Tuesday, 29 March 2016

29th - 31st March 2016

Thursday, 31st March: Another bright and brisk morning with the wind from the north, but lighter than of late....

Selsey BillAnother surprising bird was at the Bill this morning, in the form of a Ring-necked Parakeet, that flew high over the wall and a fair way out to sea before turning round and going back inland. Otherwise it was hard going for the observers, as there was very little moving offshore, though a few birds were coming in off the sea, including a Chiffchaff that dropped into the tamarisk behind the wall. Also the Tree Pipit was still around in the Bill House garden, though being generally elusive. Full log below....
0700-1300hrs: (Obs: C&ME/SR/OM/AH/PC et al)
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 2W
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 4E
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 4W, 5os
Common Scoter - 24E
Mallard - 3 gardens (local!)
Turnstone - 30 ob
Sandwich Tern - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Ring-necked Parakeet - 1 over calling 07.44, headed S then back N
Swallow - 1N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 9N
Meadow Pipit - 10N
Tree Pipit - 1 Bill House garden
Chiffchaff - 1N, 6 gardens

Ring-necked Parakeet (distantly!) over the Bill (AH)
The elusive Tree Pipit in Bill House garden (OM)
Ferry Pool: Two Green Sandpipers were again on the pool, along with two Avocets, half a dozen Redshank and an increase in Shovelers to 34 birds. Also, one or two Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs were singing along the Long Pool. (AH/JD et al)

Medmerry (East): A Short-eared Owl was flushed from near the Breach and drifted off east, and there were also a Wheatear, a Greenshank and a Whimbrel out on the reserve. (PH)

Medmerry (West): There were three first-winter Little Gulls dip-feeding on the Stilt Pool this morning, along with the Common Sandpiper, up to four Little Ringed Plovers, a single Black-tailed Godwit and 38 Avocets.
Elsewhere there were a couple of Wheatears (one by the rocks, one near Easton Lane), a couple of Chiffchaffs and plenty of Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Meadow Pipits and a few Reed Buntings along the path. (AH/GT/JD et al)

Little Gulls (above), Little Ringed Plover, Avocets & Yellowhammer and Dunnock sharing a bramble at Medmerry (AH)

Little Gull (above) & Little Ringed Plover at Medmerry (BI)

Ivy Lake complex: This afternoon there were three Little Gulls on the eastern end of Ivy Lake - an adult, a second-year bird and a first-year bird. The pair of Red-crested Pochards, the White-fronted Goose and the pair of Egyptian Geese all also put in an appearance, as did a male and female Blackcap, a Cetti's Warbler, a pair of displaying Reed Buntings, a couple of Chiffchaffs and about half a dozen each of Swallow and Sand Martin, plus a single House Martin. (AB/AH)

Little Gulls (above) & White-fronted Goose at Ivy Lake (AH)

Wednesday, 30th March: Very similar to yesterday, bright and breezy, with the wind still brisk and in the west, but a bit of warmth in the sunshine....

Selsey BillAnother interesting morning, with the highlight being a Marsh Tit in the Bill House garden, heard and seen at 09.28 in the hedge, right by the observers on the bench, before flying over to the trees by the Oval field and being lost. It has been many years since one was last seen here. (OM/C&ME/SR) (In fact the last Marsh Tit record here was 19th Sept 1964 - per JA)

Other highlights included a Red Kite that drifted down from the north, thought about heading out to sea and retreated back northwards, a different Black Redstart to yesterday's in a similar area and a Common Tern among a few Sandwich Terns feeding well offshore. However, there was very little moving offshore this morning. Full log below...
There was also an interesting pipit in Bill House garden. On looking at my pictures of the morning, it seems to have been a Tree Pipit - see pictures below and comments welcome! (AH) I have to admit we were a bit slow off the mark with this bird, initially dismissing it as another Meadow Pipit, but I think AH has called it correctly, thanks to his pics, so well done. The first clue we overlooked was really in its behaviour; when it was first flushed from vegetation where it had been furtively feeding on the ground, it dived silently into cover before later re-appearing in bush tops. It was almost more warbler-like than pipit-like in its action, before then disappearing. I later briefly re-found it, when again it dived into cover where it remained. Not easy, but in the pics it seems to show nice pinky legs, a pinky/pale tinge to the base of the lower mandible, a strongish rear super and the requisite paler less streaked plumage, so looks good I think. (OM)  

0700 - 1145hrs(Obs: C&ME/OM/AH/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 2os
Diver sp - 2E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W, 2os
Gannet - 2E
Brent Goose - 8E
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 2W, 6os
Common Scoter - 2E, 10W
Oystercatcher - 14W
Sandwich Tern - 6E, 3W
Common Tern - 1 os eventually drifted E
Red Kite - 1 over S, drifted away N
Meadow Pipit - 38N
Tree Pipit -  1, Bill House garden
Swallow - 1N
Marsh Tit - 1 Bill House garden, called and seen, remained briefly then flew N
Black Redstart - 1 gardens, flew N
Chiffchaff - 3 gardens 
Also 4 Wheatears on the beach west of the Lifeboat Station this afternoon (PJ)

