Tuesday, 20 October 2015

20th - 22nd October 2015

Thursday, 22nd OctoberA mild but grey day, with a brisk north-westerly -  never usually a harbinger of good birding in these parts - and true to form so it turned out to be.....(we are trying to remain positive but this was as good as we could muster today!)
Selsey Bill (0720-1200hrs)(Obs: OM/C&ME/AH) Unsurprisingly there was no sign of the interesting 'Reed' Warbler in a blustery Bill House garden - or indeed anything else of interest. Very little moving offshore either, though there was a Rock Pipit on the beach... Log below (and thanks to C&ME for sticking it out through the whole morning on a slow day):
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 36E, 67W
Brent Goose - 15E,13W
Common Scoter - 28E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1W
Turnstone - 33 ob
Razorbill - 4W
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 13W
Meadow Pipit - 31W
Pied Wagtail - 10W
Rock Pipit - 1 ob
Swallow - 2W
Goldfinch - 10W, 45 area    

Mediterranean Gull past the Bill (AH) 
Selsey: Overall very quiet with Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests but in reducing numbers....
East beach area held 5 Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests and a Sparrowhawk, whilst along at 
West beach there was nothing except 6 Meadow Pipits.
Warner Lane area was equally quiet, producing 2 Snipe and 4 Chiffchaffs, whilst nearby
Northcommon Farm held just a few more Chiff's and 'crests and a dozen Long-tailed Tits (OM)

Ferry Pool: There were four Golden Plovers on the Ferry, with about 150 Lapwing, and another two were on the adjacent field with about 50 Lapwing, all put up when a Hare ran through the flock.
Otherwise on the pool there were four Green Sandpipers, nine Avocet, 24 Black-tailed Godwits, c80 Wigeon, c40 Teal and up to a dozen Shoveler. The Grey Wagtail flew over and there were a Chiffchaff and a handful of Goldcrests in the nearby bushes. (AH)

Golden Plovers and Lapwing (above), Green Sandpiper, Wigeon, Black-tailed Godwits & Hare around the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: Very quiet! The Whimbrel was in the harbour with a scattering of commoner waders and up to 50 Brent Geese, about a dozen Skylarks and 30+ Linnets were toing and froing over the beach and there were one or two Chiffchaffs moving about in the sheltered hedges. (AH)
Later, there was a Peregrine in the harbour and a showy Firecrest in Rectory Lane near Greenlease Lane, plus several Goldcrests and the odd Chiffchaff... but that was as good as it got. The oak copse was devoid of birdlife when we visited and apart from a couple more Chiffchaffs by the Severals there was little to report (BFF/DM/OM)

 Showy Firecrest in Rectory Lane, Church Norton (DM)

North Wall: It's hard to avoid repeating the word 'quiet', for that's what it was today....there were 4 Snipe and a Water Rail on the Breech Pool, and nearby a calling but unseen Golden Plover, quite a few Wigeon and a Wren which seemed keen to show itself for the camera, whilst on Pagham Lagoon a Kingfisher was about the only highlight (BFF/DM)
 Wren on the North Wall (DM)
Fishbourne Creek: A Firecrest was in Apuldram church car-park, whilst a Greenshank was the only bird of note in the channel (BFF/DM)
Medmerry: A Great Grey Shrike was reported to the RSPB as present near Ham Viewpoint this afternoon, but could not be relocated. (per T Calloway)

Wednesday, 21st October: The weather was as bad as predicted, with a brisk WSW wind and intermittent heavy drizzly and showers.....becoming heavier through the morning.

