Tuesday, 10 May 2016

10th - 12th May 2016

Thursday, 12th May: A grey, humid and still start gradually gave way to a warm, bright and breezy day.....

Selsey Bill: An interesting morning, despite a lack of sea-passage, with the highlight (for four observers, anyway!) being a Red-rumped Swallow, that flew over the gardens near Hillfield Road, heading east, at just before 8am. The gardens stole the show today and among other surprises were a Blue-headed Wagtail that came in and paused briefly in the Bill House garden, the Serin gave a fly-around for those looking for the wagtail, there was a White Wagtail on the field and two Black Redstarts (at times together), along with a couple of singing Chiffchaffs and finally a Cuckoo!
Not much was moving on the sea, though a very late flock of 50 Brent Geese early on was a surprise, but otherwise there was just a single Red-throated Diver, 150+ Common Terns, plus a few Gannets, Sandwich and Little Terns going (mostly) east. Full log below....
0545-1245hrs: (Obs: JF/ML/OM/AH/CRJ/C&ME/BFF/DM/DF/PC et al)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - just 1 os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 20E, 7W
Brent Goose - 50E
Shelduck - 3W
Common Scoter - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W
Mallard - 6os
Redshank - 3W
Whimbrel - 6E
Sanderling - 25E
Red-legged Partridge - 2 gardens
Little Tern - 12E, 15os
Commic Tern - 161E
Sandwich Tern - 34E
Mediterranean Gull - 1 N over high, calling
Swallow - 7N
Red-rumped Swallow - 1E over gardens (AH/JF/OM/ML)
Yellow Wagtail - 2N
'Blue-headed' Wagtail - 1, Bill House garden (heard arriving from sea) (BFF/DM et al)
White Wagtail - Oval playing field
Black Redstart - 2 gardens
Serin - 1 briefly seen/heard over Oval field/Bill House (BFF/AH/CRJ et al)
Cuckoo - 1 gardens
Chiffchaff - 3 gardens
Whitethroat - 2 gardens

Additionally,1645-1800hrs was also quiet.... just Great Crested Grebe 2E, Little Tern 2W, Common Tern 2E and Commic Tern 15E (JA/SH)

Black Redstart in gardens at the Bill (DM)

Black Redstarts (above), Sandwich Tern & House Martins at the Bill (AH)

 A bit of excitement on the Oval field, searching for the Blue-headed Wagtail and Serin (OM)

The end of an era and a dream...this is, or rather was, Seagulls Cottage, situated right on the point at the Bill. Formerly a staff accommodation bungalow for the old Pontins holiday camp, it has stood for many years, latterly being used as a holiday cottage for a disabled charity. I always dreamt of buying it if I won the pools! Too late now, sadly. Such a shame to see it go. (OM)

Selsey: As I approached the mini-round-a-bout at the north end of Selsey at 1210 there were 2 Red Kites high over the Park Lane area, drifting towards Church Norton. On arriving home I took my lunch into the garden, and at 1235  the same 2 Red Kites drifted over north, a garden tick! (CRJ)

Church Norton: By contrast, Church Norton was very quiet, with the harbour devoid of waders, though 17 Dunlin, a Sanderling and a Ringed Plover were on the beach, and a few Reed and Sedge Warblers, plus a couple of Reed Buntings were singing along the Severals, and a couple of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were singing around the Mound area. (AH)

Dunlin (above), with Sanderling and Oystercatcher & Goldfinch with nest material at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just three Shelduck and two Coots this morning! (AH)
Three Red Kites were over the visitor centre at lunch time, a nice interlude during lunch (IL, C&ME et al)  Also the 2 Nightingales and a Hobby out along the tramway and a downy Tawny Owlet was out of the nest-box roosting on a branch. (C&ME)

Juvenile Tawny Owl roosting on a branch (DM)

Medmerry (west): There was not much this morning along the path to the Stilt Pool,  just a Reed Warbler and only one Whitethroat, plus three Yellowhammers and a few Skylarks, with a Short-eared Owl keeping watch over the stilt pool from the fence. (T. Roe)

