Monday, 28 October 2019

28th - 31st October 2019

Thursday, 31st October: Following overnight rain, it was another grey and fairly cool morning, with a brisk north-easterly breeze....

Selsey Bill: There were a few passerines about this morning, including three Black Redstarts (one in the Bill House garden, two in Barnes Close), a Jay and at least ten Chiffchaffs plus a dozen Swallows that went east and then back west. 
Offshore remained slow, though a Great Northern Diver, eight Gadwall and three Sandwich Terns went east. Full log below..... 
0720-1020hrs: (wind NE 4/5)  (OM/AH/SR)
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Great Northern Diver - 1E
Gannet - 6E, 5W
Shag - 8E, 1W
Brent Goose - 14E, 3W
Common Scoter - 14E, 4W, 7os
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 1W
Wigeon - 2E, 20W
Gadwall - 8E
Sandwich Tern - 3E
Common Gull - 3E, 4W
Mediterranean Gull - 2E
auk sp - 2E
Swallow - 12E then W
Jay - 1
Starling - 18S, 83N
Pied Wagtail - 1N
Long-tailed Tit - 10
Black Redstart - 3
Chiffchaff - 10
Goldcrest - 2
Linnet - 9E
Chaffinch - 3E
1130-1230hrs: (OM)
Diver sp - 1E
Brent Goose - 13E, 14W
Common Scoter - 12E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E
Wigeon - 35E, 6W
Teal - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 1E
Common Gull - 2E

Black Redstart (above), Chiffchaff, Shags, Gadwall & Starlings on the Bill House roof at the Bill (AH)

 Black Redstarts at the Bill (Barnes Close) (OM)

Selsey, East beach and Pool: A walk from the Bill along the promenade to East beach pool and the adjacent hedgerows was all very disappointing, with just a solitary Chiffchaff, whilst around the pool were just another Chiffchaff and a couple of Goldcrests! (OM)

Ferry Pool: The only wader present was a roosting Avocet, though there were plenty of ducks including at least 60 Shoveler, c50 Teal, c20 Wigeon and a dozen Shelducks. (AH)

Medmerry - Coastguard Station – Toe End: We tried a different walk this morning as the wind was in the east making the sea calm on the west side of Selsey, walking from the old Coastguard Station to Toe End, Medmerry.
In the fields above the Medmerry Cliff there was a late flock of 25 Swallows hawking insects  plus 12 Meadow Pipits and two Rock Pipits. Around the private caravans fronting the beach we found at least six Black Redstarts, four Chiffchaffs and a windblown Goldcrest.
Offshore a single 1st winter Eider was present, but not much else was on the sea, whilst on the beach there were 25 Pied Wagtails and in the tidal area there were a single Greenshank and a female Peregrine.(BFF/DM)

Black Redstart at Medmerry (DM)

North Wall: At first light this morning White's Creek contained similar numbers to yesterday of Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Black-tailed Godwits, whilst the Kingfisher was again active and a Grey Plover was unusually close to the sluice gates. 
There was little action in the hedgerows apart from a Song Thrush and the usual Reed Buntings. (IH)

Church Norton: There was a little mixed flock of thrushes on the airstrip at Greenlease Farm this morning, comprising at least five Mistle Thrushes, two Redwing and up to ten Fieldfares, whilst at least 30 Meadow Pipits were in the rape fields and one or two Goldcrests were in the hedges.
The harbour held at least 100 Brent Geese and 200 Wigeon, along with 50+ Grey Plovers and 200 Dunlin. (AH)

Mistle Thrushes (above), Mistle Thrush, Redwings and Fieldfares & Grey Plover at Church Norton (AH)

Wednesday, 30th October: After a little early drizzle, another cool and overcast morning, with a brisk easterly breeze....

Selsey Bill: There was less activity than yesterday, though a flock of five Velvet Scoters went west and several large flocks of Starlings went purposefully east, well offshore. Full log below..... 
(0645-0930hrs) (Wind E/NE 4-5) (C&ME/AH/PC)
Gannet- 20E
Shag - 5E
Brent Goose - 25E, 8W, 12os
Shelduck - 10W
Wigeon - 15E, 44W
Tufted Duck - 1W
Common Scoter - 5E, 35W
Velvet Scoter - 5W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 8W
Dunlin - 3E
Mediterranean Gull - 11E
Common Gull - 2E
Meadow Pipit - 10N
Pied Wagtail - 14E
Starling - 550E, 22N
Linnet - 250E

Brent Geese (above), Wigeon & Starlings at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Avocet was still on the pool, along with c100 Lapwings, c60 Shovelers, c20 Shelduck and c50 Teal, with 200 or so Jackdaws and Starlings on the field and six Long-tailed Tits near the hide. (AH/PB)

