Sunday, 16 April 2017

16th - 18th April 2017

Tuesday, 18th April: A very bright but cool day, with a strong north-north-easterly breeze.....

Don't want to upset you but....... the present northerly to westerly winds without any southerlies may be driving us to a certain amount of despair....but on the other side of the Channel it will do very nicely, merci! Our esteemed log-keeper JA informs us that at Cap Griz Nez, French birders have logged 11,838 Commic Terns in the last week (of which 8,000+ in the last three days!) Kind of puts things into perspective on this side of the water, doesn't it.....just hope they save us a few before spring passes us by! (Eds)

Selsey Bill: As has been the way of late, there was still a small amount of passage happening, mostly well offshore, including a couple of Bonxies, a few Whimbrel and 140+ Common Scoter east. Five Yellow Wagtails and a few finches and Meadow Pipits came in off the sea, and a Redstart and a few Willow Warblers were in the gardens. Full log below.......
0545-1200hrs:   (PB/JF/C&ME/AH/OM et al)
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 1W, 2os
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 52E, 34W
Brent Goose - 1W
Shelduck - 1W
Mallard - 3 present in area flew out to sea and settled os
Common Scoter - 142E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 2W
Turnstone - 20W
Sanderling - 7E, 6W
Grey Plover - 11E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 27E
Whimbrel - 36E, 2W
Sparrowhawk - 1 gardens
auk sp - 2E, 1W
Little Tern - 1E
Common Tern - 8E
Commic Tern - 7E
Sandwich Tern - 52E
Great Skua - 2E
Mediterranean Gull - 2E
Wheatear - 3N, 1 ob
Redstart - 1 gardens
Swallow - 34N
House Martin - 3N
Meadow Pipit - 67N
Yellow Wagtail - 5N
Chiffchaff - 2 gardens
Willow Warbler - 4 gardens
Willow/Chiff sp - 4N
Goldfinch - 36N
Linnet - 6N

Whimbrel (above), Willow Warbler & Wheatear at the Bill (AH)

Also 1630-1830hrs: (SH)
Red-throated Diver - 4E
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Gannet - 25E, 4W
Little Tern - 1E
Common Tern - 1E
Commic Tern - 12E
Sandwich Tern - 11E
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Little Gull - 1E
Great Skua - 3E
auk sp - 2E
Swallow - 2N

Ferry Pool: Early on the two Little Ringed Plovers, two Redshank and seven Shelduck were on the pool and the Spotted Redshank was in the channel opposite. (OM)
Later on there were just two Black-tailed Godwits present, though a Lesser Whitethroat was rattling away in the hedge opposite. A look around the Tramway area produced at least five Whitethroats, along with similar numbers of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps, plus a Jay, but not much else of note. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit (above) &Whitethroat around the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: There were at least five Sedge Warblers and a Reed Warbler along the pool, along with a couple of Reed Buntings and four Swallows, and c30 Linnets flew over. The pair of Gadwall (hopefully last year's successful breeding pair) were on the water, along with a couple of pairs of Little Grebes and six Tufted Duck. (AH)

Sedge Warbler (above), Reed Bunting & Gadwall along Long Pool (AH)

Northcommon Farm, Selsey: A smart Ring Ouzel was in the hedge next to the tennis courts and opposite the farm early afternoon. Also in the area were 5 Willow Warblers, a Chiffchaff and 3 Buzzards. (OM et al)
The Ring Ouzel was still showing this evening, up till about 8pm. (IP/BI/AB)

 Ring Ouzel near tennis courts opposite Northcommon Farm (OM)

Ring Ouzel at Northcommon Farm, Selsey (AH)

Ivy Lake: A Nightingale was singing from bushes at the Selsey Road end today. (IB)

West Itchenor: There were up to two Lesser Whitethroats in the hedges today, and there were three Common Terns and two Whimbrel in the harbour. (PH)

Birdham: A very unusual sight today of a pair of Mandarins in our garden pond. (PLS)

Mandarins on a Birdham pond (PLS)

Bank Holiday Monday, 17th April: Yet another cool and dry day, with a moderate north-westerly breeze...

