Monday, 29 May 2017

29th - 31st May 2017

Wednesday, 31st May: Mainly cloudy and humid at first, clearing to give warm sunny spells through the day, though with a fresh S/SW breeze keeping temperatures down along the coast......

Selsey Bill: Fairly mundane again, apart from 130+ Common Scoter, with no skuas of any species reported, as the Pom King challenge closes for another spring with the same Pom King as last year - well done John Faithfull.  Full log below.....
0630-1030hrs:  (C&ME/SR)
Fulmar - 2W
Gannet - 27E, 3W
Little Egret - 2E
Eider - 1os 
Common Scoter - 134E
Turnstone - 5ob
Oystercatcher - 8E
Common Tern - 12W, 20os
Sandwich Tern - 47os
Black-headed Gull - 28os
Herring Gull - 320os
Swallow - 1p

Ferry Pool: There was little to be seen on the pool late morning; a pair of Shelduck with young and four Redshank plus two chicks, whilst a Cetti's Warbler was singing along the edge. (C&ME)

At 3.10pm there were 72 Black-tailed Godwits, rising to 83 by 5.00pm, when there were also two Redshank present.(MD)

Church Norton: Highlight this afternoon was a Peregrine pursuing and catching a Sandwich Tern then joined by a second bird as it settled down to eat it. Also about were a Cuckoo and 3+ Mediterranean Gulls, but no waders apart from a few Oystercatchers.
Along the west side there was a  Greenshank, a Curlew and two Lapwings, with a handful of Redshanks, and ten Tufted Ducks were on the Long Pool. (MD)

Long Pool: There was a Kingfisher sitting out along the far hedge of the pool this morning, and several Reed and Sedge Warblers were showing in the reeds. (AH)

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

Chi GPs - Drayton Pits: A breeding season visit this morning to check out what species were about. Two pairs of Mute Swans had young (7 & 6 respectively), and 20 Canada Geese were present, of which one pair had goslings. Other waterfowl included 9 Pochard (of which 7 were drakes),  8 Gadwall (4 pairs), 30+ Tufted Duck, a Great Crested Grebe, 8 Little Grebes, and at least 10 pairs of Coot with young. Other species recorded included  a Water Rail, a Kestrel, 2 Buzzards, 2 Chiffchaffs, 7 singing Reed Buntings, 10 singing Reed Warblers, 3 singing Cetti's Warblers, 2 pairs of Long-tailed Tits, 2 Blackcaps and 4 Whitethroats. Also several (presumed) Southern Marsh-orchids. (OM)

Drayton GPs - Canada Geese with goslings, Mute Swans with cygnets, drake Pochard, Southern Marsh-orchids and the Pits in bloom (OM)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - Around the Stilt Pool there were 27 Avocet hicks (plus two more on the reserve), 31 Black-tailed Godwits, three Little Ringed Plovers, and a summer-plumaged Grey Plover, with two Reed Warblers, a Chiffchaff and two Buzzards seen from the banks.
There were also two Brown Hares, a Roe Deer with a small fawn and the first Six-spotted Burnet moth of the year. (S&SaH)

Common Blue (above), Six-spotted Burnet & Black-tailed Skimmer at Medmerry (AH)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm - This evening a Grey Wagtail and six Pied Wagtails were on the settling tanks, c200 House Martins, c100 Swallows and c30 Swifts were overhead, and two Lapwings were active over one of the uncropped fields. Also, several Yellowhammers were on the wires along Ham Lane, and a Small Copper was on the track. (AH)

Yellowhammer (above), Grey Wagtail, House Martin & Small Copper at Porthole Farm (AH)

Tuesday, 30th MayA fairly cool and grey start to the day, though brightening slowly, with a blustery south-westerly breeze....

