Friday, 22 June 2018

22nd - 24th June 2018

Sunday, 24th JuneHigh pressure dominating at present, producing another fine and summery day, with sunshine and some high cloud and a light variable breeze.....

Ferry Pool: A Wood Sandpiper was present early this morning, along with two Green Sandpipers, two Avocets and two Little Ringed Plovers, whilst a Barn Owl was hunting over the adjacent fields. (SH/PB) Later on there were just the pair of Avocets, one Green Sandpiper, 30 or so Black-tailed Godwits and seven Teal. (AH)

Wood Sandpiper (SH) (above) & Teal (AH) on Ferry Pool

Sidlesham - Marsh FarmThe pair of Grey Partridges was present this morning; as was a Cuckoo, two Yellowhammers, two Green Woodpeckers, a Reed Warbler, a Chiffchaff, a Buzzard, lots of young Whitethroats, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Blue and Great Tits, and there were at least ten Brown Hares around the fields. (SH)SH)

 Grey Partridge and Reed Warbler at Marsh Farm (SH)

Park Farm, Selsey: Not too much here beyond a couple of Skylarks and Mediterranean Gulls overhead, along with a few Swifts, House Martins and Swallows. (AH/IP)

Church Norton: An Osprey appeared over the North Wall and flew all round the harbour before retreating north at about 10.30am, putting everything in the harbour up, including a few Ringed Plovers, Curlew, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwits. 
There was still a lot of Little, Common and Sandwich Tern activity around the harbour and offshore, but not too much else of note, with just odd one of the usual Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Linnets and Reed Warblers calling or showing. (AH/IP) Also a Fulmar flew along the beach, going over the first Several as it went. (SH)
The Osprey was reported by visiting birders to be sat on Peregrine Island at 12.40pm. (per BO'D)

Osprey (above), Sandwich Tern, Common Tern & Greenfinch at Church Norton (AH)

In the harbour this evening there was a single Grey Plover (looking rather golden in the sunlight), a Whimbrel and a few Curlew. Two Oystercatcher families were seen, one with three young and the other with two. Also, the 1st summer Common Tern was still present among the adult terns. (AW)

Grey Plover at Church Norton (AW)

North Wall: An Egyptian Goose and the two Wigeon were on the Breech Pool, as were a Little Ringed Plover which flew in, a pair of Common Terns and a scattering of Reed and Sedge Warblers, Whitethroats and Reed Buntings, whilst a Cuckoo was seen at the start of the path to Halsey's Farm.
There wasn't too much in the harbour beyond 30+ Black-tailed Godwits, 20+ Lapwings and a few Ringed Plovers and Curlews. (AH/IP/BI/RJS/AF)

Egyptian Goose, Wigeon and Mallard (above), Little Ringed Plover, Common Tern & Reed Bunting from North Wall (AH)

Medmerry: Marsh Barn to the Stilt Pool - The Stilt Pool held four Little Ringed Plovers, a Common Sandpiper, a single Dunlin, 32 Black-tailed Godwits and the usual wildfowl medley this morning. Along the banks were a few Reed Buntings, a Stonechat, a few Yellowhammers and some fledgling Whitethroats whilst the corvid flock was back on the broccoli fields. Marsh Barn area remains the best spot for butterflies with Large & Small Skippers, Commas, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and a worn Common Blue or two all about. (BI)

Stonechat, above, Comma, Small Skipper & Gatekeeper at Medmerry (BI)

Saturday, 23rd JuneA similar day to yesterday weather-wise, with sunshine and some cloud and a light westerly breeze......