Selsey Bill: Highlight of the morning was a Roseate Tern that went east early on, but otherwise passage remained light, though it included a Bonxie and a couple of Velvet Scoters, and over a dozen 'Willow/Chiffs' were seen arriving off the sea. Full log below.....
0600-1000hrs: (JA/SH/JF/CN/PM/IP/AH/CRJ et al)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 2os
diver sp - 1E
Fulmar - 4W
Gannet - 44E, 77W
Shag - 1E, 2os
Eider - 1os
Common Scoter - 222E, 31W, 40 os
Velvet Scoter - 2E
Curlew - 4W
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1E
Kestrel - 1N
Little Tern - 2os
Sandwich Tern - 32E
Roseate Tern - 1E (0705hrs)
Comic Tern - 1E
Common Tern - 3E, 3os
Mediterranean Gull - 2E
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1os
Great Skua - 3E
auk sp - 3E, 2W
Wheatear - 3N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 3N
Swallow - 2N
Blackcap - 1 gardens
Chiffchaff - 1N, 3 gardens
Willow Warbler - 2 gardens
Willow/Chiff spp. - 13N

Eider at the Bill (AH)

(1330-1730hrs) (SH/JA/CN)
Red-throated Diver - 5E
Great Northern Diver - 2os
diver sp - 1W
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 43E, 7W
Common Scoter - 20E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E
Whimbrel - 6E, 4W
Bar-tailed Godwit - 3W
Great Skua - 3E
Arctic Skua - 1E (d/p)
Little Gull - 2E
Common Gull - 3W
Kittiwake - 4E
Little Tern - 8E, 1W
Sandwich Tern - 41E, 3W
Common Tern - 4E, 4W
Comic Tern - 15E
Swallow - 24N
Meadow Pipit - 3N

North Wall: A likely candidate for 'Channel Wagtail' (a hybrid between Blue-headed and Yellow Wagtails) was showing well in the pony paddocks by the stables this morning. A few words here on the circumstances would seem appropriate......
I first found this strikingly bright 'Yellow Wagtail' feeding around the horses, but quickly realised it had a pale bluish/grey head and pronounced whitish supercillium, which drew attention. The head pattern looked a bit on the pale side in the bright sunlight it's true, but after studying it for a couple of minutes, I felt it was probably just good enough for a Blue-headed Wagtail. A quick flick into my Collins guide didn't cause any panic either, but the possibility of a hybrid-type did briefly flash though my mind. As I began to put out the news to a few locals, the stables staff arrived with dogs, flushing the bird from the site.
Fortunately, the staff left promptly and I relocated the bird in an adjacent field. By now, several birders had arrived and some commented on the paleness/greyness of the head pattern and the news was soon disseminated. Before long, the ID of a 'Channel Wagtail' hybrid (Blue-headed x Yellow Wagtail) had been suggested and widely accepted.
I confess to having no previous experience of this form, and only a little knowledge of it, so bow to greater wisdom, for which I'm grateful. All useful comments are welcome on this relatively poorly known type. It just makes you wonder how many previously accepted records of Blue-headed from days gone by could actually have been this hybrid form! (OM)
Otherwise there were at least two pairs of Swallows coming and going from the stables, a few Linnets on the fences and several Sedge Warblers on the Breech Pool. A Spotted Redshank was in White's Creek and at least 85 Black-tailed Godwits on the Breech Pool. A quick check of the other paddocks in Slipe Field produced a short-staying White Wagtail just before I left. (OM)

 First views of the presumed 'Channel Wagtail' in the North Wall stable fields (OM)

'Channel' Wagtail' at the North Wall (AH)

 More pic's of the 'Channel' Wagtail: above (BI), lower three (AB)

White Wagtail, Pagham Slipe Field paddocks (OM)

This afternoon a Red Kite was hunting over the back fields, the Spotted Redshank was still in the creek, the Channel Wagtail was still in the paddocks and there were 265 Black-tailed Godwits, with two Bar-tailed Godwits among them, on the Breech Pool at high tide. (AB/PB)

Ferry Pool: Just two Little Ringed Plovers, two Black-tailed Godwits and six Shelduck on the pool, and the Spotted Redshank and c20 Black-tailed Godwits were in the channel opposite. (AH/MH)
A pair of Ring Ouzels were near the Tramway later in the day. (D Illman per SOS)

