Friday, 1 January 2016

1st - 3rd January 2016

Sunday, 3rd JanuaryEven by recent standards, today's weather is a shocker, with gale force south-southeasterly winds and persistent heavy rain....

Selsey Bill: A few bits again this morning, though generally pretty slow in the awful conditions - highlights were a Bonxie, an Arctic Skua, a Fulmar and three Little Gulls west, along with a few Kittiwakes and Gannets, with up to three Great Northern Divers and a handful of Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. Later on the Eider was off Hillfield Road. Full log below. (Obs: JA/SH/IP/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Red-throated Diver - 1W
diver sp - 1E, 1W
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 2E, 20W
Common Scoter - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 9E, 1W, 4os
Arctic Skua - 1W
Great Skua - 1W
Little Gull - 3W
Kittiwake - 102W
Common Gull - 1E, 2W
auk sp - 1W

Bonxie (above) & Eider off the Bill (AH)

1400 to 1500hrs:  (SH)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Eider - 1os
Common Scoter - 1E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4os

Teal - 3W
Dunlin - 30W
Little Gull - 4W (ads), 1 os then E (1st winter)
Kittiwake - 2W
Common Gull - 1E

Church Norton: Only a quick look, but surprisingly a flock of eight adult Little Gulls were near the harbour mouth, before almost literally being blown across the harbour until lost from view on the west side. Very little else at all, though there were a few Shelduck and a couple of hundred Dunlin on the mud. (AH)
A walk from Selsey produced a Sparrowhawk near Park Farm and about 20 Mediterranean Gulls and not much else in the miserable weather! (S&SaH)

Little Gulls (above) & Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: About 60 Shoveler and 75 Shelduck were on or about the pool, with about 150 Black-tailed Godwits and 300 Wigeon on the fields. (AH)

Chichester Marina: Still one Little Gull showing well along Saltern's Way, with 400 Brent Geese in the adjacent field. (BI)

Chichester GPs: Ivy Lake complex - No sign of the apparent Scaup on New Lake, with just a scattering of Tufted Ducks across all the lakes, a few Pochard on Copse Lake and 15 Shoveler on Ivy Lake. (IP/BI)

Little Gull at Chichester Marina (BI)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - A brief break in the weather produced a few birds this afternoon - highlights included a first-winter Little Gull east along the beach, a Spotted Redshank on the Stilt Pool and a Greenshank and a Red-breasted Merganser in the big pool opposite.
There were at least 20 Yellowhammers and a couple of Reed Buntings around their favoured bushes, and a couple of pairs of Stonechats and at least 30 Meadow Pipits were along the banks.
Among other birds seen were a pair of Gadwall opposite Marsh Barn, plenty of Wigeon and Teal, and 50+ Lapwings on the Stilt Pool, but the only raptors seen were a couple of Kestrels. (AH)

Spotted Redshank (above), Yellowhammer & Stonechat at Medmerry (AH)

Saturday, 2nd JanuaryAnother dismal day's weather, with a gale force south-southeasterly and intermittent heavy rain - not surprisingly the sea received the lion's share of the effort today, with almost eight hours of continuous watching......

And just a reminder..... the Peninsula Review of the Year 2015 (compiled by AH) can now be viewed by just clicking the link on the title bar......

Selsey Bill: A similar day to yesterday, with the Arctic Skua seen again, then a Bonxie and a Little Gull, three Great Northern Divers, a Slavonian Grebe and the Eider offshore, with a few Red-throated Divers, Gannets and Kittiwakes going mostly east. Full log below...
0745 to 1530hrs:  (Obs: JA/SH/SR/AH/OM/BI)
Red-throated Diver - 18E, 1os
Great Northern Diver - 3 os
Diver sp - 1E
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Gannet - 21E, 21W
Brent Goose - 6W
Eider - 1os
Common Scoter - 3os
Red-breasted Merganser - 15E, 2W, 9os
Shoveler - 15W
Teal - 1W
Dunlin - 1E
Arctic Skua - 1W
Great Skua - 1E
Little Gull - 1E
Kittiwake - 43E 