Shoveler on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A Firecrest, a Goldcrest and a Chiffchaff were along the path to the harbour, but otherwise it was fairly birdless, as it often is when the wind whips across the harbour from the east. (PB)
Later, the harbour held 50 Great Black-backed Gulls, whilst 25 Brent Geese went west along the beach and six Linnets went east.
Greenlease Farm offered a bit of shelter and was quite productive, with two Fieldfare, two Redwings and three Mistle Thrushes seen, along with a Chiffchaff and two Roe Deer. (CRJ)
North Wall: First thing this morning White's Creek was a replay of yesterday - with modest numbers of Wigeon, Teal,  Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit present, plus a few Pintail and perhaps 30 Shelduck in the distance.  
The Kingfisher was also again present, but there was little to be seen in the hedgerows apart from an occasional Reed Bunting and nor were the Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits feeding in the field. The Breech Pool confirmed its status as virtually Mallard-only when about 50 flew in from the west, and a Kestrel flew past as I ended my brief walk. (IH)

Medmerry - Coastguard Station – Toe End: There was a steady movement of Swallows around the Coastguard station with c30 feeding over the field alongside 6 House Martins, 5 Meadow Pipits and 8 Pied Wagtails. Two Black Redstarts were around the Oasis Centre area and a Raven headed east. At Toe End, there was another Black Redstart, one Wheatear, 12 Pied Wagtails, a pair of Stonechats, a hunting Kestrel and more Meadow Pipits. Beside the rocks at high tide I could only find 2 Ringed Plover and 7 Turnstones with 2 more Pied Wagtails. (SR)

Pied Wagtail at Toe End, Medmerry (SR)

Northcommon Farm: Three Swallows went over this morning (SH)

West Wittering: A Black Redstart was in a garden on the sea front to the east of Cakeham stables (between East and West Wittering this morning. (L Taylor)
ItchenorA single Avocet was in with a small Curlew roost at Horse pond, before flying off towards Bosham/Itchenor. (PH)

Fishbourne Creek: There was nothing too unusual here this morning, though a Kingfisher and at least six Rock Pipits were present, along with a couple of Greenshanks and 100+ Common Gulls.
The rising tide held large numbers of the commoner, species, though, including around 300 Brent Geese, 400 Wigeon, 50 Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Grey Plovers, 40 Dunlin, c60 Turnstones and c100 Redshank. (AH)

Rock Pipit (above), Wigeon, Dunlin and Black-headed Gulls, Black-tailed Godwits and Turnstones & Turnstones at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Tuesday, 29th October: Another cool and grey morning, with a freshening and chilly north-easterly breeze....

Selsey Bill: There was a bit of movement offshore this morning, including three Red-throated Divers, 300+ Brent Geese and a few Wigeon and Common Scoter going west, whilst six Pochard - an uncommon species here - flew east.
There was also, a bit of overhead migration, including a few Skylarks, Siskins and Mistle Thrushes. Full log below..... 
0700-1130hrs:  (Wind NE 4-5)  (C&ME/GH/IP/OM/AH/DF)
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 2W
Great Northern Diver - 1W
Gannet - c.20 os
Shag - 7E
Brent Goose - 20E, 328W
Shelduck - 4W
Common Scoter - 42W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 12W
Wigeon - 16E, 52W
Teal - 1W
Pochard - 6E
Turnstone - 20 ob
Razorbill - 3E
auk sp - 1E, 4W
Sparrowhawk - 1
Mediterranean Gull - 16E
Wood Pigeon - 368 S
Stock Dove - 7 S
Skylark - 14N
House Martin - 1W
Swallow - 8E
Starling - 54N
Jackdaw - 70
Mistle Thrush - 5N
Meadow Pipit - 7N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 11N
Long-tailed Tit - 20
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldcrest - 2
Linnet - 75E
Goldfinch - 45E
Siskin - 7E
Chaffinch - 9E
Pochard (above) & Brent Geese at the Bill (AH)

Turnstone at the Bill - one of several very tame birds walking within a couple of metres the observers present. (OM)

Also, the mystery concerning the three-masted vessel off the Bill (see yesterday's blog) seems to have been resolved. We are grateful to those who made the effort to contact us and especially to Geoff Cater who states that it "seems likely that this is the superyacht 'Black Pearl', currently en-route to Gibraltar. The yacht is one of the largest in the world - over 100m long, and the three masts are 70m high." A quick bit of research on the web suggests he is spot-on! Thanks again (Eds)

Ferry Pool: An Avocet was again on the pool this morning, along with c60 Lapwing, a dozen Shelduck, c30 Wigeon and Shoveler and c50 Teal. (AH)

Avocet at the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: A straggle of Wigeon and Teal bordered White's Creek this morning with Redshank feeding on the mud and 150 or so restless Lapwing constantly taking to the air.  A Kingfisher was active at the sluice gates and six Pintail were visible in the distance along with a dozen or so Shelduck. 
The bushes were fairly quiet with a few Reed Buntings and a report by a visiting birder of two female Yellowhammers, whilst a Kestrel hovered above, a Snipe flew over and in the fields some 30 Curlew and a similar number of Black-tailed Godwits fed. (IH)

This evening a Ring Ouzel was seen going in to roost at Halsey's Farm (J Davis per SOS)

Medmerry: Easton Lane - A Great White Egret was seen roosting in a tree on the reserve near Easton Lane this morning. (J Davis per SOS)

