Sunday, 29 January 2017

29th - 31st January 2017

Tuesday, 31st January: A truly dismal day, with persistent heavy drizzle, intermittent fog and a cold and brisk south-easterly.....

A message from Pagham Hbr RSPB, via Warden Ivan Lang.....
'Last year a whole bunch of enthusiastic volunteers ventured out in to Tern Island, in the centre of the harbour (at low tide I may add) to carry out a vegetation clearance project (weeding) to ensure that there is plenty of open shingle for the returning Little Terns in April. It is an ideal opportunity to view the reserve from a different aspect, which few have the opportunity to do.

If you are interested and want more information or wish to join us then please contact me on or 01243 641508. To join us meet at Church Norton Car Park, which is at the end of Rectory Lane off the B2145 just before reaching Selsey at the times shown on all or any of these four dates.........

22nd February 2017 meet at 13.45,  8th March 2017 meet at 13.00,  22nd March 2017 meet at 11.30  and 5th April 2017 meet at 12.30

Please ensure that you have wet weather gear, warm clothes as it can be chilly out on the island, and wellingtons are essential to cross to the island. If you have work gloves and a garden fork that would be useful to bring but not essential. Thank you, your help will be appreciated by all the birds that use the Island this summer.' (IL)

 Weed clearance on Tern Island last year (per IL) ..... (above) just starting......
 (centre)... after day one
(below)....after day two.....that's better.

Selsey Bill: (0810-0910hrs)
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Gannet - 17E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E
Sanderling - 3p
Mediterranean Gull - 2E, 1W

Sanderling at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper was at the back and three Black-tailed Godwits were at the front, and there were also six Shelduck, four Shovelers and eight Teal on the pool and c300 Wigeon in the adjacent arable field. (AH)

Green Sandpiper (above) & Black-tailed Godwit on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: There was nothing but two Tufted Duck and six Mallard on the pool, but in Ferry Channel there were a Spotted Redshank, four Avocets, four Pintail, c100 Dunlin, 20 Grey Plovers, 12 Black-tailed Godwits and plenty of Redshank, Teal and Wigeon. (AH)

Spotted Redshank (above), Spotted Redshank and Dunlin, Dunlin & Avocet in Ferry Channel (AH)

Monday, 30th January: After an initially clear but drab start a big bank of fog rolled in for most of the morning - all very frustrating - before finally clearing a little by early afternoon....

Selsey Bill: There were a few bits moving before the fog came in at around 0930, including a Long-tailed Duck and a Fulmar east, a Black-throated Diver that dropped in on the sea, a few Red-throated Divers going west and 50+ Gannets feeding well offshore. Full log below....
0800-1000hrs: (AH/OM)
Red-throated Diver - 6E, 33W
Black-throated Diver - 1W settled os
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 50E, 30W, 50os
Brent Goose - 3W
Common Scoter - 2E, 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 2W, 4os
Long-tailed Duck - 1E
Razorbill - 6E
auk sp - 32E
Kittiwake - 1E, 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 2E, 5W
Rock Pipit - 1ob
Song Thrush - 1 singing Bill House garden.

Distant!! Long-tailed Duck (above), Common Scoters & Red-throated Divers past the Bill (AH)

Song Thrush in full song in the fog at Bill House garden (OM)

Drayton Pit: Persistence paid off this morning, with the Bittern finally appearing and flying across the pit, and there were also two male Bullfinches and a couple of Goldcrests in the hedges, and the usual mix of Gadwall, Pochard, Shovelers and Coots on the water. (CRJ)

Church Norton: There was not much to see in the fog, with zero visibility offshore, though the Whimbrel was in its usual area, and a few Dunlin, Grey Plover and Shelduck could be seen in the murk.
A look around the car-park and lane produced at least half a dozen Goldcrests, a couple of Stock Doves, a Jay and a few Goldfinches. (AH)

Whimbrel (above), Grey Plover, Dunlin and Shelduck & Goldcrests at Church Norton (AH)

Pagham Lagoon: In a short visit this afternoon a showy male Sparrowhawk was bathing, whilst the only other birds of note were a drake Goldeneye and several pairs of Red-breasted Mergansers. (AB) 

 Male Sparrowhawk at Pagham Lagoon (AB)

Sunday, 29th January: Milder again and generally cloudy, with some showers through the morning and a fresh S/SSW wind force 4-5, but the prospect of heavier more persistent rain by afternoon.....