Editorial - potential development at Pagham which will impact on the Nature reserve:

We apologise for this rather lengthy editorial but consider it important the full story is given...(Eds)
Planning Applications P/140/16/OUT (Hanbury) and P/25/17/OUT (Church Barton House)

As you may be aware the above planning applications are with Arun District Council from developers seeking to build upward of 500 houses on fields to the West of Pagham Road. The RSPB, Sussex Wildlife Trust and the Sussex Ornithological Society (SOS) have all made written objections to these applications because of their proximity to Pagham Harbour, and hundreds of local people have made similar objections.
However, of direct interest are Hanbury Properties who made the larger application (400 plus) which included a habitat report in the application that stated in their various surveys no Brent Geese or wading birds had been seen using the proposed site. The 3 organisations mentioned above and many local people knew this to be wrong.  Accordingly a doorstep survey in July 2017 was undertaken of residents in Pagham Road re their sightings of Brent Geese. Many will have participated in this....97% of those interviewed had seen Brent Geese during the winter months using the proposed site. One resident was able to go back 47 years. The survey was appended to the written objection made by the SOS.
Arun DC have a legal obligation to take the views of local people into account. In a 2017 report they made to the Government Planning Inspector (ref. the emerging Local Plan) they described the household survey as ‘lacking scientific vigour’. The survey made no claims to be scientific and was merely an honest document clearly stating the views of local residents. It was the only document available to Arun DC with clear evidence of Brent Geese using the site.  Arun's response felt as if they favoured the views of the developers and their agents who were based in Bristol and Worcestershire respectively. So much for local views (which have to be considered according to the National Planning Policy Framework ... the Government Planning 'bible')
Pagham Harbour is no normal nature reserve. It is of international importance and draws tens of thousands of visitors every year according to statutory bodies. It should be one of the jewels in the Arun District crown and they should surely be seeking to protect and enhance this asset rather than threaten it. The fields along Pagham Road have always acted as a buffer zone between the Harbour and the village as well as providing essential foraging for wintering geese. This would all be lost if a large housing estate were to be built here. The mitigation they are proposing to 'offset' this irreversible damage has been studied very carefully by the organisations and found to be severely flawed and at present is the subject of strong debate and objection.
Most of us will of course be aware that no geese have been recorded on the fields during the last 2 winters. This is no surprise as bird-scarers have been deployed and the fields heavily ploughed so as to make them totally inhospitable for the geese. This important agricultural land is only this week being planted up. I appreciate that some of you may have already made written objections to this planning application and doubtless these will have included very relevant comments about traffic, flooding, sewerage and all the other infrastructure concerns.
Will you please put pen to paper again and write to Arun confirming any sighting of Brent Geese on the proposed site, the regularity that you have seen them and your general concerns about the risks that the proposed development would pose to Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve. Remember that if figures for certain species of birds were to drop like Brent Geese, it is conceivable that Pagham Harbour Reserve could lose its precious RAMSAR accreditation, and that is just not acceptable, the Reserve is far more important than the houses as they COULD be built elsewhere, the Reserve cannot.
It is also relevant to point out that bats are a protected species and if seen on a regular basis, you should therefore put that into a letter of objection as well, such that it might be investigated to see what species and colony sizes exist.
One final point, residents and others may be aware of a recent European Court ruling over the Habitats Regs. (protection of wildlife and its environment in law) which may have a positive protective effect on these sites. It is generally applicable only to RAMSAR and SPA sites and has effectively put a temporary hold on any developments that might be planned for areas within a 5km radius of Pagham Harbour. A local campaign group (PAGAM) is at present waiting for legal advice from CPRE  (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) etc. as to the way forward in light of their ruling. It therefore gives more time for us to push even harder with letters of objection. We feel 3000 letters are achievable to show the true sense of displeasure and anger at these proposals and we will keep you informed. For further info you can contact the local organiser Jim Weston ( 
Your Reserve Needs You......Action is the key, so please get writing those letters of objection.......
Please quote the planning application numbers P/140/16/OUT and P/25/17/OUT and send it to the Planning Officer (David Easton), Arun District Council, Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton BN17 5LF.

