Monday, 29 January 2018

29th - 31st January 2018

Wednesday, 31st January: Back to normal again today! A very blustery grey morning, with heavy cloud and a strong westerly breeze, and cool with it....

Selsey Bill: (0810-0910) (AH)
Great Northern Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 3W
Slavonian Grebe - 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 2W
Gannet - 1E
Common Scoter - 42W (inc a flock of 38)
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E
Turnstone - 4W
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 5W

Sandwich Tern (above), Slavonian Grebe & Common Scoters past the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were just four Shelducks and two Lapwing around the pool, with six Shoveler, c20 Teal and c100 Wigeon in the creek. (AH)

Shoveler and Teal at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There wasn't much out of the ordinary in the harbour, though the Whimbrel was present, as were at least 17 Bar-tailed Godwits, including one in summer-plumage, among the many Dunlin and Grey Plovers. There were three Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour, with another half a dozen offshore, and two Jays were near the churchyard. Also, visiting birders reported a Merlin over the fields off Rectory Lane. (AH)

Bar-tailed Godwits (above), Grey Plover and Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Heron, Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plover & Red-breasted Mergansers and Cormorants at Church Norton (AH)

Tuesday, 30th January: After a sharp frost and a grey start, a lovely still winter's day....

Selsey Bill: (0830-1000hrs) (JD/DF/DS)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Red-throated Diver - 13W
Gannet - 10W
Common Scoter - 10W
Red-breasted Merganser - 5os
Sandwich Tern - 2W
Razorbill - 

Chichester Marina Reed-beds: A Bittern was seen in flight at the back of the reed-bed this afternoon at 4.45pm. (PH)

West of Selsey: The small area of marshy meadow to the west of the town held at least a dozen Common Snipe this morning. (AH)

Common Snipe at Selsey (AH)

Sidlesham Churchyard: A pair of active Firecrests, two Goldcrests and two Song Thrushes were in the churchyard this morning, whilst a Bullfinch was also briefly glimpsed. (OM) Later on a female Bullfinch was present and two pairs of Mistle Thrushes were chasing each other about. (AH)

One of the Firecrests in the churchyard, amongst a tangle of branches (!) (OM)
Bulfinch (above) & Mistle Thrush in Sidlesham Churchyard (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were just two Shelduck, two Redshanks and c50 Lapwing around the pool, with half a dozen Shoveler and c80 Wigeon on the flooded creek. (AH)

Lapwings on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There were two Goosanders present this morning - one near the harbour mouth and one in the central channel, and there were also a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and the three Goldeneye in the harbour, but the sea was dead, with just a distant Gannet and Red-breasted Merganser, both heading east, being seen.
There were plenty of waders about, including the Whimbrel and a dozen Bar-tailed Godwits, and at least 500 Brent Geese were coming and going.
A pair of Reed Buntings were on the path to the harbour and a flock of Long-tailed Tits, plus a couple of Goldcrests were near the Mound, whilst least four Meadow Pipits, ten Skylarks and 40+ linnets were along the spit. (AH)

Goosander (above), Whimbrel, Meadow Pipit, Brent Geese, Reed Buntings & Dunlin and Grey Plovers at Church Norton (AH)

Gareth and Roy Hughes enjoying their morning out on Pagham Spit (AH)

At around 2pm there were two Great Northern Divers and two Slavonian Grebes on the sea just off Church Norton. There were also a number of Mediterranean Gulls working on their summer plumage! (AW)

Slavonian Grebes (above), Great Northern Divers & Mediterranean Gull at Church Norton (AW)

Pagham Churchyard: Five Goldcrests, a few Long-tailed Tits, a Green Woodpecker, a calling Jay and a Stock Dove were about it. (OM)

North Mundham ChurchyardA first visit to this small churchyard, which has little habitat, with a singing Song Thrush being the only bird of note. (OM)

Donnington Churchyard: I didn't know this one existed, as it is a little concealed, but from studying the OS map thought it worth a quick visit. In the event it is a very small churchyard with little habitat, a noisy pair of Jays and a singing Song Thrush greeting my arrival. The surrounding area however is open farmland and trees, and a scan round produced 30 Fieldfares, 200 Starlings, 2 Buzzards, a Great Spotted and a Green Woodpecker. (OM)
Apuldram Churchyard: Things were not helped by the building work going on here, but a pair of Mistle Thrushes was present, and a Grey Wagtail flew over and dropped into the horse paddock. (OM)

Note: Just in case anyone is now wondering why I visited so many churchyards today....well, they often contain mature Yew trees and Hornbeams, attractive to Hawfinches. Sadly, none of them was attractive enough today! (OM)

