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)

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