Thursday, 23 March 2017

23rd - 25th March 2017

Saturday, 25th March: A very bright morning, but the strong north-easterly breeze kept both the temperature and the birds down.....

Selsey Bill: Little evidence of migration, though three Bar-tailed Godwits and a few Sandwich Terns went east, and  there was still the female Eider and a couple of Great Northern Divers offshore, plus a Swallow came in over the gardens. Full log later. (JA/PM/IP/AB/AH/A&YF et al)

Eider (above) & Bar-tailed Godwits at the Bill (AH)

(1515-1630hrs) (SH)
Gannet - 13E
Common Scoter - 3E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W, 2os
Whimbrel - 1E
Kittiwake - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 19E

Coastguard Station: Two Great Northern Divers, three Red-breasted Mergansers and c25 distant Common Scoter were offshore, seven Gannets headed east, a Skylark was singing over the field and there were a dozen Meadow Pipits on it.
Sadly the rubble pile behind the windmill has largely been removed, and the only birds I saw there were two Meadow Pipits flying in from the sea. (SR)

Ferry Pool: Early on a Green Sandpiper and a Water Rail were showing (AB), but by mid-morning there were just four Shoveler, 14 Shelduck and 24 Teal on the pool. (AH/BI)
At lunchtime there were two Little Ringed Plovers present. (IL)

Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: The Black Redstart was in the churchyard again, as was a Firecrest, before disappearing into the trees by the car-park and not re-appearing, though there was another one present in the Bluebell Wood, later on.
Otherwise it was quiet, with one or two Chiffchaffs, Long-tailed Tits and Goldcrests present, half a dozen Skylarks and a few Meadow Pipits along the beach and a couple of Gannets offshore, but not much in the harbour beyond c30 Brent Geese and a few Wigeon, Teal, Redshank, Curlew and a couple of Ringed Plovers. (AB/AH/IP et al)
Later on there was a Wheatear on the beach, a Buzzard over the harbour and a Sparrowhawk over Park Farm, Selsey. (S&SaH)

Black Redstart (above), Firecrest, Skylark (AH) & Wheatear (SH) at Church Norton 

Ivy Lake:  No hirundines over the lake this morning and generally quiet on the water with a few Tufted Ducks, Pochards & Canada Geese being the sum. Three Chiffchaffs were along the path towards the road end. (BI)

Friday, 24th March: A dry morning, but still with that blustery north-easterly and heavy cloud cover.....

Selsey BillThere wasn't too much moving offshore early on beyond a few Brent Geese, Common Scoters and Red-throated Divers, along with five Shoveler and 30+ Common Gulls, plus a Wheatear which landed on the beach. The two Eider were offshore again, with the first-winter male even settling on the beach for a while. However, whilst the going may have been on the slow side, those observers that put in a long shift today had their rewards, with in excess of 700 Meadow Pipits arriving from the sea and a lunch-time Marsh Harrier doing likewise. Full log below.....
0645-1520hrs: (JA/C&ME/C&JM/AH/SR et al)
Red-throated Diver - 5E
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Great Crested Grebe - 3os
Fulmar - 1E, 4W, 3os
Gannet - 53E, 35W
Brent Goose - 85E
Shelduck - 3W
Eider - 1W (ad male), 2os
Common Scoter - 114E
Red-breasted Merganser - 11E, 6W, 7os
Shoveler - 5E
Pintail - 2E
Redshank - 1E 
Marsh Harrier - 1N (male, 12.55hrs)
Sandwich Tern - 2E
Common Gull - 38E
Wheatear - 1N, 1ob
Pied/alba Wagtail - 5N
Meadow Pipit - 731N
Carrion Crow - 33N


Eiders (above), Red-throated Diver & Fulmar at the Bill (AH)

Scenes from the Bill today: (first two) record shots of the Marsh Harrier arriving, (centre) Brent Geese passing, (lower) newly-arrived tired Meadow Pipit on the beach, and (bottom) three men arrive to do maintenance repairs on the 'Mile basket' (Mixon). (C&JM)

Medmerry: Coastguards to the Windmill - There were two Wheatears on the beach this morning, with a further four together on the path from the Windmill, and at least 20 Meadow Pipits were in the field.
Offshore there were a Great Northern Diver and a Great Crested Grebe, plus two Gannets east. (AH) Further down by Toe End it was quiet with just a few Meadow Pipits and Skylarks in the area. (BI)