Fishbourne Creek: My visit co-incided with the high tide, so there were few waders except about 20 Grey Plover and a few Redshanks and Curlew. In the channel were several hundred Wigeon and Brent Geese and 4 Goldeneye, but along the edges 8 Rock Pipits were seen, plus a Grey Wagtail and a Stonechat. Two large gatherings of roosting gulls were further up the channel, these dominated by Common count was as accurate as possible and came out at 830 birds, though doubtless I missed some that were obscured. Just a single Lesser Black-backed Gull was present amongst them, but otherwise my scan failed to locate anything else of interest. (OM)

Rock Pipit at Fishbourne Creek. This slightly paler individual drew my attention and seemed to be a shade greyer on the mantle, with a darkish bill and a pale-ish buffy throat. I did consider sub-sp littoralis, but perhaps it's a bit early and just wishful thinking or the bright sunlight... (OM)

Monday, 29th January: A grey and blustery day, with a fresh westerly blowing, though again it was quite mild.....

Selsey Bill: The male Black Redstart re-appeared on the Broadreeds Estate this morning, briefly seen in Canadian Crescent before disappearing back into gardens. Also 16 Brent Geese went west past there. (SR)

Black Redstart at the Bill (SR)

Earlier on the Bill was absolutely dead, with the total from 8.10-8.55am being a Kittiwake that briefly settled on the sea before continuing west and three Shelducks, also heading west. (AH/SR)

Kittiwake at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were just five Shelducks around the pool, whilst the flooded creek held half a dozen Shoveler and Mallard, c50 Teal and 200+ Wigeon. (AH)

Shovelers, Teal and Wigeon at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: The only birds offshore were five Common Scoter that dropped in on the sea before heading off west and half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers, whilst the three Goldeneye were still on the far side of the harbour, a Peregrine was on its island and at least 500 Brent Geese were around, coming and going in small groups.
There were half a dozen Bar-tailed Godwits and Knot about, plus the usual roost of Grey Plovers and Dunlin, but not too much else of note beyond a pair of Stonechats in the gorse along the beach. (AH)

Stonechat (above), Peregrine, Brent Geese, Wigeon and Redshank & Dunlin, Grey Plovers and Bar-tailed Godwit at Church Norton (AH)

Chichester Gravel Pits - Ivy Lake complex: Very little about today. East Lake - The field behind the lake held a flock of c150 Canada and 77 Greylag Geese along with the Bar-headed Goose and a further 22 Greylags and 29 Canadas were on the lake itself. Two of the 18 Black-headed Gulls on the water were in full summer plumage which seemed a little optimistic but there was nothing else of note. Ivy Lake - The windy weather kept most of the birds tucked away, the only ones being visible were one Black Swan alongside 4 Mutes, 2 Shoveler, c150 Tufted Ducks, 6 Great Crested Grebes and more Canada Geese. A flock of Long-tailed Tits and a few Goldcrests was all I could find in the bushes. (SR)

Greylag Goose at Chichester GPs (SR)

Honer Reservoir: The Long-tailed Duck was still present early this afternoon, along with four Tufted Ducks and three Coots. (AH)

Long-tailed Duck at Honer Reservoir (AH)

Friday, 26 January 2018

26th - 28th January 2018

Sunday, 27th January: A fairly grey, but pleasant, day with a moderate westerly breeze and the odd glimpse of the sun between the clouds....

Selsey Bill: A Red-necked Grebe was offshore before drifting off west and there were also up to 15 Slavonian Grebes present, with most moving off eastwards, and five Sandwich Terns about, plus a selection of other species. (Full log later) (JA/SH/IP/AH/JD/DS)
Great Norther Diver - 1os
Red-throated Diver - 2W, 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 10E, 5os
Red-necked Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 7W
Brent Goose - 1W
Common Scoter - 4W, 8os
Red-breasted Merganser - 7E, 9W, 2os
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 5W
Razorbill - 1E, 1W, 1os
Guiillemot - 1W
auk sp - 1E, 14W

Also, three Chiffchaffs were chasing each other around the ornamental garden in the Broadreeds Estate. (SR)

Sandwich Tern (above), Red-breasted Mergansers (AH) & Chiffchaff (SR) at the Bill

Honer Reservoir: The Long-tailed Duck was still present this morning. (P&JW)

Ferry Pool: There were just ten Teal and two Shelduck on the pool and c150 Wigeon in the flooded creek. (AH)

Wigeon at the Ferry (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: Around 75 Curlews dropped onto the farmland to feed, and 20 Oystercatchers were also on the fields, along with a Stonechat. 
A Firecrest was along Park Lane, plus a couple of Goldcrests, a Grey Wagtail and a Green Woodpecker were around the paddocks and a dozen Mediterranean Gulls dropped into the balancing pool on Manor Road.. (S&SaH/AH/IP)

