Sunday, 29 May 2016

29th - 31st May 2016

Tuesday, 31st May: Cool, grey and windy, with cloud and a blustery N/NW gusting almost to gale force at times, with heavy rain by late morning.....more like late autumn than late spring!

Church Norton: Somewhat surprisingly, the Kentish Plover reappeared this morning on the dropping tide, along the back of the central bank of mud in front of Tern Island, though it became progressively harder to find as the tide continued to fall. The Little Stint also put in a brief appearance among the 40-50 Ringed Plovers and 20+ Dunlin present, whilst on the island there were four Ringed Plover chicks from our breeding birds.
Not much else was about in the deteriorating conditions, though there were a handful of Little, Common and Sandwich Terns in the harbour, and a Cuckoo was briefly in the car-park. (IL/CRJ/AH et al)

Two slightly closer images of the Kentish Plover from yesterday (AB)

Also, the following from CRJ should be noted: " This morning from the hide at Church Norton I spotted at distance a small calidrid amongst the Dunlin flock, that I first took to be a Little Stint, then realised it was a plain bird and not the bright rufous bird of yesterday, and after a while that it was too big, but not quite as large as the rest of the Dunlin. Prater at al in 'Shorebirds' states that “virtually all one year ( Dunlin ) birds gain full breeding plumage”, inferring that some do not. I wonder if it is a bird of the smaller race “ arctica “ not in summer plumage. Is this the bird that caused some confusion yesterday? Closer views would be helpful. " 
(Footnote: a few days ago  BFF/DM had a fairly small greyish bird roosting in a Dunlin flock at Norton - initially it raised some excitement and confusion with them, before closer scrutiny revealed it to be a winter-plumaged type Dunlin, perhaps of one of the smaller races. Sounds like this could well be the 'odd' bird described above). (OM)

(Distant!) Kentish Plover and Little Tern (above), Little Tern, Cuckoo & Ringed Plovers at Church Norton (AH)

This afternoon a Red Kite went over edge of the harbour on the Church Norton side, in line with the seats located before the hide. (J Sutcliffe per SOS)

Selsey Bill: A lone Manx Shearwater went through on the same line and range as yesterday's, a steady flow of Gannets went east, at least 70 Swifts were seen coming in off the sea from distance and a few Little, Common and Sandwich Terns were feeding close offshore.  Full log below. (C&ME/SR/AH/DF)
Manx Shearwater - 1W
Fulmar - 3E
Gannets - 36E, 19W
Common Scoter - 3W
Razorbill - 4E, 1W
auk sp - 1W
Swift - 76N
Common Tern - 7os
Little Tern - 3os
Sandwich Tern - 12os
Red-legged Partridge - 1gdns

Gannets (above), Sandwich Tern & Common Tern at the Bill (AH)

Also: 16.00 - 17.00hrs:   (SH)      Little of note......
Fulmar - 1E

Gannet - 11E, 8W
auk sp - 2W
Common Tern - 3os
Sandwich Tern - 4os
....and so ends the spring sea-watching, though doubtless a few late migrants will trickle through yet!

Ferry Pool: Nothing but 31 Shelducks on the pool early this morning. (AH)

Bank Holiday Monday, 30th May: Another day of strong north-easterly wind, though not quite as grey as forecast....

Church Norton: Despite the strong wind the roving Dunlin and Ringed Plover flock produced two surprises this morning, firstly a Little Stint, and then a Kentish Plover - well picked out by CRJ  - and the first on the Peninsula since May 2009. Both were out on the mud with c 40 Ringed Plovers and c20 Dunlin. Besides the above, the Cuckoo was around again and at least six Little Terns and Common Terns were in the harbour, plus a dozen Swifts overhead. (AH/CRJ/IP/OM et al)

Disappointingly, there were no further sightings of either of the rarer species from lunchtime onwards. (AH)

First record shot of the Kentish Plover, which although not that distant, proved tricky to photograph in the conditions, before eventually showing better for the camera crew ..... (BI)

Even worse records shots of the Kentish Plover! (IP above & AH)

