Monday, 22 February 2016

22nd - 24th February 2016

Wednesday, 24th February: Perhaps the coldest night of the winter so far, with clear skies and a heavy frost, giving way to a fine and occasionally sunny day - but not as bright as forecast -  with scattered heavy cloud and a light N/NE wind....

North Wall: Two Spoonbills were out in the centre of the harbour and were scoped briefly as the tide pushed them up onto a mud bank; they didn't stay long however and soon took flight heading off NE (R&GaH)

Pagham Lagoon & Spit: The Lagoon was millpond flat this morning, with low numbers of birds but quite a few species, including three Goldeneye, a Red-breasted Merganser, 23 Tufted Duck, four Pochard, three Great Crested Grebes, 10 + Little Grebes and eight Wigeon. There were three more Goldeneye in front of the Spit hide, eight Ringed Plovers along the Spit and also a single Sanderling. (JDW)

Ferry Pool: The Green Sandpiper was again present, along with at least a dozen Snipe, 40 Golden Plover, 20 Redshank, 1500 Lapwing, 30 Shoveler, 30 Teal, 250 Wigeon and 200 Brent Geese, plus a Grey Wagtail dropped in briefly. (AH)
There were also c20 Siskins in the beechmast behind the Reserve Centre. (C&ME/C&JM)

Siskin by the Visitor Centre (CM)

Green Sandpiper (above), Snipe & Golden Plovers and Lapwings on the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane-Porthole Farm- Ham Farm-Chainbridge  - A look around this part of Medmerry produced at least 30 Yellowhammers and 20 Reed Buntings along the hedges between Easton Lane and Porthole Farm, and there similar numbers between there and Ham Farm, plus 30 or so Linnets and a few Meadow Pipits.

A Corn Bunting was singing between Ham and the Breach in a typical location, and there were at least five pairs of Stonechats spread evenly across the whole area.
Not too many other birds were seen beyond these species, though a pair of Grey Partridges were at Porthole Farm, and towards the breach there were half a dozen Ringed Plover, 30 Lapwing and similar of Wigeon and Brent Geese, plus a Brown Hare. (AH)

Late this afternoon a Woodcock flew into the small copse just south-east of Ham Farm, and a Cetti's Warbler, a Stonechat and four Brown Hares were in the vicinity. (S&SaH)

Stilt Pools: There were14 Avocets present on the pools this morning. (PH)

Corn Bunting (above), Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting, Stonechat & Ringed Plover at Medmerry (AH)

Church Norton: The Whimbrel was in front of the hide and the two Peregrines were on the island, but most unusual was the dead fish found on the shoreline about 100 yards after turning right from the car park path. IL (the Warden) later identified it as a Lumpsucker and said it was a first for the reserve. It was a female as you can see from the roe. (C&ME/C&JM)

Dead Lumpsucker at Church Norton (CM)

Park Farm (Selsey):  A burst of Skylark song was particularly welcome above the noise of the bird-scarers in the fields.  A flock of c80  Brent Geese flew over as did a Grey Heron, and a Cetti's Warbler called from the copse.  Kestrel and Buzzard were hunting, whilst a drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard close by.  A handful of Red-legged Partridges and a Mute Swan were also along the field edges. (SR)

Tuesday, 23rd February: A splendid late winter morning - chill and bright, with a little cloud and breeze developing later....

Selsey Bill (0935 - 1050hrs): Sunny, NW 2-3. (Obs: OM/anon). Nothing moving, though six Great Northern Divers were offshore. Otherwise just 2 Red-breasted Mergansers os and a Mediterranean Gull moving back and forth. And to the birder from Northants making his first visit, who arrived shortly before I left.... sorry it was such a slow least you got a Great Northern and it's usually better than this - honest!) (OM)

Mediterranean Gull (left) with Herring Gull off the Bill - hardly enough to impress a visiting birder! (OM)

