Monday, 28 November 2016

28th - 30th November 2016

Wednesday, 30th NovemberVery cold at first, giving way to a beautiful, clear bright and sunny morning, with hardly a breath of wind....just a very gentle NNE breeze.

Selsey Bill: Highlights included three Velvet Scoter west and a Marsh Harrier east this morning, plus a couple of Great Northern Divers on the sea. A later watch also produced a Long-tailed Duck out of the blue (literally!) going east. Full log below.....
0730-1030hrs: NNE1-2. (Obs: NS/OM)
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Great Northern Diver - 2o/s
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 3E
Common Scoter - 41W, 9E
Velvet Scoter - 3W (2 o/s for some while before departing; (sorry AH, my pics useless)
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W
Wigeon - 7o/s
Marsh Harrier - 1 E well o/s (NS)
auk sp - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Also: 1200-1315hrs: (OM)
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Great Northern Diver - 1E
Diver sp - 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 2E
Common Scoter - 15E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W
Long-tailed Duck - 1E (1230hrs)

Selsey (west) - Coastguard Station: A Black Redstart was around the houses this morning, but elusive, and offshore there were at least 70 Common Scoter, with a Teal among them, plus three Great Northern Divers and two Red-breasted Mergansers, with eight Red-throated Divers going east and a Grey Heron which was sat out on a groyne. Nearby two Stonechats were in the field and area behind the cliffs. (OM/AH)

Common Scoter (above) & Grey Heron off the Coastguard Station (AH)

Stonechat at West Selsey (OM)

Ferry Pool: Just two Redshank were on the pool, six Teal on the rife and 20 Lapwing in the field this morning. (AH)

Snowhill Creek: There was a Water Rail present this morning. (MR)

Water Rail in Snowhill Creek (MR)
Sidlesham ChurchyardNot too much of note - just one or two Goldcrests, a few Goldfinches, a couple of Song Thrushes, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and five Blackbirds. (AH)

Goldcrest in Sidlesham Churchyard (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: Not too much out of the ordinary, but a good selection of the usual birds this morning. There were three Red-breasted Mergansers, a couple of Great Crested Grebes, at least 40 Pintail and 500+ Wigeon on the water, but relatively few Brent Geese were about. 
At least three Greenshank were among the roosting Redshank flock and there were also 20+ Black-tailed Godwits and Grey Plover about, plus a couple of Snipe.
Along the hedges/fields there were at least five Rock Pipits, 20+ Reed Buntings, a lone Fieldfare, two pairs of Stonechats, half a dozen Song Thrushes, five Jays and a few Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits.
There were no Yellowhammers by the stables, but there were 20+ in a game cover strip up near the junction with the main road. (AH)

Rock Pipit (above), Fieldfare, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Goldcrest, Greenshank and Redshank & Pintails at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Birdham: There was a Mistle Thrush in the big arable field on Sidlesham Lane. (AH)

East Head/Snowhill Creek: A great day's birding around East Head and Ella Nore today. A Snow Bunting was at the tip of East Head, ignoring all the walkers and dogs, and I caught a brief view of a Dartford Warbler in scrub nearby. 
In the Chichester Channel, amongst the Great Crested Grebes was a group of 4 Eiders, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers and oddly two female Common Scoters. Also a mixed flock of Linnets and Skylarks on the saltmarsh and a few Stonechats inside the dunes. There was a nice group of Sanderlings along the tideline on the sea side, also ignoring human and canine presence! 
Small birds were much in evidence in the scrub and woodland along the road from West Wittering, with several Goldcrests, lots of Dunnocks, Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Chiffchaffs. Snow Hill Marsh produced the usual waders and wildfowl, including Snipe and Greenshank, and Golden Plovers showed well in the sunlight in the field by the car park. (C Barfield per SOS)

Snow Bunting at East Head (C Barfield per SOS)

Church Norton: Offshore today there were two Long-tailed Ducks, nine Eider (including two drakes), two Velvet Scoter, eight Slavonian Grebes and five Common Scoter, and nine of the latter flew east and four Red-throated Divers flew west.
Also 16 Ringed Plover went east along the beach, and a Peregrine was in the harbour. (NS)

Tuesday, 29th November: A very cold start to the morning, but again dry, pleasantly sunny and bright with a moderate north-easterly wind.....

First up today is belated news of a Caspian Gull at Church Norton on 26th November, which if accepted would be only the second confirmed record for Pagham Hbr and the Peninsula. A 1st-winter bird, it was found by IL who felt that it was a Caspian, but sensibly he managed to take several photos in order to seek further opinions and confirmation. Two photos were sent to us at this blog, where the images certainly looked promising, but there were several possible anomalies that needed further investigation and so the opinion of a more experienced and trusted observer were sought. Fortunately, IL was able to supply a couple of additional flight shots not originally submitted - and in short a detailed review supported the ID as a Caspian Gull. Two of the images are reproduced below (note that these have been cropped for the purposes of the blog). The Editors are grateful to Dave Cooper for his valuable and ever-reliable assistance and to IL for the information and photos....

