Wednesday, 28 November 2018

28th - 30th November 2018

Friday, 30th November: A very pleasantly warm, bright and blustery day, with plenty of sunshine and the wind from the south-west....

Selsey Bill: There was a bit of activity this morning, including a Merlin close offshore and three Slavonian Grebes on the sea. Full log below. (C&ME/AH/PB/CRJ)
Great Northern Diver - 2E, 1W
Red-throated Diver -1W
Slavonian Grebe - 3os
Great Crested Grebe - 13W, 1os
Gannet - 1E, 4W, 2os
Brent Goose - 3E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 28W
Merlin - 1os, then E
Mediterranean Gull - 2E, 6W
Common Gull - 2W
Kittiwake - 4W
Razorbill - 3W
auk sp - 1E
Meadow Pipit - 19W
Pied Wagtail - 2W
Goldfinch - 15W

Merlin (above) & Great Northern Diver at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were lots of ducks again, including the dozen Gadwall, c30 Shoveler, c100 Teal and c200 Wigeon, plus two Shelducks and 20 Lapwings. (AH)
Later on, a large flighty flock of 450 Lapwing were over and around the pool, and there was also a Green Sandpiper which flew from the back to the area behind the reeds at the front. (CRJ)

Gadwalls (above) & Lapwing and Teal on the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Toe End - A Purple Sandpiper was roosting on the shingle this afternoon. (HB)

Runcton: A single Stonechat was just south of the village this afternoon. (CRJ)

East Head: There was no sign of any Snow Buntings, despite a good search this morning, though there were half a dozen Reed Buntings, a couple of pairs of Stonechats and plenty of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails about.
There were a few Great Crested Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers out in the harbour, and a large flock of Brent Geese flew in, but there were few waders about.
Snowhill Creek held a Kingfisher, but not much else beyond the regular Wigeon and Teal, plus a few Lapwings, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits, and later on, a flock of 500+ Brent Geese were out on the fields. (AH/BI)
Later there were three Greenshank in Snowhill Creek. (ARK per SOS)

Kingfisher (above), Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Skylark & Brent Geese around East Head (AH)

Pagham Lagoon & East sideFour White-fronted Geese flew over the Lagoon area at about 10:25, circling and gaining height then departing to the west. (LC et al)

As I approached the Village Hall whilst driving, a large flock of several hundred Brent Geese had just risen from the fields subject of the development plans, and they flew high over the road heading in various directions.
At the Lagoon, there were 300 noisy Brent Geese on the water (presumably having just dropped in from the above flock), plus five Wigeon and two drake Goldeneye. Around the hedgerows and footpaths a Water Rail was squealing, and there were two Cetti's Warblers, a Chiffchaff and two Stonechats.

On the East side at low tide, a large gathering of Brent Geese - numbering some 2000+ birds - was stretched across the mudflats and into the channel. I spent a while scrutinising the flock, but alas could find nothing unusual amongst them, apart that is from the odd sight of a group of five Avocets weaving in and out of the geese as they made their way along the channel. (OM)
I made a final check of the Brents as I was about to leave, and this time noticed an odd bird in the flock - it had a white head, face and upperneck and was vaguely reminiscent of a Barnacle, but the rest of the body was apparently D/b Brent Goose. TG who was passing by also managed to see it, but it was often hard to find amongst the crowd and too distant for a photo. Probably just an aberrant/partly albino Brent, but worth a look if you find the flock. (OM/TG) 

Brent Geese (above),  Goldeneye (centre) and Stonechat (below) at Pagham Lagoon this morning (OM)

North Wall: A Spotted Redshank, 20 Pintail, 30 Black-tailed Godwits & 6 Avocets were in White's Creek, whilst a Peregrine gave excellent views chasing down Lapwings unsuccessfully, a Grey Wagtail was by the sluice and a Cetti's Warbler was heard at the Breech Pool. (LC et al)

Thursday, 29th November: Perhaps not as wet as feared and very mild, but the gale force southerly winds made life fairly uncomfortable....

Selsey Bill: Again, it was pretty quiet. (AH)
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Gannet - 3W

Common Scoter - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E
Mediterranean Gull - 2os

(0945-1100hrs:) Then later, it was almost dead...! (OM)
Brent Goose - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 2W
(and apart from a few Cormorants moving about offshore, that was it!)