Wheatears at Medmerry (AH)

Medmerry: Stilt Pool - A Little Ringed Plover and a Dunlin were on the pool this morning along with the regular Common Sandpiper and the Avocets, a pair of Gadwall, a Shoveller and a dozen Tufted Ducks. A Wheatear was on the sea defence rocks and a Raven was on the beach whilst the Great Crested Grebe was still offshore. (BI)

Wheatear, Little Ringed Plover & Dunlin at Medmerry (BI)

Ferry Pool: Both a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail flew over into the channel this morning, whilst on the pool there were a Little Ringed Plover, a Green Sandpiper, two Black-tailed Godwits, two Lapwings, eight Redshank, ten Shoveler, six Shelduck and 14 Teal. (AH)

Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover (above), Shovelers & Shelducks on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: There were several Chifffchaffs and Reed Buntings, plus a dozen Linnets along the pool early this morning, and in Ferry Channel there were 30 Black-tailed Godwits, some in summer plumage, along with 50+ Redshank and Teal and a pair of Shoveler flew over. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit (above), Reed Buntings & Linnet around Long Pool (AH)

Church Norton: The Black Redstart was still present in the churchyard early this morning. (E.Mayhew)

Ivy Lake: At least ten Sand Martins were over the chalet end this morning. (BI)

Thursday, 23rd March: Another cold and grey start, with early rain and a persistent, blustery north-easterly, later becoming drier with sunny periods, but with no sign of the wind easing.....

Selsey Bill: Not too much on the move this morning, apart from a few Common Scoter flocks and four Red-throated Divers, but there were two Eiders on the sea. Full log below....
0645-1230hrs: C&ME/OM/AH/BFF/DM/PC)
Red-throated Diver - 4E
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 2os
diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1os
Gannet - 16E, 7W
Little Egret - 1E
Brent Goose - 2W
Shelduck - 1E
Eider - 2os
Common Scoter - 80E, 3W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 7os
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 3E
Mediterranean Gull - 1E, 3os
auk sp - 6W
Meadow Pipit - 19N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 2NE
Also 1600-1700hrs:  (SH)
Great Crested Grebe - 2os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 9E, 5W
Eider - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W, 1os
Kittiwake - 14W

Selsey: Two Grey Wagtails in the observer's garden (near the Lifeboat station). (SW)

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

Ferry Pool: The Green Sandpiper was again present, plus four Snipe, a dozen Redshank, two Shelduck and 20 Teal, and there were two Water Rails showing well near the bank.
There were two pairs of Lapwing displaying over the field, and in the creek there were a dozen Shoveler, a pair of Gadwall and c30 Wigeon. (AH)

Water Rails (above), Snipe & Shoveler at the Ferry (AH)

Ivy Lake: There were six Sand Martins and a Swallow over the back of the lake this afternoon. (AB)

Church Norton: There was very little to report here, with a singing Blackcap and a couple of Chiffchaffs the only suggestion of migration, and not much in the harbour beyond a handful of Brent Geese, Wigeon and Black-tailed Godwits and a thin scattering of commoner waders. (AH/BFF/DM)
Also, a flighty and wary Black Redstart was in the churchyard again this afternoon. (D Smith per SOS)

Wigeon at Church Norton (AH)

Monday, 20 March 2017

20th - 22nd March 2017

Wednesday, 22nd March: Not quite as bad as forecast, but still a cold and strong south-south-easterly and squalls of drizzly rain.....

Selsey Bill: The first Manx Shearwaters of the year - seven west - were the highlight this morning, though there were a few other bits on the move, including 25 Sandwich Terns, 40+ Common Scoter, a Velvet Scoter, a few Brent Geese, two Black-throated Divers, a Bonxie east and over a dozen Fulmars west, plus a Wheatear on the Oval Field. Most of the activity occurred before 11.00 in the strong SSE wind, but then after a heavy squall the wind backed SSW with showers and passage fell away somewhat. Full log below.........
0600-1330hrs: (GH/OM/AH/SR/C&ME et al)
Red-throated Diver - 12E
Black-throated Diver - 2E
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Diver sp - 6E
Great Crested Grebe - 3E, 1W, 1os
Manx Shearwater - 7W
Fulmar - 1E, 15W
Gannet - 35E, 15W
Shag - 1E
Mute Swan - 1W then back E well out to sea
Brent Goose - 33E
Common Scoter - 43E
Velvet Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 20W
Dunlin - 35W
Grey Plover - 30W
Oystercatcher - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 25E, 1W
Kittiwake - 2E, 12W
Great Skua - 1E
Wheatear - 1 (Oval field)