Medmerry: This afternoon the first two returning Sand Martins were seen between Easton Lane and Ham Road. (IP)

Ferry Pool: There were two Little Ringed Plovers on the pool again this morning, along with eight Avocets, c20 Black-tailed Godwits, seven Teal and half a dozen Redshanks and Lapwings, plus the Shelduck family. (AH/IP) This afternoon there were two Green Sandpipers on the pool. (IP)

Little Ringed Plover (above), Shelducks & Teal on the Ferry (AH)

This evening there were a couple each of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat around the Tramway circuit and at least 20 Curlews in the harbour. (AH)

Blackcap (above) & Chiffchaff around the Tramway (AH)

Long Pool: There were still singing Whitethroats, Reed and Sedge Warblers along the pool,  a pair of Little Grebes with two chicks on the water and a visiting birder saw a Cuckoo in bushes at the Ferry end.
There were 40+ Redshank along Ferry Channel, and at the far end there were six Curlews, eight Grey Plovers and c40 Dunlin, plus two Avocets. (AH/IP)

Reed Warbler (above), Whitethroat, Grey Plovers, Dunlin, Grey Plovers and Dunlin, Curlews & Little Grebes from Long Pool (AH)

Church Norton: Early this morning on the rising tide there were six Curlews, two Black-tailed Godwits, a Whimbrel and two Little Egrets in the harbour. A Lesser Whitethroat was near the hide and was seen again later in the churchyard, together with a female Blackcap, a Kestrel and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. (AW)
There wasn't too much else later on besides the activity around Tern Island, with 50+ Sandwich Terns again lingering on the mud. (AH)
Also, there were a Comma and a few Small Tortoiseshells and Holly Blues on the wing. (IP)
Later, there was plenty of tern activity in the afternoon, plus 6 Black-tailed Godwits, a Water Rail on the first Severals and a Shoveler on the second Severals.(SH)

Lesser Whitethroats (above) & Great Spotted Woodpecker at Church Norton (AW)

This evening there were at least a dozen Curlew scattered around the harbour, with one Whimbrel, three Redshank, a Knot and a few Ringed Plovers. A juvenile Oystercatcher was being fed out in the harbour by an adult and among the terns were 20 Little and 6 Common including what appears to be a first-summer bird. 

Overhead a group of five falcons - presumably a family group of Hobbies - were calling and chasing as they rose high out of sight. On the incoming tide there was a feeding frenzy near the harbour entrance, while Lesser Whitethroat was in the hedgerow near the hide. (AW)

Ist-summer Common Tern and Little Terns (above), Oystercatcher chick and Black-headed Gulls at Church Norton (AW)

North Wall: The Swallows had young along the sea defence rocks and were busy feeding them this morning, and Whitethroats and Linnets were also feeding young along the Wall. On the Breech Pool there were a pair of Tufted Ducks and Great Crested Grebes, Swans with three cygnets, a Mediterranean Gull, a Lapwing with two chicks at the back and a lone Black-tailed Godwit. 
A Grey Heron flew in and landed on one of the fence posts and was promptly 'bombed' by two Common Terns and there was much Little Egret activity at Owl Copse where the first juveniles were having flying lessons. (JDW)

Little Egret (above), Grey Heron & Grey Heron and Cormorant from North Wall (JDW)

Selsey, Park Farm: There were 2 Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk and 4 Mediterranean Gulls today. (SH)

Friday, 22nd June: A very pleasant summer's day, with lots of sunshine and the light south-westerly breeze just keeping temperatures down a little.....

Selsey Bill: Very little on the move this morning, save a few Sandwich Terns and the odd Gannet, though the summering female Eider was close inshore and even sat on the groynes, whilst at least ten House Martins were busy gathering mud in the puddles in Grafton Road.. Full log below......(C&ME/AH)
0715-1000hrs:  (C&ME/AH)
Gannet - 21E, 1W
Eider - 1 os (fem)
Common Scoter - 8E, 20W
Turnstone - 1ob
Common Tern - 24os
Sandwich Tern - 23os
Swift - 1p
House Martin - 10p

Also, today's House Martin nest count for the Broadreeds Estate was the highest so far this year with 14 active nests found and another being built. Two old nests contained young House Sparrows. (SR)

