Friday, 11 March 2016

11th - 13th March 2016

Sunday, 13th March: Dry and mainly sunny, with a little cloud and high pressure now giving fairly settled conditions, though with a cooler E/NE wind 3-4....

Just a short note to say that the blog quietly reached its third birthday on Friday (11th).... even though it feels like its been going a lot longer than that! We couldn't let the occasion pass though without saying thanks to all for your support and kind comments, and glad you like it. . (OM/AH)

Selsey Bill (0615-1030hrs): NNE3, mist at first (Obs: JA/M&CE/AH/IP/SR/SdeH et al). Still rather little moving offshore this morning, though a group of six Avocets east, pausing briefly on the spit, was a surprise, and there were still 5+ Great Northern Divers on the sea. There was also a hint of migration, with 40+ Meadow Pipits coming in. Full log below....
Great Northern Diver - 5os 
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 3W
Shelduck - 4E
Mallard - 2p
Shoveler - 5E, 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 6os
Oystercatcher - 21 ob
Avocet  - 6E  

Curlew - 8E
Sanderling - 1ob
Turnstone - 9W

Grey Plover - 4W
Sandwich Tern - 1os

Herring Gull - 586os
Mediterranean Gull - 1E
Skylark - 1N
Pied Wagtail - 3N
Meadow Pipit - 48N
Linnet  - 1N     

Great Northern Diver (above), Avocets & a very low tide at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Not much activity this morning, though there were still four Avocets, six Black-tailed Godwits, two Redshank, 42 Teal and four Shelduck on the pool and c300 Brent Geese and 200 Wigeon on the fields. (AH)

Shelduck on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: Not much to report from the walk from Park Farm, Selsey and back. At Park Farm a Chiffchaff was in the hedge and c30 Golden Plovers came up over the fields to the west, but there was no sign of the Black Redstart. 
At Church Norton three Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore, a few Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits were in Bluebell Wood, a few Meadow Pipits went over and not much beyond the regular stuff in the harbour, though a Bar-tailed Godwit was on the mud, at least 1000 Brent Geese were at the far end and a few Skylarks were on the spit. (AH/IP)

Skylark (above), Goldcrest & Long-tailed Tit at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: West side - A Green Sandpiper was by the sluice, 28 Avocets  were on the Stilt Pool and 120 Brent Geese were on the field opposite, whilst there were still plenty of Skylarks, Yellowhammers & Meadow Pipits about the area, along with a male Reed Bunting. (BI)

Medmerry: East side - No sign of the Black Redstart this morning, and generally very quiet with only a Grey Plover of note out on the mud. (BI)

Saturday, 12th MarchAnother glorious, still and sunny morning, with a gentle E/NE breeze and some offshore mist, but still not producing much evidence of spring migration....

Selsey Bill (0615-1145hrs): Sunny, NNE2, mist. (Obs: JA/IP/C&ME/SR/OM et al) A very low tide first thing today, with the shingle bar extending to the beach! Still very little moving this morning, though there were still 6+ Great Northern Divers offshore. A Chiffchaff was observed to come in off the sea and dive into cover in Bill House garden, whilst a different migrant Stonechat to yesterday's bird (of which no sign today) suddenly also appeared in the garden at around 09.30 (perhaps being a good candidate for the European race S.r. rubicola?). Full log below.....
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 6W
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Brent Goose - 14E, 2W
Shag - 1E
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 14E, 16os
Common Scoter - 6E, settled on sea
Curlew - 2E
Oystercatcher - 18 ob
Dunlin - 6E
Sandwich Tern - 2W
Herring Gull - 622 os
Skylark - 1N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 8N (one Pied landed next to SR!)
Meadow Pipit - 7N
Stonechat - 1 male, Bill House Garden
Chiffchaff - 1N in above garden

Male Stonechat in Bill House garden - quite a striking bird and perhaps a good candidate for the European race (S.r.rubicola)? Note the rather prominent, largish white collar and the extensive orange colour saturation extending right down to flanks and lower belly (OM)

Here appearing much more washed out due to bright sunshine and my limited photographic ability, but note the amount of white showing to the rump/undertail coverts (OM)

 Chiffchaff in Bill House garden (seen to arrive from the sea). (OM)

Common Scoter off the Bill (OM)

Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper was present early on, and there were also still four Avocets, half a dozen Black-tailed Godwits and just a few Lapwings on the pool, plus 2-300 Brent Geese and 100 or more Wigeon on the field. (AH/IP)

Green Sandpiper (above) & Lapwing on Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: There were at least half a dozen Chiffchaffs along the hedges, in the company of a few Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits, and there were four Yellowhammers and 10+ Reed Buntings along the west side path. Also a Kingfisher was along the rife, the first couple of pairs of Linnets were back around the gorse and five Gadwall were in Ferry Channel. (AH)

Kingfisher (above), Yellowhammer, Chiffchaff & Linnet along Long Pool/West side (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - There were plentiful Skylarks and Meadow Pipits all the way along the banks, and 20+ Yellowhammers, too, mostly feeding on the stubble fields, though only one pair of Stonechats were present. The Avocet count had risen to 26 this morning on the Stilt Pool, along with the Common Sandpiper, three Common Gulls, a few Teal, Wigeon and Tufted Ducks, plus a large and noisy gathering of Black-headed Gulls looking like they were ready to settle in. There was not much out on the reserve, though the Red-breasted Merganser was present, 40 Brent Geese dropped in and 30+ Lapwings went up a couple of times from the far side. (AH/IP/PLS)