Red-throated Diver (above), Common Scoters & Brent Geese past the Bill (AH)

Mute Swan (immature) well out to sea heading east, after first heading west... actually quite an uncommon species on a sea-watch. (OM)

(1330-1500hrs) (C&ME)
Red-throated Diver - 3E
diver sp - 2E
Gannet - 3E, 6W
Common Scoter - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 7E
(1630-1745hrs) (SH)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Red-throated Diver - 3E
diver sp - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1os
Gannet - 4E
Common Gull - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 7E 

Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper, two Black-tailed Godwits, four Redshank, two Shelduck and a dozen Teal were on the pool this morning. (AH)

Green Sandpiper on the Ferry (AH)

Chichester GPs: Westhampnett Pit - There were a single Sand Martin and a single Swallow over the pit this morning. 
Ivy Lake complex - There were no hirundines over the main lake, but about a dozen Sand Martins were over the small pits at the eastern end. Also about were a Reed Bunting, a noisy Cetti's Warbler and several Chiffchaffs and Long-tailed Tits, plus half a dozen Pochard among 20 or so Tufted Ducks. (AH)

Sand Martin (above), Swallow, Chiffchaff, Reed Bunting & Pochards and Tufted Ducks around Chichester GPs (AH)

Church Norton: After a strenuous couple of hours helping on the Tern Island work party three of us lunched in the churchyard and were rewarded with two Black Redstarts, one of which showed extremely well sat on a gravestone. (G Whitehead per SOS)

North Wall: A quick look this afternoon produced a Wheatear and a Rock Pipit along the wall and a Spotted Redshank in White's Creek. (AB)

Wheatear on North Wall (AB)

Medmerry: West side - A Barn Owl was out hunting just after dusk this evening. (AH)

Tuesday, 21st March: A clear, bright and breezy morning, with plenty of sunshine to offset the chilly westerly breeze.....

Selsey Bill: (C&ME/OM/A&YF/DF/DS/GJ/BFF/DM et al) A morning of two halves at the Bill. The first session was predictably quiet bird-wise, given the brisk westerly and clear conditions, with basically just a few Brent moving through and seemingly more birders than birds. After social pleasantries, most observers got bored and drifted away by 0930, leaving just five of us behind..... and for once it paid off! 

More birders than birds, with a bit of boredom setting in....! (OM)

The second half started brilliantly, with the morning's highlight.... an Osprey seen coming in off the sea at 09.40 and carrying on inland around 09.45.  First picked up about a couple of miles out, the bird was battling in literally just above the wave tops, and once it's ID was nailed it was seen to make steady inward progress until eventually it reached the offshore shingle bar, where it veered more westerly. Gaining height, it made landfall somewhere around the Hillfield car-park area and was greeted with a mass of noisy gulls mobbing it, before it moved northwards inland. A photo was near-impossible, but I tried, then it was time to make some hasty phone calls......(OM/C&ME/RJS et al )
Otherwise it was fairly slow, with four Great Northern Divers offshore, several wader flocks going west and a handful of Meadow Pipits arriving. Full log below....
Red-throated Diver - 4E
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Diver sp - 3E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W, 1os
Gannet - 28E, 81W
Brent Goose - 62E, 11W
Common Scoter - 1E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4W, 10os
Dunlin - 44W
Grey Plover - 60W
Sparrowhawk - 1 area
Osprey - 1N (0940)
Auk sp - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 1E, 2W
Meadow Pipit - 34N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 1N, 1W
Linnet - 1 gardens

Record shots of the Osprey at distance.... (above) low over the sea, (below) arriving to be mobbed by gulls. See below for some of AH's proper shots!  (OM)

Ferry Pool: Thanks to a timely call from OM, I saw the Osprey pass low overhead about five minutes later, though it carried on north rather than heading for the harbour.