A hardy group of the regulars sea-watching from the SE corner at the Bill this morning; an hour or so later they'd all gone leaving me to carry on for another 4hrs with a solo vigil! (OM)
 Apologies for the blurred record shots of the Bonxie heading east, but you get the idea (OM)

Gannet (above), Kittiwake & Red-breasted Mergansers past the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Very little on the water, but 200 Black-tailed Godwits, 500 Lapwing, 40 Curlew and 300 Wigeon on the fields, and 40 Shelduck and 50 Shoveler on the bank. (AH) Later I counted at least 82 Shelduck roosting there (OM).

Church Norton: At least 80 Knot, 40 Grey Plover and 400 Dunlin on the mud, but not a lot else, really. There were flocks of c40 Greenfinch and Goldfinch around the mound and a couple of calling Goldcrests, but that was about it. (AH)
A breezy Church Norton proved rewarding, as I watched a dog fight between a Merlin and Skylark which started over the end of Norton Spit but continued eastwards until it was lost over Bognor. On the beach there were hundreds of gulls with a minimum of 100 Mediterranean Gulls, but the best was left to last..... as we were leaving I picked up a dark duck on the sea and initially thought it was a Common Scoter, but a flap of the wings revealed a white patch, so a lovely surprise of a Velvet Scoter. Also as I was watching this bird, a 1st winter Little Gull suddenly appeared in my bins..... (IL)

 Little Gull off Church Norton (IL)

Grey Plover and Dunlin (above) & Knot at Church Norton (AH)

Chicester GPs: Ivy Lake complex - The 'possible/probable' first-winter female Scaup seen on Pagham Lagoon before the New Year resurfaced on New Lake late this afternoon. The rather bad pictures below do show a very round head and a small 'nail', and though it didn't appear much bigger than adjacent Tufted Ducks it didn't really interact with them. For what it is worth, my own view is that it is quite probably a Scaup, but all comments welcome!
Other than that there were a dozen Pochard and Shovelers, plus twenty Tufted Duck on that pit, and another fifteen Pochard and a few Shoveler on Ivy Lake, whilst in the bushes there were up to five Chiffchaffs and similar of Goldcrest. (AH)

'possible/probable' first-winter female Scaup on New Lake (AH)

New Year's Day, Friday, 1st JanuaryA Happy New Year to everyone!
A much colder start, with the wind round to the south-east, but still very overcast and with rain coming in later....though judging by the number of local and visiting birders about this morning, everyone was raring to go...!

I am delighted to say that the Peninsula Review of the Year 2015 is now available to view... just click the relevant page on the title bar. I really must pay tribute to my co-editor AH, who has single-handedly compiled the Review and managed to get it out bang on cue.... no mean feat given the vagaries of the Blogger system, (which sometimes seems to have a mind of its own and too often throws all the spacing and text asunder!) It is fascinating to look back on the past year, which saw two new species - Dusky Warbler and Hudsonian Whimbrel -  added to the Peninsula list (the latter still subject to official acceptance), bringing the total to 339 species (per BOU listing). Will we reach number 340 this year - or perhaps even beyond? Only time will tell, but I'm sure we all hope we will be the lucky finder..... keep looking! (OM) 