Red Kite (above) & Tree Pipit at the Bill (AH)

Distant Black Redstart at the Bill which perched briefly before heading off north to avoid a decent pic! (OM)

Selsey, Northcommon Farm: A Willow Warbler (or perhaps two) was singing stridently from a hedgerow, with 3 Chiffchaffs nearby. A flock of 40 Curlew was in the horse paddocks (OM)

Selsey East Beach: Fishermans Walk (path between East Street and Kingsway): 2 Firecrests  were moving between gardens in Ruskin Close and Broad View and 3 Chiffchaffs were close by.  East Beach Pond also had at least 2 Firecrests, possibly 3 and two Chiffchaffs. (SR)

Firecrest at Selsey East beach (SR)

Ferry Pool: A Willow Warbler was singing near the Visitor Centre early on. (PH)
Around the pool itself there were two Green Sandpipers, a single Lapwing, four Avocets, a dozen Teal and the Shoveler count had risen with the water level - back up to 26 birds.  There were also one or two Chiffchaffs around the adjacent hedges.(AH)

Green Sandpipers (above) & Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: At least one, and possibly two or three Willow Warblers were singing along the pool, as were several Chiffchaffs, among the 20+ Willow/Chiffs present. there were several Reed Buntings and Linners about, and a Cetti's Warbler briefly showed itself. (AH)

Cetti's Warbler (above), Linnet & Reed Bunting along Long Pool (AH)

Church Norton: Very quiet this morning, with just a handful of Chiffchaffs about and not much else, though there were two Red-breasted Merganser offshore and another in the harbour, along with a Great Crested Grebe, plus yesterday's Knot, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover and Shelduck numbers. (AH)

Chiffchaff (above) & Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Plovers, Knot and Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall area: Very quiet again, with the Breech Pool overflowing again, and there were just a few Teal and 40 Black-tailed Godwits sheltering at the back. There were 28 Brent Geese in the field behind, together with three Roe Deer, and there were 130 Curlews spaced out across the 3 Honer fields. 
There were three Chiffchaffs along the Wall and two calling Cetti's Warblers, whilst in the macracarpa trees to the west of Bremere bridge there were four Chiffchaffs, a Goldcrest and a mixture of Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Greenfinches. (JDW)

Medmerry (west side): A Little Gull was present on the Stilt Pool this afternoon, and a Wheatear was nearby. (PH)
Later on there were two Little Gulls present (both first-years), and the Common Sandpiper on the Stilt Pool, the Little Owl at Marsh Farm, a Barn Owl hunting nearby and 20+ Yellowhammers and 6+ Reed Buntings along the banks. (S&SaH)

Sidlesham: A Raven went over south over our house on the west of the village at lunchtime today (AH)

Ivy Lake: The two Red-crested Pochards were out in the middle of the lake this morning, along with a few Tufted Ducks and plenty of Black-headed Gulls. Along the path, a male Blackcap was near the parking area, half a dozen each of Chiffchaff & Cetti's Warbler singing, and a few Goldcrests and Wrens everywhere. Four Little Egrets were in the roost and Canada and Greylag Geese were on the water, with a few Great Crested Grebes. Despite a good insect hatch, no hirundines were to be found. (BI)

Red-crested Pochards on Ivy Lake (BI)

Tuesday, 29th March: A typically bright and blustery spring morning, with a chill in the west-south-westerly wind and the odd downpour, but with plenty of bright sun....

Selsey Bill: A bit more was happening than the conditions promised - including a Black Redstart around the houses and a fleeting Wheatear, plus the two Ravens dropping in again and a House Martin, a Swallow and 100+ Meadow Pipits in off the sea (much of the activity just ahead of a heavy squall). Also, there were two Red-legged Partridges in the gardens.
Offshore an Arctic Skua, 100+ Brent Geese and a few Sandwich Terns and Common Scoter went east, whilst at least two Great Northern Divers were on the sea. Full log below...
0715-1315hrs: (Obs: C&ME/OM/AH et al)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
diver sp - 1E
Gannet - 3E, 8W
Fulmar - 1E
Brent Goose - 205E
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 2W, 5os
Common Scoter - 23E
Arctic Skua - 1E (d/p 0735)
Sandwich Tern - 6E
Black-headed Gull - 40E
Mediterranean Gull - 3E
Red-legged Partridge - 2 gardens
Pied/alba wagtail - 4N
Meadow Pipit - 125N
Wheatear - 1 ob
Swallow - 1N
House Martin - 1N
Black Redstart - 1 gardens
Chiffchaff - 1 gardens
Raven - 2, moved off W

