Thursday, 27 February 2020

27th - 29th February 2020

Saturday, 29th FebruaryLeap year day - but yet another very wet and windy start, giving way to sunny spells and the risk of heavy showers later, with a strong southerly wind veering WSW later and increasing to gale force....

Selsey Bill: There was some reward at last for the sea-watchers with the clear highlight being a Puffin flying west at 9.20am, and the first bit of visible spring migration, with a few Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Pied Wagtails arriving. Full log below......
(0650-0950hrs)  (Wind S6 - WSW7/8)  (SH/IP/AH/BI)
Red-throated Diver - 1E
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 5E, 2W
Common Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 10W, 1os
Turnstone - 4ob
Puffin - 1W (0920hrs)
Sandwich Tern - 3os
Mediterranean Gull - 4os
Kittiwake - 2E, 1W
Common Gull - 1E
Pied/alba Wagtail - 9N
Meadow Pipit - 49N
Starling - 1N
Linnet - 25N

Red-breasted Mergansers at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: All the wildfowl were sheltering under the far bank this morning, and included three pairs of Gadwall, eight Shelducks, c40 Teal and Shovelers and c100 Wigeon, whilst a pair of Oystercatchers were down near the road. (AH)
Later, a Spotted Redshank was in Ferry channel and a Red-breasted Merganser was by the outflow of red barn ditch. (RP)

Gadwall, Shovelers, Teal and Shelducks (above) & Oystercatchers at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A Barn Owl flew in and settled on a post in the sheltered corner of the field behind the hide, later moving up into the hedge to roost.
Also, at least six Chiffchaffs among the Long-tailed Tits long the sheltered hedges would appear to be newly arrived migrants, though there was little other evidence of migration.
There were c50 Knot among the Dunlin and Grey Plovers on the mud, though most of the waders appeared to be on the far side of the harbour, where there were also c500 Brent Geese, whilst the only other birds of note were a Raven over Priory Wood, a few Mediterranean Gulls, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers in the main channel and a pair of Gadwall on the flood by the horse field. (P&JW/AH/IP)

Barn Owl (above), Chiffchaff & Gadwall at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall: The windswept fields this morning contained about 2,000 Brent Geese, at least 300 Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwing, Wigeon (though lower numbers than previously) and Teal.  Little else was about.  (IH)

North Selsey & Park Farm: A Stonechat and a Green Woodpecker were on the rough ground at the rear of the factories, whilst nearby a Grey Wagtail was at Park Farm. (SH)

Friday, 28th February: Another truly awful morning's weather, with a cold and gale-force southerly bringing persistent drizzly rain with it......the misery goes on, with another named storm due this weekend!

Selsey Bill: Four Fulmars and a Red-throated Diver west and seven Common Scoter east were the pick of another slow morning. Full log below:
(0720-0855hrs) (wind S F6) (SR/IP/BI/AH)
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Fulmar - 4W
Gannet - 1E, 5W
Common Scoter - 7E, 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 6W, 4os
Turnstone - 2
Common Gull - 2W
Mediterranean Gull - 4os
Kittiwake - 1E

Red-throated Diver (above) & Mediterranean Gulls at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Business as usual around the pool, including two Gadwall, six Shelducks, c50 Shoveler and Teal, c200 Wigeon and c200 Lapwing. (AH)

Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: About 50 Brent Geese dropped in, a dozen Teal were on the water, with a handful of Mediterranean Gulls also about,whilst the usual mix of waders, including c100 Knot, c50 Grey Plovers and c400 Dunlin were out on the mud, along with a few Curlews, Redshank and Ringed Plovers. (AH)

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

Runcton: A male Reed Bunting was again on the garden feeders and a Song Thrush put in an appearance, whilst there was plenty of activity from the local Blue, Great and Coal Tits. (CRJ)

Reed Bunting in a Runcton garden (CRJ)

Thursday, 27th February:A shift in wind direction this morning - north-easterly early on before backing north-westerly - though remaining at near gale-force and cold, with heavy overnight rain giving way to sunshine and cloud......