Selsey Bill: There was a huge amount of activity early on, with over 1700 Gannets and 1000 auks moving west before 9am, though not too much else beyond a few Kittiwakes and Red-throated Divers, though a Velvet Scoter and an Eider did go east. 
It is probable that the Gannet count is a new day-record for the Bill.
(0730-1000hrs) (JA/SH/IP/AH)
Great Northern Diver  - 3os
Red-throated Diver - 3E, 25W, 1os
diver sp - 2E, 2W
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 116E, 1709W
Common Scoter - 7E
Velvet Scoter - 1E
Eider - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 25W, 1os
Mediterranean Gull - 2os
Kittiwake - 76E, 32W
Razorbill - 75E, 32W
auk sp - 411E, 1140W

(1130-1230hrs) (JA/SH)
Red-throated Diver - 4E, 22W
Gannet - 66E, 104W, 40os
Teal - 1E
Long-tailed Duck - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 7W, 4os
Bonxie - 1os
Mediterranean Gull - 2E
Kittiwake - 5E, 12W
Razorbill - 24W
auk sp - 16E, 91W

Gannets (above), Great Northern Diver & Red-throated Divers at the Bill (AH)

Coastguard Station: There were c40 Common Scoter and four Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea, with another four of the latter east, two Red-throated Divers west and another two east, and c30 Gannets lingering offshore. (AH)
Also, a Raven was with Carrion Crows near Crablands Marsh. (RS)

Park Farm, Selsey: There were two Stonechats present today, along with two Great Spotted woodpeckers, 20+ Linnets and 30+ Meadow Pipits. (S&SaH)

Great Spotted Woodpecker at Park Farm, Selsey (SH)

Church Norton: A pair of Ravens came in from the west and settled on the beach, unconcerned by the Carrion Crows and even displaying, before heading off east.
Offshore up to 80 Gannets were feeding quite close in, with c40 Razorbills coming and going further out, four Slavonian and two Great Crested Grebes were on the sea, and four Red-throated Divers and 15 Kittiwakes went west and six Common Scoter went east.
In the harbour there was a feeding frenzy of Cormorants and large gulls, but there was not much else of note beyond the Whimbrel in its usual area, and at least 500 Brent Geese that came in from Greenlease Farm. (AH/JD)
Late this afternoon a drake Goldeneye was in the harbour and there were still 20+ Gannets and five Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. (S&SaH)

Ravens (above), Raven and Carrion Crow, Kittiwake & Gannets at Church Norton (AH)

Ivy Lake: The Bittern showed again this morning and the Scaup and Long-tailed Duck were both still present. (R. Simpson per SOS)
The Scaup and Long-tailed Duck were still about this afternoon, along with c60 Pochard and c80 Shoveler, and two Mistle Thrushes flew over. (AH)

Long-tailed Duck (above) & Shoveler at Ivy Lake (AH)

Kipson Bank Farm, Hunston: There were still 60+ Fieldfares, 50+ Skylarks, 100+ Linnets and 50+ Chaffinches, along with 300+ Starlings in the big stubble field opposite the golf course this afternoon. (AH)

Fieldfares at Kipson Bank Farm, Hunston (AH)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

26th - 28th January 2017

Saturday, 28th January: Milder again with the wind having shifted to a moderate south-westerly, and also brighter with broken cloud and sunnier breaks, but with the chance of rain developing by evening....

The Peninsula Bird List: As 2016 ended the Peninsula List stood at a creditable 339 species - using official British Ornithologists' Union (BOU) British List rules and including a couple of historic records. However, the 2017 total as from now is 337 species....a reduction of two from the preceding come? The reason for this is that the BOU have now decided to adopt the world species list as compiled by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC)  - officially from the start of 2018. However, this being the case, it surely makes sense to hit the ground running and adopt this new species list now, so with immediate effect this has been done.

So what's changed on the new British List that affects the Peninsula List? There are currently very few changes that affect us, but two that do are Hudsonian Whimbrel and Lesser Redpoll.

There was a real surprise in 2015 when a Hudsonian Whimbrel appeared at Church Norton, drawing crowds of observers from far and wide, at the time being deemed a new and valid species recently split from European Whimbrel. This 'lumping' of the two forms as a single species again is a bit of a shock to listers and it will be interesting to see whether this is reviewed and they are split again. As the newest species to be added to our Peninsula List it didn't last long, but many observers will feel it is a distinctive enough bird to warrant full species status....time (and perhaps DNA) will tell!