(1300-1400hrs): (from Hillfield Rd): (C&ME)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Shag - 1E
Gannet - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E
Mediterranean Gull - 6os

At 13.02hrs a Little Gull was offshore, then west. (GH)

Red-throated Divers at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There large numbers of ducks on the pool, including c40 Shoveler, six Gadwall, two Shelducks, c250 Wigeon and c80 Teal, plus a pair of Mallards and c50 Lapwings. (AH)

Wigeon on the Ferry (AH)

Whilst on the subject of the Ferry, readers will be pleased to know that a small but welcome improvement has been made to the Ferry Hide - or rather to the interior thereof - with the construction of a new box seat (on casters) for use in the disabled access area. It will allow able-bodied observers to use the central viewing windows when disabled access is not needed, and the seat can be easily moved to any position as required. It was constructed by two senior Volunteers - Bernie Forbes and Dorian Mason - and we understand another similar seat is on order! Well done chaps - we're sure it will prove to be a very useful and welcome addition. (Eds)

DM and BFF take turns to proudly wheel the finished product to the Hide.....

The new seat is just the thing and it can be moved to any position; here DM & BFF prove it's well constructed and can hold plenty of weight!
.... and a male model shows how to make full use of it! (photos IL) 

Honer Reservoir: There was virtually no water and no birds on the reservoir itself, but two Grey Partridges were in the adjacent ploughed field and along the hedges there were a Green Woodpecker, and a couple of Redwings and Fieldfares among half a dozen Song Thrushes and 20 Blackbirds. (AH)

Grey Partridge (above), Redwing & Green Woodpecker at Honer Reservoir (AH)

Pagham Lagoon: Two drake Goldeneyes were on the lagoon - one at each end, but otherwise there was very little beyond a Great Crested Grebe, a handful of Little Grebes, c80 Canada Geese and a Greylag Goose, whilst 50 Brent Geese went over west. (AH)

Goldeneye (above) & Brent Geese on Pagham Lagoon (AH)

North Wall: A Spotted Redshank was in White's Creek, along with 50 Wigeon, 20 Redshank and 20 Black-tailed Godwits, whilst at least 1000 Lapwing were spread along the creek and into the harbour, bringing up 150 or so Golden Plovers when they all took off. also, a couple of Goldcrests and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were along the track from Church Lane. (AH)

Spotted Redshank (above), Lapwings & Golden Plovers at the North Wall (AH)

Earlier (at 9.30am) 2380 Brent Geese were on the proposed development fields behind the church hall, though they had dispersed later when various people were out in the field. (JDW)

Brent Geese in Pagham village (JDW)

Church Norton: An hour spent watching from the hide was not very productive. Four Red-breasted Mergansers were barely visible in the channel at low tide, whilst on the mudflats were 35 Knot, 250 Dunlin and perhaps 40 Grey Plover. The regular wildfowl were also present, including a nice flock of Wigeon, but there was otherwise little to report. (OM)

East Head: A single Snow Bunting was present this morning (SR) - this following on from a belated report of two birds at this location on Sunday, 25th Nov (AT, per SOS website).

Wednesday, 28th November: A very blustery and grey morning, after a wet start, but also quite mild....

Advance Notice: “On Monday 3rd December the Church Norton Car Park will be closed for us to carry some hedge trimming in the Car Park and down the path to the beach. We will put notices and bollards up at the entrance on Sunday evening, so if people could vacate the car park by 09.00am Monday morning it will be much appreciated. The Car park will re-open as soon as the trimming has finished. The footpath will remain open.” (Ivan Lang, Warden)

Selsey Bill: Not much moving this morning! (AH)

Great Northern Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Common Scoter - 4E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W
Mediterranean Gull - 1W 

Razorbill - 4E

Ferry Pool: There were just 20 or so Shovelers, Teal and Wigeon, plus a Shelduck, on the pool this morning. (AH)

This afternoon an Avocet was on the pool. (AB)

Shovelers, Wigeon and Teal on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There were two Firecrests among half a dozen Goldcrests and 20+ Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits at the bottom of the path to the harbour this morning, and at least six Jays were around the Mound/hide area.
There wasn't too much of note in the harbour, though there were three Red-breasted Mergansers, a handful of Mediterranean Gulls and 50+ Brent Geese and Wigeon present, along with a couple of Great Crested and Little Grebes. Also, the 1000+ Lapwing at the far end of the harbour went up a couple of times, sending large mixed flocks of Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plover across the harbour before retreating again. (AH)

Firecrests (above), Mediterranean Gull, Brent Geese & Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall: A very damp and murky morning along the Wall. In and around White's Creek were 580 Lapwing, 38 Redshank and a pair of Little Grebes, whilst on Breech Pool there were 44 Mallard, 27 Canada Geese and 4 Cormorants. Along the Wall were just 2 Reed Buntings, a Green Woodpecker and a Fieldfare, plus a flock of some 600 Wood Pigeons in the fields behind Honer Cottages.
Early on there was a flock of 1240 Brent Geese on the fields west of Pagham Road, where developers hope to build 400 plus houses. Yesterday there were 2300 geese at the same location. (JDW) 
(Despite the assertions of the developers to the contrary, we all knew that the Brent have traditionally used these fields for feeding and resting - Eds)