Spotted Redshank (above), Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank & Little Ringed Plovers around the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There was a shy male Redstart this morning on the edge of the shingle just before the reed beds early this morning. Also about were three Wheatears, plenty of Linnets, a Grey Heron in the trees, a couple of Reed Buntings and Willow Warblers on the walk from the churchyard to the Severals. (TRo)
The same, or possibly another, male Redstart was between the Severals a bit later on. (IP)
Also there were up to six Sedge Warblers and a Reed Warbler in the Severals, 20+ Willow/Chiffs in the bushes, two Sand Martins and 20+ Swallows over, four Sandwich Terns in the harbour and a mixed flock of Dunlin and Grey Plovers on the foreshore. (S&SaH)

Redstart (above), Grey Heron & Linnets at Church Norton (TRo)


Park Farm, Selsey: There were nine Wheatears around  the bare fields this morning, with four Swallows and two Buzzards over, and two Willow Warblers and a Blackcap on the northern edge of Selsey. (S&SaH)

Wheatear at Park Farm, Selsey (SH)

Easter Sunday, 16th April: More of the same; dry but cloudy with some brighter spells and a moderate NW breeze. Unfortunately the wind seems to have been stuck in this quarter for quite a while - never good news for south coast sea-watchers - so a change in the weather pattern soon would be more than welcome!

Selsey Bill: A good turn-out of watchers was not rewarded with much in the way of passage, though a distant Manx Shearwater went west early on, and a few Common Scoter and Sandwich Terns went through and two or three Great Northern Divers were offshore. Full log below..... (JA/SH/JF/IP/AH/CRJ et al)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Fulmar - 3E, 3W
Gannet - 18E, 85W
Manx Shearwater - 1E
Eider - 1os
Shelduck - 4W
Common Scoter - 46E, 10W
Mallard - 2p
Whimbrel - 14E, 7W
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1W
Guillemot - 1os
auk sp - 1W
Little  Tern - 2os
Common Tern - 1E, 1W, 4os
Sandwich Tern - 24E, 20os
Kittiwake - 4W
Great Skua - 1E

Swallow - 13N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 3N

Chiffchaff - 1 gardens
Willow/chiff sp - 1N

Common Tern (above) & Whimbrel at the Bill (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: There were three Wheatears on the big bare field, two pairs of Swallows were back at the buildings and a couple of Willow Warblers were in the hedges. (IP) Later there were at least 10 Swallows, 2 Buzzards and up to 3 Sparrowhawks. (SH)

Wheatears at Park farm (IP)

Ferry Pool: There were two Common Sandpipers chasing each other around the pool early on, but the only other birds present were the two Little Ringed Plovers, a Black-tailed Godwit and four Shelduck, whilst in the channel opposite the Spotted Redshank was still present, along with c60 Black-tailed Godwits. (AH)

Common Sandpipers (above) & Spotted Redshank around Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: A walk down the long pool yielded our first Lesser Whitethroat and Reed Warblers of the year, one of which had a large repertoire of British bird songs, including great Tit and Blackbird. There were also several Sedge Warblers present. (M&KG)

Sedge Warbler along Long Pool (MG)

Church Norton: Migrant birds were confined to a Whitethroat by the concrete wall, a scattering of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in the bushes, two or three Sedge Warblers, plus a Reed Warbler in the Severals and a dozen or so Swallows over.

About a dozen Sandwich Terns flew into the harbour, four Whimbrel flew by east and at least 30 Mediterranean Gulls were about, mostly flying about high up, but otherwise it was much the same as recent days. (AH/IP/SHo et al)

Later there were 30+ Swallows, 2 House Martins and a Sand Martin, plus 3 Sedge Warblers

and 20+ Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs. In the harbour were a Peregrine, 4 Buzzards and 2 Sandwich Terns. An Adder was sunbathing between the Severals. (SH)

Whitethroat (above), Sedge Warbler, Chiffchaff & Goldfinch at Church Norton (AH)

Adder between the Severals (SH)

Medmerry, Easton Lane to the Stilt Pools: Generally quite quiet in the north westerly wind along the banks with just a few Yellowhammers, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks on display although there were four Reed Buntings around the gorse at the viewpoint. At the Stilt pools the highlights were a Little Ringed Plover down at the front, c.40 Avocets and two Mediterranean Gulls dozing on the island but it was quiet along the beach and there was nothing moving offshore. On the way back to Easton Lane a flock of 22 Mediterranean Gulls went over heading east followed by another six heading in a similar direction. (BI)

Little Ringed Plover, (above), & dozing Avocet, Black-headed Gull & Mediterranean Gulls at Medmerry (BI)

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