Brent Geese (above) & Red-legged Partridges at the Bill (AH)

Selsey: Paddock Lane -  At least three Firecrests, plus a Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff in my garden late this afternoon. (J. Wootton)

Medmerry (west side): A Wheatear and a dead Cuttlefish were on the beach, whilst on the Stilt pool there were 38 Avocets and at least 3 Little Ringed Plovers  this morning. (PH)

Dead Cuttlefish on Medmerry beach (PH)

Ferry Pool: There were two Green Sandpipers on the pool early on, along with four Avocets, half a dozen Redshank, 14 Shoveler and c20 Teal. (AH/OM)
At lunchtime there were two Swallows and a House Martin over the Visitor Centre. (PH)

Shoveler on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: The two Ravens seen at the Bill were back along the west side of the harbour again shortly afterwards, and also along the west side there were 12+ Chiffchaffs, 5+ Goldcrests and 10+ Long-tailed Tits, plus a few fly-over Linnets.
In the harbour there were 30+ Knot, 40+ Grey Plover and Dunlin, and similar numbers of Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwits, whilst a Lapwing was on the fields in Rectory Lane where a pair bred last year. (AH)

Raven (above), Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plover, & Shelducks at Church Norton (AH)

Saturday, 26 March 2016

26th - 28th March 2016

Easter Monday, 28th March: Storm Katie battered the South Coast overnight with damaging gusts reaching force 11/12 at their peak.... probably the worst storm to hit us for a considerable time. The aftermath this morning unfortunately failed to produce much at sea bird-wise, whilst the gales and rain gradually subsided to leave a changeable day with sunshine and cloud and a brisk WSW breeze....

Meanwhile, not quite normal service on the blog today with ongoing power cuts in the Selsey area and elsewhere and other unexpected commitments due to damage..... will catch up as soon as possible. (OM).

Selsey Bill (0630 - 0930hrs):   (Obs: SH/JA/CN/IP/AH/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Gannet - 4E, 9W

Brent Goose - 47E
Eider - 5E
Red-breasted Merganser - 16W, 10os
Common Scoter - 5E
Grey Plover - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 6E, 1W  
Mediterranean Gull - 1E
Also 1500 - 1600hrs  (SH)
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 2E, 1W
Eider - 3os
Red-breasted Merganser - 7W
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Common Gull - 1W
Swallow - 1N   

Eiders (above) & Red-breasted Mergansers off the Bill (AH)

Selsey: Two Blackcaps were 
in the observer's garden in the north of the town. Nearby in the Park Farm area were a Firecrest, a Black Redstart, 8 Chiffchaffs and a Reed Bunting. (SH)

Black Redstart, Park Farm (SH)

Church Norton: There were 2 Gadwall on the second Severals, a Raven and 4 Chiffchaffs. (S&SaH)

 Raven at Church Norton (SH)

Another Raven was seen along the west side, tussling with the local Carrion Crows, and there was also a Reed Bunting, a Goldcrest and a couple of Chiffchaffs along the hedges and up to 50 Black-tailed Godwits in the harbour. (AH/IP/CN)

Raven (above), Reed Bunting & Black-tailed Godwits at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just two Avocets and eight Teal on the pool and a pair of Gadwall in the rife this morning. (AH)

Gadwall at the Ferry (AH)

Ivy Lake: Up to ten Sand Martins were over the lake late this morning. (AH/IP)

Sunday, 27th March: Cloudy and blustery with a strong SW wind gusting to gale force. Mainly dry for a couple of hours or so early on, then heavy and sometimes prolonged showers of rain and hail, with some brighter interludes later...

Selsey Bill (0645-1015hrs) SW6-7/8, cloud/sun (Obs: SH/PB/SR/IP/AH/OM/BI et al). Two Balearic Shearwaters were the highlight for a few of the earlier observers, whilst a Greenshank (scarce at the Bill) was a useful back-up; otherwise 300+ Brent were moving through, though passage died away fairly quickly. Full Log below....
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 1E, 10W
Gannet - 4E, 31W
Balearic Shearwater - 2W (0810hrs SH/PB/IP/CN/SR)
Shearwater sp - 1W distant
Brent Goose - 341E, 4W
Shelduck - 1E
Eider - 3os
Common Scoter - 16E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 2W
Wigeon - 2E
Greenshank - 1W
Whimbrel - 1W
Peregrine - 1 os chased a Sandwich Tern
auk sp - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 4E, 13W
Kittiwake - 2W
Pied/alba wagtail - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 20N
Swallow - 1N
Also 1300-1400hrs: Nothing moving, though 3 Great Northern Divers and 4 R/b Mergansers offshore. (SH)

