Monday, 7 March 2016

7th - 10th March 2016

Thursday, 10th MarchSpring is apparently just around the corner, but not yet! A cold grey morning, with a chilly north-easterly suggesting it is still winter on the Sussex coast....

Selsey Bill (0730-1100hrs): (Obs: C&ME/OM/AH et al)  An impressive thirteen Great Northern Divers were viewable together offshore this morning, (in three flocks of 7, 4 and 2), but although there wasn't much evidence of migration, there was just a faint hint of some....including a real moment of nature in the raw! At about 10.30 a dark thrush-sized bird was first noted by ME, coming in low over the sea, fairly close inshore and being pursued by a pack of baying Herring Gulls. As it struggled towards the shore the gulls attacked it several times, twice knocking it into the water and both times it got airborne again to continue the struggle.... before the inevitable happened and one of the gulls caught the bird in its beak before forcing it into the sea. At this stage the hapless bird appeared to be a Starling, and after a brief final struggle it was all over and it was left floating lifeless on the water... when proper scrutiny revealed it was actually a Redwing! And would you believe it, after that, all the gulls basically ignored the little corpse as it gently floated away on the tide.....   Full log below...

Red-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 13os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1os
Gannet - 1W
Mute Swan - 1 (imm) headed S out to sea, circled back and headed off N
Eider - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 13E, 19W, 5os
Wigeon - 3W
Shoveler - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Rock Pipit - 1W along beach
Meadow Pipit - 2N
Redwing - 1N, died just os (see above)

Dead Redwing (should that be Deadwing!) just off the Bill-tip, having been attacked by Herring Gulls (OM)

Great Northern Divers (above) & Mute Swan at the Bill (AH)

An interesting view of the wall in front of Bill House, where the sea-watchers usually gather. Note that the entire sloping wall has now been exposed by the tide after recent storms, revealing also the original old wall of pointed turrets and angled sea defences further down the beach, long since swallowed up by the sea and usually invisible under the shingle. Meanwhile, just a short distance westwards and out of view, sea-defence works continue apace, with tons of shingle being piled in to shore up the beach.... how long that will remain? (OM)

Church Norton: Highlight was an adult Spoonbill in the harbour, feeding near the old harbour mouth this morning, though otherwise it was pretty quiet. Offshore there were five Slavonian Grebes, a Great Northern Diver and six Red-breasted Mergansers, though they were all very distant. In the harbour there were also two roosting Bar-tailed Godwits, a drake Goldeneye, a drake Red-breasted Merganser among the more usual fare. (AH/BFF/DM)

Spoonbill (above), Goldeneye and Bar-tailed Godwits & Oystercatchers at Church Norton (AH)

Later on, on the rising tide 40 Knot noted with the leucestic Curlew roosting on Tern island and 2 Peregrine on the small island. In the harbour there were a male Goldeneye and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers and the wintering Whimbrel. Offshore there were 5 Red-breasted Mergansers and 11 Slavonian Grebes (our highest count this winter). (BFF/AH)

 Two further views of the Spoonbill (DM)

Ferry Pool: Very few birds present this morning, compared to recent days, though there was still a Green Sandpiper, two Avocets, a single Lapwing and up to ten each of Shelduck and Teal around the pool. (AH/BFF/DM)

Medmerry (east): The Black Redstart was still present on the sea-defence rocks but there were no migrants to be found. On the lagoon, viewed from the watchpoint, 90 Grey Plover and similar of Dunlin were huddled together on one of the islands, with 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and 4 Great Crested Grebes swimming nearby. (OM)
Later on there were 14 Great Northern Divers offshore (presumably birds that had drifted round from the Bill on the high tide - eds) (BFF/DM)

Wednesday, 9th March: Wild and windy overnight with gales and heavy rain, though somewhat drier by morning with the wind subsiding slightly. Cloudy with a few glimpses of brightness through the day, but still with a strong and chill wind SE-NE and the risk of heavy showers ....

Update: As March moves onwards the clearing work out on Tern Island has finished for  this winter. Over the last four projects over 50 volunteer and staff days have been achieved to clear about 95% of the Island ready for the Shorebird breeding season. Over the next couple of weeks the electric fencing will be erected and then we will wait for the arrival of the terns; in fact the first Sandwich Tern has already been reported in the Harbour. I would like to thank everyone involved for such a successful outcome and watch this space for further news of the up and coming season (I.Lang, Warden)

View of the newly-cleared Tern Island (IL)

Selsey Bill (0745-0930hrs): (AH/SR)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 6os
Great Crested Grebe - 3W
Gannet - 1E, 4W
Common Scoter - 3E, 7os
Eider - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 8E, 11W, 8os

Great Northern Divers (above) & Common Scoter at Selsey Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Grey Wagtail was present again, and there were ten Avocets on the pool this morning, along with eight Black-tailed Godwits, six Redshank, six Shoveler and 30 Teal. On the field there were 250 Brent Geese, 200 Wigeon and 30 Curlew and 40 Golden Plover in with 500+ Lapwing. (AH)

Grey Wagtail (above), Avocets, Teal & Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: Very little of note this morning with the strong SSE wind ripping across the harbour, though there were 50+ Curlew along the west side and 50+ Grey Plover and 200+ Dunlin on the last bits of exposed mud, plus 20 or more Shelduck, a few Wigeon and Teal and 200 Brent Geese. (AH)

Grey Plovers (above) & Curlews at Church Norton (AH)

Tuesday, 8th March: Not a bad start to the day - a bit grey and overcast (and cold!), but with only a light westerly breeze - then some irritating light showers late morning before becoming drier again.....