Selsey Bill: Following yesterday's posting on the queried identity of the presumed late Reed Warbler, I am grateful for some information and comments from Dave Cooper... basically some of the features shown by the bird appear to indicate a possible ID as Marsh Warbler, whilst other features are more consistent with Reed. Further comments are being sought, but meanwhile some better photographs would certainly help to clinch things.... I had a brief look today in the wind and rain but there was no sign of the warbler, but if anyone goes to the Bill in the next few days, could they keep an eye on the Bill House garden and have a camera handy, just in case...!  (OM)

(0800-1100hrs): There was a bit of passage this morning, everything going west, including a Red-throated Diver and a few Red-breasted Mergansers; also a Peregrine went west and back east over the houses early on. Full log below.... (OM/AH)
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Gannet - 47W
Brent Goose - 24W
Common Scoter - 10W
Red-breasted Merganser - 7W
Teal - 6W
Dunlin - 2W
Sanderling - 1W
Peregrine - 1 area
Auk sp - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 29W
Pied Wagtail - 3N

Brent Geese (above) & Mediterranean Gull past the Bill (AH)

The full sea-watchers kit was deployed today for a lonely vigil at the Bill in the rain...scope, camera, cushion, tuck bag, sandwiches and hot drink, not to mention a handy 'bench with a fence' for shelter and of course a giant umbrella (the latter on extended loan from Mr Faithfull, with many thanks!) (OM)

Selsey: East beach held 8 Chiffchaffs and several Goldcrests mainly around the pond, whilst Northcommon Farm held small numbers of the same species and a flock of Long-tailed Tits, but the wind and rain made viewing conditions rather difficult (OM).

Ferry Pool: There were 10 Avocets present this morning, plus two Green Sandpipers and 30+ Lapwings, 50+ Teal and a dozen Shoveler. (AH)

Avocet on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There was a big mixed flock roaming about the sheltered hedges, including a handful of Chiffchaffs, 20+ Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits and at least five Wrens. There were also four or five very flighty Song Thrushes and Blackbirds by the concrete wall, all looking 'newly arrived'.
The Whimbrel was in the harbour, along with at least 60 Pintail, 30+ Black-tailed Godwits and the usual Grey Plovers, Curlews and Redshanks. (AH)

Whimbrel (above), Black-tailed Godwits & Wren at Church Norton (AH)

Tuesday, 20th October: The last good day before the wind goes west and we get some rain - another still, grey start followed by a light breeze and some sun.....giving a fairly pleasant day overall.

Selsey Bill (0800-1300hrs): (Obs: DS/DF/OM/C&ME/AH) Not much moving offshore, but a very late Reed Warbler* in the Bill House garden was unusual. There were 20 or so Siskins and a couple of Redpoll over, plus a few Swallows and a couple of House Martins, whilst there were 20 or so Chiffchaffs around the gardens and similar of Goldcrest. Full log below....
*There was a heart-stopping moment whilst checking the Bill House garden, for amongst the Chiffchaffs in the tamarisk, a larger warbler with a long bill and an apparent pale wing panel briefly flicked into view then disappeared again! Fortunately the bird showed again and it could be established that the pale panel actually appeared to be mainly on one side of the bird -  presumably an aberrant feature - whilst its warmer tones indicated it was apparently a Reed Warbler, presumably a first-winter. I managed a few photos (down to my usual standard I'm afraid) but would welcome any comments as it got me going for a short while.....it's just that something niggles although I think it has to be Reed? (OM).
Gannet - 1E, 1W
Brent Goose - 164W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1W
Common Scoter - 5E
Wigeon - 1W
Kestrel - 1 area
Arctic Skua - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 2W
Skylark - 5N
Meadow Pipit - 74N
Pied Wagtail - 12N/W
Grey Wagtail - 1E
Swallow - 15E
House Martin - 2E
Goldcrest - 20 gardens
Chiffchaff - 20 gardens
Reed Warbler - 1 Bill House garden
Siskin - 23E
Redpoll - 2E

Presumed aberrant Reed Warbler in Bill House garden (top seven pics) and Goldcrest (lower) (OM)

Goldcrest (above) & Chiffchaff at the Bill (AH)

Selsey: Once again Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests were the order of the day........
East beach area held 10 of the former and six of the latter, mainly around the pond, whilst at Northcommon Farm there were c.20 of each, and also a dozen Long-tailed Tits, singles of Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker and the roving flock of 32 Curlew feeding on the playing fields (OM).