Brent Geese on the Pagham site being considered for development......can the Planning Dep't really be serious!? (JDW)

Chi GPs - Drayton pits: A brief look this morning produced 50 Pochard, a Water Rail, 2 Cetti’s Warbler , a Green Woodpecker, a Jay and c200 Coot. (CRJ)

Sunday, 25 November 2018

25th - 27th November 2018

Tuesday, 27th November: A change in the weather today, with a very misty, murky start giving way to persistent heavy rain and a shift southwards in wind direction.....

Special mention: We don’t usually use the blog for personal celebrations such as birthdays and the like, but just occasionally there are worthy exceptions. A little bird told us that our dear friend Beryl James reached her 90th birthday on 21st November, so we are delighted to offer her our warmest congratulations. Beryl is the Peninsula’s longest-serving observer, having clocked up at least 55 years of watching – and although her visits are much less frequent now, she is still active and was last seen at the Bill as recently as 18th November, when she just missed the Grey Phalarope. If it’s any consolation – you weren’t the only one Beryl! Although a few health problems have caused her to slow down a bit these days, she was until very recently a real stalwart at the Pagham Harbour visitor centre, having put in many years there too.

We are sure that everyone who knows Beryl holds her in great affection and esteem, so would like to join us, the editors of this little blog, in saying a big thank you for all she has done in the past and in wishing her a very happy (if slightly belated) birthday. We hope to see her at the Bill again soon. (Eds)

 Our dear friend and longest-serving observer Beryl James at the Bill (OM)

Selsey Bill: There was a bit of activity this morning, including five Velvet Scoters among 30 Common Scoters moving about offshore, four Slavonian Grebes west and 50+ auks east. Full log below....... 
(0830-0945hrs) (KJ/KF et al)
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 4W
Gannet - 3E
Common Scoter - 30os
Velvet Scoter - 5os
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W
Kittiwake - 4E
auk sp - 50+E

Ferry Pool: A Jack Snipe was showing well late this morning along the north bank of the pool. Also, the dozen Gadwall were again present, along with similar numbers of Shoveler, about 50 Teal and up to 200 Wigeon. (KJ/KF/AH et al)

Jack Snipe (above) & Wigeon on the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Toe End and Breach - The Hooded Crow was feeding on the mud near the breach this morning and there were also still two female-type Black Redstarts among the caravans, with five Corn Buntings, a Reed Bunting and numerous Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Goldfinches in the vicinity and a Red-breasted Merganser on the pools. (PB)

North Wall: Two Firecrests were along the track from Church Lane this morning, but there was nothing really in the Breech Pool, as the water level is very high again, though a Marsh Harrier went over and two Reed Buntings and a Jay were present. Also, a flock of 36 Collared Doves together was an unusual sight.
In White's Creek there were 30 or so Golden Plovers among the many Lapwing, a few Pintail and lots of Wigeon and Teal, with single Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits the only waders of note.(PB)

East Head: Around the head and dunes there were a pair of Stonechats, six Reed Buntings, c50 Meadow Pipits and Skylarks and a flock of at least 300 Linnets, but there were few waders about beyond a couple of Sanderling, and Curlews, with nothing offshore but a few Brent Geese on the water.
At Snowhill Creek a Greenshank was on the pools, along with 30 Black-tailed Godwits, a few Redshank, 250 Lapwings and 100+ Wigeon and Teal, whilst a Kingfisher flew through and a Sparrowhawk dropped in on the fences. (AH)

Greenshank (above), Sparrowhawk, Stonechat, Linnets & Skylarks at East Head (AH)

Monday, 26th November: Another cool, but mostly sunny, morning with a fresh northerly breeze.....

