Selsey Bill: A party of eight Shags heading east together was fairly unusual, and there were also two Sandwich Terns offshore, but otherwise it was fairly standard fare for a north-westerly in December. Full log below.....
Red-throated Diver - 2W
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Shag - 8E
Gannet - 3E, 1W
Eider - 1W
Common Scoter - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 1W, 19os
Wigeon - 4W
Curlew - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 1W, 1os
Kittiwake - 20W
Sandwich Tern - 2os
Selsey, Park Farm: There were 200+ Brent Geese in the fields, plus at least 30 Skylarks, a Sparrowhawk and a Mistle Thrush. (SH) Also, two Green Woodpeckers and at least 50 Curlew were in the field due for housing development! (IP/RM)
Church Norton: This morning two Buzzards and two Peregrines were over the harbour, whilst two Chiffchaffs were around the Severals and a Fieldfare was at Greenlease Farm. (S&SaH)
Five Red-breasted Mergansers were present early on and a drake Goldeneye was by the harbour entrance, whilst amongst the waders present were eight Bar-tailed Godwits, including the two in summer plumage. The second Several held four Tufted Ducks but little else, and a Grey Wagtail flew across; a late Red Admiral was also on the wing at Park Copse. (IP/RM/AH)
North Wall/Fields: Five grey goose sp. (probably White-fronted Geese) flew over west at 1400hrs, and there were 400+ Brent Geese in the fields. At Marsh Farm there were 11 Cattle Egrets and six Little Egrets around the cow sheds, where a Sparrowhawk was also present.
Along the hedgerows were 50+ of both Fieldfare and Redwing, plus two Cetti's Warblers, and two Rock Pipits were along the bank. (SH)
East Head: Generally quiet this morning with nothing at all offshore and little around the dunes/fringes other than a few Skylarks & Meadow Pipits, four Stonechats and four Reed Buntings. The clear highlight were a minimum of 170 Golden Plover out on the mud with a few Dunlin, Grey Plover and Knot. Also feeding around the mudbanks and saltmarsh were c.200 Brent Geese. (BI)
Birdham Pool: Twelve Little Grebes and plenty of Coots & Mallards was the sum this morning. (BI)
Saturday, 8th December: A fairly pleasant, if blustery, morning before the westerly wind picked up again and the grey clouds rolled in....
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Great Northern Diver - 1E 1W
Gannet - 1W
Brent Goose - 1W
Common Scoter - 5E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E 4W
Common Gull - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W
Common Gull - 3os
Mediterranean Gull - 5os
Friday, 7th December: A horrible morning's weather! From first light there was persistent heavy rain and near-gale force westerly winds, though still mild for the time of year, and slowly drying out later......
Last winter (well to be precise in February and March) RSPB eventually got round to conducting the first 4 surveys around Pagham/Medmerry to find out which fields are important for the wintering flock of Brent. However, because of budget cuts RSPB appear unable to organise a similar survey this year, so I have said that SOS will do it – but I need help.
There are 4 areas to be surveyed. Surveys will be carried out by car where fields can be seen from the road, and on foot where cars cannot reach. Each survey will take 4 hours. Jim Weston has agreed to cover the eastern sector and I will cover another sector – last year I did the western sector so if no one else especially wants to cover that I will cover it again. Which leaves us needing a couple of volunteers to cover the Southern and Northern sectors.
I suggest that we aim to do 6 surveys this winter, one in the 2nd half of December, 2 each in January and February and one in the first week of March. All 4 surveys will need to be carried out at the same time for obvious reasons. So I am looking for two more volunteers. When I have a list of volunteers I will arrange mutually convenient dates for the surveys which I suggest be done between 8am and noon.
If you would like to volunteer could you contact Richard Cowser (email@example.com, 01903 770259)' (Note: Maps were supplied but for reasons of space they are not included here, though can be forwarded to volunteers...Eds)
Towards Ellanore a large flock of Dunlin, probably 1000 birds, could be seen wheeling over the water with a few Knot mixed in and there were two Ringed Plovers in the high tide roost. (BI)
Also a few Meadow Pipits and Goldcrests, plus a Mistle Thrush and a Sparrowhawk were in hedges near Ham. (AH)