Selsey Bill: Similar to yesterday, with a few Gannets, Common and Sandwich Terns and Common Scoter moving about, but not too much else. Full log below....
(0630-1030hrs) (C&ME/AH/OM et al)
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 32E, 12W
Common Scoter - 24E
Eider - 1os
Oystercatcher - 5E
Kittiwake - 2E, 19W
Common Tern - 4W, 7os
Sandwich Tern - 33os
Razorbill - 1W
auk sp - 1E

Ferry Pool: A male Stonechat at the back was an unseasonable surprise, though the pair of Shelducks with four new ducklings was less so, if still welcome. Also about were 40 Black-tailed Godwits, two Shelduck, two Lapwing, another dozen Shelducks and the regular Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler and Whitethroat.
There appeared to be only one Tawny Owlet in the box this morning, whilst the box next door was being prospected by Stock Doves. (AH/KJ et al)

Shelduck family (above). Black-tailed Godwits, Stock Dove & Whitethroat around Ferry (AH)

There was a Bullfinch at Ferry Corner this morning. (AW)

Bullfinch at Ferry Corner (AW)

Church Norton: A Bar-tailed Godwit was in the harbour this morning and at least eight Mediterranean Gulls were loitering around the island, where there was still plenty of Little, Common and Sandwich Tern activity.
A Lesser Whitethroat was calling along the path to the beach, a few Linnets, Skylarks and Swallows were about, too, but there was little in the way of bird-song. (AH/KJ et al)
Also, at 10.45am, a Red Kite went distantly west over the Severals. mobbed by corvids. (KJ)
Later there was a Peregrine in the harbour and 2 Buzzards over Priory copse, plus a Cinnabar Moth on Norton Spit. (SH)

Little Terns (above), Little Tern, Mediterranean Gull and Sandwich Terns, Mediterranean Gull & Skylark at Church Norton (AH)

Cinnabar Moth on Norton Spit (SH)

Pagham Harbour, West side: A Hobby was present at mid-day and has been in the area on & off for the past three days. (A.Wilkes) It was also seen high over the Ferry and Long Pool area early afternoon. (OM)

Hobby in fields along the west side today (A. Wilkes)

Medmerry: Breach Viewpoint - Fairly quiet, but there were a few waders present, consisting of 34 Dunlin, 23 Grey Plover, 3 Turnstones and 4 Oystercatchers, whilst 35 Great Black-backed Gulls were roosting on the mudflats. A Corn Bunting was singing on the rough ground at Toe End, where at least one pair of Meadow Pipits appears to be nesting. (OM)

Bank Holiday Monday, 29th May: Generally cloudy and humid, with heavy showers and some brighter periods......

Selsey Bill: A fairly typical end of season showing with a few late Common Scoter drifting through, but also a lingering Great Northern Diver.... Full log below:
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Fulmar - 3E, 1W
Gannet - 37E, 8W
Eider - 1os
Common Scoter - 275E
Sanderling - 10E
Common Tern - 12os
Sandwich Tern - 30os
Little Tern - 3E
Kittiwake - 6E, 1W
Also 2 Swifts, 6 House Martins and 3 Swallows present/area

Ferry Pool: There were 42 Black-tailed Godwits, two Lapwing, two Redshank and four Shelduck on the pool, and the Reed Warbler continued to show well at the front. (AH)

Reed Warbler (above) & Black-tailed Godwits at the Ferry (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: A Lapwing was still active on the lettuce fields, a few Swifts Swallows and House Martins were about, plus a Skylark, a couple of Whitethroats and a few Linnets. (AH/IP)

Linnet (above) & Whitethroat at Park Farm, Selsey (AH)

Church Norton: There were still plenty of active Little, Common and Sandwich Terns, a pair of Mediterranean Gulls dropped into the island, though a Curlew and a Redshank, plus a few Ringed Plovers were the only waders about.
A few Linnets and a couple of Skylarks were along the beach, a couple of Reed Buntings were on the Severals, but warbler song was very subdued, though Reed and Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff were all present, plus several Cetti's Warblers. (AH/IP)

Little Tern (above), Common Tern, Sandwich Tern, Skylark & Reed Bunting at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry, Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool: Rather quiet in the drizzle this morning although there was a calling Chiffchaff near the Poplars and a few Yellowhammers, a Reed Bunting and a pair of Whitethroats along the banks and bushes. There were also Reed Warblers present at Easton Lane, Marsh Barn and either side of the Stilt Pool. Best birds were probably two Grey Partridges in the field near the second sluice. Unsurprisingly few butterflies but there were still a couple of Common Blues on the wing near Easton viewpoint. (BI)

Friday, 26 May 2017

26th - 28th May 2017

Sunday, 28th May: After a foggy, grey start, it was bright with sunshine and cloud and a fairly light easterly breeze, but becoming humid with the risk of the odd heavy thundery shower by afternoon......