Curlews at Park Farm, Selsey (AH)

Church NortonThere were three Slavonian Grebes offshore, with as many as another ten between the end of the reserve and Park Lane, Selsey (presumably accounting for those off the Bill earlier). Also offshore was a Great Northern Diver, four Red-throated Divers (flying east) and at least eight Red-breasted Mergansers, whilst in the harbour the Red-necked Grebe was near the harbour early on, but not later, along with the female Eider, a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and three Goldeneye.
Both Peregrines were about, with the female seen to take down and kill a Carrion Crow that was clearly not expecting to be prey! Also in the harbour were at least 50 Pintail, 13 Bar-tailed Godwits, the Whimbrel and a handful of Knot among the large numbers of Dunlin and Grey Plovers, with 1000+ Lapwings and 100+ Golden Plovers seen to go up from the North Wall area. (AH/IP/S&SaH/PH/AP et al)

Slavonian Grebes (above), Great Northern Diver, Bar-tailed Godwits and Oystercatchers, Dunlin & Turnstones at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - The main highlight was the flock of Fieldfares that flew into the line of Poplars at 3.45pm, totalling at least 130 birds and there also appeared to be two or three Redwings amongst them.
There were five Sanderlings feeding on the beach and the Common Sandpiper was still on the Stilt Pool, though it took ages to find it until it appeared at the back and then showed well on a very overfull pool. (IP)

Coastguards to Toe End: Very quiet along this stretch this morning with almost no small birds being seen other than a Stonechat near the Go-kart track and a few Linnets at the building site. Offshore from Toe End was a 60 strong Common Scoter flock, a Great Northern Diver and a Great Crested Grebe and a Slavonian Grebe was offshore opposite the coastguard station. (BI)

Birdham Pool: A Water Rail was the highlight here, skulking among the reeds at the far end, but otherwise it was just Tufted Ducks, Mallards and a few Little Grebes. (BI)

Saturday, 27th January: Dry to start with but with a keen south-westerly breeze and the prospect of drizzle later in the day...

Unusually, both main editors were to be found indoors today, and off the Peninsula -  though still involved in birding matters - by attending the Annual Conference of the Sussex Ornithological Society at Haywards Heath (thanks to Bart for holding the fort).
It is a pleasure to report that AH received a much-deserved Stonechat Award from the Society for his sterling efforts over many years.....well done Andy!
We also took the opportunity provided by the SOS to sell copies of our publication 'A Birdwatcher's Guide to Pagham Harbour, Medmerry and Selsey Bill' - which as readers will be aware is priced at £10, with all monies going to the RSPB for projects at Pagham Hbr & Medmerry Reserves. It is pleasing to record that sales exceeded £400 - and we are grateful to all who purchased a copy - but it must be mentioned that our unofficial 'sales team' Nikki and Tracy (RSPB volunteers) are largely responsible for such good sales figures with a combination of salesmanship, charm and the offer of a free flapjack with each copy! Well done ladies - we (and the RSPB) are most grateful! (OM)

AH having just received his Stonechat award from the SOS president Alan Perry....a thoroughly merited award for all his good work for the Society. (OM)
AH proudly displaying his Stonechat award, flanked by RSPB volunteers Nikki (left) and Tracey (right). Sorry I don't know you surnames ladies, but thanks for all your help and a fine job done in the sales department! (OM)

Selsey Bill: There were 12 Slavonian Grebes offshore early this morning, a few Red-throated & Great Northern Divers were  moving along with two Fulmars, a few Shags and a Sandwich Tern. A later look revealed 25 auk sp.Full log below. (JA/PM/BI/IP/MO-W)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Red-throated Diver - 3E, 12W
diver sp - 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 12E, 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Gannet - 3E, 7W
Shag - 2E
Brent Goose - 6W
Common Scoter - 1E, 16W
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 3W,2os
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 4os
Guillemot - 2W
Razorbill - 2E, 1W, 1os
auk sp - 1E, 18W

Park Farm: There were two Stonechats at the eastern end and, unusually, four Mute Swans were on the balancing pool by the building site. (IP)