The other 'loss' to the List is Lesser Redpoll, which is no longer treated as a separate species but is now treated as a form of Common Redpoll (formerly Mealy Redpoll). Given the minefield that is Redpoll taxa and identification this does make sense, but unfortunately results in a drop in our species list total! Let us hope we can further add to the species list in the near future. (OM)

Selsey Bill: Another morning with a large movement of auks, plus a Bonxie and quite a few Red-throated Divers and Gannets. Full log below. (JA/IP/AH)
(0730-0930hrs) SW3/4 sun/cloud
Red-throated Diver - 7E, 35W, 3os
Black-throated Diuver - 1W
Great Northern Diver - 1os
diver sp - 14E, 5W

Fulmar - 2W
Gannet - 88E, 173W, c100os
Brent Goose - 5E, 5W
Mallard - 2W
Common Scoter - 4W
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 6W, 4os

Bonxie - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 2W
Kittiwake - 82E, 7W
Razorbill - 18E, 76W, 84os
Guillemot - 1W
auk sp - 1074E, 16W

Distant Bonxie past the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: This morning there were three Black-tailed Godwits, 25 Teal and up to 300 Wigeon on the pool. (AH)

Wigeon on the Ferry (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: A big Peregrine went through this morning, though not much else beyond a few Curlews and Meadow Pipits could be found. (AH/IP)
Later on there were three Stonechats and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers present. (S&SaH)

Curlew (above) & Meadow Pipit at Park Farm, Selsey (AH)

Church Norton: This morning there were four Slavonian Grebes, three Great Crested Grebes and two Red-throated Divers well offshore, with another of the latter going east and a distant feeding flock of c40 Gannets also present, whilst there were 20+ Mediterranean and Common Gulls along the foreshore.
In the harbour there were four Goldeneye (including a drake), a drake Red-breasted Merganser, at least six Little Grebes, the pair of Peregrines and plenty of commoner waders, with a pair of Stonechats in the horse field and half a dozen Skylarks along the spit.
Also, there were six Tufted Duck on the second Several. (AH/IP)

Mediterranean Gull (above), Skylarks, Wigeon & Red-breasted Merganser at Church Norton (AH)

Chichester GPs: At Drayton, the Bittern flew into the reeds opposite the phone mast at mid-day but otherwise it was much the same as yesterday: plenty of Coots, a few Gadwall, c.30 Pochards and the Buzzard. The Long-tailed Duck was present on Ivy Lake this morning (P.Denyer) and later there were over a hundred Canada Geese, the raft of Shovelers and Pochard on the water, a flock of mixed Tits along the path and a Great Spotted Woodpecker near the parking. The Common Gull was still on Nunnery Lake. (BI)

Long-tailed Duck with Pochards at Ivy Lake (P.Denyer) 

Medmerry: Easton Lane to Marsh Barn - At dusk this evening there were five Fieldfares and three Yellowhammers about, but not much else. (S&SaH)

Friday 27th January: Not as cold as yesterday, and with a bit more sunshine, but still a very cold and brisk southerly breeze...

Selsey Bill: There were large numbers of auks on the move again, including over 500 Razorbills, plus quite a few Red-throated Divers. Full log below. (JA/AH)

(0740-1000hrs) S3/4 sun/cloud
Red-throated Diver - 23E, 27W, 1os
Great Northern Diver - 2os
diver sp - 4E, 5W 

Gannet - 27E
Red-breasted Merganser - 9E, 1W, 11os
Kittiwake - 20E, 1W
Razorbill - 532E
Guillemot - 3E
auk sp - 356W

Red-throated Divers (above) & Gannet past the Bill (AH)

Coastguard Station: Between 9.30 - 10.00 am there were 80+ Common Scoters that flew in from the west and landed on the sea, joining two other small flocks making at least 100 birds in total. Also a Great Crested Grebe 11 Red-breasted Mergansers were on the sea , (plus four of the latter west), 23 Razorbills, 12 auk sp east and six Red-throated Divers all went east and two Turnstones were on the beach. (SR)

Common Scoters off the Coastguard Station (SR)

