Monday, 23 March 2020

23rd - 25th March 2020

Wednesday, 25th MarchAnother bright and sunny morning day, though still fairly cool in the brisk east-south-easterly breeze......... 

Coronavirus (Covid-19): As the (normally!) peak sea--watching season approaches, could we respectfully remind people of the rules regarding gatherings in public places - the maximum number is two!
The intention is to keep monitoring and recording seabird passage at the Bill if possible - there are nearly 60 unbroken years of spring data logged and it would be a shame if that ended. Consequently those living nearby will use their 'daily exercise' to maintain the log, but it will not be possible for the usual gatherings to take place..(Eds)

Selsey Bill: The first Arctic Skua, five Little Gulls and 20 Pale-bellied Brent Geese east were the highlights, with a few Brent Geese, Common Scoters and Sandwich Terns also on the move. Full log below.
(0645-0915hrs) (ESE, F4)
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 1W
Brent Goose - 63E
Pale-bellied Brent Geese - 23E
Common Scoter - 17E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 4W, 3os
Curlew - 1E
Arctic Skua - 1E (d/p at 0825)
Common Gull - 17E
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Little Gull - 5E
Sandwich Tern - 5E
Meadow Pipit - 5N
Linnet - 8E

Later, a quick look produced a Great Northern Diver and a Sandwich Tern offshore, a Gannet flying east and five Turnstones on the beach.

Arctic Skua (above), Sandwich Tern & Pale-bellied Brent Geese at the Bill

Ferry Pool: There were two Avocets on the pool, along with six Gadwall, ten Shelducks, c40 Shoveler, c20 Teal and c50 Wigeon.

Gadwall (above) & Avocets on the Ferry

Northcommon Farm: A splendid male Black Redstart was in the paddocks, with a female-type in the fields behind the farm, and a Red Kite flew over.

Black Redstarts (above) & Red Kite at Northcommon Farm

Pagham village: A pair of Coal  tits  and a male Blackcap were in my garden today. 

Pagham Lagoon: There were three Great Crested Grebes, five Tufted Ducks and a few gulls present, whilst a Cetti's Warbler was calling at the northern end, the first I have recorded here. 
Towards the harbour entrance were five Red Breasted Mergansers, 22 Knot, 20 Brent Geese and small numbers of Turnstones, Grey Plovers and Redshanks. There were also several Chiffchsaffs calling along the east side. 

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - A Grey Partridge and a Stonechat were near the first viewpoint this afternoon, with a Greenshank, the pair of Little Ringed Plovers and eight Avocets on the Stilt Pool.

Medmerry: Porthole Farm to Ham Farm - It was fairly quiet this morning, though at least a dozen Chiffchaffs and a dozen Yellowhammers were spread around the hedges between the farms, along with two pairs of Stonechats.
Single Corn and Reed Buntings were at Ham, along with lots of Skylarks, whilst a Raven went over eight Brent Geese were in the Breach.

Yellowhammer (above), Stonechat, Linnet & Raven at Medmerry

Tuesday, 24th MarchA splendidly dry and sunny day, still with a cool ESE wind, notably less brisk than yesterday..... 

Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the Selsey Blog: Well inevitably the Government has had to act and the time has now come when strict compliance with the 'stay at home' rules is demanded. This does of course fortunately allow for a bit of necessary food shopping and some daily local exercise, enabling those Peninsula birders near enough to birding sites to benefit as there is nothing in the rules to prevent taking optics. Perhaps the biggest problem though will be the 'social distancing' aspect - so if you are lucky enough to be taking your exercise at the Bill or elsewhere, please do bear it in mind and avoid giving the chance for others to criticise us birders for non-compliance or even officially report it.

The editors have discussed the options for the blog during this crisis, including temporary closure, but we feel there is still value in putting the news out there, so we intend to keep going for the time being, although there may be some changes including less detail than is normal. If you are 'exercise birding' on the Peninsula we would still be pleased to receive your submissions although we are not advocating anyone to travel any distance unnecessarily - please think long and hard about it before you decide to set off. Two of the blog editors live some distance from the Peninsula sites and so have opted to take their exercise elsewhere close to home, whilst the other editor (no prizes for guessing who) can justifiably do so on his doorstep so to speak, thus there should at least be some output.

So, we all know the situation now and it's up to us as individuals to decide how to proceed. We cannot know yet how long these restrictions will be in place and can only hope it will not be too long - but it may be that this year the Pom King trophy will not be so much of a contest as usual - although we suspect any thoughts of cancellation would lead to local uproar!!   (Eds)

Selsey Bill: A few Red-throated Divers Brent Geese, Common Scoter, Sandwich Terns and five Bar-tailed Godwits went east this morning. 
(0700-1115hrs) (SE, F4)
Great Northern Diver - 1E
Red-throated Diver - 24E
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 3E, 1W
Brent Goose - 27E
Shoveler - 4E
Common Scoter - 95E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 1W, 1os
Bar-tailed Godwit - 5E
Turnstone - 2E
Common Gull - 18E
Sandwich Tern - 6E
auk sp - 1W
Meadow Pipit - 4N
Rook - 2E

Red-throated Diver (above), Common Scoters, Brent Geese & Common Gull at the Bill

Ferry Pool: There were just the regulars this morning, including c60 Shoveler, c20 Teal and c50 Wigeon, plus a dozen Shelducks.