Selsey (West): Crablands/Warner Lane meadows: The flooded fields held 35 Snipe and a Stonechat, but otherwise there was little on offer (OM)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - At least 20 Fieldfares and 10 Redwings were around the poplars and adjacent fields early on, and a Green Sandpiper was near the first sluice. Later on a Raven was over that area, with up to five Buzzards in the vicinity.
There were at least 50 Yellowhammers spread along the hedges and banks - with even a bit of singing going on, and there were also 10+ Stonechats, 10+ Stock Doves, 20+ Reed Buntings, 50+ Meadow Pipits and 100+ Skylarks in the same areas.
The Common Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank were both on the Stilt Pool, along with six vocal Avocets, eight Gadwall and 20+ Tufted Duck, Teal and Wigeon. (AH/C&ME)

Fieldfare (above), Redwing, Stock Doves, Yellowhammer & Skylark at Medmerry (AH)

Breach area - The Black Redstart was still along the sea-defence rocks and the Spoonbill was viewable distantly from the Viewpoint. (OM/JD/DF/DS) Also 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, 60 Grey Plover, c200 Dunlin, a Stonechat and a couple of Buzzards (OM)

Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper was present again today, along with a Grey Wagtail, 500+ Lapwings, 20+Redshank and Teal, 40+ Wigeon on the field and at least three Buzzards overhead. (AH/OM)
Earlier, a Chiffchaff gave a brief burst of song near the Visitor centre (PH).

Green Sandpiper (above), Lapwings & Buzzard at the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: A Spotted Redshank was in White's Creek along with 90 Wigeon, whilst on the Breech Pool were 40 Teal and a pair of Shoveler. A surprise was to see a Spoonbill coming in from the north and going back out into the Harbour. The Brent Geese were very unsettled this morning and stayed mainly in the Harbour, and 3 Goldcrests were in Owl Copse. (For info: the North Wall footpath at its western end is in a dreadful state, very slippery and muddy, with deep puddles and cycle ruts, so sturdy footwear is essential). (JDW)

West Wittering: A Short-eared Owl was at Snowhill marsh early this morning, before flying over to farmland near Ellanore (MR)

Short-eared Owl at Snowhill Creek (MR)

Monday, 22nd February: Another dull and overcast day, with a brisk westerly wind and the prospect of rain for a good part of the day as a slow-moving front passes through...... not the most promising of conditions then!

Just a reminder and a few details as promised for those interested.... my illustrated talk to Chichester RSPB on 'Birding the Selsey Peninsula - from a hut to a blog' commences at 7.30pm on Thursday 25th February. The location is The Pallant Suite, South Pallant, Chichester (nearest postcode for Sat Nav = PO19 1TY). Entrance is £2.50 members/£3.50 non-members and all are welcome. (Rumour has it that one or two of the regulars may see themselves in action.....or should that be inaction!) (OM)

Medmerry: The Spoonbill was again on the stilt pools at about 12.30 today, then later on it was out on the saltmarsh. (PH)

West Itchenor: Along the side of Chichester Harbour on the rising tide this morning were a Whimbrel, two Bar-tailed Godwits, five Black-tailed Godwits, eight Red-breasted Mergansers, 50+ Grey Plover and Curlew, and several hundred Dunlin and Brent Geese. Also, about 40 Snipe came up from an area of vegetation near the shore, including 20+ in one flock, and a Rock Pipit went over. (AH)

Bar-tailed Godwit (above), Black-tailed Godwit, Red-breasted Merganser & Brent Goose and Dunlin at West Itchenor (AH)

Birdham Pool: Nothing much of note bar three Grey Herons, a Little Egret and thirty Tufted Ducks. (AH)

Chichester Marina: A Jay under the trees by the approach road and a Bullfinch in the hedge by the harbour at the far end of Saltern's Copse were noteworthy, but otherwise there was very little on the high tide, with just a few Great Crested and Little Grebes on the water and a few Brent Geese and Wigeon along the edges. (AH)

Jay (above) & Great Crested Grebes at Chichester Marina (AH)

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