Saturday, 14 January 2017

14th - 16th January 2017

Monday, 16th January: A fairly miserable, cold and wet morning, with just a light south-easterly breeze....

Selsey Bill: A much quieter morning, though plenty of Divers on show, with four Great Northern and five Red-throated all on the sea together at one point. (AH/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 6os
Red-throated Diver- 2E, 7os
Gannet - 17E, 4W, 4os
Common Scoter - 1E, 7W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 1W, 6os
Oystercatcher - 1ob
Sanderling - 2ob
Kittiwake - 1W, 1os
Razorbill - c20E, 1os
auk sp - c30E

Great Northern Diver (above) & Red-throated Diver off the Bill (AH)


Coastguards Station: There were two Great Northern Divers and three Red-throated Divers offshore, along with c110 Common Scoters and six Red-breasted Mergansers. (AH)

Common Scoters off the Coastguard Station (AH)

Church Norton: A fairly quick look offshore produced a Black-throated Diver that came up off the sea, circled round and dropped down again, but the only other things that could be found were two Slavonian Grebes and six Red-breasted Mergansers. It was very quiet in the harbour, though a Jay was by the Mound and six bedraggled Red-legged Partridges were along Rectory Lane. (AH)

Red-breasted Mergansers (above) & Red-legged Partridges at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were three Black-tailed Godwits, 50 Lapwing and 40 Teal on the pool. (AH)
Black-tailed Godwit (above) & Lapwings at the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry (east): West Beach to Breach Viewpoint: A Black Redstart was around the grey and red bungalow opposite the Oasis Centre, but very elusive. Offshore there were 2 Great Northern Divers, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers and 11 Common Scoter, and a pair of Stonechats were along the beach on the metal fence. The pools at the breach held 63 Grey Plover, c100 Dunlin, 41 Ringed Plover, 23 Turnstone, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, a pair of Gadwall, 7 Pintail, c300 Wigeon, 8 Curlew and a flock of c400 Brent flew in to the fields opposite. (SR)

Medmerry (west): Late this afternoon a Barn Owl was in the area around the Easton viewpoint. (IL)

Barn Owl at Medmerry near Easton viewpoint (IL)



Sunday, 15th January: A grey, overcast and wet morning with a brisk W/NW wind as a band of heavy rain sweeps across the South......

Yesterday's editorial certainly seems to have touched a nerve - especially concerning the feeling of helplessness as development continues all around - and thanks to those who responded so positively, with some indicating they must wake up and do more. The editors of this blog generally try to avoid becoming embroiled in politics, but some issues are so important and fundamental to nature conservation that we cannot just stand by, especially when it involves our patch and the oasis that is Pagham Harbour. It is for this reason we include the following (with thanks to JDW).....

There are currently three planning applications in for major housing developments in and around the village of Pagham.... 250 houses in Hook Lane, 250 in Sefter Lane and 400 along Pagham Road south. This last one in particular is a real worry... it backs right on to the eastern boundary of the harbour and the developers talk of building a cycle way to link with the Pagham Harbour Cycle Way! At a rough guess this project would bring in 1500 people, 400 cars, 300 school age children (the Pagham school is already over subscribed), little local employment, a drainage system dating to 1955, regular flooding, traffic problems in getting to and from Chichester in the mornings and a local infrastructure that is already overloaded. Not to mention the fact that all these new 'local people' with any number of dogs would be itching to try out their new harbour playground! 

If you feel strongly that you should no longer just sit back and watch, write to register a complaint with Arun District Council.  The last day for objections is February 9th and the Planning Reference that needs to be quoted is P/140/16/OUT. The Save Pagham Group have planned two letter writing mornings arranged at St Ninian's Church Hall on January 21st and 28th (1000-1200) where pen, paper and advisers will help people writing objection letters with all the relevant information - plus coffee and buns!