Shelducks on the Ferry

North Wall: The three Garganey on the Breech Pool and the Spotted Redshank in White's Creek were all still present today.
There were also  30 Brent Geese, 14 Shelduck and six Little Egrets on the fields.

Ivy Lake complexThere were five "singing" Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps, but little else apart from the usual suspects - Coot, Moorhen, Pochard and Greylag Geese.

Honer Farm: Three singing Chiffchaffs and six Peacock Butterflies were at Honer Farm, whilst the reservoir held a pair of Mute Swans, a pair of Gadwall and two more males, a pair of Mallard, a pair of Shoveler and 15 Tufted Ducks, with two Buzzards and - best of all - two Swallows overhead.

North Fields: Chalder and Marsh Farm - Whilst an observer was taking permitted daily exercise along the secluded farm track linking Chalder and Marsh Farms, the following was observed..... Despite last years tree felling there were still 24 active Rook nests along Chalder Lane, Chiffchaffs were singing in all areas and a Song Thrush was in full song near Chalder Cottages. At Chalder Farm there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a Kestrel, a Buzzard, a Long-tailed Tit and the usual flock of Chaffinches with one pair very quickly copulating, it literally took three seconds! At Marsh Farm a flighty flock of 18 Cattle Egrets were in with the flock of sheep before flying off toward the harbour and 2 others could be seen in another field. Two Buzzards were near the milking parlour along with a Pied Wagtail and Skylarks could be heard nearby. First Brimstone butterfly of the year was seen along with a Peacock.

 Kestrel and Cattle Egrets at the North Fields

Church Norton: It was very quiet this morning, with a few Mediterranean Gulls, a handful of Brent Geese and a few Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Curlew and Teal in the harbour.
The west side was equally quiet, save a few Linnets on the remaining gorse and a pair of Lapwings displaying over the maize stubble fields, whilst at the end of Ferry Channel there were an Avocet, c100 Grey Plovers, c50 Knot and a few Shovelers, Wigeon and Teal.

Black-tailed Godwit (above), Curlew, Shoveler & Mediterranean Gull at Church Norton

Monday, 23rd March: The run of brisk easterly winds continue, with another bright but cold morning....

Selsey Bill: A Black-throated Diver, 47 Common Scoter and three Sandwich Terns east, mostly early on, were about the sum of migration this morning. Full log below....... 
0630-0900hrs:  (wind ESE 5)   (IP/BI/MO-W/AH)
Red-throated Diver - 2E
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E
Gannet - 15E, 5W
Brent Goose - 2E
Common Scoter - 47E, 14W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 7W, 6os
Bar-tailed Godwit - 3E
Turnstone - 3 ob
Sandwich Tern - 3E, 1os
Common Gull - 4E
Sparrowhawk - 1
Meadow Pipit - 6N
Linnet - 2N
Chiffchaff - 1N

Common Scoters (above), Gannet, Red-throated Diver & Sparrowhawk at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Two Snipe were in the roadside reeds and c80 Black-tailed Godwits were (mostly) around the flooded areas of the field, whilst there were still half a dozen Gadwall, a dozen Shelduck, c50 Shoveler and Teal and c100 Wigeon present, too. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwits (above) & Teal and Shovelers at the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: The three Garganey and a Spotted Redshank were still present this morning. In addition there were 44 Curlew, 25 Brent Geese and 16 Shelduck in the fields, a Cetti's Warbler showed well in a blackthorn, a Stonechat was near Owl Point and several Reed Buntings and Chiffchaffs were present in the hedgerows and reeds. The Kestrel is still ever present at the horse paddocks which also contained 3 Curlew and an overflying pair of Long-tailed Tits. (IH)

Early on there was an Avocet and a Spotted Redshank along with 70 Black-tailed Godwits along White's Creek. Small groups of Grey Herons and Little Egrets were sheltering from the cold east wind behind hedges, two Chiffchaffs were singing in Owl Copse and then a Jack Snipe was flushed close to Bremere Rife, NE of Marsh Farm. At least 12 Lapwings were in the fields between Marsh and Bramber Farms and the same number in the fields east of Brimfast, whilst on Honer reservoir were 10 Gadwall, 12 Tufted and three Shoveler. (JDW).

North Selsey: A male Black Redstart was in a garden on the new estate just south of Park Farm and a female was along Manor Road, whilst later a Tawny Owl was calling nearby. (SH)

Black Redstart in Selsey (SH)

Church Norton: Very little was in the harbour, beyond the Whimbrel and a few Curlews, plus a Peregrine on its island, whilst a couple of Snipe and a few Teal were on the creek by the horse field.
There were a Mistle Thrush, a Jay and one or two Chiffchaffs around the sheltered hedges, with another half a dozen of the latter, plus a Reed Bunting, half a dozen Meadow Pipits and a Green Woodpecker around Greenlease Farm. (AH/IP)

Chiffchaff (above), Reed Bunting & Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane: A pair of Grey Partridges were chasing each other around and sparring, calling continuously, along Easton Lane just before dusk this evening. (AH)

Grey Partridges at Medmerry (AH)

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