Selsey Bill (0715-1200hrs): (Obs: C&ME/AH/OM/DF/DS/JD et al)  Still very little moving, though some Common Scoter and 3 Eider were perhaps the first harbingers of future passage and at least three Sandwich Terns started the usual debate about winterers -v- the first migrants! Also at least five Great Northern Divers offshore. Full log below.....
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Great Northern Diver - 5+ os
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 3E
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 6E, 1W
Brent Goose - 1 os
Eider - 3E
Red-breasted Merganser - 15E, 12W, 6os
Common Scoter - 12E, 29W
Turnstone - 22 ob
Oystercatcher - 6 ob
Sandwich Tern - 1E, 3W

Great Northern Diver off the Bill (AH)

 Turnstones and Oystercatchers on the beach at Selsey Bill (OM)

Selsey (West): No sign of any migrants, but in the field behind the old Coastguard cottages a flock of 60 Curlew was feeding with about 50 Starlings and a single Brent Goose (OM).

Selsey, Northcommon Farm: Again no migrants, but at the Rookery nest-building is in full swing with a provisional count of 51 nests. Also 150 noisy Jackdaws in the fields and a pair of Green Woodpeckers in the line of trees. (OM)

Park Farm, Selsey: The Black Redstart was still present in the paddocks, along with at least 30 Meadow Pipits. (AH)

Black Redstart (above) & Meadow Pipit at Park Farm, Selsey (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Grey Wagtail was at the front, and on the pool there were four Avocets, a dozen Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits, plus a few Teal and Shoveler. About 80 Golden Plover dropped into join the 500+ Lapwing, and there were 300+ Brent Geese and 200+ Wigeon at the back of the field. (AH)

Grey Wagtail (above) & Golden Plovers at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A rare, flat calm morning gave a chance for a good look offshore, and encouragingly there were at least 16 Slavonian Grebes on the sea, along with two Great Northern Divers, four Great Crested Grebes and two Red-breasted Mergansers, with a pair of the latter also in the harbour.
There wasn't much else of note, though the Whimbrel was present and there were plenty of roosting Grey Plover and Dunlin, and the two Peregrines were on their island. (AH/JD/DS/DF)

Slavonian Grebes (above), Peregrines, showing the remarkable size difference between the male and female, & Dunlin and Grey Plover at Church Norton (AH)

Monday, 7th March: Another bright and brisk morning, with a cold north-westerly but plenty of sunshine....

Ferry Pool: There were five Avocets this morning, plus 20 Black-tailed Godwits along with a few Shoveler, Teal and Redshank, whilst on the field there were 200 Wigeon and 500 Lapwing. (AH)

Pagham Beach/Lagoon: There were four Slavonian Grebes off the Yacht Club this morning, and at least six Great Crested Grebes and about 35 Red-breasted Mergansers further round into Bognor Bay. Also a Sandwich Tern was feeding off the harbour mouth before drifting away east and a Sanderling was with about 20 Turnstones on the beach.
There were only four Pochard and four Wigeon of note on the Lagoon besides the usual Little Grebe and Tufted Duck numbers. (AH)

Slavonian Grebes (above), Sanderling, Sandwich Tern & Turnstones at Pagham Beach (AH)

North Wall: The water level has begun to drop on the Breech Pool, and consequently there were three Spotted Redshanks this morning, along with 60 Black-tailed Godwits and 100+ Teal.
A pair of Goldeneye drifted into White's Creek on the rising tide, but most of the waders - including 200+ Knot, 500+ Dunlin and 40+ Grey Plover were further out in the harbour, along with 2000 or so Brent Geese and a dozen Pintail in with the Wigeon and Teal. 
A Chiffchaff was in the bushes by the sluice, a few reed Buntings were nearby, but there were at least 50 along the raised by along the edge of the Slipe Field. (AH)

Spotted Redshanks (above), Reed Bunting, Brent Goose & sinensis Cormorant from North Wall (AH)

Medmerry (West) - Easton to Stilt Pool:  It was easy to pick up on the Green Sandpiper on the first pool to the right as it was calling, probably due to disturbance from nearby dogs.   Also flushed were 7 Teal, 4 Gadwall and a Little Egret.  A Grey Partridge and two Buzzards were in the fields along with 5+ Stonechats, 7 Reed Buntings, a good number of singing Skylarks and its the first time this year I've heard Yellowhammers singing.  The Stilt Pool still had the female Red-breasted Merganser and there were also 12 Avocets, a single Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Brent Geese among the usual Tufted Ducks, Wigeon and Teal.  A flock of c150 Brent Geese was opposite. with plenty more Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Yellowhammers, two more Buzzards and a Kestrel. (SR)

No comments:

Post a Comment