One very small group of people are of course delighted by the proposals - those selling the farmland for massive profit and personal gain to add to their already substantial coffers. Never mind all the green space, trees and hedgerows that disappear....yes they will do very nicely out of it thank you. Funny, but when I watch BBC Countryfile its always about our hard-pressed 'guardians of the countryside' struggling to make a living from the land....perhaps they should look South! As a born-and-bred Sussex boy it breaks my heart to see what's happening to my beautiful county and how different it'll be for my grandkids.

So, if you are not already an RSPB member there's never been a more important time to join...! (OM)

Selsey Bill: Another interesting morning, despite the weather, with plenty of Gannets present again, plus lots of auks and all three species of diver again, including several Great Northern and Red-throated Divers and three Slavonian Grebes dropping in on the sea. 
0740-0930hrs: (SH/IP/AH/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 17W
Slavonian Grebe - 3os
Gannet - 77E, 171W
Common Scoter - 17E, 4W
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 6W, 2os
Sanderling - 3 ob

Mediterranean Gull - 1W, 1os
Kittiwake 14e 26W
Razorbill - 35E, 5W, 5os
auk sp - 345E, 11W

Great Northern Divers (above), Common Scoters, Sanderlings & Gannet at the Bill (AH)

Coastguard Station: A fairly brief look produced 80+ Common Scoter and four Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea, three Red-throated Divers east and 50+ Gannets offshore, before drifting off west. (AH)

Common Scoters off the Coastguard Station (AH)

Church Norton: Most unexpected bird was a Bonxie that drifted through westwards, pausing to harass a gull en route. 
Otherwise, there were a female Eider, at least four Slavonian Grebes, two Great Crested Grebes and 14 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, with at least 40 Razorbills on the sea further out and many more, plus a couple of Kittiwakes and 50+ Gannets moving around well out to sea.
About 150 Brent Geese were in the fields before relocating to the harbour, a pair of Stonechats were on the spit and a Goldeneye and a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits were among the commoner wildfowl and waders in the harbour. (AH/S&SAH)

Slavonian Grebes (above), Razorbills & Bar-tailed Godwits and Brent Geese at Church Norton (AH)

On the WeBs count this afternoon I had good views of a Woodlark at the end of Church Norton spit before flying off to the east. Out at sea the highlight was two Black-throated Divers, three Red-throated Divers and a Great Northern Diver, and there were also three Kittiwakes, c60 Gannets, four Slavonian Grebes and three Razorbills. (IL)

Ferry Pool: There were an Avocet, two Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Teal and c250 Lapwing on the pool this morning. (AH)

Avocet on the Ferry (AH)

Saturday, 14th January: A chilly but generally bright and dry day with sunshine and cloud and a fresh north-westerly wind....

We have recently been in contact with the management at Pagham Harbour RSPB and hope to bring you an update on the Sidlesham Ferry Pool situation in the fairly near future. Also, for anyone unaware, there are plans to update the toilet facilities, the Discovery Area, and ultimately the Ferry Hide, so things are happening behind the scenes....although of course this involves planning and adequate finances. And the latter brings me to the important subject of funding, because little can happen without it......
The pace of development all around is breath-taking and sometimes rather depressing....just take a look at the current building close to the boundary of the Nature Reserve with a supermarket and yet another new housing estate swallowing up more green space. It's easy to feel a bit helpless sometimes...what can an individual do? Well, I made a New Year's resolution to do my bit in the best way I can.... I'm going to raise a few quid for the RSPB. I can't pretend I've agreed with everything they've ever done in the past - but they are good at acquiring land for preserving habitat - in fact they are very good at it, thank goodness. So don't be surprised if I blag you for a bit of loose change from time to time, or a quid if you get a life tick! And one more thing...I'm going to stop sending Christmas cards out to birding friends and donate the postage costs to the RSPB instead (hopefully they'll understand and do the same).... that's my way of trying to give nature a home. (OM)