Little Stint (above), Little Stint and Dunlin & Cuckoo at Church Norton (AH)

There were at least 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the area, this afternoon, and a steady flow of Common and Little Terns carrying food into harbour. (S&SaH)

Great Spotted Woodpecker devouring someone else's chick at Church Norton (SH)

Selsey Bill: A Manx Shearwater going west was a surprise in the conditions, and some incoming Swifts were on the move, plus three late Whimbrel east and a few Sandwich and Common Terns feeding offshore. Full log below....
0600-0930hrs:  (Obs: SH/SR/AH/JA/OM/CRJ)
Gannet - 37E, 13W
Fulmar - 2E, 1os
Manx Shearwater - 1W
Canada Goose - 1W
Common Scoter - 21E
Whimbrel - 3E
Oystercatcher - 5E
Common Tern - 6E, 7os
Sandwich Tern - 8E, 13os
auk sp - 1E
Swift - 30N
Swallow - 2N
House Martin - 12+ ('residents') gathering mud from puddles
Whitethroat - 2 gardens (on territory)

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

Park Farm, SelseyA Hobby and a Sparrowhawk both went over this morning, along with a few Swifts coming in from off the sea, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker appears to be nesting on the edge of our estate on the northern edge of the village. (S&SaH)

There were two Grey Partridges around Park Farm late this afternoon. (S&SaH)

Grey Partridge at Park Farm, Selsey (SH)

Medmerry Around the Porthole farm/sewage works area were c.100 House Martins and c.50 Swifts, whilst further on nearer Ham a singing Corn Bunting was present (OM)

Snowhill, West Wittering: A Short-eared Owl was present on the marsh this morning at 07.00, sheltering from the wind. (MR)

Short-eared Owl on Snowhill marsh (MR)

Sunday, 29th May: A fine and sunny morning - though set to become cloudier later - with a light to moderate N/NE breeze.....

So, just three days left before the end of the month, when this season's Pom King challenge closes....will there be a second wave of late Poms and will the present leader (John Faithfull) hang on to his lead? Today surely holds the last realistic chance weather-wise, and at the Bill word is that he's already home and dry, but you never know.....!

Selsey Bill: I think it is safe to assume the trophy is heading to Hampshire this year! A fairly short sea-watch in a bright northerly would suggest that spring passage is done, with just a few Gannets east, Fulmars west and lingering Sandwich and Common Terns to show, plus the resident House Martins. Full log below..... (SH/AH/JA)
Fulmar - 5W, 1E
Gannet - 26E, 13W
Sandwich Tern - 12os
Common Tern - 3os
auk sp - 1W
Swallow - 1N, 2p
House Martin - 20p

Gannet (above), Sandwich Tern, Common Tern & House Martins at the Bill (AH)

The end of the spring sea-watching season for another year! (AH)

Medmerry (west): In addition to all the Avocets chicks about (at least 15 today), there were six Little Ringed Plover chicks in two families, and another half a dozen adults present, too. Among other birds seen were two Redshank, three Buzzards, four singing Reed Warblers, 10+ Whitethroats, lots of Skylarks and a few Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers. (S&SaH)

Little Ringed Plovers at Medmerry (SH)

Ferry Pool: Just two Redshank and eight Shelduck this morning on the pool, and fairly quiet around the Tramway area, with the brisk breeze even keeping the Whitethroats down, though a couple of Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap sang sparingly. A single Lapwing and four Little Egrets were in the channel. (AH)

Chiffchaff (above) & Little Egrets from the Tramway (AH)

Church Norton: There were still half a dozen or more Little and Common Terns around the island this morning, plus a Curlew and half a dozen Ringed Plovers and Dunlin on the mud and two Gadwall in the creek by the horse field, but not a lot else. (AH)

Gadwall at Church Norton (AH)

At high tide, early this evening, there were six Great Crested Grebes on the sea and up to ten Little Terns feeding east along the beach, with several pairs excitedly chasing each other about, along with a few Common Terns. (AH)

Little Terns at Church Norton (AH)


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