Selsey Bill: Another slow morning, though two Great Northern Divers were offshore and up to 20 Mediterranean Gulls were moving about close inshore. Full log below... 
(0800-0930hrs) (ENE, F5, backing WNW, F6-7)   (SR/IP/AH/MO-W)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Gannet - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 6W, 12os
Oystercatcher - 4
Mediterranean Gull - 20os
Common Gull - 1E, 2W

Mediterranean Gulls at the Bill (AH)

Hunston: A dozen Cattle Egrets were in the usual field east of the sub-station this morning, with another bird a few fields west towards the Free School. (NM)

Ferry Pool: A lone Avocet, four Gadwall and ten Shelducks were around the pool, along with c50 Shoveler, c100 Teal and c150 Wigeon, with c200 Lapwing on the field. (AH/IP/IL)

Gadwall and Black-headed Gulls on the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry Trail/Sidlesham SF: There would appear to have been an influx of Stonechats this morning, with eight together in the small field by the sewage works and another three on Ferry field.
Otherwise, there were four or five Chiffchaffs in the sheltered hedges - with a couple briefly singing, a few Pied Wagtails in the maize stubble fields, a handful of Mediterranean Gulls with the Black-headed Gulls on the settling tanks, a Buzzard over and a Goldcrest and the odd Long-tailed Tit along the concrete road. (AH/IP)

Stonechat (above) & Chiffchaff along the Medmerry Trail (AH)

North WallA mid afternoon visit brought 4 Song Thrushes and the Kestrel in the horse paddocks, a Grey Wagtail at the sluice gates and Golden Plover, Dunlin and Shelduck in the harbour. And from the harbour flew about 1,000 Brent Geese which joined a similar number in the field at the end of the Wall. 
 A Barn Owl hunted over the reed beds and flushed a Snipe and later a Marsh Harrier also appeared. The flooded fields still contain large numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew , a few Shoveler and Shelduck as well as 8 Herons in a huddle. (IH/NR)

Sunday, 23 February 2020

23rd - 26th February 2020

Wednesday, 26th FebruaryAnother cold and bright morning, with a near gale-force westerly blowing...............

Selsey Bill: Three Red-throated Divers went west and two east this morning, whilst a Peregrine came in from well offshore carrying prey (probably a pigeon or dove), being chased by a dozen gulls, who eventually forced it to drop its catch a hundred metres short of the beach. Full log below. (SR/IP/MO-W/AH/PC)
(0730-0950hrs) (F6-7, WSW)
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 3W
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 10W, 9os
Peregrine - 1N
Mediteranean Gull - 1E, 6os
Common Gull - 2W, 2os
Kittiwake - 1W
Chiffchaff - 1

Peregrine (above) & Common Gull at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Four Gadwall were present this morning, along with ten Shelducks, c50 Teal and Shovelers and c80 Wigeon, with c100 Lapwing on the field. (AH)

Gadwall and Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: A Green Woodpecker, a Grey Wagtail, a Kingfisher and a Marsh Harrier were all visible in  the vicinity of the horse paddocks and sluice gates this morning. 
The heavily flooded fields contained large numbers of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Wigeon and Teal together with one Spotted Redshank, whilst eight Herons were near Owl Copse and two Skylarks and several calling Cetti's Warblers completed the tally. (IH/TG)

Church NortonAbout 300 Brent Geese were out on the mud this morning, along with c50 Knot, c20 Curlews, c100 Grey Plovers and c200 Dunlin, whilst a Peregrine was on its island and a handful of Mediterranean Gulls were among the Black-headed Gulls.
There were also a couple of Linnets and a handful of Long-tailed Tits along the west side and c40 Goldfinches around the Mound area. (AH/IP)

Grey Plover (above), Curlew, Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plovers, Brent Geese, Linnet & Long-tailed Tit at Church Norton (AH)

Tuesday, 25th FebruaryA mostly bright and chilly morning, with some heavy downpours pushed through by the brisk westerly...............

