Thursday, 29 December 2016

29th - 31st December 2016

Saturday, 31st December: Foggy again early on, but clearing through the morning to give a generally cloudy and still day with just a very light westerly breeze.....

The editorial team (sounds posh like that!) would like to wish everyone a happy and bird-filled New Year. There were no additions to the Peninsula List this year so let's hope we can do better in 2017; meanwhile look out for a very prompt Review of the Year compiled again by AH who has been working feverishly to reach his deadline! (OM/AH/BI)

Selsey Bill: (1210-1400hrs) (JA/SH)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Red-throated Diver - 7E, 4W
Red-necked Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1os
Gannet - 13E, 4W
Shag - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 8W, 10os
Grey plover - 60W
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Razorbill 5E, 2W, 6os
auk sp - 74E, 3os 

Coastguard Station: There were several surprises in the Common Scoter flock this morning (c85 birds), in the form of a Long-tailed Duck, a drake Pochard and a female Tufted Duck. Also on the sea were two Red-throated Divers, eight Red-breasted Mergansers and two Mallard, with six Brent Geese flying west. (AH)

Long-tailed Duck with Common Scoters (above) & Pochard and Tufted Duck with Common Scoters from the Coastguard Station (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: There were a Snipe, a Grey Wagtail and a Fieldfare around the farm this morning. (S&SaH)

Later on there was a Redwing at the rear of horse field, a Fieldfare over and a single Greylag Goose over the fields walking out from the Farm towards the Harbour. (IP)

Ferry Pool: Early on there was a Green Sandpiper and eight Shoveler on the pool, and ten Black-tailed Godwits in the channel opposite, whilst later there were 45 Lapwing, a Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Teal and c300 Wigeon on the pool. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing (above) & Wigeon at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: On the sea this morning there were two Velvet Scoters, a Razorbill, a Great Northern Diver,  two Red-throated Divers (with four west and two east offshore, too), seven Slavonian Grebes, ten Great Crested Grebes, 14 Red-breasted Mergansers, and, unusually, a Little Grebe, plus a dozen distant Gannets and at least 500 Brent Geese that flew in from Rectory Lane.
In the harbour there were four Goldeneyes, another ten Little Grebes and a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers, plus plenty of roosting waders. Also, there were 10+ Skylarks and a couple of Stonechats on the spit, with another of the latter on the horse field, and there were a pair of Pochard on the second Several. (AH/BI/S&SaH)

Velvet Scoters (above), Slavonian and Great Crested Grebes, Goldeneye, Pochards & Brent Geese at Church Norton (AH)

Later on there were ten Slavonian Grebes, 6+ Great Crested Grebes, the two Velvet Scoters, five Red-throated Divers and a female Red-breasted Merganser offshore, and in the harbour there were four Avocets behind Tern Island, a Peregrine eating a kill on its usual island and 500+ Dunlin, 100+ Pintail among the regular waders and wildfowl. (IP)

Distant Avocets at Church Norton (IP)

Ivy Lake: The Scaup was on the lake this morning, but there was no sign of the Long-tailed Duck. Also present were ten Shovelers and c.45 Common Pochard. (BI)

                                                                 Scaup at Ivy Lake (BI)

Friday, 30th December: A frustratingly foggy start almost everywhere except the Bill this morning, and proving very slow to clear, too.....

Selsey Bill: There was not too much moving on the flat calm, though a big gathering of gulls brought some interest later on. Full log below
(0740-0840hrs) E, F1-2 cloudy  (JA)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 3W
Gannet - 2W
Brent Goose - 8E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W, 5os
Razorbill - 1os
Wood Pigeon - 16E
(0850-1005hrs) (AH)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 2W
Gannet - 20E, 65W
Shag - 1os then W
Brent Goose - 22E
Common Scoter - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 6os
Mediterranean Gull - 6os
Common Gull - 4os
Kittiwake - 1os then W
Sandwich Tern - 4os

Shag (above), Great Northern Diver, Sandwich Terns & Gannet at the Bill (AH)

Coastguard Station: The Black Redstart showed briefly this morning and there were c125 Common Scoter and six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. (AH)

Black Redstart (above) & Common Scoter at the Coastguard Station (AH)

Church Norton: All that could be found in the fog was the Whimbrel, a few Redshanks and a single Great Crested Grebe offshore, though visiting birders reported Slavonian Grebes and Red-throated Divers on the sea before the fog came in again. (AH/BI) Another look around mid-day (and before it became even foggier!) found 119 Brent Geese close in on the sea and half a dozen each of Wigeon & Teal in the harbour. (BI)

Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: A late afternoon walk in the fog produced - more heard than seen! - a Raven, a Grey Wagtail, a Green Woodpecker and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. (JA)

Ferry Pool: Just three Black-tailed Godwits, three Redshank and c200 Wigeon discernible in the fog this morning. (AH)

