Saturday, 28 September 2019

28th - 30th September 2019

Monday, 30th September: A morning that started still and overcast, with the breeze freshening from the south-west and brightening a little, though with the forecast of heavy rain later..........

Selsey Bill: A Merlin in off the sea late in the morning was the highlight, but there were also 80+ Sandwich Terns and an Arctic Skua, plus a selection of migrants, including 1000+ Meadow Pipits and 1700+ Swallows moving west, 30 Chiffchaffs and five Wheatears. Full log below...... 
(0700-1230hrs)  (NW2-SW5) (C&ME/IP/OM/PD/AH) 
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 5E, 78W
Shag - 4E, 1W
Brent Goose - 1E, 23W
Common Scoter - 16E, 35W
Turnstone - 12W
Merlin - 1 in NW
Commic Tern - 18W
Sandwich Tern - 84W
Mediterranean Gull - 62W
Arctic Skua - 1W (d/p)
Green Woodpecker - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1026W
alba Wagtail - 28W
House Martin - 205W
Swallow - 1755W
Wheatear - 5 ob
Stonechat - 1 Oval field
Skylark - 2W
Lesser Whitethroat - 1 Oval field
Chiffchaff - 30
Goldcrest - 1
Goldfinch - 70W

Swallow (above) & Mediterranean Gull at the Bill (AH)

 Stonechat and Wheatear at the Bill (OM)

(1445-1600hrs) (SSW5) (CRJ)
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 5W
Shag - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 2E, 2W, 1os

(1640-1800hrs) (SH)
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 1W
Shag - 3W
Common Scoter - 2E
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 3W
Swallow - 1W
Pied Wagtail - 1W
Goldcrest - 1

Ferry Pool: Two Snipe on the concealed pool were the only birds of note early on, with otherwise just c30 Black-tailed Godwits and c100 Lapwing, plus three Shelduck and a dozen Teal present. 
At least a dozen Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were around the bushes, plus a few Goldcrests, whilst c100 House Martins and a few Swallows went over. (AH)

Snipe (above), Blackcap & Song Thrush around the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: The Osprey was viewable, sat out in the harbour from the far end, whilst the adjacent fields held 26 Golden Plover, several Wheatears and 100s of Meadow Pipits, with two Whinchats and lots of Blackcaps along the hedges. (AB)

Northcommon Farm: Three Swifts went over among a steady movement of Swallows and House Martins this morning. (SH)

Church Norton: An Osprey was over the harbour early on, before being seen off by a Peregrine, whist at least three Wheatears and lots of Meadow Pipits were along the spit.
Also, a Firecrest and a dozen or so Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs were around the churchyard hide area and hundreds of Swallows and House Martins were overhead. (AW/AH et al)
The very high tide precluded walking to the beach, but from the footpath, 60 Grey Plover and 3 Knot were on the concrete blocks and around the churchyard, a large tit flock included eight Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest. (CRJ)

Osprey (above), Osprey & Peregrine, Kingfisher, Firecrest, Goldcrest, Wheatear, Sparrowhawk, Shelduck sp (AW) & Chiffchaff (AH) at Church Norton

Pagham Lagoon/Spit: A look around the spit produced the first Rock Pipit of the autumn, along with two Wheatears, 60+ Meadow Pipits, a Swift and 100+ Swallows and House Martins.
A Shelduck sp was seen distantly in the harbour - either a Ruddy or a Cape, whilst the Osprey, a Peregrine eating prey, three Bar-tailed Godwits, a dozen Grey Plovers and a few Pintail, Wigeon and Teal were also seen. Also, a Common Sandpiper was on the Lagoon and three Gannets were offshore. (PB/BI)

North Wall: A Spotted Redshank was close to the sluice gates, with a Greenshank and six Pintail in White's Creek, whilst a flock of about 50 Canada Gees flew over containing the two Bar-headed Geese. 
Two Wheatears were patrolling the rocks along the wall, whilst plenty of Chiffchaffs and Reed Buntings were present in the bushes and many Swallows and House Martins passed overhead during the two hour walk. (IH)
Also, a Merlin was seen in the horse field at Welbourne, it flushed some small birds from the reedbed and was last seen chasing these heading north. A lot of migrants along the Wall. At least 12 Chiffchaffs, five Blackcaps, two Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Whinchat. Along Bremere Rife, close to the harbour sluice were three Cattle Egret, with at least 5 Chiffchaffs in Owl Copse. 
In the copse at Bremere Bridge were nine Blackcap and six Chiffchaffs, with a further four of the latter in the western hedge boundary of Honer 1 field.(JDW)

Halsey's Farm: A Whinchat was among at least six Stonechats this morning, with up to ten Chiffchaffs in the bushes and up to 400 Meadow Pipits on the fields, with similar of Swallows and House Martins going over.
Also, two Cattle Egrets and three Little Egrets were among the cattle nearby. (AH)

Whinchat (above), Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit & Cattle Egret around Halsey's Farm (AH)

East Head: A group of 17 Brent Geese arrived this morning. (MR)

Brent Geese at East Head (MR)

Sunday, 29th SeptemberGales and heavy rain overnight, continuing into the morning, with leaden skies, a gale-force SW wind and frequent heavy showers or longer periods of rain......