Selsey Bill: An Arctic Skua - possibly the first ever January record -  was the highlight as it went west and then started chasing gulls. Otherwise numbers were low, but there was quite a good selection, including three Great Northern Divers and some Slavonian Grebes, plus the Eider offshore, and a couple of Red-throated Divers, a few Gannets, Kittiwakes, Common Scoter and auks moving mostly east -  a nice variety for the year-listers amongst us! Full log below....
0730 to 1000hrs: Cloudy, SE6-7/8 ((JA/SH/PB/IP/SR/AH/C&ME et al - with lots of year tickers!)
Red-throated Diver - 5W, 2os
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Diver sp - 1E, 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 1E, 7W
Great Crested Grebe - 4E, 1W, 1os
Gannet - 7E, 7W
Brent Goose - 28E, 3W
Shelduck - 3W
Eider - 1os
Common Scoter - 7W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 4W, 8os
Wigeon - 2W
Kestrel - 1 area
Razorbill - 2E, 1os
Auk sp - 1E, 1W
Arctic Skua - 1W
Kittiwake - 6E, 10W
Common Gull - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 2os

14.00 to 16.00hrs:  (Obs: SH/JA)
Gannet - 21E, 12W
Common Scoter - 4E
Red-breasted Merganser - 7E, 2W, 6os
Guillemot - 1os
Kittiwake - 1E, 9W 
Little Gull - 2W
Common Gull - 3W

A good turn-out for the New Year at the Bill (AH)

Late news from the SOS site - Strong winds and on-off showers this afternoon provided sightings of a Grey Phalarope east, 2 adult Little Gulls (one west and one along the surf), a Great Northern Diver riding the waves and arguably best of all a super Bonxie on the beach (C. Melgar per SOS)

Church Norton: Very little to report, though the two Peregrines were on their island before upsetting the waders, including 40+ Knot among the Dunlin and Grey Plover, and three Chiffchaffs were along the west side. (AH/S&SaH/IP)

Knot and Grey Plover at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Predictably, the White-fronted Goose wasn't among the 20 or so Canada Geese this morning! There were, however, half a dozen Golden Plover in with 500 Lapwing, ten or more Snipe along the front, three Avocets, c200 Black-tailed Godwits, plus the usual Shoveler, Shelduck and Teal numbers, and at least 300 Wigeon. (AH/IP et al)

Avocets on the Ferry (AH)

Chichester Marina: At least one (and maybe both) Little Gulls were along Salterns Way, and a Black Brant was in with 800 Brent Geese near the farm buildings. Offshore there were four Goldeneye and up to ten Red-breasted Mergansers and Great Crested Grebes and double that of Little Grebes. 
There were also two Redwing and a Song Thrush in the hedge along Salterns Way and a Rock Pipit went over. (AH/OM/AB et al)
Birdham Pool was not productive at all today; apart from the resident Mallards and Little Grebes, a flock of 15 Stock Doves was the highlight! (OM/AH)

Black Brant and Brent Geese (above), Little Gull, Redwing & Red-breasted Mergansers and Great Crested Grebes at Chichester Marina (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: The Whimbrel was present, though no Spotted Redshank or Greenshank could be found. Two Sandwich Terns arrived to fish right by the quay at Dell Quay, one of which almost immediately caught a fish and flew off. There were large numbers of Wigeon, with a few Pintail on the water, half a dozen Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 300 Common Gulls in the roost, and a Bar-tailed Godwit was among the many commoner waders, including 500+ Dunlin.
Along the edges there were a pair of Stonechats, a Kingfisher, up to five Rock Pipits and a couple of Reed Buntings, whilst around the riding school there were 20+ Yellowhammers. (AH/IP/JD et al)

Sandwich Tern (above), Rock Pipit, Yellowhammer & Lesser and Greater Black-backed Gulls at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Medmerry: Earnley car park to Stilt pools - This morning we recorded 35 species in less that helpful conditions – best was a Raven just to the east of the Stilt Pools which headed off north, a Spotted Redshank on the pools and a Green Sandpiper over Marsh Barn. (PH)
Later on a Mistle Thrush was in Easton Lane. (IP)

Chichester GPs: Ivy Lake complex - There was a Firecrest and three Chiffchaffs in with a large Long-tailed Tit flock this afternoon. Not much of note on the water - best was a drake Pintail and two pairs of Pochard. (IP)

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