Selsey Bill: Another morning with little to report! (SR/MO-W/IP/AH)
(0735-0910hrs) (WSW, F5-6)
Brent Goose - 7E, 3W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 2W, 5os
Oystercatcher - 2E
Dunlin - 2W
Common Gull - 1E, 2W, 12os
Mediterranean Gull - 2E, 1os
Meadow Pipit - 1N

Later, a Rock Pipit went west, a female Red-breasted Merganser and a few Mediterranean and Common Gulls were offshore. (AW)

Rock Pipit (above), Common Gull, Mediterranean Gulls & Red-breasted Merganser at the Bill (AW)

Ferry Pool: There was just the usual mix of wildfowl around the pool, including 12 Shelducks, c50 Teal and Shoveler and c100 Wigeon, with 200 Lapwings on the field.
Thee were also a handful of Long-tailed Tits and Goldfinches in the hedges opposite. (AH)

Teal (above), Wigeon & Long-tailed Tit at the Ferry (AH)

Sidlesham SF & Medmerry trail: For a change I spent some time this morning around the sewage works and surrounding hedgerows, including the trail path. There were at least eight Chiffchaffs - several of which were singing - and then a notably pale bird which showed briefly (and initially responded to a Sibe Chiff playback) before disappearing - perhaps in response to the Marsh Harrier which flew over. 
Other passerines included a Stonechat, a singing Cetti's Warbler, a couple of singing Song Thrushes, four Greenfinches and several singing Chaffinches. A cronking Raven flew over heading towards the Ferry, a Green Woodpecker was yaffling repeatedly, then a pair of Grey Partridges flushed from near the trail path, eventually settling in cover at the top end of Ferry field. (OM)

 Chiffchaffs and Marsh Harrier around Sidlesham SF and Medmerry trail (OM)

Chi GPs: Drayton House pits - Highlights this morning were a Firecrest in the hedgerow Ivy along with 10 Long-tailed Tits and a couple of brief views of the Bittern in the usual area on the North pit. A Mistle Thrush and two Redwings were also present today, plus a couple of Snipe, whilst at least 50 Pochard still remain. (CRJ)

Runcton: A Reed Bunting was visiting garden feeders today and a female Stonechat was present in Saltham Lane. (CRJ)

Northcommon Farm: The two Little Owls were both around the buildings late this afternoon. (SR)

North Wall: A brief visit late this afternoon showed that the flood waters have risen in the fields which were consequently well populated with about 1,000 Brent Geese, at least 500 Wigeon and 100 Curlew, 200 Black-tailed Godwits, as well as Shelduck, Lapwing and Teal. (IH/TH)

Monday, 24th FebruarySimilar dire weather to yesterday; grey skies, rain at times and a gale-force SW wind gusting to force 9...........

Selsey Bill: A short watch this morning but nothing much was moving again. Full log below. (IP/MO-W)
(0755-0900hrs) (wind SW 7-8)  
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Wigeon - 1E
Curlew - 2W
Common Gull - 1E 
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Sandwich Tern - 1os

Selsey, Park Farm: At least six Fieldfares and two Redwings were in the Starling flock this afternoon. (SH)

Ferry Pool: A single Avocet was at the back, along with a few Teal and Shelducks, whilst around 40 Shovelers were on the water. (AH)

Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Church NortonThe regular Whimbrel was in the harbour, along with a Peregrine half-heartedly chasing a pigeon, c200 Dunlin, c50 Grey Plovers, c20 Curlews, a handful of Teal and Wigeon and two drake Red-breasted Mergansers. (AH)

Peregrine (above), Whimbrel, Dunlins & Wigeon at Church Norton (AH)

Sunday, 23rd February: Yet another day of gale-force WSW winds, leaden grey skies and occasional rain - albeit with very mild temperatures - and the prospect of more of the same until at least the end of the month....!