Selsey Bill: (0730-0830hrs) Deadly quiet in the offshore breeze, with just three Gannets east and two Common Scoter moving west and 25 Woodpigeons NW overhead. A search around the beach and gardens was equally birdless, a Song Thrush in the Bill House garden being the highlight!  (OM/AH)

 The dawn coming up at the Bill (OM)

Selsey, Drift Lane/Crablands: A rather elusive Brambling was a surprise here, repeatedly calling from treetops in a garden opposite the small pumping station, before eventually giving brief views and flying off into the gardens of the thatched cottage in Drift Lane. Two Snipe were present on the flooded meadow nearby, but there was nothing else of note. (OM)

Brambling in a garden opposite Drift Lane - not the best of images I know but all I could manage! (OM)

Selsey, East beach: A Chiffchaff and a Goldcrest were at the Pond, but a good search along the beach, promenade and surrounding area failed to produce anything else. (OM)

Ferry Pool: There were 12 Gadwall again on the pool this morning, plus 50 or so Teal and 30 or so Shoveler and Wigeon. Also, a Grey Wagtail went over. (AH)

Gadwall (above) & Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: There was nothing at all along the pool, but a Snipe was along the edge of the harbour and there were huge numbers of wildfowl at the far end of Ferry Channel, including c800 Teal, c300 Wigeon, c20 Pintail and c40 Shelducks. Also, eight Golden Plovers went up with at least 500 Lapwing, when another 1000+  of the latter went up over the far side of the harbour. (AH)

Golden Plovers (above), Lapwings, Pintail, Wigeon and Teal & \teal and Wigeon along Ferry Channel (AH)

Church Norton: There wasn't too much unusual about this morning, though the Whimbrel was showing, but there were at least 500 Dunlin, 100 Grey Plovers and 30 Knot out on the mud, and around 200 Brent Geese flew out of the harbour and settled on the beach. (AH)
Late morning, a Red-throated Diver was offshore from Norton spit. (AW)

Whimbrel (above), Knot & Brent Geese at Church Norton (AH)

Red-throated Diver off Norton spit (AW)

Medmerry: Windmill area - The damp field and area behind the Windmill/go-kart track held 2 Stonechats, 35 Linnets and 10 Meadow Pipits. (OM)

Stonechat near Medmerry windmill (OM)

East Head: Still not a lot to report today with just the regular Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Linnets about the dunes along with 3-4 Stonechats. No waders along the beach and little other than two Great Crested Grebes offshore but there were c.250 Brent Geese on the grass stretches. (BI)

Sunday, 25th November: A fairly bright and breezy morning after a grey start, with a freshening north-easterly keeping it fairly cool.....

Selsey Bill: A reasonable selection of species was seen, including a female Merlin coming in from far out to sea, carrying prey, a few Red-throared Divers and a male Eider. Full log below....
(0720-0930hrs): (JA/PB/SH/AH/DM/DS) 
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Red-throated Diver - 10E, 2W, 3os
diver sp - 3W
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 2os
Gannet - 71E, 14W, 35os
Brent Goose - 7E, 10W
Wigeon - 2W
Common Scoter - 3E, 62os
Eider - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 10E, 5W, 12os
Merlin - 1N 
Mediterranean Gull 1os
Kittiwake - 1E, 2W
Guillemot - 1os
razornbill - 4E, 3W, 6os
auk sp - 4E
Skylark - 6N
Rock Pipit - 1p
Meadow Pipit - 10N

Red-throated Diver (above), Common Scoters & Red-breasted Mergansers at the Bill (AH)

Medmerry: Breach area - The Hooded Crow was on the east side of the breach this morning. (RHa)

Ferry Pool: There was just a mix of ducks on the pool at high tide, including c30 Shoveler, c80 Teal, c40 Wigeon and four Shelducks. (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: There were still 40+ Curlews on the uncropped field, a Green Sandpiper flew out from the spoil heap and a Green Woodpecker was in the paddocks. (AH/RM)

Green Sandpiper (above) & Green Woodpecker at Park Farm, Selsey (AH)

Church Norton: Two Red-throated Divers went east offshore, and a few distant Gannets were seen, along with a Common Gull and a few Mediterranean Gulls, whilst about 300 Brent Geese alternated between the sea and the adjacent fields at Greenlease Farm.
There wasn't too much of note in the harbour, though five Pintail were present, along with good numbers of Brent Geese and the commoner wildfowl and waders, including 30+ Ringed Plovers, whilst along the spit there were 30+ Skylarks and a few Linnets, Greenfinches and Meadow Pipits. (AH/RM).

Red-throated Divers (above), Brent Geese, Common Gull, Skylark & Grey Heron, Wigeon and Redshank at Church Norton (AH)

Chi GPs - Drayton Pits: A Woodcock flushed from the edge of a path this morning, and a total of 19 Snipe were located between both pits. Pochard numbers had increased considerably, with 180 logged, plus 40 Gadwall and 60 Tufted Duck, whilst 2 Water Rails were calling and 6 Chiffchaffs were in the hedgerows. (OM) A twilight visit found the Woodcock still present, a Snipe on the larger island, three Grey Herons around the reeds, four Redwings in the area and a small flock of Goldfinches and another of Long-tailed Tits moving through. (BI)