Selsey Bill:  Very quiet offshore this morning, initially with almost nothing moving early on. As the day progressed a few Gannets and Terns did eventually show as did a small flock of Golden Plover. Full log below.....
0645-1115hrs:  (WSW F6-7 gusting F8) (SH/PB/BI/IP/CMu)
Gannet - 19E, 23W
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 1os
Common Scoter - 2E, 2W
Curlew - 2W
Golden Plover - 4W
Common Tern - 14W
Arctic Tern - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 9W
Mediterranean Gull -  2W
Kittiwake - 1W
Wheatear - 1
Swallow - 5E

Common Terns passing the Bill (SH), above, & Turnstone and Gannet (BI)

1200-1300hrs:  (WSW 5)  (SH)
Gannet - 2W
Sandwich Terns - 3W
Kittiwake - 1W
Swallow - 2W, 10 area (resting on wires)

Ferry Pool: Three Spotted Redshanks were here mid-morning but otherwise it was just Black-tailed Godwits and Shelducks present. (BI/HR)

A walk around the area behind the Visitor centre this afternoon in the wind and rain produced very little; just 6 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps and a Reed Warbler, but no sign of any Starlings. (CRJ) This afternoon at the Ferry Pool were singles of both Snipe & Black-tailed Godwits and three Sandwich Terns flew by the Tramway. (AW)

Snipe at the Ferry Pool (AW)

Pagham Beach: A look at the new lagoons along Pagham beachfront produced a Wheatear, c.20 Turnstones and many of the commoner Gulls. Two Sandwich Terns went west offshore and a Cormorant successfully caught an Eel. (BI/DB)

Cormorant with Eel at Pagham (BI)

Church Norton: In the orchard at Greenlease Farm late afternoon were seven Chiffchaffs whilst five Sandwich Terns flew over and another three Sandwich Terns were noted going west along the beach. At Church Norton there were 20 Grey Plovers roosting on the mud along with eight Sandwich Terns, a Wheatear was on the concrete spit and at least 30 Swallows passed overhead. (SH)
Late this afternoon a probable arctic Tern was flying around the harbour. (AW)

West Itchenor/Chichester Marina: An Osprey was off West Itchenor at lunchtime today, whilst later on there were nine Greenshanks roosting on the very high tide nearby at the Marina. (HB)

Fishbourne Creek: An Osprey was over the channel at 10.45am, and the Ruff was again along the east side. (PH)

North Wall: Whites Creek contained two Spotted Redshanks this morning and there was a Wheatear among the rocks.  Three Cattle Egrets and two Yellow Wagtails were amongst the cattle at the end of the wall and some 30 Swallows with one or two House Martins were above, whilst aSparrowhawk also flew over. (IH)

Halsey's Farm: The Rose-coloured Starling was seen with a Starling flock here at mid day and an Osprey was hunting over the harbour nearby. (HR) 

Sidlesham: A Hobby flew over the observers' garden at 1615hrs (A&YF)

Saturday, 28th September: Remaining very unsettled but a bit better today, though still very blustery......a welcome sunny start with some blue sky but also plenty of cloud, with the risk of heavy showers through the day and a strong and persistent WSW wind force 6-7....

Selsey Bill: An Arctic Skua went west, as did 20 Sandwich Terns and 70+ Meadow Pipits, but there was less movement than the last few days. Full log below......
0645-0900hrs: (WSW6)  (SH/BI/IP)
Gannet - 15E, 3W
Shag - 2E
Common Scoter - 2E, 4W
Common Tern - 6W
Sandwich Tern - 20W
Arctic Skua - 1W (l/p)
Mediterranean Gull - 2W
Meadow Pipit - 74N
Pied Wagtail - 7W
Grey Wagtail - 1W
Swallow - 11W
Goldcrest - 1 Bill House garden
Linnet - 11N

1300-1400hrs: (WSW6)  (SH)
Gannet - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
Sandwich Tern - 1W

Meadow Pipit at the Bill (BI)

North Wall & Halsey's Farm: A Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail were around the sluice area early on, whilst 30 Wigeon and a Greenshank were at White's Creek. Along the Wall were a Wheatear, a couple of Cetti's Warblers and several Chiffchaffs, plus several Swallows overhead and 25 Black-tailed Godwits in the fields, then an Osprey moved slowly north through the harbour. 

