Saturday, 27 February 2016

27th - 29th February 2016

Monday, 29th FebruaryA Leap Year day and a lovely one too, before the weather breaks - bright and crisp and only a light NE breeze....

Selsey Bill: (0800-1015hrs) (C&ME)
Great Northern Diver - 7os
Black-throated Diver - 3E
Red-throated Diver - 8E
diver sp - 1W

Great Crested Grebe - 3E, 1W, 1os
Brent Goose - 1E
Eider - 1os
Common Scoter - 7W, 5os

Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 3W, 2os
Sparrowhawk - 1 over Bill House
Mediterranean Gull - 2E
auk sp - 1E

Ivy Lake complex: Both the pair of Red-crested Pochards and the White-fronted Goose were showing this morning, the former just occasionally in the same spot under the trees and vegetation on Ivy Lake, and the latter along the bank of East Lake (the last pit on the south-east side before Peckhams Copse Lane). To its credit, the White-front spent most of its time in solitary mode, away from the feral geese, perhaps boosting its credentials?
Also there were two Egyptian Geese on Ivy Lake, before one flew onto the fields behind East Lake, and a Black Swan was also on Ivy Lake. (OM/SR/AH/BI/PC/SP/MP)


White-fronted Goose (above) & Egyptian Geese at Ivy Lake complex (top two OM, next AH, others BI)

 Another shot of the White-fronted Goose, and displaying Great Crested Grebes, Chi GPs (DP)

Snowhill Creek: A Dartford Warbler was in the gorse along the side this morning. (MR)

Dartford Warbler at Snowhill (MR)

Church Norton: I was lucky enough to see two Firecrests today - one in the churchyard, in trees by the benches on the back wall, and the other in the last trees before Greenlease Farm, left of the private road. (HR)

Ferry Pool: A Grey Wagtail and a Snipe were along the front, but not much on the pool bar a single Dunlin, a few Redshank and Lapwing, though there were 500+ of the latter, along with 300 Wigeon and 25 Curlew on the field. (AH)
Following a report from RJS of a a very pale Chiffchaff seen near Ferry hide yesterday , I spent a couple of hours looking early afternoon today but no sign, though Firecrest and Goldfinch were recorded. (CRJ) 
Also the Green Sandpiper was on the pool at 1.45pm. (HR)
Grey Wagtail (above) & Lapwing on the Ferry (AH)

Goldfinch and Firecrest near Ferry Hide (CRJ)

North Wall: There were half a dozen Snipe and 40 each of Black-tailed Godwit and Teal on the Breach Pool, plus two Water Rails - that briefly appeared chasing each other - a Chiffchaff and a couple of Reed Buntings and calling Cetti's Warblers.
There were at least 2000 Brent Geese along White's Creek and out into the harbour, though not else beyond the commoner waders and wildfowl, though there were a dozen Pintail further down the harbour.
There wasn't much moving in the Slipe Field, though there were still a few Linnets about. (AH)

 Reed Bunting & Snipe from North Wall (above), Black-tailed Godwits & Pintail from White's Creek (AH)

Pagham Spit/ Lagoon: A drake Goldeneye and a female Red-breasted Merganser were in the harbour mouth, the two Peregrines were on their island, and there were a few Skylarks along the spit, but generally it was quiet.
On the Lagoon there were 40 Tufted Ducks and 20 Little Grebes, but not much else. (AH)

Goldeneye (above) & Red-breasted Merganser from Pagham Spit (AH)

Sunday, 28th February: Similar weather to yesterday; dry, cloudy and cool, with a chilly and brisk NE wind, though perhaps with a few more hints of brightness today.....

Meanwhile, with another spring just around the corner, I thought it might be amusing to revisit our 'Days Gone By' feature and evoke some memories from springs past. This time I've selected three pics from Volume 4 of the Archives.....(OM)

above: Gallery of observers at the 'south-east corner' on 22nd April 1995...far left at the back, with the hat and seated next to the lady, is none other than the late, great Mike Shrubb on one of his occasional visits. (OM)
centre: The Little Bunting twitch, Sidlesham Common, 23rd March 1996. This still remains the only sighting of this species on the Peninsula to date and it drew in many observers.....amongst the visitors here are a few of the more youthful-looking regulars, including Chris Janman (foreground, red jacket). (And is that my esteemed co-editor behind him?) (OM)
lower: May 1998 and Mervyn Jones (right) seems to be practising his new no-hands eating method, whilst Dick Eyre-Walker (left) and Martin Casemore continue to scan the sea intently (OM)

Selsey Bill: (0650-0900hrs) (SH/JA/SR/AH/PC/RJS)
Great Northern Diver - 7os
Red-throated Diver 3E, 3W, 1os
diver sp - 5W
Slavonian Grebe - 3E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 2os
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Gannet - 2E
Brent Goose - 6E, 1W
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 9os
Merlin - 1N (in off sea from way out)
Sandwich Tern - 2os
auk sp - 19W
Pied Wagtail - 1N