Fulmar (above) & Brent Geese at the Bill (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: There was a male Wheatear this morning on fields east of the buildings, and a Sparrowhawk briefly nearby. (IP)

Chichester GPs: There was a single Sand Martin on Drayton Pit from the railway side this morning. (BI)
Late this afternoon on Ivy Lake there were at least 50 Sand Martins and just a single Swallow. (IP)

Ferry Pool: Two Green Sandpipers early on, also still four Avocets this morning, plus six Black-tailed Godwits, two Gadwall, two Shoveler, two Shelduck and a dozen Teal; nearby Reed Bunting and Skylarks singing. (CG/AH)

Avocet (above), Black-tailed Godwit & Teal on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A male Wheatear was on the concrete slabs this morning, found just before a very heavy hailstorm set in. Other birds seen included 200+ Meadow Pipits and a few Linnets on the beach, seemingly grounded by the weather, a few Skylarks along the spit, a Sandwich Tern and four Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, plus four Gannets going east, and 50+ Shelduck and Black-tailed Godwit in the harbour. (AH/IP)

Wheatear (above) & proof that we suffer for our cause - IP starting the long trudge back to Selsey in a hailstorm at Church Norton! (AH)


Medmerry (west): Easton lane to stilt pools  -  the highlights were a Little Gull, 38 Avocets, 40 Golden Plover , a Little Ringed Plover and a Peregrine (SH)

 Little Gull at Medmerry stilt pool (SH)

Saturday, 26th March: A cloudy but dry morning with a strong southerly wind....the forecast having changed considerably at fairly short notice....with heavy rain now not due until late afternoon. 

So where is the heavy band of driving rain moving through all morning on that strong southerly that the Met office was warning me of up until very recently? Such iffy forecasts influence birding decisions... it just goes to show there's no substitute for putting in the hours whatever the weatherman says! (OM)

Selsey Bill: And if proof was needed - two Ravens - only the second-ever record here - were present early on, even settling on the Oval Field, before drifting off west and then returning again, heading east. There was quite a bit of other movement, including the first Arctic Skua of the spring, three Black-throated Divers and a very odd-looking 'leucistic' Brent Goose. 
Later on there was another Arctic Skua and the first Common Tern. Full log below...
(The leucistic Brent Goose was reported passing Dungeness at 11.30 this morning (per BI), an impressive two and a half hours, and quicker than by car!) 

(0615-0930hrs) (Obs: JA/CN/SH/IP/AB/AGB/AH/BI)
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Black-throated Diver  - 3E
Great Northern Diver - 3E, 3os
diver sp - 6E
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Fulmar - 10E, 15W
Gannet - 73E, 9W
Brent Goose - 81E (inc leucistic bird E at 9.02am)
Common Scoter - 60E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 3os
Arctic Skua - 1E (d/p)
Mediterranean Gull - 1E
Kittiwake - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 21E, 1W
Sand Martin - 1NMeadow Pipit - 5N, 2p
Raven - 2p, then E

Also 1045 - 1245hrs(SR)
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Fulmar - 5W
Gannet - 5 E, 10W
Common Scoter - 10E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Turnstone - 27ob

And 1500-1700hrs (SH)
Gannet - 91E, 1W
Common Scoter - 5E
Red-breasted Merganser - 6W
Arctic Skua - 1E (d/p)
Kittiwake - 1E
Common Tern - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 22E, 1W

Ravens (above) (AH/BI), leucistic Brent Goose (AH/BI & Gannets (BI) at the Bill

Selsey area: A Blackcap singing in a garden to the north of the town, whilst 10 Chiffchaffs and a female Black Redstart were in the horse paddock at Park farm. (S&SaH) 
There was also a Firecrest and a Goldcrest around the hedges later on. (IP)

Ferry Pool: A Little Ringed Plover was again on the pool early this morning. (PH) Otherwise, there were four Avocets, one Black-tailed Godwit, three Shovelers and 22 Teal. (AH)

Ivy Lake: There were c50 Sand Martins, 20 Swallows and at least one House Martin over the lake this morning. (AB/AGB)

Church Norton: The two Ravens seen at the Bill were on the spit a short while after. (AB/AGB) There was not much else to report - though there were 80 Black-tailed Godwits and 60 Shelduck on the mud, and a couple of Chiffchaffs were singing near the Mound. (AH) 
Later several more Chiffchaffs were around the area and at the back of the first Severals there was a Firecrest (S&SaH)
The Ravens had reappeared this afternoon on the spit, and there were three pairs of Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour. (IP)

Ravens on Church Norton spit (IP)
Shelducks, Black-tailed Godwits &and Oystercatcher at Church Norton (AH)
Medmerry (west side): There were 3 or possibly even 4 Little Ringed Plovers at the Stilt pool this morning (PH)