Thursday, 4 January 2018

4th - 6th January 2018

Saturday, 6th January: A cold, fairly bright morning, with the breeze having gone around to a stiff north-easterly....

Selsey Bill: (0740-0930hrs) (JA/SH/PB/SR)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Red-throated Diver - 3E, 15W, 2os
Slavonian Grebe - 3os
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 1os
Gannet - 1E, 1W
Shag - 1os
Brent Goose - 7W
Wigeon - 8W
Common Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 13os
Grey Plover - 26W
Dunlin - 550W (in one flock)
Mediterranean Gull - 3os
Kittiwake - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 7os
Razorbill - 1E, 2W
auk sp - 1E, 2W

Medmerry West: The six Barnacle Geese were still on the Stilt Pool this morning & the Common Sandpiper was also present here. Offshore was a raft of c.60 Common Scoter, 26 Brent Geese went west and a Red-throated Diver went east. There were also two Dartford Warblers near Marsh Barn in the gorse opposite the Earnley footpath. (BI)

This afternoon both a Merlin and a Sparrowhawk were out hunting, a Greenshank was near the poplars, 50+ Fieldfares and 10+ Redwings were roosting in the dead poplars, and 100+ Linnets and 200+ Pied Wagtails were on an uncropped field. (S&SaH)

Barnacle Geese & Common Sandpiper on the Stilt pool (BI)

Ferry Pool/Long Pool: There were just five Shoveler and c60 Teal on the Ferry early this morning, whilst there was nothing really along the Long Pool except two Fieldfares, though there were 32 Avocets, c20 Redshank and c20 Shelduck at the far end of Ferry Channel. (AH)

Teal on the Ferry (above), Avocets & Fieldfares from the Long Pool (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: There were six Oystercatchers, two Red-legged Partridge and three Curlews in the soon to be developed field just north of the village and a pair of Stonechats just beyond the farm buildings. Also, at the seaward end of Park Lane there were three Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the same fir tree. (IP)
There was also a Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard present. (S&SaH)

Church Norton: A female Bullfinch flew from the orchard at Greenlease Farm to the trees between the two Severals, and the nearby fields held a flock of c200 Brent Geese.

Offshore a pair of Slavonian Grebes flew east, along with a single Gannet and a Red-throated Diver flew west fairly close inshore.
In the harbour there were a female Goosander, ten Red-breasted Mergansers and six Goldeneye, including four drakes, lots of the common waders, including two Bar-tailed Godwits, and two Cetti's Warblers were calling from the Severals.. (IP) 
There were also 20 Common Scoter, two Razorbills and two Eider offshore this morning. (S&SaH)
The Red-necked Grebe made a surprise but very welcome return at mid-day, flying east at 1205 (BI) and was still present inside the harbour at 1330. (AW)
Also, the two Firecrests were behind the back of the churchyard, by the steps over the wall. (P&JW)

Red-necked Grebe at Church Norton (AW)

North Wall: There were four Ruff in the fields (two of which briefly visited White's Creek), along with 1000+ Lapwing, 100+ Curlews, 200 Wigeon, a few Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank, a Barnacle Goose, a Greylag Goose, two Bar-headed Geese, c100 Canada Geese and c500 Brent Geese. Also, Rock Pipit and a Snipe flew over and there were one or two Reed Buntings about.
There were many hundreds more Lapwing in White's Creek, and at least 100 Golden Plover went up with them from further out, where there were as many as 500 Black-tailed Godwits among the numerous waders and wildfowl. (AH et al)
Also, two Cetti's Warblers were calling early on. (PC)

Ruff (above), Barnacle Goose & Bar-headed Geese with Brent and Canada Geese, Reed Bunting & Lapwings from North Wall (AH)

Pagham Lagoon/Spit: The Lagoon held just half a dozen Pochard and Tufted Ducks, plus similar of Mediterranean Gulls, with a Chiffchaff near the houses.
In the harbour from the spit there were a female Eider, four Goldeneye and six Red-breasted Mergansers, plus a few Pintail among the Wigeon and Teal, with a Stonechat, a few Skylarks and Greenfinches, plus a couple of Common and Mediterranean Gulls also seen. (AH)

Eider (above), Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, Mediterranean Gull and Black-tailed Godwits from Pagham Spit (AH)