(1145-1230hrs): (BI)
Great Northern Diver - 6 os
Red-throated Diver - 2E
diver sp - 1E
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 1W
Common Scoter - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 2os

Great Northern Divers (BI) (above) & Brent Geese (AH) at the Bill

North Selsey: The male Blackcap was in our garden briefly again this morning, and a female Black Redstart was in the horse paddock at Park Farm, feeding with Blackbirds. (S&SaH)

Selsey: East Beach -  A flock of 55 Brent Geese heading west overhead as I drove home from the Bill along Kingsway. (SR)

Ivy Lake complex: Following a report from a visiting birder of a pair of Red-crested Pochards and the White-fronted Goose with the Canada Goose flock on Ivy Lake, I had a look this afternoon. The former were there, but very well concealed under the trees near the chalets at the eastern end, whilst I couldn't track down the latter, though a lot of the geese were hidden in the reeds. Also, there was an Egyptian Goose on one of the wooded islands (per SdeH), plus there were a few Great Crested Grebes, Shoveler, Pochard and Greylag Geese about. (AH)
The Red-crested Pochards were seen again a couple of times during the afternoon, but were generally very elusive, keeping well hidden under the branches and only occasionally venturing out. (SR/S&SaH)

Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper was again present late this morning, along with a couple of Snipe, and four Golden Plover were in with 500 Lapwing and 200 Wigeon on the field. (AH)

Medmerry: Windmill to Breach to Chainbridge - Not much to report - a Stonechat was by the Go-kart track, 80 Curlew went over the caravans and ten Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great Crested Grebe were offshore, though the Breach area was almost birdless, as was the walk to Chainbridge. There were at least 700 Brent Geese on the touring caravan field there, but just a flock of Long-tailed Tits and a few Skylarks on Chainbridge field. (AH)

Long-tailed Tit (above) & Brent Geese at Medmerry (AH)

Church Norton: Not much to report, though there was a Peregrine on the island and a Buzzard rear the second Several. (S&SaH)

East Head: 25 SOS members met at East Head this morning for a walk around the head and Snowhill Marsh. The main channel was relatively quiet with only a few Red-breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebes showing. A sub adult male Eider was the best bird found as we walked down the west side of the head. Off the north end of the head sea conditions were unfavourable, with just a few Red-breasted Mergansers and Great Crested Grebes noted.
On the mud at Ellanore 40 Golden Plover and 60 Knot were resting giving good scope views. In the dunes we found Reed Bunting, several singing Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and a pair of Stonechats, with an adult Mediterranean Gull loafing around the car park on the lookout for a free lunch!
In the afternoon we took a circular walk around Snowhill Marsh finding plenty of Teal and few Wigeon. Several feeding Black-tailed Godwits and a single Greenshank were noted. In the lane around the edge of the marsh few passerines were seen except for a lone Goldcrest and common tits. Squealing Water rails were heard from the thick reeds with one bird showing itself albeit briefly as we crossed the stream.
Near the hide there was a single Greenshank, plus a good number of Lapwings could be found. In addition there were 10 Common Snipe plus the highlight of the day a single Jack Snipe showed well as it flew low over the group. During the walk back along the entrance road we frequently scanned through the huge Brent Goose flock ( estimated at 3000) for any scarcities without and success. (BFF)

Saturday, 27th February: Dry, cloudy and cool with a moderate-fresh NE wind....
Selsey Bill (0645-0900hrs):    (Obs: SH/PB/JA/SR)  With spring not far away, diver numbers might be expected to increase - especially Great Northerns offshore - and there were signs of this today.....Full log below:
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 1os
Black-throated Diver - 1os
Great Northern Diver - 8os
Diver sp - 2W
Slavonian Grebe - 5E, 3os
Gannet - 5E, 7W
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 2W, 6os
Common Scoter - 9E
Sanderling - 1ob
Razorbill - 4W, 2os 

Guillemot - 1os
Auk sp. - 1E, 81W 

Sandwich Tern - 1os
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Pied Wagtail - 2N
also - Grey Seal 1os

Ferry Pool/Long Pool: Not many birds on the pool this morning - just a couple of Avocets, half a dozen Shoveler and four Shelduck, though there were 400 Brent Geese, 200 Wigeon, 500 Lapwing, 120 Golden Plover and 30 Curlew on the field, until they all took to the air and departed. 
Very little was along the Long Pool, and in the channel there were just a couple of hundred Wigeon, and a few Teal, Redshank and Grey Plovers.(AH)

Wigeon in Ferry Channel (above) & Golden Plover over the Ferry (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: A fair selection this morning on the rising tide, including a Greenshank, two Spotted Redshanks, the Whimbrel, as many as nine Goldeneye and similar of Red-breasted Mergansers, along with a few Little and Great Crested Grebes and a Kingfisher sitting on a boat.
There were plenty of commoner waders about, including several hundred Black-tailed Godwits, and plenty of wildfowl, including a couple of Gadwall and Shoveler, 30+ Pintail and several hundred Wigeon.
Very few passerines were seen, though there were up to 30 Yellowhammers by the riding school, and a single Rock Pipit along the harbour's edge. (AH)

Kingfisher (above), Yellowhammers, Pintail, Red-breasted Mergansers & Goldeneye and Great Crested Grebe at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Medmerry (West side): There were 10 Avocets and the Common Sandpiper on the Stilt pools, whilst on the walk down from Eastons Lane were a Green Sandpiper, 6 Stonechats,  30+ Yellowhammers and 2 Reed Buntings (S&SaH),

Thursday, 25 February 2016

25th - 26th February 2016

Friday, 26th February: A dry but chilly day with the risk of an early shower or two, but generally fairly bright with sunshine then cloud and a decidedly cool, brisk S/SE wind.....