Ivy Lake: Early morning found the lake fog-bound and it was still murky later on with just a few Tufted Ducks visible close in. (BI)
Not much on offer in the thick fog, though the four Black Swans came into view, along with one Little Grebe, 6 Great Crested Grebes (some already in breeding plumage), 9 Greylag Geese, 22 Canada Geese, 6 Little Egrets, 6 Mute Swans and 14 Tufted Ducks.  The bushes were generally quiet with 3 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Jay being the only birds of note, whilst  Nunnery Lake held 6 Gadwall and a pair of Mute Swans. (SR)

Mute Swan on Ivy Lake (SR)

East Beach: An unusual sight this afternoon of a Grey Heron perched on my neighbours' roof before flying down to their fish pond. (SR)

Grey Heron on a Selsey rooftop (SR)

Pagham Beach: This afternoon I came across this gull feeding alongside several Black Headed and Mediterranean Gull. Its mantle was obviously very pale and but the ear coverts and wing tips were 'normal'. I deduced this was an instance of leucism as in every other aspect it was very much a Black-headed Gull. (TG)

(This is presumably the bird reported a few times over the last couple of winters, primarily around Park Farm, Selsey. (Eds))

'Leucistic' Black-headed Gull on Pagham Beach (TG)

Thursday, 29th December: Another cold, crisp and bright day, with early frost giving way to sunshine and a light but chilly SSE breeze.....

Well, three days to go until the New Year, when active year-listers will be chasing about the Peninsula trying to 'mop-up' all those interesting and uncommon species that are still currently with us - such as Long-tailed Duck, Scaup, Velvet Scoter and the like. Many birders will be checking over the next couple of days to ensure their target birds are still present, yet history shows you can take nothing for granted, with all too many scarcer birds taking their cue to disappear just before the New Year starts, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out this time. Fingers crossed....!

Selsey Bill: This morning around 30 Red-throated Divers went west and another ten east, and there were at least two Great Northern Divers on the sea. Also a Razorbill was on the sea, a Sandwich Tern was lingering offshore and there were half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers around. (PC/BC)

Northcommon Farm, Selsey: There were 57 Curlews feeding in the fields watched over by a Buzzard. A Kestrel was also present and a Green Woodpecker was nearby. (SR)

Medmerry: Breach area - There were two Black Redstarts and a Stonechat around the viewpoint this morning. (&YF)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - There were two Greenshanks in the big pool opposite the Stilt Pool this morning, plus a few Curlews and Wigeon, on the Stilt Pool itself there were just a Snipe, a couple of Shoveler and a few Lapwing, Wigeon and Teal, and a Green Sandpiper was near the poplars.
Along the banks there were four pairs of Stonechats, up to a dozen Yellowhammers, 30+ Linnets and a handful of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, whilst up to eight Stock Doves were around Marsh Barn. (AH)

Greenshank (above), Stonechat, Yellowhammers, Stock Dove & Shovelers at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: A Fox flushed a Water Rail from the roadside reeds, a Grey Wagtail was at the back, and on the pool there were five Black-tailed godwits, c200 Wigeon and c50 Lapwing. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit (above), Fox & Fox and Water Rail (top right if you look carefully!) at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A quick late morning look produced the Long-tailed Duck in the harbour, and the three Velvet Scoters, seven Slavonian Grebes, five Great Crested Grebes, six Red-breasted Mergansers and a Red-throated Diver on the sea, with three of the latter going east, and there were also up to a dozen Gannets distantly offshore. There were also  a few Common Gulls along the beach and at least 1000 Brent Geese flew in over Priory Wood.(AH/PC/BC)
Later the Long-tailed Duck was still present, plus 3 Goldeneye in the harbour and offshore 3 Red-throated Divers and 6 Slavonian Grebes, the low afternoon sun making identification increasingly difficult. (BFF/DM)

Slavonian Grebes (above), Red-throated Divers, Brent Geese & Common Gull at Church Norton (AH)

West Itchenor: What a beautiful day with a sharp overnight frost, blue skies and a low winter sun lasting all day. We decided to try a walk that I have not done for several years - from West Itchenor taking the public footpath via Home Farm to Chichester Harbour and viewing from Horse Pond. In the small woods and copses we had a calling Nuthatch and 2 drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, with 20 each of Redwing and Fieldfare plus a Bullfinch. Viewing the harbour from the sea wall we found 2 Eider, a Great Northern Diver and 8 Red-breasted Mergansers. A stunning male Merlin then flew close by causing havoc amongst thousands of waders. In the marsh behind the sea wall was a calling Water Rail plus 2 feeding Chiffchaffs and 5 Stonechats in the hedgerow. As the tide came up a Whimbrel called flying north up channel. (BFF/DM)

Ivy Lake: The Long-tailed Duck and the Scaup were both still present, as were the Black Swans and a few Canada Geese, and there were also a couple of Chiffchaffs along the path. (AB)

Black Swans (above), Canada Geese & battling Coots on Ivy Lake (AB)

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