At Halsey's Farm at least 15 Yellow Wagtails were in with the cattle and three Cattle Egrets showed well. (OM/BFF/IH) Later, the Cattle Egret count had increased to five. (IL)

Osprey (above), Black-tailed Godwits and Grey Wagtail at the North Wall. (BFF)

Cattle Egrets at Halsey's Farm (BFF)

Ferry Pool & Tramway: There was no sign of the juv Rose-coloured Starling in the blustery conditions all morning; however, with the tide dropping, it was re-located in the same area of the Tramway as previously, at around 1530hrs. (AW)

The Osprey perched on a distant signpost near Sidlesham village was viewable from the Tramway late morning, and a juvenile Hobby flew over the harbour, causing an unseen Spotted Redshank to call, whilst four Pintail, a Whimbrel and 20+ Meadow Pipits were also logged. The Ferry Pool held the usual suspects this morning: c.30 Black-tailed Godwits, a few Teal, six Shelduck and 40 Black-headed Gulls and this afternoon produced a single Greenshank. (OM/BFF/BI/AW et al)

Greenshank on the Ferry Pool,above, & Rose-coloured Starling at the Tramway (AW)

Church Norton: A very high tide hampered viewing somewhat, but four Sandwich Terns and a Whimbrel were in the harbour and a Peregrine was sat on its island for some while. (OM/BFF)

Greenlease Farm orchard held at least ten Chiffchaffs feeding continuously, whilst a female Stonechat was in the bushes in front of the first Several and two Cetti’s Warblers were calling from the reedbed.

The Osprey caught a fish in the harbour and then flew towards the Visitor Centre with a fish firmly in its talons, whilst being harried by two Great Black-backed Gulls.

The harbour was very full of water, but held at least thirty Pintail and a dozen Wigeon, whilst nine Sandwich Terns were feeding offshore. On the wader front there was a flock of fifty Lapwings, at least a dozen Grey Plovers roosting along the spit and thirty flying in the harbour,  plus five Black-tailed Godwits and two Bar-tailed Godwits roosting with a large number of Redshank. 
Finally, three Wheatears were feeding on the shingle below the concrete spit, five Chiffchaffs were along the beach and a single Sand Martin was present. (IP/SH) 
This afternoon among the usual waders were still two Bar-tailed Godwits, three Grey Plovers and a Whimbrel whilst an Arctic Tern was fishing offshore. (AW)

Arctic Tern at Church Norton (AW)

Selsey, Park FarmThere were 50 Curlews in the field awaiting housing development and a Sparrowhawk flew across the same field, whilst the first line of Poplars held two Grey Wagtails, a Stonechat and a Pied Wagtail. Three Chiffchaffs and a Jay were also present and a Hobby also flew low and fast over the horse paddocks. (IP/SH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to Stilt pool - Two Greenshank were in the channel near the poplars, whilst along the banks and hedgerows were 30+ Skylarks, 20+ Meadow Pipits, 20+ Swallows, 4 Yellowhammers, 5 Stonechats, a Whinchat, a Wheatear, two Sand Martins and a Buzzard. 
The only bird of note on the pool was a single Greenshank. (SH)

Stonechat at Medmerry (SH)

Fishbourne CreekThe Ruff was still in the creek today and an Osprey flew over. (PH)

Pagham Beach: Butterfly info - On Tuesday 24th September I went to Pagham, in search of Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea, the food plant of Long-tailed Blue. I managed a brief but confirming view of one butterfly. I made another visit this morning in sunshine and managed good views of probably two insects, and took some photos. 
They may fly on sunny days into November. Also there were three ancient Common Blue, a Peacock and a Painted Lady. (CRJ)

Long-tailed Blues at Pagham (CRJ)

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

25th - 27th September 2019

Friday, 27th SeptemberRather similar to yesterday weather-wise; blustery, grey and cloudy with heavy showers through the morning, but also with some brief brighter spells and the odd bit of sunshine. Remaining very windy, with a near gale-force south-westerly and low pressure still dominating....