Coming soon - but unlike this proof, the publication certainly won't be in black-and-white!

Selsey Bill: The Bill was fogbound early on, though a visiting birder reported a female Eider offshore later on. 
(1200-1300hrs) (SH)
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Gannet - 3E
Whimbrel - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 6os
Common Tern - 2os

Ferry Pool: Early on there was a Water Rail on the pool - the first sighting for some weeks, and also an Avocet was present, a Reed Warbler was showing well at the front and the two Tawny Owlets were still in their box. (SH)
Later on there were 62 Black-tailed Godwits, four Redshank, two Lapwing and three Shelduck on the pool. (AH)

Tawny Owlets (above SH, below DM) 


Reed Warbler around the Ferry (SH)

Long Pool: A Cuckoo was in the area at around 9am today. (MR)

Cuckoo along Long Pool (MR)

Selsey East Beach: The Grey Wagtails that have frequenting our garden were seen carrying food today, suggesting they are breeding nearby. (SW)

Church Norton: A Yellow Wagtail which flew out over the spit was a surprise, but it was generally quiet, with the only waders of note being a flock of 22 Turnstones that dropped in on the beach and a possible Spotted Redshank in the harbour, but it was in the bright sun and difficult to confirm. 
Just the odd Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff and a Reed Bunting were in the bushes, a handful of Linnets and Skylarks were along the beach, seven Mediterranean Gulls went over and there was still plenty of Little, Common and Sandwich Tern activity. (AH/IP/A&YF/RJS/CRJ et al)
Later on, there were two 1st-summer Little Gulls in the harbour, and briefly the 'mystery' tern of yesterday (more of which below). (IL)

Common Terns (above), Turnstones & Black-headed Gull seeing off a Grey Heron at Church Norton (AH)

Some of the locals enjoying the sun! (AH)

The two enlarged photos of yesterday's mystery tern would suggest it is most likely a first- (or possibly even second-) summer Common Tern, a bird not too often seen in Britain as they normally do not return until they are ready to breed. (Eds)

Probable Common Tern with Sandwich Tern yesterday at Church Norton (G Honey)

Medmerry, Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool: There were four singing Reed Warblers along the ditches this morning and another two in the large pool near Marsh Barn where there was a Whitethroat singing too. Along the banks were a few Reed Buntings, Yellowhammers & Linnets as well as the familiar Skylarks and soaring overhead were two Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk. On the pools were the Avocets with their offspring and three Little Ringed Plovers, a Grey Heron and 31 Black-tailed Godwits whilst the large Starling flock nearby contained the partially-leucistic bird. Little along the beach except for a few Linnets and Meadow Pipits and nothing at all was moving offshore. Butterflies included a Painted Lady near Easton Lane, a few Red Admirals and Green-veined Whites and a minimum count of 35 Common Blues. (BI)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm - There were, surprisingly, no hirundines at all this evening, though there were 20 or so Swifts over the fields for a while. A pair of Lapwings were still on one of the uncropped fields, at least three pairs of Whitethroats were carrying food and five Yellowhammers were sat along the roadside wires. Also a couple of Painted Ladies were present. (AH)

Yellowhammer (above) & Painted Lady at Porthole Farm (AH)

Saturday, 27th May: Thundery and humid conditions at first, with thick cloud and some heavy but brief showers and a very light SE breeze, but by mid-morning the wind had freshened and veered to the SW..... so feeling notably cooler than the forecast had indicated!

Selsey Bill: Disappointingly slow, but still producing a Black Tern and an Arctic Skua. Full log below......
0600-1030hrs: (JF/OM/SR/JA)
Fulmar - 3E, 3W
Gannet - 63E, 15W
Common Scoter - 152E
Whimbrel - 1E
Guillemot - 1E
Razorbill - 1E
auk sp - 1E, 3W
Little Tern - 1os
Black Tern - 1E
Common Tern - c.30 os
Sandwich Tern - 10E, 6os
Arctic Skua - 1E
Kittiwake - 2W
House Martin - 6 area
Swift - 2 p

1315-1415hrs:  (SH)
Gannet - 6E, 10W
Common Scoter - 11E
Common Tern - 4os
Sandwich Tern - 3os
Swift - 1p

