Friday, 16 September 2016

16th - 18th September 2016

Sunday, 18th September: A pleasant, sunny and fairly warm day with a light W/NW breeze; mainly sunny through the morning with cloud developing later......

An update on yesterday's late news....firstly the Corncrake, seen on 12th September. We are very grateful to the lucky finder Alex Glossop for the following... " We were observing Breech Pool at Pagham Harbour at low tide with the sun behind us. Conditions were warm, approximately 23°C, with a slight breeze and also with bright sunshine giving clear visibility. We initially noticed the bird about 20 metres away from us, on the easterly half of the pool. It was on the opposite edge to us when viewed from the sea wall with our backs to the harbour. It was washing in shallow water about one metre from the edge of the reeds. We watched it for about a minute, during which we managed to take one digiscoped photo. The bird was then chased back into the reeds by a Water Rail that had been standing roughly 3 metres away from it, and we didn’t see it again, despite watching for a further 20 minutes. We viewed the pool again, approximately half an hour later, but to no avail. "

Corncrake at the Breech Pool on 12th September (A. Glossop)

Secondly, the Nightjar.... it was present for several days at The Rectory in Selsey about a week ago....we are very grateful to the finders the Rev. A and Mrs R Wilkes for allowing us to use the information. It seems that last weekend the bird was present probably from Friday evening (9th September) to at least 1330hrs on the Saturday (10th) when it was chased off by Magpies. A number of photos were obtained by the finders and others during its stay.

Nightjar at Selsey Rectory (9th-10th September) (Rev. A & Mrs R. Wilkes)

Thanks again to the finders for the photos and info, but what a pity none of the regulars on the Peninsula got to see either bird.... the Corncrake in particular is nowadays a rare bird indeed on the Peninsula. It just goes to show what passes through private gardens on migration and we can only guess at what we miss! (Eds)

Selsey Bill: 0630-1030hrs: W2 (Obs: SH/OM/SR/MJ/AH/IP et al) After yesterday's first appearance of Brents in the harbour, there was a more obvious movement of them off the Bill this morning, together with a number of wildfowl flocks. A few migrants were noted in the gardens but it was much quieter overall than yesterday, with very few hirundines, although the Dartford Warbler again appeared in Bill House garden. Full log below....
Gannet - 5E, 13W
Little Egret - 1ob
Brent Goose - 60W
Wigeon - 35E, 118W
Teal - 4E, 106W
Common Scoter - 4E, 10W
Sparrowhawk - 1 gardens
Peregrine - 1 hunting os moved W
Turnstone - 25 ob
Common Sandpiper - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 9E, 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 14os, moved off W
Pied Wagtail - 8E
Grey Wagtail - 1W
Meadow Pipit - 145N
House Martin - 12p
Swallow - 6W
Chiffchaff - 15+ gardens
Dartford Warbler - 1 Bill House garden
Whitethroat - 1 gardens
Linnet - 40p

Brent Geese (above) & Sandwich Tern at the Bill (AH)

Nothing to do with the birding, but couldn't resist these three cheeky Grey Squirrels on the chimneypots of Bill House this morning! (OM/SR)
Selsey - Park Farm: A Spotted Flycatcher and a Willow Warbler were in the orchard, with a Grey Wagtail nearby, with another Spotted Flycatcher by the farm buildings, whilst overhead were 8 Buzzards and 2 Sparrowhawks. (S&SaH/AH/IP)

Spotted Flycatcher at Park Farm (SH)

Church Norton: A bit of variety again this morning..... An Osprey was fishing the harbour for half an hour from 1120, and other raptors were 7 Buzzards, 4 Sparrowhawks and a Peregrine, whilst there were 18 Brent Geese in the harbour, with another 17 heading west, plus 30 Wigeon, 12 Pintail and a Kingfisher, a Sandwich Tern and also 18 Great Crested Grebes (of which 10 offshore). 
There was no sign of any Curlew Sandpipers in the harbour, but there were half a dozen Bar-tailed Godwits and good numbers of Dunlin and Grey Plover about, with more on the beach alongside a dozen Knot and c40 Turnstones. 
Passerines included a Redstart, five Wheatears, three Stonechats, 10+ Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs, a couple of Blackcaps and Willow Warblers and 70+ Meadow Pipits flying over, with a few House Martins and Swallows also seen. (S&SaH/AH/IP)

  Sandwich Tern at Church Norton (SH)
Wheatears (above), Stonechat, Bar-tailed Godwit & Turnstones at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool/Ferry Channel: Just a Green Sandpiper and two Black-tailed Godwits on the pool early, and they were joined by three Dunlin later. Also there was a Greenshank in the channel opposite. Two vociferous Cetti's Warblers were battling out in song across the main road early on. (OM/AH)

