Sunday, 28 June 2020

28th - 30th June 2020

Tuesday, 30th June: A fairly dismal day for the time of year, with a cool and blustery westerly pushing through belts of drizzly rain.........

Selsey Bill: A very ragged Fulmar went through west close by twice in thirty minutes, but otherwise it was just the usual species. Full log below. (AH/SR/IP)
(0645-0800hrs) (W, F5-6)
Fulmar - 1W (twice!)
Gannet - 2E
Sandwich Tern - c30os
Common Tern - 2os
Swift - 2os
House Martin - 2

Fulmar (above), Sandwich tern & Black-headed Gull at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: The juvenile Cattle Egret (though no apparent adult) was in the field with the cows again, but the pool just held four Black-tailed Godwits, five Teal and 23 Shelducks.
Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat were heard/glimpsed around the Tramway, whilst eight Black-tailed Godwits flew over and a few Redshanks and Curlews were in the harbour. (AH/BFF/DM)

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

North Wall: A brief walk this morning showed the Spotted Redshank and seven Black-tailed Godwits to be back in the Breech Pool, this time accompanied by four Common Redshanks and an aggressive Moorhen.  
The Common Tern was also again present but in the harbour at near high water there was little to see other than a couple of Curlews. Also, a Cetti's Warbler called along the Wall and there was the usual Egret activity in Owl Copse.  (IH)

Church Norton: There were lots of Sandwich Terns, plus a few Little and Common Terns coming and going in the harbour, with quite a few sitting out the hide tide, too, though the only waders noted were a handful of Ringed Plovers, Curlews and Turnstones and c30 roosting Oystercatchers.
The Swallows were busy around the hide, but few other small birds were seen beyond half a dozen Skylarks and a dozen Linnets along the spit/beach. (AH)

Skylark (above), Swallow, Linnets, Ringed Plover, Sandwich Tern & Little, Tern, Sandwich Tern, Turnstones and Black-headed Gulls at Church Norton (AH)

Itchenor Quay: Nesting House Martins have always faced problems here as the harbour mud is the wrong consistency for nest-building, so when summer storms arrive the sad result is ruined nests at the height of the breeding season, it's been the same this this year with just two natural nests remaining. 
Thankfully this is mitigated by the 11 artificial nests placed around the Harbour Office buildings and currently four of them are occupied by birds with young and one natural nest has young also, so all is not lost. It just goes to show the importance of giving them a helping hand. (SR)

House Martins chicks at West Itchenor (SR)

Monday, 29th June: A mostly grey and decidedly blowy morning, with the near gale-force westerlies persisting.....

Selsey Bill: Another quiet morning! (MO-W/AH/IP/SR/BI)
(0645-0915hrs) (W, F6-7)
Gannet - 19E, 4W
Mediterranean Gull - 1E
Kittiwake - 1W
Sandwich Tern - c30os
Common Tern - 3os
Little Tern - 2os

(1700-1800hrs)  (SW7)  (SH)
Gannet - 1E
Little Tern - 3os
Common Term - 8os
Sandwich Tern - 20os

Sandwich Terns (above) & Little Terns at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: The first fledged Cattle Egret chick for the county was with one of its parents on Ferry Field this morning, looking a little hesitant as it got used to a life around the cows.
Meanwhile, the pool itself had two Little Ringed Plovers, two Avocets, five Black-tailed Godwits, eight Teal and 22 Shelducks on it, whilst a handful of Swifts went over west. (AH/SR/MO-W)

Cattle Egrets (top one, SR), Avocet & Swift (AH) at the Ferry

Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: There was little about in the blustery conditions and I only caught sight of one adult Cattle Egret. 
Two Skylarks battled the wind and still managed to sing, three Whitethroats called from the hedges as did a couple of Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap, c25 Swallows flew low over the fields along with four House Martins and there were plenty of juvenile Rooks and Jackdaws being fed by their parents. (SR)