Coastguards area - Having had a quick look late this afternoon from the Bill and seen no Great Northern Divers I had a look from here and there were at least ten offshore, with similar of Red-breasted Merganser, all well out to sea. (AH)

Chichester GPs - Drayton Pits: A brief check of these pits found nothing unusual, with wildfowl numbers dwindling, but there were still 40 Shoveler, 20+ Pochard and 50 Tufted Ducks present, together with about 30 Canada Geese and half a dozen Greylags. (OM)

Church Norton: Late this afternoon the Whimbrel was in residence, a female Goldeneye and two Bar-tailed Godwits were in the harbour, and a male Stonechat (another migrant?) was in the horse field, but I could only find one Slavonian Grebe offshore, along with four Great Crested Grebes and 12 Red-breasted Mergansers. (AH)

Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)

Sidlesham Common, Lockgate Road area: In the area late this afternoon there were 2 Buzzards, 9 Yellowhammers, 18 Skylarks, 3 Stock Doves, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Pied Wagtails, 1 Song Thrush. (SR)

Friday, 11th March: A beautiful sunny and fairly still day with a light NE breeze after a very foggy start everywhere, except Selsey Bill, which was sunny with reasonable visibility from the off....

Selsey Bill (0715-1315hrs) (Obs: C&ME/C&JM/OM/AH/BI)  There was a degree of unfulfilled anticipation from the assembled observers this morning, and despite the thick coastal fog elsewhere, the view at the Bill extended to the shingle bar early on and then steadily cleared. There was little moving most of the time, and it's true it was often fairly boring, but just occasional bits of passage finally ensured the team put in a 6-hour shift!  Four Greylags flew N from the sea out of the mist and headed N over Bill House, a Stonechat was new in and popped up in the garden there late morning, a handful of Meadow  Pipits arrived, a Sanderling was on the beach and a few waders passed through heading east.... small rewards, but at least something. But where is the Brent passage? Full log below:
Great Northern Diver - 12 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 1W
Greylag Goose - 4N (09.07hrs)
Brent Goose - 23W
Eider - 2E
Shelduck - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 21E, 5W, 10os
Common Scoter - 3E
Curlew - 16E
Grey Plover - 32E
Dunlin - 15E
Sanderling - 1ob
Sandwich Tern - 2E, 3W
Meadow Pipit - 21N
Stonechat - 1 Bill House garden
Starling - 1N

Sanderling (above) & Greylag Geese at the Bill (AH)

Newly-arrived Stonechat in Bill House garden and a bit of boredom creeping in during the sea watch...! (OM)

Selsey East Beach: There were 2 Slavonian Grebes, 88 Brent Geese and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea off the car park this morning (JA).

Medmerry (west): Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - The Common Sandpiper and a Red-breasted Merganser were on the pool with the Avocet count up to 22. Also a Peregrine was out on the reserve and there were two summer-plumaged Mediterranean Gulls about. (PLS)

The most abundant birds were Meadow Pipits with plenty all the way down and around the Stilt pools, also good numbers of Skylarks and Yellowhammers. Two Stonechats were by Marsh Barn with a Corn Bunting nearby and there were a few Greenfinches by the sea defences, and two Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk were also about.

On the way back to Easton Lane two cronking Ravens flew over going east. (BI)

Peregrine (above) & Yellowhammer at Medmerry (BI)

Early this evening a Barn Owl was out hunting in this area. (BI)

Barn Owl at Medmerry (BI)

Medmerry (East): Breach area - The Black Redstart was still about, doing its circuit of the rocks, but not much else about there bar a handful of Meadow Pipits. About 60 Curlew were on the field by the Windmill, and on the pools there were c100 Grey Plover, c200 Dunlin, 40 Brent Geese and a few Teal, Wigeon and Shelduck. (AH)

Black Redstart (above) Meadow Pipit & Grey Plovers at Medmerry (AH)

Church Norton: The Spoonbill was present before I arrived, but flew off east as the tide rose. Offshore there were just four Slavonian Grebes, a Great Northern Diver and six Red-breasted Mergansers, with another four of the latter and a Great Crested Grebe in the harbour. The pair of Peregrines were still on their island and the Whimbrel was lurking near the bench, but otherwise it was just plenty of Brent Geese, Grey Plovers and Dunlin. (AH et al)

Whimbrel (above) & Brent Geese at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Not much today - just four Avocets, 20 Teal, 10 Shelduck, a few Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank, plus 300 Brent Geese, 150 Wigeon and 400 Lapwing. (AH)

North Wall: A lovely warm morning after the mist lifted. I was on Wheatear patrol but was yet again disappointed! There were, however, two Spotted Redshanks along White's Creek, a couple of Common Snipe, a few Teal and Wigeon and a pair of Shovelers on Breech Pool. In Honer 3 field there were 130 Black-tailed Godwits and 48 Curlew. A number of the Godwits are coming into summer plumage. The Grey Herons were still busy in Owl Copse. (JDW)

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