Tuesday, 19 June 2018

19th - 21st June 2018

Thursday, 21st JuneA fine and sunny day to greet the Summer Solstice, with a little high cloud and a fresh northerly breeze....

Update: American Royal Tern - The reason for yesterday's non-show became apparent when the bird was re-found in the evening at and around Portland harbour, Dorset. It stayed overnight and was again seen very early this morning, before flying off again......so where next, and could it even return to our patch? Eyes down...........

And while we are on the subject of this mega-rarity, who could have predicted it would appear at tern island, just a year after that other mega, the Elegant Tern? Fantastic, two mega-terns, the stuff of dreams.... and yet perhaps we've overlooked something. Pagham Harbour has a history of attracting rare birds, but the tern phenomenon is much more recent and must surely be largely due the considerable improvements on the tern island in the last few years, which has resulted in the establishment of an important tern breeding colony. The RSPB and local staff must take the credit for these improvements and we owe them our thanks. The RSPB is not perfect and sometimes certain policies are called into question, but generally it does a fine job in protecting and enhancing birdlife.....but let us not forget it also costs! The recent protective fencing and new Ferry Hide are two good examples...so, if you've seen either mega-tern or any other rarity on their Reserves and you are not already a member, for heaven's sake join - or at least make a donation! (OM)

Ferry Pool: The Spotted Redshank was present again this morning, along with two Green Sandpipers, two Little Ringed Plovers, eight Avocets, 45 Black-tailed Godwits, 12 juvenile Lapwings, 22 Redshank, the Shelduck family and a Red-legged Partridge. (AH)

Spotted Redshank (above), Green Sandpiper, Lapwing & Red-legged Partridge on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: There were still half a dozen Reed Warblers and a couple of Sedge Warblers singing this morning, along with a couple of Linnets and a Reed Bunting, whilst a handful of Swifts went over.
At the far end of Ferry Channel there was a mixed flock of waders including a Bar-tailed Godwit, two Knot, a Golden Plover, eight Grey Plovers and c50 Dunlin, and there were also at least 20 Redshank and half a dozen Lapwings about. (AH)

Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Knot and Dunlin (above), mixed waders, Sedge Warbler, Linnet & Redshank from Long Pool (AH)

Church Norton: The first Common Sandpiper of the autumn was present this morning along with seven Turnstones, two Curlews and a Whimbrel, whilst there was plenty of Little, Common and Sandwich Terns flying into the harbour carrying fish back to the island.
A few Skylarks and Linnets on the spit and a couple of singing Blackcaps was about it on the land-side. (AW/AH)

Common Sandpiper (AW) (above), Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Common Tern & Skylark at Church Norton (AH)

There was still a constant flow of Little, Sandwich and Common Terns in and out of the harbour this evening, but not too much else was going on. (AH)

Little Tern (above) & Sandwich Tern at Church Norton (AH)

Northcommon Farm: A flock of eight grey geese - presumably Greylags - went over the White Horse caravan site this morning. (SH)

Selsey: There were two Elephant Hawk-moths in the trap this morning. (SH)

Elephant Hawk-moths in a Selsey garden (SH) 

Wednesday, 20th JuneGenerally cloudy again and mostly dry, but with some light drizzle early on, and a moderate W/SW breeze.....

Church Norton: The American Royal Tern (ringed, 2nd-summer bird) was still present very early on, to the joy of those who had made the extra effort to be there at first light, but to everyone else's huge disappointment as it then flew south out to sea at 04.37am. It had not been re-located by 1300hrs at least, and we can only hope it will return to the tern colony later......
Meanwhile, the only other birds reported here were a Sanderling and 2 Whimbrel. (SH)

Selsey Bill: The Bill was covered for over four hours this morning, mainly in the hope that the Royal Tern might join the other terns fishing offshore, but alas it was not to be. The few highlights today were five Whimbrels moving west, a Peregrine hunting over the sea and a party of nine Sanderlings which dropped in on the beach......Full log below:
0730-1200hrs: (C&ME/OM/MJ)
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Fulmar - 2W
Gannet - 36E, 11W
Common Scoter - 55E, 17W
Whimbrel - 5W
Sanderling - 9 ob, flew off W
Peregrine - 1 arrived N from the sea, apparently hunting
Little Tern - 3os
Common Tern - 25 os, fishing and moving back and forth
Sandwich Tern - 22 os, fishing
Mediterranean Gull - 2W, 1ob
Swift - 3 (local birds)

Ferry Pool: The Spotted Redshank was present early on (m.obs)

Tuesday, 19th June: Generally cloudy but with occasional sunny breaks, and feeling rather muggy at times, despite a moderate to fresh W/SW wind.........

Church Norton: There was a major turn-up this afternoon when a large 'crested' tern appeared near Tern Island, first found by Colin Holter. Initially - and understandably - thought to be last year's Elegant Tern returning, it was re-identified from photos as an AMERICAN ROYAL TERN, a first for the Peninsula and the county. 
Fortunately it stayed around Tern Island until late into the evening, allowing 100+ visitors to see it before nightfall. It would seem that this is the bird that has been around the Channel Islands and Northern France since last summer, and last seen off Guernsey in early May. (Eds)

A video of the American Royal Tern is here

American Royal Tern at Church Norton (SH above & AH)

Please bear in mind that there are likely to be a lot of visitors tomorrow and consequently it is recommended to park at the Pagham Harbour visitor Centre and walk along the side of the harbour to reach Church Norton....and don't forget to support the RSPB and their tern island project here, that has been so successful, by putting a quid or so in the tick box!!!

The gathering crowds (above) & CE helping OM find the bird! (AH)

Selsey Bill: There was early promise when a flock of 5 Manx Shearwaters passed through, but other than 70+ Common Scoter it turned out to be very quiet, with just the usual terns fishing offshore. Full log below.....
0715-1200hrs: (C&ME/OM/DF/DS/KJ)
Gannet - 40E, 18W
Manx Shearwater - 5W
Eider - 1os
Common Scoter - 76E
Whimbrel - 1W
auk sp - 1E
Little Tern - 5os
Common Tern - 20os
Sandwich Tern - 24os
Mediterranean Gull - 1W

The Bill House garden in bloom and looking fine (OM)

Ferry Pool: The summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank and a Green Sandpiper were at the back of the pool early this morning. Eight Avocets (one on a nest) were also present, plus a dozen Black-tailed Godwits, two Lapwings and the Shelduck family.  (OM/KJ/AH)

Spotted Redshank and Lapwing (above) & Black-tailed Godwit and Avocets on the Ferry (AH)

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