North Wall: There are still no muddy margins at the Breech Pool but the water level has dropped sufficiently to encourage a summer-plumaged Spotted Redshank and seven Black-tailed Godwits to feed in the centre of the pool, while a Common Tern and single Swift flew above. 
Out in the harbour just after high water there were three Curlews, three Lapwing and two Great Crested Grebes. (IH)

Spotted Redshank at the North Wall (IH)

Later on, the Spotted Redshank had departed the Breech Pool, but eight Teal were present, a Little Tern twice caught fish and departed back into the harbour and c20 Swifts went over.
Also, a Common Sandpiper was struggling to find somewhere to settle at Owl Water and half a dozen juvenile Little Egrets were sat out in Owl Copse, but passerine activity was limited to a few singing Reed Warblers. (AH)

Common Sandpiper (above), Little Tern, Black-tailed Godwit and Teal, Lapwing, Swift & juvenile Little Egrets from the North Wall (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane - A Common Sandpiper was near the poplars, along with a handful of Redshanks and Shelducks, whilst a dozen Swifts were showing well, feeding low over the water. (AH)

Common Sandpiper (above) & Swifts at Medmerry (AH)

Sunday, 28th June: Another very windy day, with the blustery westerly close to gale force, though mostly dry and sunny....

Selsey Bill: Gannets and a few Fulmars west was the most notable movement this morning. Full log below. (SH/PB/BI/AH/KF/IP/MO-W/SR)
(0515-0815hrs) (WSW, F5-6)
Fulmar - 1E, 4W
Gannet - 21E, 77W
Common Scoter - 3E
Turnstone - 8W
Mediterranean Gull - 1E, 3w, 1os
Sandwich Tern - 42os
Common Tern - 4os
Little Tern - 3os
Swift - 2W

(1445-1545hrs)  (WSW7)  (SH)
Gannet - 2E, 1W
Sandwich Tern - 11 os
Kittiwake - 2W

Fulmar (above), Common Tern, Gannet & Mediterranean Gull at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: This morning there were five Avocets, a Little Ringed Plover, 12 Black-tailed Godwits, eight Teal and 17 Shelducks on the pool, whilst a few Gatekeepers were in the adjacent hedges.. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit (above) & Gatekeeper at the Ferry (AH)

Also, at the Visitor Centre three young Kestrels eventually showed well in their box, whilst other than that there was a Green Woodpecker, six Swallows, two House Martins getting mud from the harbour, two Swifts, a calling Cetti's Warbler, a Sedge Warbler, singing Skylarks and a few Whitethroats about. A Silver-Y moth was also seen along with a single Southern Marsh Orchid. (SR)
Also, one Tawny Owlet is known to have fledged. (IL)

Kestrels at the Visitor Centre (SR)

Late news for 25th June of a Marsh Dagger (moth) in the trap - only the seventh national record in recent times, and the second for the reserve, after one in 2010 (the second national record.) (IL)

Marsh Dagger at the Visitor Centre (IL)

North Selsey: Swift numbers were well down on yesterday, with just a few present, along with a few Swallows and House Martins, plus a calling Lesser Whitethroat. (S&SaH)

Church Norton: At least 12 Little Terns flew up from Peregrine Island before going straight back down, at least three were bringing food in and others were fishing and at rest on the mud flats.
There were also plenty of Sandwich Terns and a few Common Terns in the harbour, along with half a dozen Turnstones, Ringed Plovers, Curlews and one Dunlin.
A Pied Wagtail and a Sand Martin were at Greenlease Farm, a Green Woodpecker was by the Mound and a few Linnets were along the beach, as were a few Swallows, whilst there was no sign of any Tufted ducklings on the second Several, though there were three Little Grebe chicks. There were also a number of Gatekeepers on the wing.(AH/S&SaH)

The first fledged Black-headed Gull chick was in the harbour, with the first Sandwich Tern chicks nearly ready, too. Also, there were only two pairs of  Mediterranean Gulls this year, whilst sadly ten Little Tern nests on Tern Island were lost to high tides, though two pairs are trying again and the pairs at the end of the spit and on Peregrine Island (see above) are still going. (IL)

Little Terns (above), fledgling Black-headed Gull, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Linnet & Green Woodpecker at Church Norton (AH)

Thursday, 25 June 2020

25th - 27th June 2020

Saturday, 27th June: The fine weather well and truly broke this morning, with strong southerly winds bringing heavy cloud and spells of persistent drizzly rain......