We pride ourselves on making information about birds on the Peninsula current and freely available to all and as accurate as we can. It would be fair to say that the news we give is often promptly taken up by professional information companies (RBA/BirdGuides etc) and others, as well as many individuals. Suppression of news is not in our make-up, so there has to be a very good reason why full or at least partial disclosure is not forthcoming.
However, with the breeding season virtually upon us, it is wise to consider the need for such restrictions....for example, Marsh Harriers (a Schedule 1 bird) bred on the Peninsula last year and with their range expanding future attempts may be forthcoming. There are also particular landowner and/or access problems at certain sensitive sites. We feel sure we do not have to expand further on this subject.
So, as from now until the end of the breeding season we may decide in a very few limited cases not to give information, or to restrict it from wider circulation, in the interests of the species involved. We ask for the co-operation of all users of the blog and trust you will understand.  (Eds)

Selsey Bill: This February seems destined to be memorable for all the wrong reasons, with few birds offshore despite the frequent punishing gales and little or no reward for the hardy band of local sea-watchers still putting some hours in. Full log below.....
(0700-0900hrs):  (wind WSW 8-9)  (SH/BI/SR/MO-W/IP)
Fulmar - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 5W
Oystercatcher - 1 ob
Sandwich Tern - 2os
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Common Gull - 3E
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 1 on Oval field

Lesser Black-backed Gull with Herring Gulls, above, Great Black-backed Gull & Sandwich Tern (giving an idea of the poor conditions offshore!) at the Bill (BI)

(1500-1630hrs):  (WSW4)  (SH)
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 2os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Common Scoter - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W, 8os
auk sp - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 2os
Kittiwake - 1W

Selsey, Park Farm: Two Gadwall were again on the small reservoir, two Buzzards and a Sparrowhawk went over and two Stonechats were present. (S&SaH)

Church Norton: Rather quiet today; there were not many waders on the high tide, apart from 100+ Golden Plovers over the rear of Tern island, whilst two Red-breasted Mergansers were in the harbour and two Sandwich Terns were offshore. (S&SaH)
A late afternoon visit with a rapidly rising tide produced two female Goldeneye, three Red-breasted Mergansers, a Little Grebe and a Great Crested Grebe in the channel, the two Peregrines on their island, a Buzzard and a Raven near the churchyard, the Whimbrel in its usual patch, nine Mediterranean and 5 Common Gulls and the usual waders. (SR)

Red-breasted Merganser at Church Norton (SH)

Hunston: There were c.6 Cattle Egrets present today but they were hard to see being tucked down behind the barn. Also present on the sodden fields were 12 Little Egrets, seven adult Egyptian Geese with five goslings, the Greylag Goose flock & 20 Canada Geese. (BI)

Cattle Egret, above, & Egyptian Geese with Greylags at Hunston (BI)

North Wall: The Brent Geese were restless this afternoon and over 1,500 shuttled between the harbour, the field next to the Breech Pool and the field just north of Honer Farm. The fields along the Wall also held 500 Wigeon, about 100 Curlew and a few Shelduck and Shoveler whilst the Black-tailed Godwits favoured White's Creek. 
Other sightings included the Kestrel and a pair of Stonechats at the horse paddock and Sweet Violets signalling spring's approach. (IH)

Dell Quay: Early this afternoon in blustery conditions off Dell Quay were 13 Red-breasted Mergansers, 7 Goldeneye (3 males), 7 Great Crested Grebes and 4 Little Grebes, whilst a Greenshank was on the far bank. In the field by the Lavant outfall were c50 Lapwing and 3 Stonechats and at the top of the channel was a Mediterranean Gull, another Stonechat and 3 Rock Pipits, plus a Kestrel was making light of the conditions. (RW)