Selsey Bill: A very interesting morning, with all three diver species recorded, along with three Long-tailed Ducks, three Eider and two Velvet Scoters, plus large numbers of distant auks, though barely any Gannets and no Common Scoters. (IP/SR/AH)
(0740-0930hrs) (Fairly bright, NW5-6)
Great Northern Diver - 3E, 3W, 1os
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 3W
diver sp - 1E, 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 11E, 6W
Brent Goose - 2E
Velvet Scoter - 2W
Long-tailed Duck - 3W
Eider - 3E
Red-breasted Merganser - 10E, 16W, 1os
Oystercatcher - 1W
Sanderling - 1W, 2p
Turnstone - 1W
Common Gull - 4W
Mediterranean Gull - 3W
Kittiwake - 3E, 20W, 50os
Sandwich Tern - 1os
Guillemot - 2E
Razorbill - 18E, 2os
auk sp - 348E, 15W

Very distant (!!) Long-tailed Ducks (above), Great Northern Diver, Sanderlings & Mediterranean Gull at the Bill (AH)

Coastguard Station: There were 50+ Common Scoter and six Red-breasted Mergansers present this morning. (SR)

Park farm, Selsey: A Green Sandpiper was present on puddles near the reservoir (first time this winter) plus a Stonechat. (SH)

Church Norton: Not too much to report from a quick look, though there was a Great Northern Diver and five Slavonian Grebes on the sea, a few Common Gulls along the beach, and the two Peregrines and large numbers of Dunlin and Grey Plover in the harbour. (AH/IP)
Later, most of the action seems to have been at sea, with several hundred Gannets streaming east, a Kittiwake, 2 Red-throated Divers west, many auks offshore and 7 Razorbills west, a Shag and 6 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, whilst nearby 2 Stonechats were on the beach. (S&SaH)
Later still there were 40-50 Gannets sat on the sea, well offshore, with others still plunge diving around them. There were also 12 Skylarks and two Stonechats on the beach and two Goldeneye in the harbour. (AH)

Slavonian Grebe (above) & Peregrine at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: No birds on a frozen pool this morning, though there were four Shoveler, c20 Teal and c150 Wigeon on the creek in the field. (AH)

Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon (above) & Wigeon on Ferry Field (AH)

Sidlesham Churchyard area: Nothing beyond a couple of Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits were of note in the churchyard, but there were four Grey Partridges along the concrete road towards Marsh Farm. (AH)

Grey Partridge near Marsh Farm, Sidlesham (AH)

North Wall: It has been really quiet along the Wall all week, with the Breech Pool now full to overflowing, and has just held small numbers of Mallard, Teal and visiting Canada Geese, plus Black-tailed Godwits, which are regulars on the Pool with numbers up to 80.  Snipe, however, have moved on as the water levels rose. 
The field behind has held up to 500 Wigeon and 90 Curlew. Honer 1 field is partially flooded and only passable with wellington boots. Along the Wall this morning were a Water Rail, several Reed Buntings and Linnets, a Yellowhammer and a Goldcrest, whilst in the garden there were 12 Long-tailed Tits, a Coal Tit, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and another Goldcrest. (JDW)

Chichester Marina: At high tide today there were 18 Snipe showing on the reedbed marsh, and 14 Goldeneyes were in the main channel before drifting up towards Dell Quay. (PH)

Ivy Lake: The Long-tailed Duck and Scaup were both still present today. (PJ per SOS)

Fishbourne Creek: The Water Pipit twice came out of the saltings as the tide came up, to perch on a bush. (ARK/MH per SOS)
Also present were Whimbrel, Greenshank, Kingfisher, Peregrine, Grey Wagtail and ca.15 Yellowhammers this morning, plus two Roe Deer. (PJ per SOS)

East Head/Snowhill Creek: Early this afternoon at and around Snowhill Marsh we saw say 1500 Brent Geese, 400 Golden Plover, two Greenshank, a Spotted Redshank and three Red-breasted Mergansers and shared our sandwiches with the tame Mediterranean Gull. (ARK/MH per SOS)

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