MedmerryPorthole, Oakhurst, and Ham Farms - There was no sign of the Barn Owl at Porthole Farm, but a Short-eared Owl flying over towards Ham was some consolation. There were also three or four Chiffchaffs in the hedges there, plus half a dozen Stock Doves, whilst nearby at Oakhurst Farm there were five Fieldfares.
At Ham Farm there was a flock of at least 1500 Brent Geese on the wheat fields, six Little Egrets and ten Song Thrushes were on a cultivated field nearby, about 40 Linnets were flying about the hedges and c60 Shelduck were on the tidal area, where a Kingfisher also flew through. (AH)

Linnet (above), Fieldfare & Brent Geese at Medmerry (AH)

Friday, 5th January: Another very blustery day, initially with squally rain, but then brightening up....

Selsey Bill: Not much moving again, though the Sanderling was still present and a Sandwich Tern went east. Full log below.....
0800-1000hrs: (SR/AH/BI et al)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Red-throated Diver - 2W
diver sp - 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 6W
Brent Goose - 9W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 5W, 4os
Sanderling - 1p
Kittiwake - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 3W
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Razorbill - 2W

Sanderling and Herring Gull (above) & Great Crested Grebe at the Bill (AH)


Medmerry West: The six Barnacle Geese flew west past the breach this morning (SH) and later on they were on the reserve opposite the Stilt Pool, though flighty, occasionally being flushed by a low-flying light aircraft before returning to their favoured spot. There was also a large gull roost here containing 00's of Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls as well as a few Mediterranean & Common Gulls. 
The Stilt Pool was largely quiet with just six Gadwall, four Mute Swans, six Shelduck & 20 Wigeon of note. Along the banks were a dozen Skylarks and around Marsh Barn was a large mixed flock of Yellowhammers & Linnets, put up by a Sparrowhawk at one stage, and 20 Stock Doves. A Little Grebe was on the pool opposite Easton viewpoint and there were more mixed gulls here feeding on the floods. In the creek were plenty of Teal and Wigeon and two Curlew were out on the mud with 25 Redshank. (BI/SR)

Views of the Barnacle Geese at Medmerry (upper two BI, lower two SR) 

Later on the Barnacle Geese had relocated to the Stilt Pool, where the Common Sandpiper was sheltering from the wind. On the reserve side the water-level was higher than I have ever seen it at high-tide, with hundreds of roosting Lapwing and wildfowl, plus 50 or more Ringed Plovers around the area. (AH)

Barnacle Geese (above), Common Sandpiper & the high tide viewed frpom the west side at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were ten Shoveler, two Shelduck and c40 Teal on the pool, two Curlews and a Stock Dove on the field and c200 Lapwing and 16 Golden Plover flew over from the harbour and back again. (AH)

Stock Dove (above) & Lapwings at the Ferry (AH)

Church NortonNot much beyond the usual here, including the Whimbrel, a Peregrine, a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits, 200 or so Knot, 500+ Dunlin and a few Grey Plovers, Wigeon, Teal and Shelduck,, whilst 500+ Brent Geese flew in from the fields. A Goldcrest and a Song Thrush were about the only birds along the hedges. (AH et al)

Knot (above), Dunlin, Wigeon, Goldcrest & Brent Geese at Church Norton (AH)

Late morning, just before high tide, there were at least 400 Brent Geese on the sea just off Church Norton, along with a Red-throated Diver, two Slavonian Grebes and two Eider, and in addition to the Wigeon and Teal on the flooded horse field there was also a Little Grebe. (AW)

Red-throated Diver (above), Slavonian Grebes, Brent Geese, Little Grebe and the flooded horse field at Church Norton (AW)

Thursday, 4th January: Yet another day of near gale-force westerly winds following a wet and stormy night, though at least fairly bright and mild, with early rain eventually giving way to a drier spell.....

Selsey Bill: Not too much on the move, though the Bonxie  - probably the one seen over the last couple of days (?) - dropped in offshore and a colour-ringed/flagged Sanderling was on the beach. Full log below.....
0745-1030hrs: (OM/SR)
Slavonian Grebe - 1 os
Great Crested Grebe - 2W
Cormorant - 37 eventually moving W, including a flock of 23
Shag - 1E, 1os
Gannet - 1E, 1W
Brent Goose - 6W
Common Scoter - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 4W, 1os
Sanderling - 1 ob (colour-ringed)
Great Skua - 1 arrived os, later flew W
Mediterranean Gull - 1os