What it takes to win the Pom crown! Last year's winner - and this year's Pom King-elect John Faithfull - keeping a lonely vigil whilst defending his title at the Bill this morning, having heard news of a south-easterly breeze! John's total of 77 birds puts him a massive 21 above his nearest challenger (OM) - surely an unassailable lead with just four days to go until the deadline at the month's end. Looks like the trophy will go to Hants again this year, with back-to-back wins too. (OM)

Church Norton: There were 15+ Ringed Plovers and a Grey Plover on the mud (but no sign of yesterday's Kentish Plover here or on the East side this morning). A Hobby circled over the harbour before being driven off by Black-headed Gulls from Tern Island, whilst there was again plenty of tern activity there and a 1st-sum Little Gull was also present. (OM/BI)
A darkish tern was also in the harbour, before flying off high east. Apparently a 1st-sum bird, both White-winged Black and Black Terns were considered, before the observers concluded it was probably of the latter species (IL et al). A photo of a camera-back photo was later obtained (per BI) and is included here..... plus another photo from IL.
Any useful comments welcome.......
Tern species at Church Norton (anon, per BI) & below (IL)
(The lower image has been heavily cropped... it gives some idea of the size of the tern sp {left} but doesn't really take us forward too much further - Eds)

Little Gull at Church Norton (BI)

Ferry Pool/Long Pool: There were 82 Black-tailed Godwits scattered over the pool mid-morning along with six Shelduck and two Avocets. A Cuckoo was calling from the north side of the Ferry pool and along the Long Pool were a number of Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers, a Reed Bunting and several Reed Warblers. (BI/A.Wilkes)

Avocets & Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry Pool, above (BI)

Cuckoo, above, & Sedge Warbler with Reed Bunting (A.Wilkes)

Friday, 26th May: Another very bright and sunny day, but with a very brisk, due easterly breeze keeping it a bit cooler on the coast.....

Selsey Bill: Highlight was a Pomarine Skua east at 8.45am, but beyond that it was more of the same, with 300+ Common Scoter, a few Sanderling and a few Common and Sandwich Terns heading east, plus a Redshank - very uncommon here - on the beach. Full log below......
0615-1415hrs: (C&ME/JA/AH/SR/C&JM)
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1os
Fulmar - 5E, 3W
Gannet - 125E, 5W
Shag - 1E
Eider - 2E, 1os
Common Scoter - 385E
Dunlin - 4E
Sanderling - 5E, 10ob
Ringed Plover - 2E
Grey Plover - 2E
Turnstone - 3E
Redshank - 1ob
Whimbrel - 1E
Oystercatcher - 1E, 4W
Razorbill - 2E
auk sp - 5E
Little Tern - 4E, 2os
Common Tern - 17E
Commic Tern - 37os
Sandwich Tern - 37E
Kittiwake - 4E

Pomarine Skua - 1E

Sandwich Tern (above), Common Scoters, Redshank & House Martin at the Bill (AH)

At the Bill: Great Crested Grebe, Sanderlings on the beach, and Spitfire & Hurricane planes being filmed from a helicopter (C&JM) 

North Wall/East Side: Undoubted highlight was a smart male Kentish Plover in with 20 or so Ringed Plovers and a couple of Dunlin, half way along the harbour, opposite the 'middle gate' from the path along the Slipe Field. 
Otherwise the harbour was very quiet, with just ten Curlews and a Black-tailed Godwit being the only other waders present, though there was a family of freshly hatched Shelducks in White's Creek.
The Breech Pool was more or less birdless, too, with just a couple of Black-tailed Godwits, a Great Crested Grebe, two Tufted Ducks and a few Mallard present. (AH)
Unfortunately the rising tide appeared to push the birds off, and there was no sign of the Kentish Plover at midday (OM)

Kentish Plover (above), with Ringed Plovers, Shelduck family & Dunlin along east side of harbour (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were 36 Black-tailed Godwits, two Redshank, a Lapwing and four Shelduck present this morning, plus the usual Reed Warbler, Whitethroat and Cetti's Warbler. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwits (above) & Lapwing on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: As dead as might be expected in a strong easterly, with plenty of tern activity, but almost nothing else to be seen! (AH)