 First-winter Caspian Gull at Church Norton, 26th November 2016 (IL)
Selsey Bill: A Merlin was out hunting and looked to have caught a Goldfinch, whilst offshore there were a few Red-throated Divers moving and a couple of Great Northern Divers on the sea. (BFF/DM/DIS)
(1000-1200hrs) (C&ME)
Great Northern Diver - 2E, 2os
Red-throated Diver - 5E, 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1EW
Shelduck - 1W
Common Scoter - 34W
Red-breasted Merganser - 12E, 7W, 3os
Merlin - 1p (2nd sighting of morning)
Guillemot - 1E

Coastguard Station: There were up to 40 Common Scoter - all female/1st winter types - offshore, along with three Great Northern Divers, four Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great Crested Grebe. (AH/BFF/DM/DIS)

Common Scoters off the Coastguard Station (AH)

Medmerry: Breach area - It was fairly quiet, with just a big flock of c50 Goldfinches and c30 Linnets around the viewpoint, along with a Stonechat and a handful of Meadow Pipits, whilst around the pools there were 20 Grey Plover, 50 Dunlin, one or two Curlews and Redshank, plus a few Wigeon and Shoveler. (AH)

Stonechat (above), Linnet & Goldfinch at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just two Redshanks and nothing else on the pool this morning. (AH)

Church Norton: It was quiet here in the chilly easterly breeze, with nothing offshore beyond a big mixed gull flock, including c100 Mediterranean and 20 Common Gulls, a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were on the spit, and in the harbour there were plenty of the commoner waders, the pair of Peregrines, a Buzzard on Tern Island, along with 93 Oystercatchers, half a dozen Little and Great Crested Grebes and c40 Pintail.
Also a Fieldfare, 85 Starlings and 30 Lapwings were at Greenlease Farm, a Mistle Thrush and 40 Lapwings were along Rectory Lane and a couple of Jays were around the churchyard. (AH/CRJ/BFF/DSM/DIS et al)

Mediterranean Gull (above), Skylark & Mistle Thrush at Church Norton (AH)

Ivy Lake: A quick look at lunchtime produced the first-winter male Scaup, ten Tufted Ducks and 40 Pochard on the water, and a very busy Chiffchaff in the roadside trees. (AH)

Scaup (above) & Chiffchaff at Ivy Lake (AH)

Monday, 28th November: A bright and crisp morning, with a cool, brisk wind from the east to north-east.....though pleasant in the sunshine if in a sheltered spot!

Selsey Bill: A couple of Velvet Scoter and several Eider went by this morning, and there was more diver movement, primarily of Red-throateds. However, perhaps the most surprising feature was the sheer number of Gannets gathered and fishing offshore. Early on, a huge and very distant flock of large gulls and Gannets was present offshore and just visible above the horizon. Then later, at least 150 Gannets were assembled somewhat closer off the Bill-tip; this however was eclipsed by a large flock of several hundred birds - viewed from the West beach/Coastguards area and stretching back towards the Bill - that seemed to be all Gannets and additional to the others. A day total of 500 Gannets is doubtless a very conservative estimate......Full log below.......
0730-1130hrs: NE4-5 (OM/MJ/TR/SR et al)
Red-throated Diver - 16E, 12W
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Great Northern Diver - 1W, 1os
Diver sp - 6E, 7W
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1os
Gannet - 500+ os
Brent Goose - 2E, 12W
Shelduck - 3W
Eider - 2E
Common Scoter - 29E, 32W, 32os
Velvet Scoter - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 2W, 6os
Teal - 18E
Wigeon - 10E
Razorbill - 1W
Auk sp - 4E, 3W
Mediterranean Gull - 5E
Grey Wagtail - 1E
Red Admiral butterfly - 1 Bill House garden
Also 1230-1400hrs: (C&ME)
Red-throated Diver - 9W
Great Northern Diver - 1E 
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Eider - 3W (males)
Common Scoter - 17E, 1W
Velvet Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 11E, 2os

A fine sunrise at the Bill this morning (OM)

Selsey (West): Coastguards/West beach-Medmerry cliffs - A massive flock of several hundred Gannets was offshore, stretching back eastwards towards the Bill (see above), whilst a flock of 32 Common Scoters was also present (having presumably drifted from the Bill) Two Stonechats and a Meadow Pipit were in the field near the Go-kart track but there was little else of note. (OM/MJ)

Nearby at Warner Lane/Crablands Meadow were just 24 Mallard and 21 Snipe. (OM)

 Taken against the odds and more in hope than any expectation....distant Gannets off west Selsey (OM)

Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper was on the pool first thing (TR), though later on there was just a single Curlew and a Black-tailed Godwit. (AH)

Long Pool: The pool itself was devoid of life, but at the far end of Ferry Channel there were c30 roosting Avocets and similar of Shelduck, Grey Plover and Curlew, a Little Grebe, a few Wigeon and Teal, and a Snipe and a couple of Skylarks went over. (AH)

Avocets, Shelduck and Grey Plover (above) & Curlew in Ferry Channel (AH)

Ivy Lake: A quick look produced no sign of the Scaup, with few duck on the main lake, but around the other lakes there were 20 Gadwall, two Shoveler and six Pochard, a Bar-headed Goose was in with 65 Greylag Geese, and a Water Rail was squealing loudly under a bank, but unseen.
Also there were two or three Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs among a very large roaming flock of Blue and Long-tailed Tits. (AH)

Bar-headed and Greylag Geese (above), Gadwall & Long-tailed Tit around Ivy Lake (AH)

East Head/Chichester Hbr: There were 2 Sandwich Terns in the channel on the south side of the Head this morning. (PH)

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