Colour-ringed/flagged Sanderling on the beach at the proved very tricky trying to be sure exactly what the colour scheme was in the conditions, but eventually the bird allowed a closer approach. The enlarged cropped image below eventually resolved the issue...... (OM)

 Great Skua passing west off the Bill (OM)

Ferry Pool: Very little was on the pool - just a couple of Shelduck and Curlews, with the field empty, too, though c100 Wigeon were in the creek and c40 Curlews were in the adjacent arable field. (AH)

Long Pool: A Spotted Redshank was among the roosting waders at the far end, and c150 Golden Plover and 500 Lapwing were flying about overhead. There were just a couple of Song Thrushes and a handful of Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits along the hedges. (AH)

Spotted Redshank and Redshanks (above) & Golden Plovers from the Long Pool (AH)

Honer/North Mundham: There was not much around the reservoir and fields, though there were two Black Swans and c30 Shelduck and Mute Swans in the fields, a few Skylarks and Reed Buntings were about the vicinity and c100 Lapwing flew over.
There was a huge mixed flock of Redwing (c200) and Fieldfare (c100) around some paddocks to the south of North Mundham, and there were also several Pied Wagtails, a Buzzard, c200 Starlings, c100 Common Gulls and c200 Black-headed Gulls present. (AH)

Fieldfare (above), Redwing and Fieldfares and Redwings at North Mundham (AH)

Lapwings (above) & Shelducks and Black Swans at Honer (AH)

Church Norton: A fairly brief visit on the rising tide - already quite high - with a gathering of several hundred Dunlin, Grey Plover and Knot in a mixed flock on the reducing mudflats, plus a single Bar-tailed Godwit. There were four Red-breasted Mergansers in the channel with eight Little Grebes and a flock of 150 Brent Geese dropped in, whilst along the hedgerows small birds were all but invisible in the strengthening wind. I opted out of checking the beach! (OM) 

Another very high tide at Church Norton meant there was little to report. A Great Northern Diver was seen briefly at sea and most of the waders were huddled in groups along the beach. The Severals have flooded, resulting in an increasing number of Mallard, Teal and Wigeon and on the second Several a pair of Mute Swans and a drake Shoveler were present, along with five Tufted Ducks. (AW)

Great Northern Diver (above), Shoveler, Ringed Plover and the very high tide at Church Norton (AW)

Ivy Lake complex: A quick look produced c80 Shoveler, c60 Pochard, c60 Tufted Duck and c20 Gadwall, most of which were on New Lake, along with a handful of Great Crested Grebes, but not much else. (AH)

Gadwall (above) & Pochard and Gadwall at Ivy Lake (AH)

Chi Marina and Birdham Pool: A lunchtime visit which found the water levels very high. Around the flooded marsh there were 50+ Lapwings and a dozen Oystercatchers, though little else, with a few Tufted Ducks and a Black Swan on the canal. The channel was full to overflowing but with little of interest on the water.
Moving swiftly on to Birdham Pool, alas I arrived just too late and the sea was overtopping from the marina, flooding the road and the pool itself, making access along the footpath impossible. Re-locating to the opposite end of the pool, the footpath and road were rapidly disappearing under water, and all I could find were c.25 Tufted Duck, 6 Little Grebes and plenty of Mallard and Coot, plus a flock of 12 Long-tailed Tits in the hedgerows. It was impossible to get a view of the area sometimes frequented by Mandarins, so I have no idea if they were there - but in any case access is likely to be difficult for a while! (OM)

Birdham Pool (upper left) and the roadway being flooded from the overflowing Marina channel (OM)

Pagham North Wall/East side: Lots of birds in the north fields again: '00's of Wigeon with a supporting cast of Pintail, Shoveler, Brent Geese, Canada Geese, Teal, Shelduck, Mallards, the two Bar-headed Geese and 100+ Curlew all out on the floods. Along the east side were a great many Black-tailed Godwits, probably not far short of 1000 birds, c.500 Lapwings, c.100 Golden Plover on the saltmarsh and plenty of Shelducks too. Two Ruddy Shelducks were also reported here but these turned out to be the Cape/hybrid types from Honer reservoir. (BI)

Pagham Lagoon & Spit: Little on the lagoon apart from a few Little Grebes and a female Goldeneye but from the spit was the Eider, three more Goldeneye and a Peregrine sat on its regular island.  (BI)

Eider, above, & Peregrine from Pagham Spit (BI)

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