Selsey BillThere was a reasonable mix this morning, including four Fulmars, two Kittiwakes and 99 Swifts west . Full log below. (SH/BI/AH/IP/SR/JA)
(0530-0900hrs) (SSW, F6)
Fulmar - 4W
Gannet - 30E, 22W
Common Scoter - 8E, 4W
Mediterranean Gull - 2W
Kittiwake - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 43os
Common Tern - 5os
Little Tern - 4os
Razorbill - 2W
auk sp - 13W
Swift - 99W
HouseMartin - 8
Pied Wagtail - 1

Razorbill (above), Fulmar, Little Tern, Sandwich Tern, Mediterranean Gull & Gannets at the BIll (AH)

(1500-1700hrs) (SW, F7) (SH/JA)
Gannet - 8E, 24W
Common Scoter - 4E
Sandwich Tern - 25os
CommonTern - 6os
Little Ten - 3os
Swift - 7W

Ferry Pool: Five Avocets, including four juveniles, were roosting on the pool at high tide, along with 16 Black-tailed Godwits, two Redshank, eight Teal and 17 Shelducks, whilst six Swifts went over. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit at the Ferry (AH)

North Selsey: Two Sand Martins, 20+ Swallows and House Martins and 50+ Swifts were feeding low overhead this morning. (S&SaH)

Church Norton: The usual mix of terns were in the harbour this morning, along with a Grey Plover, whilst at least 200 Swifts went over south between the belts of rain. 
Also a Sparrowhawk and three Buzzards were up between the showers, a Reed Bunting and several Reed and Sedge Warblers were seen, but only two Tufted Duck -lings were seen on the second Several. (S&SaH)
This evening there was a big feeding flock of Sandwich and Common Terns, Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls inside the harbour on the high tide, with a few sitting out, too, but the only Little Terns were feeding offshore. Also, a dozen Swifts went over and the Swallows were busy around the hide. (AH)

Sandwich Tern (above), Little Tern, Common Tern & mixed feeding flock at Church Norton (AH)

Ivy LakeThere were three families of Pochard on the lake this morning - one lot of four and two lots of three ducklings, and there were also a couple of pairs of Great Crested Grebes with young, numerous Coot families and at least 50 Gadwall, most of which appeared to be juveniles.
Also, a Kingfisher shot through, half a dozen Common Terns were feeding, Reed Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were still singing, lots of Long-tailed Tits were about and c50 Sand Martins and a dozen or so Swifts and Swallows were overhead. (AH)

Pochard family (above), Great Crested Grebe and chick, Common Tern, Sand Martin & Swallow at Ivy Lake (AH)

Friday, 26th June: Another warm and sunny morning, with the breeze freshening from the south-west after an almost still start.....

Chichester GPsNews from the gravel pits steals the headlines today, although not actually involving anything rare......

Firstly, at Drayton & Drayton House pits a pair of Marsh Harriers has bred for the second year running and despite a number of problems this time, today they were to be seen together with a juvenile (the possibility of a second juvenile is not yet excluded).

These pic's are not great but were deliberately taken from distance and heavily cropped....the juvenile bird (above and below),  the presumed 2nd-summer male (lower) and adult with juvenile (bottom)  (OM)

Can I remind anyone thinking of visiting, this is a private site and these birds are a Schedule 1 species, so the welfare of this family must be the priority. However, it is possible to view them from several public places on the site perimeter. 
On the North pit the first breeding Pochard were located (with just one duckling) and a  breeding pair of Gadwall (five young). (OM)

Distant Pochard with single duckling (OM)

Secondly, we have just been made aware of another set of interesting breeding records. We are most grateful to Ken Smith for the following:-