Selsey Bill: There were six Arctic Skuas this morning and over 30 Sandwich Terns going west, plus five 'Commic' Terns; some or all of the latter could well have been Arctic Terns, but the prevailing conditions and distance meant that it was just not possible to clinch the ID. No shearwaters could be found however, although some were seen elsewhere in the Channel today. Meanwhile, over 400 Meadow Pipits and 80 Swallows also passed through, as did a few Yellow Wagtails. Full log below......
0700-1330hrs:  (SW5-7)  (C&ME/BI/IP/OM)
Gannet - 26E, 83W, 30os
Shag - 10E
Brent Goose - 1E, 21W
Common Scoter - 7E
Turnstone - 15 ob
'Commic' Tern - 5W
Sandwich Tern - 35W
Mediterranean Gull - 5W
Arctic Skua - 6W (1 l/p, 5 d/p)
auk sp - 4E
Meadow Pipit - 475W
Pied Wagtail - 24W
Yellow Wagtail - 7W
Grey Wagtail - 2W
House Martin - 20W
Swallow - 85W
Goldcrest - 1 Bill House garden

Sandwich Tern (above), Meadow Pipit and Brent Geese at the Bill (BI)

North Wall: A fairly brief walk along the wall revealed a Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank visible from the sluice gates, and further along two Stonechats, two Reed Buntings and a glimpse of a Whitethroat, plus one Swallow flew over. (IH)

Ferry Pool/Tramway: Despite the blustery conditions, the Rose-coloured Starling was again located mid-morning, in the same area of the Tramway as previously (although there was no sign later in the day) whilst an Osprey over the harbour was also observed from here. There were also c.20 Pintail over the saltmarsh along with a number of Wigeon & Teal and two Chiffchaffs were along the path. (RJS/BI et al). The Ferry Pool held c.30 Black-tailed Godwits, two Shelducks and a few Teal. (BI)

Pintail over the Tramway (BI)

Thursday, 26th SeptemberA morning that started very wet and ended up with bright and warm spells and heavy cloud, with a fresh and blustery but unexpectedly warm south-westerly throughout....

Selsey Bill: There was a surprising amount of westward tern passage this morning, consisting of a flock of 11 Arctic Terns close in, another more distant 39 'Commic' Terns (quite likely all or mostly further Arctics) and 35 Sandwich Terns, but the highlight was a flock of 3 Balearic Shearwaters west at 1310hrs. There was also a steady westward movement of Swallows and Meadow Pipits. Full log below..... 
0700-1415hrs:  (SW5-6/7)  (C&ME/OM/AH/PC et al)
Balearic Shearwater - 3W
Gannet - 5E, 15W
Shag - 2E, 1os
Brent Goose - 23W
auk sp - 1E
Arctic Tern - 11W
'Commic' Tern - 39W
Sandwich Tern - 35W
Kittiwake - 1E, 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 6W
Pied Wagtail - 5W
Meadow Pipit - 158W
Wheatear - 1
Swallow - 390W
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 1

Sandwich Tern (above), Shag & Meadow Pipits at the Bill (AH)

(1630-1800hrs) (SH)
Gannet - 1E, 12os
Common Scoter - 4E
Arctic Skua - 1W (l/p)
Sandwich Tern - 2E, 16W
'Commic' Tern - 3W

Ferry Pool: The Rose-coloured Starling was not reported all morning, but was eventually re-located early afternoon in the same area of the Tramway as yesterday. An Osprey was also seen from there over the harbour. Small numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap were in the bushes around the Discovery area., whilst a Green Sandpiper and a Spotted Redshank were in the channel and two Whimbrel were out on the saltmarsh.(BFF/DM)
Also, a Kingfisher was in the channel, but the pool held just 40 or so Lapwings and Black-tailed Godwits, six Shelducks and c30 Teal. (AH)

Shelducks on the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: A few Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and a Spotted Flycatcher were at Halsey's farm and from the North Wall we had another prolonged view of the fishing Osprey. (BFF/DM)

Church Norton: The most notable feature this morning was the 300 or so Swallows feeding low over the harbour, though there were also a Spotted Flycatcher and a handful of Blackcaps by the concrete wall and several Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests around the Mound area.
There were two Whimbrels present again, along with two Bar-tailed Godwits and a dozen Curlews, but the only other waders seen on the high tide were 50+ Redshanks. (AH)
This afternoon a Nuthatch was among a mixed tit flock in the car-park, whilst the Osprey was over the harbour and there were also three Spotted Flycatchers, a Redstart and a Hobby seen, along with few Sand Martins among the Swallows and House Martins. (G Kinnard per Twitter)

Whimbrel (above), Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcap, Chiffchaff & Swallows at Church Norton (AH)

Wednesday, 25th September: A wet and windy start as the unsettled conditions continue, with heavy cloud and rain and a strong W/SW wind.....becoming drier by mid-morning, with the odd glimpse of brightness and the risk of further heavy showers.