East Head: Around 1500 Brent Geese were around the fields and harbour, with birds dropping in all morning, and there were certainly some youngsters among them.
Otherwise, a Short-eared Owl flew right along the main channel in the harbour, heading for Thorney Island, a couple of Sanderling were on the foreshore, three Swallows went over and c100 Linnets, a Reed Bunting, c50 Skylarks and just a few Meadow Pipits were spread around the dunes and tidal areas.
Snowhill Creek held a Greenshank, two Snipe and plenty of roosting waders, including c30 Grey Plovers, c50 Dunlin, 200 Lapwing and c80 Black-tailed Godwits, whist a group of 25 Golden Plover came up from the fields and six Red-breasted Mergansers were feeding together in the adjacent harbour.. (AH)

Short-eared Owl (above), Greenshank, Snipe, Sanderling, Red-breasted Mergansers, Linnets, Grey Plovers & Brent Geese around Eat Head (AH)

Birdham Pool: An early afternoon visit produced two Swallows over the pool and the now-regular tree roost held 30 Cormorants and two Jays. On the water were 75 Mallards, two Wigeon and 12 Little Grebes, whilst a Kingfisher also flashed past. (OM)

Monday, 28th October: After the first frost of the autumn, a dry but chilly and mostly grey morning, with a moderate north-easterly breeze....

Selsey Bill: Over 12,000 Wood Pigeons went over this morning, mostly heading out to sea and the greater part of the total before 8.30am. Otherwise, although there was some variety of species it was still fairly quiet, though a Cattle Egret flew east offshore, a Merlin came in from way out, and a Great Northern Diver was on the sea. Full log below..... 
0700-1300hrs:  (Wind NE 3-4/5)  (C&ME/IP/BI/AH/OM/CN)
Great Northern Diver - 1E settled os
Shag - 8E
Cattle Egret - 1N
Brent Goose - 6E, 5W
Common Scoter - 15E, 9W
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 4W
Wigeon - 5W
Merlin - 1N with prey
Razorbill - 1E, 1W
auk sp - 9W
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 Oval field
Stock Dove - 130 mainly S
Woodpigeon - 12,170 mainly S
Sandwich Tern - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 18E, 5W
Common Gull - 5E, 3W
Meadow Pipit - 26N
Pied/alba Wagtail - 17N
Skylark - 6N
House Martin - 3E
Swallow - 3E
Jackdaw - 100
Magpie - 25E (inc. loose flock of 22)
Starling - 28N
Long-tailed Tit - 20
Chiffchaff - 5
Blackcap - 1
Goldcrest - 3
Greenfinch - 3
Siskin - 7
Goldfinch - 25E

Merlin (above) & Wood Pigeons at the Bill (AH)

So...just what is this then? This peculiar vessel spent ages drifting very slowly westwards past the Bill, right along the horizon. When first seen passing the wind farm it looked like three giant towers (maintenance ship?) or a distant three-masted galleon, but eventually the enormous 'sails' appeared wider and darker. Despite our speculation - and several queries to us from members of the public - we are none the wiser. Any ideas??  (OM)

Ferry Pool: An Avocet, three Black-tailed Godwits and c80 Lapwing were on the pool early on, along with a dozen Shelducks, c40 Shoveler, c60 Wigeon and similar of Teal, whilst at least 500 Wood Pigeons went over heading towards the coast.
Along the old Tramway there were a few Chiffchaffs, Reed Buntings and Goldcrests, with a Marsh Harrier and a Peregrine flying over. (AW/AH)

Marsh Harrier (above), Peregrine, Avocet & Reed Bunting around the Ferry (AW)

Long Pool: A Short-eared Owl was in the fields by the Long Pool this evening, as was a Sparrowhawk. (SH)

North Wall: White's Creek this morning contained the usual fare of Wigeon, Teal, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits, plus a Grey Plover and at least 100 Lapwing wheeled overhead. 
A walk along the wall produced Reed Buntings, a pair of Yellowhammers, a calling Cetti's Warbler, one Great Spotted Woodpecker and a couple of Wrens, whilst about 50 Curlew and a dozen Black-tailed Godwits were feeding in one of the fields, and a flock of about 50 Mallard flew in from the north, some landing in the Breech Pool, which contained little other than a pair of Tufted Ducks. 
There were large flocks of Wood Pigeons overhead here, too, heading both east and west. (IH)

Medmerry: Breach area - Just one Black Redstart could be found around the caravans at Toe End this morning, though a Merlin was seen from the Viewpoint. (CN)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - The banks were fairly quiet this morning, though two Dartford Warblers were seen - one just south of Marsh Barn and the other by the Stilt Pool, and there were also at least a dozen scattered Stonechats present, along with a few Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits, 20 Skylarks and 50+ Meadow Pipits and Linnets.
A Greenshank and c40 Lapwings were on the Stilt Pool, with another Greenshank near the poplars, plus a mix of Gadwall, Teal and Wigeon, plus a few Shovelers, and two Swallows went over. (AH/CN)

Stonechat (above), Meadow Pipits and Linnet, Long-tailed Tits, Swallow & Greenshank, Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal at Medmerry (AH)

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