Monday, 26 February 2018

26th - 28th February 2018

Wednesday, 28th FebruaryAnother bitingly cold day with sub-zero temperatures, despite plenty of sunshine, and the north-easterly breeze picking up during the day....

Ferry Pool: There was not a solitary bird on the pool this morning, or in the channel opposite, though there were six Gadwall and 25 Teal in the rife. (AH)
There were at least 20 Snipe and a probable Jack Snipe on Ferry field today. (BO'D)

Gadwall at the Ferry (AH)

Church NortonI inadvertently flushed a Woodcock in Priory Wood today. (BO'D)

North Wall: White's Creek was quiet, with just a couple of Redshank and three Black-tailed Godwits present, plus plenty of Wigeon and a few Teal, and there were just a few Teal and Tufted Ducks on the Breech Pool, plus a Kestrel over. Also, a Chiffchaff was in the lane, near the stables. (AH/MO-W)

The North Fields were more productive however, with the long-staying Long-tailed Duck still on Honer reservoir (with 6 Tufted Duck), a Jack Snipe in the muddy area in front of Honer Cottages, and another along Pagham Rife. Parts of the north-western corner of the Harbour were iced over but still contained 340 Wigeon and 140 Black-tailed Godwits, the latter later settled by Bremere Rife. (JDW)

Sadly, Pagham Rife was again polluted by sewerage close to the footbridge at the end of Summer Lane
....and they want to build how many more houses around here....?

Chiffchaff (above), Teal, Wigeon and a frozen Breech Pool from North Wall (AH)

Wigeon in the Harbour north area and (below) raw sewage in Pagham Rife: the latter is a similar photo to those we have spared you from a number of times over the last few years, but given the pressure to build on land around the harbour we feel it should now at least be documented here, so the public are  aware. (JDW)  (Eds)

East side: There weren't too many waders along the east side on the rising tide, with just a few Knot, Dunlin, Grey Plovers, Redshank and Curlew about, though there was a flock of ten roosting Avocets. At least 1000 Brent Geese were present in the main channel, along with a few Pintail, Shelduck Wigeon and Teal, whilst a couple of Rock Pipits and a pair of Stonechats were along the harbourside. (AH)

Rock Pipit (above), Stonechat, Pintail, Avocets & Knot along East side (AH)

Pagham Lagoon and spitPagham Lagoon held just a handful of Tufted Duck and Wigeon, plus at least 50 Mediterranean Gulls and 20 Common Gulls, whilst the spit held a dozen Skylarks and there were four Goldeneye, two Red-breasted Mergansers, the female Eider and a Lesser Black-backed Gull were in the harbour. (AH)

Goldeneye (above) & Lesser Black-backed Gull from Pagham Spit & Mediterranean and Common Gulls on Pagham Lagoon (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: I went to check out the pipits here, but with the high tide and strong, bitingly cold wind this proved to be trickier than anticipated and five flighty Rock Pipits was the best I could do. A nearby Stonechat and a Kestrel were more obliging, as were up to a dozen Yellowhammers around the dung-heap in the adjacent paddock, with four Song Thrushes and the same of Redwing in the hedgerows. The best on offer was the single Barnacle Goose, still amongst its host Brent Goose flock (c.450birds), though it can be surprisingly difficult to see sometimes. (OM)

 Barnacle Goose amongst Brent Geese, Stonechat and Song Thrush at Fishbourne Creek (OM)

Tuesday, 27th FebruaryPossibly the coldest day so far, but a little less bleak (snow flurries aside!) with the easterly breeze having eased somewhat....

Ferry Pool: The pool was completely frozen, with just five Shelducks along the bank, though there were 50 Lapwing and two Curlews on the back fields and six Gadwall among the Teal and Mallard along the rife. (AH)

Gadwall and Teal (above) & Curlew at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There were eight Goldeneye on the water on the far side of the harbour, along, with the female Eider and a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers, but there was nothing of note offshore except a few Common Gulls.
In the harbour there were at least 800 Brent Geese that slowly departed westwards, a few Pintail were among the Wigeon and Teal and there were plenty of Grey Plovers and Dunlin about, plus half a dozen Bar-tailed Godwits, but the only land-birds noted were a Jay and two Green Woodpeckers in the churchyard. (AH)

Pintail (above), Dunlin, Common Gull & Brent Geese and snow-covered Downs at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Windmill to Toe End - The two Purple Sandpipers were still on the sea-defence rocks near the windmill this morning, though quite elusive on the sea-ward side, and there was also a Great Northern Diver offshore.
In the pools by the breach there were seven Red-breasted Mergansers, c150 Brent Geese, c50 Wigeon and a dozen Shelducks, but the only waders seen were a handful of Grey Plovers and Curlew and there were no passerines about at all. 