Short-eared Owl at Medmerry (T. Roe)

A fleeting visit produced just the Short-eared Owl hunting the Medmerry Park bank on the Stilt Pools this morning. In the Easton Lane car-park area a Cuckoo was seen and heard, and there were emerging Hairy Dragonflies, plus a swimming Grass Snake in the ditches! And a few migrant Red Admirals were about, too. (PLS)
A look this evening didn't produce much, though there were several families of Avocets, a Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper on the Stilt Pool, a few unseen but noisy Whimbrel on the reserve, and a Brown Hare and a few Yellowhammers and Skylarks along the bank. (AH)

Avocets getting upset with a wandering Mute Swan (above), Skylark & Brown Hare at Medmerry (AH)

Wednesday, 11th May: A pretty dismal morning, with fog and heavy drizzle giving way to some prolonged heavy rain before suggesting it might brighten up, all with no wind at all and a flat calm sea.....then after the rain subsided, alternating periods of brighter spells with reasonable visibility soon followed by dense foggy spells.

Selsey Bill: Unsurprisingly slow-going at times, with a bit of early wader passage, producing around 50 Whimbrel and a few Dunlin, Sanderling, Grey and Ringed Plovers  going east, plus four  Black Terns, and c.200 Common/Commic Terns. A small selection of passerine migrants was also present, having dropped into the gardens from the fog, but the late highlights were a Hobby in from the sea, an Arctic Skua, then a Pomarine Skua east at 1440hrs.  Full log below....
0640-1600hrs:   (Obs: OM/AH/TR/PK/RN/C&ME et al)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Gannet - 25E, 4W
Brent Goose - 8E
Common Scoter - 13E
Curlew - 1E
Whimbrel - 50E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1E
Grey Plover - 10E
Dunlin - 1E, 20W
Turnstone - 13W
Ringed Plover - 2E
Sanderling - 19E
auk sp - 1E
Hobby - 1N
Little Tern - 2E
Black Tern - 4E
Common Tern - 50E
Commic Tern - 191E
Sandwich Tern - 18E
Arctic Skua - 1E
Pomarine Skua - 1E (1440hrs)
Swallow - 12N
House Martin - c.12 collecting mud
Yellow Wagtail - 1 gardens
Whinchat - 1 gardens
Black Redstart - 1 gardens
Whitethroat - 2 gardens
Sedge Warbler - 1 ob/gdns
Reed Warbler - 1 singing gardens
Spotted Flycatcher - 1 gardens

Sanderling (above) & Ringed Plover at the Bill (AH)

OM on the Wall during a solo vigil in the rain - a triumph of hope over experience!

Black Redstart in the gardens (OM)

Medmerry (west): Highlights this morning were Short-eared Owl around the Stilt Pool and two Ruff on it, and among other birds seen were a Common Sandpiper, a Sanderling and ten Dunlin.
There are now three broods of Avocets chicks present, with two of those only just hatched this morning. It looked like another two or three nests might have been hatching as I was there, judging by the behaviour of the adults, so there should be a few more broods in the coming days. There was also a Mallard with nine small ducklings. (PH) 

Church Norton: A Greenshank and a few Whimbrel were in the harbour, and a couple of Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap were singing from the bushes this morning. (AH)

Greenshank at Church Norton (AH)

Ivy Lake complex: A Common Sandpiper flew across West Lake and four Common Terns were on the raft on New Lake, with another seven on the buoys on Ivy Lake, a few Swifts and Swallows were overhead, and one of the Canada Geese pairs had newly hatched goslings with them. There was plenty of birdsong in the hedges, including several Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Cetti's Warblers, plus at least two Sedge Warblers, and there was a big and noisy  flock of 20+ Long-tailed Tits roaming about. (AH)

Common Terns on a crowded raft, Long-tailed Tit & Canada Goose family at Chichester GPs (AH)

Tramway area: Nothing singing bar a Blackcap in the drizzly fog this evening, though a female Cuckoo was lurking in the hedges and half a dozen Whimbrel were in the harbour, along with a Grey Heron showing off on the pipe over Ferry Channel. (AH)

Cuckoo (above), Whimbrel & Grey Heron from the Tramway (AH)

Tuesday, 10th May: A really drizzly, gloomy start, with increasing rain, almost no wind and poor visibility, though the breeze slowly started to freshen.....and then the sea-watchers' enemy... thick coastal fog suddenly descended, remaining until mid-afternoon at least......