Greenshank in Ferry Channel (AH)

This evening there was just a lone Dunlin on the pool, though there were still 20+ Yellow Wagtails among the cattle. There was a fair selection in Ferry Channel this evening, including a Spotted Redshank, at least two Curlew Sandpipers, a Whimbrel and a Greenshank, plus at least 300 Teal. (AH)

Yellow Wagtails on Ferry Field (above), Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, Whimbrel & Curlew Sandpiper, Redshank, Wigeon and Teal in Ferry Channel (AH)

North Wall: In White's Creek at low water this morning were good numbers of Redshank and Wigeon and few Black-tailed Godwits whilst the Breech Pool held four Snipe, six Spotted Redshank, a Greenshank, half a dozen Dunlin and 100+ Black-tailed Godwits. There were two Green Woodpeckers along the lower path and a few Yellow Wagtails, Meadow Pipits & Linnets overhead. At Halsey's Farm there was a Redstart and three Blackcaps along the sunnier side of the hedge, two Wheatears on the posts and a Kingfisher along the rife. Quiet around Owl Point with just a few Snipe out on the marsh of note although there were a few Small Copper butterflies on the wing here. (BI/PC/DM/DIS)

Redstart at Halsey's Farm (above) & Small Copper at Owl Point. (BI)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to Stilt Pool - An Osprey was fishing over the Stilt Pools at 14.10-14.20 then flew west along the beach towards the Witterings.
Gull numbers were lower than previous few days, but there were still approximately 1900 Herring and 400 Black-headed Gulls present. (PH/GW)

Osprey over Medmerry (GW)

Later on, among the huge numbers of gulls there was a constant stream of Mediterranean Gulls flying overhead, totalling not less than 1500birds!
Also seen were the Barn Owl out hunting at 6pm, and along the banks there were six Wheatears, four Whinchats, a Stonechat, a Yellow Wagtail, 100+ Meadow Pipits, 100+ Swallows and 10 Sand Martins. On the pools there were a Little Stint, three Common Sandpipers, three Snipe, 100+ Wigeon and two Sparrowhawks went over. (S&SaH)

Whinchat (above), Wheatears & massed gulls at Medmerry (SH)

East side: There were two  Whinchats and a Stonechat on the bank. and a Curlew Sandpiper was roosting with ca. 40 Dunlin, 6 Knot and 20 Ringed Plovers near the breach. (PH)

Saturday, 17th September: A bit of a shock to the system and feeling distinctly autumnal with much cooler temperatures today. Mainly cloudy, though dry, with a moderate to strong N/NW wind......

Firstly, many thanks to CG/DSh/BI et al for information concerning the bat species that arrived at the Bill yesterday (see blog)....although difficult to be 100% certain from the photo, the consensus is that it was a Noctule bat. Secondly, late news is being followed up of a possible Corncrake and, separately, also a Nightjar on the Peninsula.... more details in the near future when available......

Selsey Bill: At last a bit of autumnal sea passage with some ducks on the move and four Avocets passing, plus a big movement of Swallows and House Martins streaming in most of the morning and a bit of visible migration going on. Intriguingly, an elusive Dartford Warbler was seen and heard around midday (in company with a Stonechat) in Bill House garden (SR). It would be easy to assume this is the same bird seen in this location in early August, but given that the last sighting of that individual was about 23rd August and that the gardens have been searched many times since then, it seems likely to be a different bird? Full log below......
0630-1200hrs: N/NW4  (Obs: SH/JA/PB/SR/C&ME/OM et al)
Gannet - 19E, 37W
Common Scoter - 1E
Teal - 9W
Wigeon - 1W
Shoveler - 3W
Curlew - 4W
Turnstone - 30ob
Avocet - 4W
Common Tern - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 5os
Mediterranean Gull - 2os
Razorbill - 2W
Grey Wagtail - 1 ob
Pied Wagtail - 1p
Yellow Wagtail - 3ob - flew off W
Meadow Pipit - 317 in N
Stonechat - 1 Bill House garden
Wheatear - 16p ob/gardens
House Martin - 1830 W
Swallow - 1235 W
Sand Martin - 21W
Chiffchaff - 15 gardens
Blackcap - 3 gardens
Dartford Warbler - 1 Bill House garden

 Stonechat in Bill House garden, and observers doing a vis.mig. watch from Oval field (OM)

The Dartford Warbler re-appeared this afternoon, along with a Wheatear, a Whitethroat and two Chiffchaffs, with four Meadow Pipits and 20+ Swallows and House Martins over. (SH)

Dartford Warbler at the Bill (SH)