It is with great sadness that I learned of the recent passing of Beryl James, our longest-serving observer and a Peninsula stalwart. Beryl was a remarkable lady, being one of the original birding group who in the early 1960’s helped establish Selsey Bill as a bird-watching site, when the infamous rickety wooden hut was used as a base camp for observers.
My first memories of her were in the early 1970’s when she and husband Charles – then the SOS Hon Recorder - would visit the Bill from their home in Horsham. She was the first ‘proper’ female birder I had ever met, a bit of a rarity at the time and she was much respected. Always sharp-eyed, Beryl was also a cautious observer, not jumping to conclusions; a quality I tried to emulate back in the day. As a  keen young observer, I recall finding a Serin at the Bill, then loudly and excitedly yelling across to some friends, much to the disapproval of the Hon Recorder and other more established observers nearby; I’ve never forgotten the kind and knowing smile Beryl gave me as I learnt a lesson in fieldcraft!

As time went on, she eventually moved to Selsey where she soon settled and was always happy to be; no spring sea-watch was complete without Beryl cheerfully riding her trusty bike down to the Bill-tip to join the assembled crowd. In due course her enthusiasm for birding was passed on to her son Paul and grandson Gareth, both of whom she was very proud of.
Those that knew Beryl soon discovered she was a fiercely independent and capable lady, who liked to do all things for herself if possible, even when the advancing years began to catch up with her. She was always active with voluntary work, freely giving her time to a number of societies and in February this year the RSPB presented her with an award in recognition of her 30+ years of service at Pagham Harbour Nature reserve.

The last few years saw her health steadily decline but she resolutely battled on, not giving in to various medical conditions despite the need for hospital visits. She remained keen to know what birds were around, still finding time to make occasional birding visits to the Bill and the harbour with friends and family. What was to be her last Bill visit  - at the age of 90 - was as recently as 4th September, just two days before she was admitted to hospital, where she passed away peacefully early on Monday morning (23rd)..

She was much loved and admired by all who met her. The Peninsula will be a poorer place with the passing of this lovely lady and our thoughts and condolences go to her family at this difficult time. Rest in peace Beryl - though I suspect you will have already volunteered to organise some birding event in a much higher place!  (OM) (Eds)

Beryl at the Bill in spring 2002 (OM)

Selsey Bill: It was very quiet this morning, with just a few Gannets offshore and a handful of Swallows, House Martins and Meadow Pipits going west. 
(0700-0930hrs) (C&ME)
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 5W
Shag - 1E
Common Scoter - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 2os, 1W
House Martin - 3E
Chiffchaff - 2

(1000-1040hrs) (PB/OM)
Gannet - 7E, 8W
Swallow - 15W
House Martin - 10W

(1700-1800hrs) (SH)
Gannet - 1E, 1W
Shag - 4W
Sandwich Tern - 1W
Razorbill - 1W

Ferry Pool: The juvenile Rose-coloured Starling eventually gave itself up this morning, among a large and mobile flock of Starlings that were mainly feeding on the salt-marsh off the Tramway, though occasionally dropping onto the hedges along the Long Pool. 

Otherwise, a Hobby and a Sedge Warbler were the most notable sightings, along with a Spotted Flycatcher, a few Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Long-tailed Tits, plus a Kingfisher in the channel and a dozen Pintail and lots of Wigeon and Teal in the harbour. Also, a couple of House Martins, c30 Swallows, five Linnets and 10 Meadow Pipits went over.

The Pool itself just held c40 Black-tailed Godwits and c50 Lapwing, plus six Shovelers, three Shelduck and a dozen Teal. (AH/IP/SR/OM/PB/AB et al)

Later, an Osprey was over the harbour, viewable from the Tramway. (AB)

Rose-coloured Starling and Starlings (above), Pintails & Wigeon from the Tramway (AH)

Long Pool: A Common Sandpiper was at the far end of Ferry Channel, where there were also a Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank, but the bushes just held a couple of Chiffchaffs and Reed Buntings. (AH/IP)

North Wall: Late this morning a Sparrowhawk was at Owl Point and three Cattle Egrets were at the west end of the North Wall, near the cattle there. (IH)

Mill Pond Marsh: A Little Grebe with its late chick that it was feeding was on the privately owned mill pond this morning. There was also a Sparrowhawk, half a dozen Goldcrests, two Chiffchaffs and a flock of Long-tailed Tits in the area. (SR)

Little Grebes on Mill Pond Marsh (SR)