Snowhill Creek/West Wittering: A Greenshank was in Snowhill Creek this morning, and on the nearby road between Cakeham and West Wittering a Grey Wagtail was among some Meadow Pipits feeding on a sugar-beet field. (MR)

Greenshank on Snowhill Creek (above) & Grey Wagtail and Meadow Pipit at West Wittering (MR)

Church Norton: The harbour looked very empty of birds on the high tide, though the Whimbrel was in its usual spot and at least 20 Shelduck and eight Little Grebes were on the water. There was nothing offshore, save a few Mediterranean and Common Gulls along the shoreline, and there were three of the latter and two Tufted Ducks on the second Several. (AH)

Whimbrel (above) & Common Gulls at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were two Shoveler, 18 Teal and c150 Wigeon on the pool and a scattering of Lapwing on the field this morning. (AH)

Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Chichester GPs: The Long-tailed Duck was still on Ivy Lake this afternoon near the chalets along with 50 Canada Geese, a few Tufted Ducks and 40 each of Pochard & Shoveller. A Common Gull was on Nunnery. At Drayton there was no sign of the Bittern in a quick look but there were hundreds of Coots, two Grey Herons, more Pochards & Shovelers and a Buzzard was in a roadside tree. (BI)

Long-tailed Duck on Ivy Lake (BI)

Thursday, 26th January: A bitingly cold and grey morning, with a brisk south-easterly breeze......

Selsey Bill: The first Fulmars of the year went west this morning, and there was a steady movement of Red-throated Divers (mainly) west and a big feeding flock of Gannets and Razorbills gathered for a while offshore. Full log below......
0800-1200hrs: SE4-5, cloud   (AH/OM/TR/RS)
Red-throated Diver - 16E, 84W
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 4W
Gannet - 10E, 6W early on, then 240 feeding os
Brent Goose - 4W
Common Scoter - 3W, 8os
Red-breasted Merganser - 24E, 8W
Sanderling - 1ob departed E
Razorbill - 60 os departed mainly E
auk sp - 80E, 240W
Kittiwake - 2E, 3W, 10os
Common Gull - 4E
Mediterranean Gull - 9E

Gannets (above) & Red-breasted Mergansers at the Bill (AH)

Coastguard Station: There were no scoters to be found, though there were a Red-throated Diver and eight Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea and up to 20 Gannets milling about offshore. (AH)

Selsey East Beach Pond: A pair of Teal had joined the usual 35 Mallard, pair of Mute Swans, half dozen Coot and Moorhen and the ugly resident Muscovy Duck. There were also 3 Long-tailed Tits but it was otherwise quiet.

 Drake Teal and dubious-looking Muscovy at East Beach pond (SR)

Medmerry (east): Very few gulls about early afternoon and no sign of yesterday's Glaucous around the breach; just 4 Red-breasted Mergansers and 20 Grey Plover of note within the reserve. There was a surprise however, with a small flock of eight scoter offshore from 'Toe end' of which at least 2 were Velvet Scoters. Unfortunately there are now a lot of new sea-defence works going on at this point, which frustratingly means that access to the beach is fenced off... by the time I'd moved to an accessible point the scoters had drifted a long way out on a choppy sea! (OM)

Church Norton: There was nothing on the sea, though a flock of seven Red-throated Divers flew west, half a dozen Gannets were lingering far offshore and 10+ Mediterranean Gulls and 4+ Common Gulls were along the foreshore.
There was very little out of the ordinary in the harbour, with half a dozen Little Grebes and plenty of Wigeon, Teal and Brent Geese on the water and plenty of Grey Plover and |Dunlin roosting on the edges. (AH) The Whimbrel was still present and 2 Goldeneye were in the harbour. (BFF/DM)

Common Gulls (above), Mediterranean Gull, Little Grebe, Curlew & Grey Plover and Wigeon (AH)

Chi GPs - Drayton Pit:
alongside the A259 I had a very brief view of the Bittern (whilst DM was looking the wrong way and missed it!) as it dropped down into thick reeds. (BFF/DM)

Fishbourne Creek: at least 30 Yellowhammers were near the dung heap. At the edge of the harbour the Water Pipit was confiding with 2 Rock Pipits, and nearby another Whimbrel and 2 Jack Snipe were on the edge of the saltmarsh.(BFF/DM)

Water Pipit at Fishbourne creek (DM)