Selsey - Park Farm: A Hobby and 2 Sparrowhawks were present, plus 7 Wheatears and 20+ Meadow Pipits (S&SaH)

Church Norton: A good selection of migrants this morning.....including the first two returning Brent Geese of the autumn. Highlights were a Spoonbill which flew over the harbour and a Merlin which did the same having arrived from the beach, whilst passerines included a Redstart, 3 Wheatears, 4 Stonechats, a Whitethroat, 4 Willow Warblers and 20+ Chiffchaffs, plus a Goldcrest in the oak copse. 
Roosting waders included 12 Knot, a Curlew Sandpiper on the concrete spit, a Golden Plover and a Whimbrel, whilst offshore were 10+ Gannets and 2 Sandwich Terns. (S&SaH)
Also seen were 30+ Grey Plover, a Whimbrel, four Bar-tailed Godwits, two Curlew Sandpipers, ten Pintail, c30 Dunlin, c40 Turnstones, a Kingfisher and a constant stream of hirundines - largely House Martins - over,plus a couple of Meadow Pipits,  and a Peregrine on the island. (AH)

Distant Spoonbill, Whimbrel, Grey Plovers & Grey Plovers and Turnstones at Church Norton (AH)

Knot at Church Norton (SH)

Also this morning there was a probable first winter female Scaup on the second Several, though sadly it wasn't there later. The two 'wind-blown' photos by SH are not conclusive, but it looks a good bet. (eds)

Probable Scaup at Church Norton (SH)

The probable Scaup wasn't showing this afternoon, but in the harbour there was still at least one Curlew Sandpiper, six Knot, four Bar-tailed Godwits and c40 Grey Plovers, a dozen Mediterranean Gulls were along the beach, a Wheatear was on the beach and 500-1000 House Martins, with a few Swallows among them were over the Severals area, and a flock of nine Brent Geese went west offshore. (AH/IP)

Grey Plover (above), House Martin & Wheatear at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: An Osprey went over west at 1.15pm, and a Curlew Sandpiper, the Ruff, a Snipe, c140 Redshank and c40 Lapwing were on the pool. There were two also Cetti's Warblers, one either side of the road by the pumping station, calling against each other constantly.  (AH/IL)  Half a dozen Yellow Wagtails were also there earlier (OM)

Osprey over (above) & Ruff on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool/Ferry Channel: Early this morning a Spotted Flycatcher and one or two Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were in the hedges at the start of the pool, with a Common Sandpiper, a Greenshank and a Whimbrel in the channel, and two Yellow Wagtails went over.
Later on there were seven Curlew Sandpipers in the channel with c60 Dunlin and at least 200 Teal, with many hundreds of House Martins going over. (AH)
The seven Curlew Sandpipers were present again late afternoon after the tide dropped. (IP)

Curlew Sandpiper (above), Curlew Sandpipers and Dunlin, Greenshank and Teal in Ferry Channel & Spotted Flycatcher along Long Pool (AH)

North Wall: There had obviously been a small fall of Wheatears along the wall this morning with probably 20 birds present early on most of which flew around the saltmarsh for a short while before departing in the direction of Church Norton. There was also a Whinchat on the wall, a Stonechat in the hedge by the bend and a small flock of Long-tailed Tits working its way along the scrub. A few Whitethroats, a Willow Warbler, three calling Cetti's Warblers, six Reed Buntings and a Jay were also along the hedge line. Not much at Halsey's Farm other than the three Blackcaps reported yesterday possibly due to the presence of two quad bikers! On the Breech Pool were the usual Redshanks & Black-tailed Godwits as well as a Spotted Redshank and in White's Creek despite two anglers setting up their gear there were two Ringed Plovers, a Greenshank, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a few Redshanks. (BI)

Wheatears (above) & Reed Bunting along the North Wall (BI)

East Head: First count of the winter season of WeBS surveys and not a Brent Goose to be seen on East Head yet. Thirteen Wheatears, a Whinchat, a Rock Pipit and a good selection of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and a lone Whitethroat made up for it however. Small numbers of waders were noted including of Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Redshank and six Greenshanks made a pleasant start to the autumn/winter survey season. (GM per SOS)

Friday, 16th SeptemberA fairly unpleasant blast of autumn this morning; at first it was dead calm with a couple of hours of heavy rain, then as the rain eased an increasingly strong north-westerly breeze set in with heavy cloud cover, though also with some brightness.....