Eider (above), Sandwich Tern, Turnstone & House Martins at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Quieter than yesterday, though there were still ten Avocets, c25 Black-tailed Godwits, two Teal, six Redshank and eight young Lapwings, plus the Shelduck family present. (AH)
Also, at 8am, there were three Green Sandpipers on the pool. (HR/DM)

Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings and Redshanks (above) & juvenile Lapwing on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: There were still several singing Sedge and Reed Warblers, despite fledged young being about, along with a Whitethroat family and several Linnets, whilst there was still at least one Little Grebe family on the water.
The Spotted Redshank and 30+ Redshank were in Ferry Channel, with three Whimbrel and six Curlews at the far end. There were also a couple of very agitated pairs of Redshanks along the rife by the grass field on the west side, suggesting they may well have had young nearby. (AH)

Spotted Redshank and Redshank (above), Whimbrels, juvenile Little Grebe, Redshank, Sedge Warbler & Reed Warbler from Long Pool (AH)

Church Norton: Early this morning a couple of Little Tern chicks were seen (outside the protective fence) on Tern Island. Also around the harbour were 9 Curlews, a Whimbrel, 7 Turnstones and 4 Redshank. (AW)
Later, there were 60+ Sandwich Terns, plus a few Common and Little Terns, sat out on the mud this morning, with some of the former displaying - presumably (hopefully!) these are failed breeders from elsewhere, as there were still others continuing to bring food back to the island.
There wasn't too much else about, save about five Dunlin, a single Knot, a juvenile amongst the Oystercatchers and ten Ringed Plovers and Turnstone in the harbour, a few Linnets, a Kestrel by the Mound and a lone Blackcap and Whitethroat singing. (AH/CRJ)

Record shot of Little Tern chick with adult on tern island (AW)
Sandwich Terns and Black-headed Gull chicks (above) & Kestrel at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall & East side: On the Breech Pool this morning the two summering drake Wigeon were present at the back and showing occasionally, whilst a female Gadwall with a new brood of nine young kept close to the reeds. A pair of Mute Swans with three cygnets was also present, as were the pair of Great Crested Grebes who have now abandoned their nest, whilst two Common Terns were fishing over the pool. The breeding Reed and Sedge Warblers and several Cetti's Warblers were also noteworthy.
Along the East side and the adjacent mudflats were four Bar-tailed and 30 Black-tailed Godwits, two Whimbrel and five Curlew, plus four Great Crested Grebes in the channel. At White's creek sluice six newly-fledged juvenile Swallows were being fed and attended to by adults, but otherwise it was predictably rather quiet. (OM)

 Gadwall with brood on the Breech pool, and Swallow juveniles being attended to by adults (OM)

Selsey: A Swallow-tailed moth was in the moth-trap this morning. (SH)

Swallow-tailed Moth in a garden at Selsey this morning (SH)

Medmerry: Marsh barn to the Stilt Pool - The usual suspects were around the banks though not in any great numbers this morning, Yellowhammers, Skylarks, Linnets and Reed Buntings all being present and the Reed Warblers also remain in the ditches & pools. The Stilt Pool held two Dunlin, four Little Ringed Plovers and a fishing Common Tern but bar these it was still just the mix of regular wildfowl. A few new butterflies today with singles of Gatekeeper, Small Skipper & Small Tortoiseshell near Marsh Barn whilst a Painted Lady was along the path and there were increasing numbers of Meadow Browns evident. (BI)

Little Ringed Plover (above), Dunlin and Common Tern at the Stilt Pool (BI)

Painted Lady, above, & Small Tortoiseshell at Medmerry (BI)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm - A Green Sandpiper flew out of a puddle on the edge of a maize field this evening, a family of Whitethroats were moving along the hedges and several Skylarks were in the long grass - the first here for a while, but there were only a handful of Swifts and Swallows and a couple of dozen House Martins over the settling tanks. (AH)

Green Sandpiper (above), House Martin & Whitethroat at Porthole Farm (AH)

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