Monday, 25 February 2019

25th - 28th February 2019

Thursday, 28th FebruaryA very different feel to the weather, with notably cooler conditions as winter draws to a close; cloudy with some brighter interludes, but also rain at times and a moderate to fresh south-westerly wind.......

Selsey Bill: The first obvious up-Channel movement of Brent Geese was apparent today, whilst six Eider and a Bonxie east also hinted at early spring movement. Full log below....
0730-1045hrs: (C&ME/BFF/DM/IP/TR et al)
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Fulmar - 1E
Gannet - 3E, 2W
Brent Goose - 276E, 2W
Eider - 6E
Common Scoter - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 10E, 3os
Razorbill - 1E
auk sp - 1E
Great Skua - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 3os
Mediterranean Gull - 1E
Common Gull - 5E

Brent Geese (above) & Turnstone at the Bill (RP)

Northcommon Farm: A Little Owl was on the stable roof as from 1742hrs this evening. (IP)

Ferry Pool/Visitor centreA Tawny Owl was showing well this afternoon near the Discovery Area at the Visitor was still present at 1600hrs. (AW/IL)
Early this morning there were 50 Black-tailed Godwits in Ferry Channel, plus 20 or so Curlews, whilst on the pool there were just a few wildfowl, including four Gadwall, six Shelducks, c20 Teal and c30 Shoveler. (AH)

Tawny Owl near the Discovery area at the Visitor centre (AW, above & SH) & Black-tailed Godwits in Ferry Channel (AH)

Church Norton: Two Goosanders (male and female) and five Red-breasted Mergansers were in the harbour this morning, off Norton spit, whilst the regular Whimbrel was also seen and the Peregrines were around their island. Two Avocets were amongst the usual waders, whilst a flock of 44 Avocets was also viewable along the west side, viewed towards the Long pool. (BFF/DM/LGRE)

North fieldsI walked from Manor Farm to Bramber Farm with little success this morning (no sign of any Cattle Egrets or Grey Partridge), the sum total worth reporting being 2 Buzzards, a flock of 15 Yellowhammers in Church Farm Lane and a single Goldcrest in the hedgerow near to Bramber Farm. (IP)

Hunston: Seventeen Cattle Egrets were again present in the field near the sub-station, but they are not really viewable from the road, so pedestrian access onto the farm entrance track is necessary. However it does seem that unfortunately there is now increasing and unjustified hostility towards the presence of birders from residents there.* (LGRE)
(* If planning to visit, ensure you park away from the entrance and do nothing to attract criticism. You may still receive verbal comment or unfounded complaint, so a degree of caution is recommended. Eds)
Later, at least 12 of these egrets were feeding in another field north of the sub-station. (BFF/DM)

Wednesday, 27th February: The warmest morning yet, with unbroken sunshine and barely a hint of breeze.....

Selsey Bill: Unsurprisingly quiet, though two Great Northern Divers was offshore and a couple of Fulmars went by. Full log below. (C&ME/AH/IP/RP)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Red-throated Diver - 3E
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1os
Fulmar - 1E, 1W
Shag - 2E
Brent Goose - 5E
Common Scoter - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 2os
Peregrine - 1N
Dunlin - 8E
Common Gull - 2E, 1W
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1p
Chiffchaff - 1p

Ferry Pool: At least 11 Snipe and a Black-tailed Godwit were on the pool (with a flock of the later flying around at the back), whilst at least 50 Lapwings were on the field, along with 300 Starlings and a Buzzard and a Kestrel went over.
Among the numerous wildfowl were five Shelducks, nine Gadwall, c40 Shoveler, c50 Teal and up to 400 Wigeon. (AW/AH/IP)

Snipe and Teal (above) & Black-tailed Godwits on the Ferry (AW)

Snipe and Teal (above) & Gadwall, Shovelers, Wigeon and Teal on the Ferry (AH)

Northcommon Farm: The two Little Owls were out again early this evening. (SR)

Church Norton: A Firecrest was in the churchyard along with two Goldcrests. Offshore, one Slavonian Grebe was seen from the spit and 35 Ringed Plovers in the harbour. (AW)

Firecrest (above), Skylark, Ringed Plovers & Brent Geese at Church Norton (AW)

North Wall: The Hooded Crow was on the field immediately east of Owl Copse early on, before flying back towards the harbour mouth. (IH)
A bit later a Spotted Redshank was in the creek at the west end of the wall, with it, or another, in White's Creek later on. At least 500 Wigeon were spread about the fields and 50 Teal were on the Breech Pool, though four Reed Buntings, a Linnet and a calling Cetti's Warbler were about the sum of small birds in the hedges.
Also, at least four Grey Herons were in Owl Copse and at least 500 Brent Geese were in the harbour, which was quiet apart from a few wigeon, a couple of Pintail and plenty of Redshank. (AH/IP/IH/IB)
Later still, three Spotted Redshanks were together in White's Creek, three Avocets and 80 Pintail were in the harbour and two Snipe were on the Breech Pool. (ARK per SOS)

Spotted Redshank (above), Reed Bunting, Grey Heron & Wigeon from North Wall (AH)

Selsey: East Beach - There sere seven Sandwich Terns off East Beach this afternoon. (AW)

Sandwich Terns off East Beach (AW)

Medmerry: Easton Lane - There were 20 Fieldfares and 50 Linnets in the poplars at dusk this evening. (AH)

Fieldfare (above) & dramatic sunset at Medmerry (AH)

Tuesday, 26th February: The unseasonably mild and fine spell of weather continues, with unbroken sunshine and a light south-easterly breeze.....