A bit of news... Mervyn's back!  Many observers -  including all the regulars and many of the more mature casual visitors - will know Mervyn Jones, a former Selsey regular and Pom King with several titles to his name, famous for his 'relaxed' style of spring sea-watching! Merv, as he's usually known, moved away about 13 years ago to South Wales and set up home in Pembrokeshire. However, he has always kept in touch and vowed to return to his sea-watching home when he could. Well now he has....he'll be living in Runcton for the next six months at least and you'll doubtless see him out and about in the near future. So welcome back to the fold old mate....some things have changed a bit, but next spring's Pom challenge just got a whole lot more interesting! (OM)

Selsey Bill: There were one or two bits this morning, including a Whinchat, three Wheatears, a Sedge Warbler and a few Chiffchaffs along the gardens, a Grey Wagtail west, and many hundreds of  Swallows and House Martins, with the odd Sand Martin among them, feeding along the coast. Offshore there were a handful of Sandwich Terns and a few Gannets moving east and west.
Also, a reasonably large bat - no idea of species - flew in off the sea and settled briefly on the wall before heading off inland. Full log below.......
0730-1230hrs: (Obs: OM/AH/SR)
Gannet - 45E, 50W
Dunlin - 1 ob
Ringed Plover - 4 ob
Turnstone - 52 ob
Oystercatcher - 3W
Sparrowhawk - 1 area
Common Tern - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 7os
Mediterranean Gull - 5W
Grey Wagtail - 1W
Meadow Pipit - 24N
Whinchat - 1 gardens
Wheatear - 3ob
Sedge Warbler - 1 gardens
Whitethroat - 1 gardens
Chiffchaff - 12 gardens
Swallow/House Martins - no count! Many 100's moving various directions offshore, but mainly NW, with a few Sand Martins amongst them.

Wheatear (above), Sandwich Tern, unidentified bat (all AH) & Whinchat (SR) at the Bill

OM doing a bit of pruning to help clear the view for the sea-watchers at the Bill (SR)

Ferry Pool/Ferry Channel: The Ruff, a Snipe, two Green Sandpipers, two Black-tailed Godwits and 35 Lapwings were on the pool, with the regular dozen or so Teal and Shelduck, but the channel opposite was quiet, with just a Whimbrel and a few Teal of note. (AH)

Snipe (above), Ruff & Green Sandpipers on Ferry & Whimbrel in Ferry Channel (AH)

There were two Snipe on the pool this evening, and there were three Curlew Sandpipers, a Spotted Redshank, three Greenshank, a dozen Dunlin, a Whimbrel and a Kingfisher along the channel, plus c60 Redshank and c300 Teal. (AH)

Curlew Sandpipers and Dunlin (above) & Grenshank in Ferry Channel (AH)

Church Norton: A female-type Marsh Harrier was hunting over the harbour late morning, and there were a few bits on the mud by the bench before tide got too high, including at least ten Bar-tailed Godwits, eight Knot, a Whimbrel, a dozen Grey Plovers and a few Dunlin, whilst there was a Common Sandpiper in the creek by the horse field.
Two Sandwich Terns dropped into the harbour, and offshore there were at least a dozen Gannets, plus three Great Crested Grebes, and there was a steady flow of House Martins and Swallows  along the beach, but otherwise passerines consisted of one or Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs keeping low in the hedges. (AH)

Marsh Harrier (above), Grey Plovers, Bar-tailed Godwit & Common Sandpiper at Church Norton (AH)

This evening there was a Redstart and a Whitethroat around the Severals, and three Yellow Wagtails and 100+ Swallows east along the beach, whilst at Park Farm, Selsey there were two Grey Wagtails and a Sand Martin and a few Meadow Pipits overhead, plus a Buzzard. (S&SaH)

North Wall: In White's Creek were the Black Swan with its Mute swan companions, increasing numbers of Wigeon and c.50 Redshanks whilst on the Breech Pool were six Greenshanks, 40 Black-tailed Godwits, with a similar number of Redshanks, six Dunlin, a Grey Plover, two roosting Ruff and two Snipe. The reeds held a Reed Warbler, two Sedge Warblers and a Reed Bunting and there were three calling Cetti's Warblers and a few Whitethroats along the hedgerows. Further down at Halsey's Farm there was no sign of the Red-backed Shrike, perhaps not surprisingly given the weather, although three Blackcaps, two females & a male, and two Redstarts did put in an appearance. (BI)

Medmerry (west side): At about 11.30 this morning an Osprey flew in high from the west (presume from Chi harbour) carrying a fish and landed somewhere out on the east side. Other sightings included 12 Yellow Wagtails amongst the cattle, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Black-tailed Godwit feeding on a channel in the middle of site, and a steady trickle of Swallows heading mostly N (!) but the feature of the site remains the many thousands of gulls present (seemingly all Herring, Black-headed and Mediterranean), particularly around Easton and Grange rifes and the arable fields on the NW of the site. (PH)

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