May I just take a few lines here to say thanks to all who attended the Chichester RSPB group last evening where I gave my talk on Birding the Selsey Peninsula. The room was packed, the meeting was run very smoothly and efficiently and it was nice meeting you all - the group is obviously thriving and in capable hands. It was also great to be supported by some old friends and Selsey regulars and as the speaker I can honestly say I enjoyed the evening too. I was especially pleased to receive your feedback and kind comments on the blog and on behalf of AH and myself I can say it makes all the effort worthwhile and we hope to go forward from strength to all we need is a few nice spring birds to tell you about! (OM)

Selsey Bill (0800-0900hrs): Cloudy, SSW3   (Obs: JA/SR)
Red-throated Diver - 18E, 1W, 1os
Great Northern Diver - 3os
diver sp - 1E, 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Fulmar - 2W
Gannet - 1E
Eider - 1os
Common Scoter - 7E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 1W, 7os
Dunlin - 102W

(1145-1230hrs): (BI)
Great Northern Diver - 5os

Red-throated Diver - 4E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 4os
Sandwich Tern - 1E

Medmerry:  West side - A flock of Chaffinches was by the car park and two Stonechats by the sluice, with a Kestrel and Green Woodpecker by the poplars, whilst on the stilt pools were the Common Sandpiper, eight Avocets and wildfowl including Shovelers, Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Ducks, Teal and Shelducks. In the reserve the Spoonbill was present though distant and there were half a dozen Brent Geese still. Good numbers of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits all over but only a few Yellowhammers seen. (BI)

 Avocets, Kestrel and Skylark at Medmerry (west side) (BI)

East Side - The Black Redstart was still by the rubble piles and a few Brent Geese and a Curlew were on the pools. (BI)

Record shot of the often-elusive Black Redstart on the sea-defence rocks at Medmerry (east side) (BI)

Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper and a few Redshank were on the pool early on. (TR)
Later on they were working on plugging the hole in the bank and consequently no birds were on the pool, though 100 or so Wigeon were on the field. (AH)

Brimfast/Bramber/Chalder/Marsh Farm area - A walk around the farmland to the north of the harbour wasn't particularly productive, with plenty of common birds but not much out of the ordinary. Highlights included a couple of Yellowhammers and Skylarks, plus 30 or so Mediterranean and Common Gulls with Black-headed Gulls in fields at Brimfast, a dozen Reed Buntings, Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails on a muck heap near Chalder Farm and c200 Wigeon, 20 Curlew and a couple of Shoveler on a flooded field east of Marsh Farm. (AH)

Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls (above) & Common Gull at Brimfast, & Reed Bunting & Long-tailed Tit at Chalder Farm (AH)

Chi GP's - Ivy Lake complex: About a dozen Pochard and Shoveler were with 20+ Tufted Ducks on New Lake, whilst at least 40 Cormorants were in residence in their colony. On Ivy Lake and adjoining lakes there were almost no ducks, though there were about half a dozen Greylags, 30+ Canada Geese and eight Great Crested Grebes, plus a couple of Chiffchaffs in the hedges. (AH)

Great Crested Grebe (above), Greylag Geese & Cormorants at Chichester GPs (AH)

Thursday, 25th February: Finally a bit of a colder and more wintry spell as we edge towards the beginning of spring! Heavy overnight frost giving way to a bright, dry and fairly sunny day with some cloud and a light but chilly NW breeze....

Ferry Pool: The Green Sandpiper was again present as were 200 Golden Plover, 1500 Lapwing, a pair of Gadwall, ten Shoveler, 200 Wigeon, 40 Teal and 20 Redshank, until they were all disturbed by a couple of gentleman come to look at the hole at the back! (AH)

Green Sandpiper and Teal (above), Redshanks, Golden Plovers and Lapwings and people inspecting the hole at the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: The two Barn Owls were out again this afternoon along the west side of the reserve. (T. Roe)

Barn Owls at Medmerry (T. Roe)

Church Norton: Quiet on the full tide - the two Peregrines were about, a Goldeneye , a Red-breasted Merganser and a Great Crested Grebe were in the harbour, and four of the latter were the only birds offshore, whilst the local Buzzards and Carrion Crows were battling it out over the Priory. Later the regular Whimbrel put in an appearance in the usual area (AH/BFF/DM)

Buzzard and Carrion Crow (above) & Curlew at Church Norton (AH)

The regular wintering Whimbrel at Church Norton flying in (DM)