Selsey Bill: There were four Slavonian Grebes and five Great Northern Divers on the sea, but generally it was quiet again for the large group of observers. Full log below. (C&ME/AH/IP/DF/DS/NS/MO-W/RP)
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 5os
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Slavonian Grebe - 4os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 2W
Gannet - 2E
Brent Goose - 6E
Common Scoter - 5E, 4os
Red-breasted Merganser - 8os
Mediterranean Gull - 5os
Common Gull - 10E
Sandwich Tern - 4os
auk sp - 1E
Skylark - 3E
Meadow Pipit - 1N
Chiffchaff - 1p
Rook - 1E

Slavonian Grebe (above) & Red-breasted Mergansers at the Bill (AH)

Selsey: A Chiffchaff was singing in the rectory garden this morning - a sign of spring movement? (AW)

Chiffchaff in a Selsey garden (AW)

North Wall: The highlight this morning was a Great White Egret which flew in from the north and settled in a tree-top in Owl Copse. It stayed several minutes before moving on to the Breech Pool and then took off towards the north but was last seen heading towards Church Norton. (JDW)
This afternoon, the Short-eared Owl was out and hunting again. (IH)

Great White Egret from the North Wall (JDW)

Medmerry: East - A Red Kite was over Greenwood Farm this morning. (HB)
Later today, between Easton Lane and Ham there were two Chiffchaffs (one of which was singing), along with a few Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Goldfinches, lots of singing Skylarks and a Buzzard. (IP)

HunstonAt least 15 Cattle Egrets were present in the regular field near the substation this afternoon, at around 4pm. (CRJ)

Northcommon Farm: Two Little Owls were sat out on the buildings this evening, whilst a Firecrest was nearby. (SH)

Ferry Pool: At least 50 Lapwings and 200 Wigeon, plus a pair of Stock Doves, were on the field this morning, with at least 40 Shovelers, 20 Teal and five Gadwall on the pool. (AH)

Shoveler on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: The Hooded Crow was once again out near the harbour mouth, seen from the spit, this morning. (DF/DS/NS)
Otherwise the harbour was quiet, with most waders presumably offshore, though one of the Peregrines was on its island, at least 500 Brent Geese and a few Wigeon and Teal were present, plus a dozen Black-tailed Godwits, a few Ringed Plovers and Redshank, and one or two Mediterranean and Common Gulls, whilst at least 20 Skylarks were very active along the spit, at one point upset by a Sparrowhawk (AH/IP)

Skylark (above), Brent Geese, Mediterranean Gull & Common Gull at Church Norton (AH)

Monday, 25th February: Another fine and bright morning, after a frosty start, with just a light north-easterly breeze.....

Selsey Bill: Very little was moving, though four Shovelers went east, whilst on the sea there were five Slavonian Grebes and five Great Northern Divers, with at least six Sandwich Terns feeding well offshore. Full log below..... 
0745-1115hrs: (AH/IP/OM/RP)
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 3os
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Slavonian Grebe - 5os
Gannet - 4E, 2W
Common Scoter - 3E, 4W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 8os
Shoveler - 4E
Curlew - 2E
Sandwich Tern - 6+ os
Mediterranean Gull - 4E
Meadow Pipit - 1N

Northcommmon Farm: A Woodcock was flushed from the vicinity early this morning. (OM)

Ferry Pool: Early this morning at least ten Snipe were at the front of the pool. (AW)

Snipe (above) & Snipe and Teal on the Ferry (AW)

Later, around 50 Lapwing were on the field this morning, with four Gadwall, six Shelducks, c40 Teal and Shovelers and at least 250 Wigeon on the pool. (AH)

Teal on the Ferry (AH)

Hunston: The Cattle Egrets were still present in the field just east of the sub-station on the B2166 this morning. (BI) This afternoon, 18 birds were present. (GM/CRJ)
The farmer has asked if people can park by the sub-station and walk the short distance to view from the road, not their track, as the access to the farm and buildings is in constant use. (Eds)

West Wittering: Good news to report that the owl box we only put up a couple of months ago already has a pair of Barn Owls in residence. (GM)

Medmerry: Windmill to the Breach -  A small flock of geese in the tidal pools by the Breach caused some interest, with the eight birds seemingly consisting of two Cackling (Canada) Geese and six Barnacle Geese (one or two of which may have been hybrids).
Otherwise it was very quiet, with just a lone Common Scoter, six Red-breasted Mergansers and two Great Crested Grebes offshore and c50 Brent Geese and c30 Shelducks, plus a handful of Curlews and Redshanks, on the tidal pools.
A Peregrine was out on the derelict building, eating something before flying off, a Stonechat was neat the Windmill and around 30 Meadow Pipits, a couple of Pied Wagtails and half a dozen Skylarks were also noted. (AH/IP/BI)
Subsequent investigation of photos suggest that a probable Polish or German ringed first-winter Caspian Gull was present among the gulls. (BI et al)

Probable Caspian Gull at Medmerry (BI)

Cackling Geese and Barnacle Geese (above), Red-breasted Merganser & Meadow Pipit at Medmerry (AH)

Chichester Marina, There was very little of interest along the canal, whilst at the Marina pool  there was only a male Shoveler , five Mallards, and a pair of Canada Geese. (CRJ)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool -  It was quiet this afternoon, though a Peregrine and two Buzzards were out hunting, and a Stonechat, a Reed Bunting, a dozen Yellowhammers, 20+ Meadow Pipits and 100+ Linnets were along the banks, whilst a huge number of Starlings - perhaps as many as 1000 birds - were out on the reserve. (IP)

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