A quick look at the nearby patch of marsh produced about 40 Snipe in the first third of it, so there could have been many more.(AH)

Purple Sandpipers (above), Great Northern Diver, Red-breasted Mergansers & Grey Plover at Medmerry (AH)

Medmerry west: There were 330 Linnets on the bird crop close to Marsh Barn, a fantastic number for this time of year, and shows it is still providing food. Only 30 Yellowhammers were on the feeding field, though, as 12 Magpies and some Wood Pigeons were eating lots of the seed! (BO'D)

East Beach: The pond was three quarter frozen and on the remaining water our regular Mallards and Muscovy Duck had been joined by four Teal, with a Grey Wagtail at the inflow pipe. Ten Mediterranean Gulls were on the beach as well as 183 Herring Gulls, 69 Black-headed Gulls, two Great Black-backed Gulls and 28 Turnstones. (SR)

Mediterranean Gulls at East Beach (SR)

Park Farm, Selsey:  At the end of the route where Manor Lane meets Drift Road, the field about to be built on held seven Lapwings (a new species for the survey), two Pied Wagtails, three Linnets, more gulls and a handful of corvids, and despite the flurry of snow, two Rooks were mating, so spring can't be far off! (SR)

Monday, 26th February: Another dry, cold but bright day, with a bit more cloud today to mask the sunshine, but also with the persistently raw and brisk NE wind, force 5-6....

Fishbourne Creek: An update from yesterday, with what appears to be a Scandinavian Rock Pipit (Anthus petrosus littoralis). As the winter draws towards its end, this bird surely shows  a number of the characteristics indicative of this race, which differentiate it from a standard Rock Pipit (A. petrosus), such as the obvious greyish upperparts/mantle, prominent pale supercillium and wing-bars, plus notably paler underparts with less messily-streaked underparts. (IP/AH).
A few photo's were obtained but unfortunately they do not show the breast/underparts well. This bird - which seems to have a liking for settling in trees - is almost certainly the same bird as the one I saw at the end of January at the same spot. At that time it was notably paler than the other pipits, almost recalling a Water Pipit - but the greyish outer-tail and lack of cleaner underparts soon dismissed that. (see photo on this blog, 30th January) (OM)

putative Scandinavian Rock Pipit, Fishbourne Creek, 25th February (AH)

image from 30th January (OM)
Later, the bird was re-located at around noon today and further images were obtained.... these seem to confirm the ID with the bird's upperbreast now showing a faint pinky-buff tinge.  (BI)
Further images obtained today, showing a faint pinky/buff tinge to the upperbreast, greyish/blue mantle, pale appearance, moderate streaking and prominent supercillium.  (BI)

Selsey Bill: There were just a Red-throated Diver and a Red-breasted Merganser east and eight Gannets offshore in 30 minutes from 8.15am this morning. (AH)

North Wall: Between 0905-1015hrs there were 63 Black-tailed Godwits, a Spotted Redshank and a number of Common Redshank, 80+ Dunlin, 20+ Grey Plover and 400+ Brent Geese. A Weasel was also a nice surprise! (CG)

 Black-tailed Godwit (above), Common Redshank and Brent Geese at the North Wall (CG)

Ferry Pool: The Snipe was at the front again, along with a dozen Teal, a Common Gull and three Black-headed Gulls in the only unfrozen bits of water, whilst there were c100 Lapwing in the fields at the back and c200 Wigeon in the channel opposite. (AH)

Snipe (above), Teal & Wigeon around the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: The edges of the harbour  were frozen again this morning. On the rising tide there were 18 Pintail, a dozen Common Gulls and a Goosander. A Kestrel was hovering near the mound and there were at least 20 Golden Plover among the Lapwings along Rectory Lane. (AW)

Goosander (above), Golden Plovers, Pintail, Kestrel, Common Gulls and the frozen harbour at Church Norton (AW)

Fishbourne Creek: Yesterday's distinctive pipit wasn't around early today, though there were at least four Rock Pipits about, one of which also showed characteristics of 'Scandinavian'. Later, what was presumably yesterday's bird re-appeared around noon ...... see photo's above on lead article. (BI)

Among other birds seen were a Kingfisher, a flyover Grey Wagtail, at least ten Pintail and six Gadwall among the many Wigeon and Teal, two Goldeneye, five Red-breasted Mergansers, 500+ Brent Geese and at least 300 Black-tailed Godwits.

There were also a dozen Yellowhammers around the riding school and similar of Redwings flew out from the nearby fields and away over the trees behind the church. (AH)

Possible Scandinavian Rock Pipit (above), Rock Pipits, Kingfisher, Yellowhammer, Red-breasted Merganser, Pintail, Gadwall, Lapwing & Brent Geese at Fishbourne Creek (AH)