Ferry Pool: Three Green Sandpipers, two Snipe, four Dunlin and five Avocet were present this morning, plus the usual Lapwings and Black-tailed Godwits, whilst some 60 Wigeon dropped in at the back, the Grey Wagtail flew over and a male Stonechat was briefly along the hedge. (AH/OM)

Green Sandpiper on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: I walked down to the Severals and the Oak wood on the beach, noting 35 Redpolls and similar number of Siskin moving east. The large flock of  Greenfinch - around 400 -  with perhaps 50  Goldfinch, were busy feeding around the shingle. In the gorse by the first Several a scolding Dartford Warbler showed well, plus 2 Stonechats. In the Oak Wood were a roving flock of Long-tailed Tits, plus Blue and Great Tits, 2 Chiffchaffs and 6 Goldcrests (BFF et al)

Apuldram Church car park: There were 2 Firecrests, 2 Chiffchaffs and 3 'Continental' Coal Tits, their bluish backs showing really well in the sunshine (BFF)

Fishbourne Creek: 10 Yellowhammers, 3 Rock Pipits and 3 Stonechat, whilst out in the channel were 8 Greenshank and 3 Spotted Redshanks. (BFF)

East Head: Highlights were two Wheatears at the far northern end this morning and two Rock Pipits at the harbour entrance, but otherwise it was quiet, with a pair of Stonechats, c50 Skylarks and Linnets and double that of Meadow Pipits being the only other birds in evidence. There was nothing on the water except four Great Crested Grebes. (AH)

Wheatears (above), Rock Pipit & Skylark at East Head (AH)

Snowhill Creek: A Black Redstart and a Stonechat were around the boats by the green this morning, and a Greenshank was in the channel, but there was little of note in the creek itself, though there were plenty of Wigeon and Teal and a few Redshank. In the harbour there were 60 Brent Geese, 20 Black-tailed Godwits and a few Grey Plover, Lapwing and Curlew. (AH)

Black Redstart (above) & Brent Geese at Snowhill Creek (AH)

Medmerry: A Short-eared Owl over the reserve flew out high to sea SW this morning (PH).

A visit to Easton Lane - Stilt pools at dusk was productive...... (S&SaH)
Short-eared Owl - 2 hunting around the stilt pool
Barn Owl - 2 in the flint barn area, one repeatedly chased by a Sparrowhawk and forced to land in bushes
Merlin - one chasing a Meadow Pipit (which escaped!) 
Peregrine - one high over reserve
Teal - 300- 400  on reserve
White-fronted Goose - the regular bird flew out from stilt pool with Canada's
Snipe - 1
Green Sandpiper - 1
Kingfisher - 1
Stonechat - 9
Corn Bunting - 3
Yellowhammer - 4

North Wall: There were six Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest in the lane at Welbourne. In and along White's Creek there were five Spotted Redshanks, 30 Common Redshanks and 45 Lapwing, all of which were put to flight by a passing Peregrine. The Breech Pool was buzzing, with 33 Common Snipe, 70 Black-tailed Godwits, 47 Lapwing, 52 Teal and 60 plus Mallard, along with a Grey Heron, two Little Egrets, a Cormorant and a preening Water Rail. There were14 Pheasants were sitting on top of a nearby bush whilst further back there were 19 Magpies sitting in the same tree, and a pair of Stonechats were along the Wall. On Honer reservoir there were 12 Coot, 6 Little Grebes and 2 Tufted Duck, and in the nearby sunflower field there were around 80 Linnets, four Yellowhammers and a pair of Stonechats. The fields behind Honer cottages were being ploughed and there at least ten Mediterranean Gulls among the 300 or so gulls in attendance.( JDW)
This evening there were still 20+ Snipe, a Water Rail and a Knot among the Black-tailed Godwits and Teal. (RHa)    

Water Rail, Snipe & Yellowhammer (JDW) (above) & Grey Heron (RHa) from North Wall

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