Martins, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Sandpipers, 3 Avocets, 13 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank and 100+ Mediterranean Gulls. (S&SaH) They were still present at 6.30pm. (AH)

Garganey (above) & Whinchats at Medmerry (SH)

Garganeys at Medmerry (AH)

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