Selsey Bill: Unexpectedly, after a slow start, Commic Tern movement started, with over 750 east by mid-morning, with ten Black Terns and a few Sandwich and Little Terns with them. An Arctic Skua went east, four and then (possibly) another three Common Sandpipers went along the beach, and a flock of 13 Redshank (a scarce bird at the Bill) appeared out of the gloom and seemed to head off north. Just when things were looking really interesting and hopes of a high Commic count were building, thick fog suddenly appeared around 1030-1100, drifting in and out but obliterating any meaningful sea-watching thereafter, to the consternation of the assembled observers. As frustration built with the realisation of what was now being missed, checks of the beach and gardens were the next best option.... and one of them paid dividends when a newly-arrived female Pied Flycatcher was discovered near the bungalows (OM). Thereafter, hopes of the fog lifting were dashed and observations were reluctantly terminated.  Full log below....
0545-1445hrs: (Obs: JF/C&ME/OM/CRJ/AH et al)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os flew E
Gannet - 7E
Brent Goose - 4E
Common Scoter - 18E
Whimbrel - 3E, 2W
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1E
Redshank - 13E (one flock)
Grey Plover - 5E
Common Sandpiper - 5E, 3W onto beach
Sanderling - 52E
Red-legged Partridge - 1 gardens
Little Tern - 16E
Black Tern - 10E
Commic Tern - 846E
Sandwich Tern - 48E
Arctic Skua - 1E
Sand Martin - 1N
Swallow - 7N
Pied Flycatcher - 1 (female) gardens
House Martin - c.12 Bill House area

 Record shots of the Pied Flycatcher in the fog at the Bill (OM)

 Red-legged Partridge in gardens at the Bill, and the frustration of a fogged-off sea-watch! (OM)

 ....and some proper photos of the Pied Flycatcher! (DM)

Common Terns (above) & Redshanks at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were two very late Teal on the pool, along with four Avocets, two Shelduck and two Redshank this morning. The two Tawny Owlets were still in their box, and the two Nightingales were singing well again, with what is presumably the lately-arrived and unpaired bird showing unusually well. Also a Cuckoo was in the vicinity, a couple of Reed Warblers were along the creek and half a dozen Whimbrel were off the Tramway. (AH)

Nightingale (above), Reed Warbler & Whitethroat in Tramway area (AH)

Teal (above) & Avocets on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: A Common Sandpiper and another half a dozen Whimbrel were along Ferry Channel, whilst along the pool there were quite a few Reed Warblers in evidence. (AH)

Common Sandpiper (above), Reed Warbler & Reed Bunting from Long Pool (AH)

Church Norton: A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling in the field by the Mound, and a few Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were singing, but no other migrants were obvious. In the harbour there were two Bar-tailed Godwits, a few Ringed Plover and Dunlin, plus a couple of Little and Common Terns. (AH/JD/DS/BFF/DM)

 Grasshopper Warbler at Church Norton (DM)

North Wall: A family of Moorhens were at the sluice gates and there were 7 Linnets in the stable field at Welbourne collecting horse hair. On the Breech Pool were single pairs of Little Ringed Plover and Mute Swan. A Cuckoo was calling just north of Welbourne and Reed Warblers were calling all along Pagham Rife where there was a pair of Green Woodpeckers and 12 Yellowhammers feeding in a recently planted field. The fields north of Honer are now covered in polythene which was clearly attractive to gulls as there was a mixed flock of some 300 birds sitting preening on this material. Beware of a herd of very frisky cattle in the Honer fields! Two Jays were sitting on the gravestones at Pagham Church. (JDW)

Young Moorhen at the North Wall and Jay in Pagham churchyard (JDW)

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