Church Norton: The Whimbrel was showing nicely this morning and there were good numbers of commoner wildfowl and waders in the harbour including Brent Geese, Wigeon, Teal, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Redshank & Knot. From the spit were four Goldeneye, two Red-breasted Mergansers, the female Eider and a few Little & Great Crested Grebes but there was again no sign of the Red-necked Grebe. The female Peregrine was on the island, there were 46 Great Black-backed Gulls in the roost and the Greenfinch/Linnet flock was still along the fenceline. Generally quiet offshore bar a couple more Great Crested Grebes although a Kittiwake went west and a Sandwich Term was lingering not far out. Unusually for the inner harbour there were also two Seals present, presumably Common Seals but corrections welcome, one hauled up near Tern Island and the other by the entrance ironwork. (BI/PM/IP et al)

Whimbrel, above, wildfowl & waders and Seal at Church Norton (BI)

North Wall: Among the massed Lapwings in White's Creek this morning were five Ruff whilst out in the fields off the wall were 2200 Brent Geese & 58 Curlew, joined by five Roe Deer on occasion! The banks off Church Barton reservoir held 71 Great Black-backed Gulls and close to Bremere Rife sluice were a further 120 Black-headed Gulls as well as 500 Wigeon; a Fox was barely 30 yards distant from the birds here. There were more Wigeon (400) and Curlew (106) at Bremere Bridge but these were eventually flushed by a nearby shooting party. (JDW)

Brent Geese & Gulls (above), Roe Deer & Fox at the North Wall (JDW)

Ferry Pool/Long Pool: There were just two Redshank, 40 Lapwing and eight Teal on the pool and c100 wigeon in the creek on the field. There were just four Tufted Ducks on the Long Pool, whilst there were 40+ Avocets and 20+ Shelducks at the end of Ferry Channel early this morning. (AH)

Redshank and Teal on the Ferry (above), Avocets & Cormorant in Ferry Channel (AH)

Friday, 26th January: Another bright and fairly sunny day, with a surprisingly chilly but moderate north-westerly breeze....

Selsey Bill: Highlights this morning included seven Slavonian Grebes east, three Great Northern Divers offshore and a couple of Sandwich Terns west. Full log below....
0730-1030hrs: (JA/OM/AH/MJ/SR//MO-W/M Mallalieu)
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 6W
Great Northern Diver - 3 os, moving back and forth
diver sp - 3E, 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 7E, 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1os
Gannet - 1W
Shag - 5E
Mute Swan - 1os
Brent Goose - 3E, 42W
Common Scoter - 3os
Red-breasted Merganser - 15E, 10os
Teal - 1W
Razorbill - 1os
auk sp - 1E
Turnstone - 8 ob
Sandwich Tern - 2W
Common Gull - 29E, 2W
Mediterranean Gull - 2 os
Redwing - 1 gardens

Great Northern Diver (above), Sandwich Terns, Red-breasted Merganser & Brent Geese at the Bill (AH)

 Mute Swan off the Bill and Redwing in gardens on the Broadreeds estate (SR)

A visit to the Bill by the management! We were pleased to welcome both the Hon. Recorder (Mark Mallalieu) and the Assistant Recorder (Martin Orchard-Webb) of the Sussex Ornithological Society this morning. Here, Mark (right) and Martin (centre) are seen discussing issues with AH. (OM)

Ferry Pool: There were c80 Lapwing on the pool and c100 Wigeon on the creek in the field, but not much else. (AH)

Lapwings on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: The redhead Goosander was in the harbour mouth this morning (though not the Red-necked Grebe), and on the far side there were three Goldeneye, a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and the female Eider. There wasn't too much else of note about, though c20 Linnets and a Meadow Pipit were on the spit, and the lone Knot was in the harbour. (AH/OM/MJ/AB)
Earlier a Slavonian Grebe was offshore and a Peregrine was in the harbour. (P&JW)

Goosander (above), Knot & Wigeon at Church Norton (AH)

AB looking out from Pagham Spit (AB)

North Wall: Alongside White's Creek were around 900 Lapwing with at least 4 Ruff amongst them. The Breech Pool held 13 Tufted Duck and a handful of Teal and Mallard, and in the field behind were 11 Canada Geese and 34 Wigeon. Honer 1 field remains impassable, but there were in the region of 1400 Brent Geese in Honer 2 and 63 Curlew in Honer 3. The first Grey Herons are now back nest-prospecting in Owl Copse. (JDW)

Floods on the North Fields today (JDW) 

Wildfowl and drake Teal on the North Fields (JDW)  

Fishbourne Creek: Around the dung heap were a dozen Yellowhammers and along the hedgerow were a couple of Goldcrests, a few Long-tailed Tits and a charm of Goldfinches whilst there was just one Rock Pipit down by the shoreline. 
There were plenty of gulls in the harbour at dead low water, mainly Common & Black-headed Gulls but also an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Great Back-backed Gull and a few Herring Gulls. Also present were hundreds of Wigeon and waders here included Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover and six Ringed Plovers. (BI)