Otherwise, a Green Sandpiper, five Redshanks and 20 Teal were on the pool, around 40 Wigeon and five Shovelers were on the field and there were a pair of Lapwings displaying.

A look around the Tramway didn't produce much beyond a couple of Chiffchaffs and c40 flighty Linnets. (AH)

Osprey (above), Green Sandpiper & Linnet around the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Windmill area - There were a couple of Chiffchaffs along the path to the beach, but nothing else at all. (AH)

Breach area - A Wheatear and a Black Redstart were by and between the caravans at Bunn Leisureand a large raft of Common Scoter were on the sea looking westwards, with at least one Velvet Scoter among them. (G Whitehead per SOS)

Long Pool: The Spotted Redshank was at the far end of Ferry Channel, along with c75 Redshank, a dozen Shoveler and 40 Teal, but no Avocets. There were at least three pairs of Little Grebes on the pool, and up to ten Chiffchaffs and Linnets along the hedges, with a handful of Meadow Pipits moving about. (AH)

Spotted Redshank and Redshank (above), Chiffchaff, Shoveler & Little Grebes from Long Pool (AH)

Church Norton: There were 2 Wheatears present this morning. (DS/DF/GJ)
Chichester Marina: Not much to report this morning....on the marsh were 12 Teal, a single Black-tailed Godwit, a Cetti's Warbler, a couple of Chiffchaffs, two over-flying Mediterranean Gulls and a pair of displaying Buzzards. Nearby the lone Black Swan may have deserted its nest on the canal...? 
Nearby at Birdham Pool it was equally quiet; most of the ducks had gone (apart from a few Mallard), there were 3 Coots on nests, and 12 Little Grebes (of which two pairs with nests). (OM)

Chi GPs - Ivy Lake: There were 7 Sand Martins present late afternoon. (AB) Generally quiet in the morning though with more gulls than wildfowl, the only ducks present being a few Mallards, Tufted Ducks and two Pochards although a smart summer plumage Little Grebe was nice to see. Another Little Grebe was with the Tufted Ducks on Nunnery Lake and there were a few Long-tailed  Tits, a Jay and a single Chiffchaff along the paths. (BI)

Monday, 20th MarchA fairly dire start to the morning, with a strong to near gale-force south-westerly, heavy drizzle and poor visibility, though improving just a little as the day progressed.....

Selsey BillNot too much moving at first, though 50+ Gannets passed through, a couple of Fulmars were going west, and just a few Meadow Pipits arrived in off the sea.  (OM/C&ME/AH)
Surprisingly however, given the conditions, by late morning there had been over 500 Meadow Pipits in, and a Merlin came in low, spectacularly but unsuccessfully chasing one of them right over the beach and then high over the Oval field before shooting away high to the west. Also there were two Slavonian Grebes offshore. (OM/C&ME/SR)  Full log below.....
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Slavonian Grebe - 2os (one partial s/plum)
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 10W
Gannet - 20E, 82W
Brent Goose - 78E, 9W
Shelduck - 1W
Common Scoter - 4E
Red-breasted Merganser - 7E, 8W, 4os
Wigeon - 8E
Dunlin - 2W
Merlin - 1N (1155hrs) departed high W (see above)
Sandwich Tern - 3E
Kittiwake - 4E, 2W
Meadow Pipit - 525N 

Merlin at the Bill (OM)

Fulmars (above) & Gannets past the Bill (AH)

Park Farm: There were 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 2 Chiffchaffs early evening. (SH)
Ferry Pool: The usual Black-tailed Godwit, four Shelduck, six Redshanks and 25 Teal were the sum of it this morning. (AH)
Early afternoon the Green Sandpiper was present, plus just 12 Teal and 2 Shelduck. (OM)

Black-tailed Godwit on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There were two or three Chiffchaffs and Long-tailed Tits around the hedges this morning, and around the harbour there were 30+ Black-tailed Godwits, 20+ Teal, and a few Redshank and Curlews, but not much more in some poor viewing conditions. (AH)
This afternoon a Sandwich Tern was in the harbour, plus the Whimbrel. (B.Lyle)
Also at least a dozen Chiffchaffs, 3 Wheatears along the beach and 4 Cetti's Warbler around the Severals area. (SH)

Black-tailed Godwit (above) & Redshanks at Church Norton (AH)