'We checked out the roof nesting Common Terns yesterday evening. The roof is adjacent to Quarry Lake at SU876041 at 'Veecars'. Counting was a bit tricky but we estimated:
Black-headed Gull, 17 adults, 13 mid age chicks 
Common Tern, 9 adults, 14 chicks plus some of the adults could still be incubating/brooding.
This is believed to be a commercial /industrial building - so it is advised that anyone visiting would be best to do so out of hours, to avoid spooking the owners.'
This interesting Common Tern breeding record is of importance and certainly goes some way to explaining why we often see Common Terns fishing over the lakes yet never know where they are heading with their catch. To our shame we had no idea of this colony's existence! 
Now, some readers may query how the location of this particular pit falls within the Peninsula boundaries, given that it is just north of the A27, our northern boundary. In the strictest sense it is just outside; however we decided at the outset that we would be flexible and make an exception to include all the existing gravel pits and this is still the case. It seemed churlish not to include the whole group just because one or two were on the wrong side of the road, so that's the explanation! (Eds)

Selsey Bill: There was just a selection of the regular summer species again this morning. Full log below. (BI/AH/IP)
(0605-0805hrs) (ESE, F2, veering to SW, F3-4)
Gannet - 15E, 5W
Common Scoter - 2E
Oystercatcher - 3E
Mediterranean Gull - 5E, 4W
Sandwich Tern - c40os
Little Tern - 2E
Razorbill - 2W
auk sp - 1E
Swift - 5
Swallow - 2
House Martin - 10

Sandwich Tern (above) & House Martin at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: A Common Tern was sat out this morning, whilst a Little Ringed Plover and a Redshank were the only waders on the pool, with five Teal and 19 Shelducks also present. (AH)

Common Tern (above) & Little Ringed Plover at the Ferry (AH)

Also, this morning two Crossbills flew over the Visitor Centre (IL) and this evening an Osprey was seen sat out in the harbour before it flew towards Church Norton (AW)

North Wall: It was quiet again this morning with the usual Mallards and Tufted Ducks in the Breech Pool and a a Common Tern above it, while out in the harbour there were three Curlew, two Redshank, scattered Oystercatchers and Shelduck, the lone Wigeon and a Great Black-backed Gull. (IH)
If you like Mallard and Reed Warblers then the North Wall is the place to be! Apart from that it was very quiet along the Wall. A Green Woodpecker in the horse field at Welbourne, but there were no waders on White's Creek though there was a Curlew at Owl Water. 

Also, a Sparrowhawk was seen carrying prey behind Owl Copse and Yellowhammers and Whitethroats were along Honer Lane, but there was nothing at all on the reservoir, though three Grey Herons feeding along Pagham Rife. (JDW)

Grey Herons at the North Wall (JDW)

Church Norton: There were still lots of Little, Common and Sandwich Terns bringing in fish, though at least 20 Little Terns were sat out on the mud, whilst half a dozen Ringed Plovers and c20 Turnstones were along the beach and four Curlews were in the harbour.
At least 100 Swifts, plus a few Swallows, Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls were feeding over the oilseed rape fields at Greenlease Farm, but passerines were few in the breezy conditions, with just the odd Skylark and Linnet, plus a Reed Bunting, noted. (AH)

Little Tern (above), Sandwich Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Turnstone, Ringed Plover & Swifts at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to Stilt Pools: A family of Egyptian Geese was at Medmerry today, near the Poplars. Also seen were 6 Swallows, a single Swift and 2 male Yellowhammers. On the stilt pools were a single Avocet and a Little Ringed Plover. (CRJ/RJS).

Egyptian Geese at Medmerry (CRJ)

Thursday, 25th June: A very warm and sunny morning, with the fresh north-easterly breeze just keeping the heat bearable.....

Selsey Bill: There was a bit more variety this morning, including three Great Crested Grebes east together and a few Swallows through, whilst there was a constant procession of Sandwich Terns carrying fish towards the harbour. (SH/MO-W/SR)
Great Crested Grebe - 3E
Gannet - 16E
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Sandwich Tern - c60os
Common Tern - 2os
Swift - 8
Swallow - 6E
House Martin - 5
Pied Wagtail - 4E

Sandwich Terns (above) & Common Tern at the Bill (AH)

A search for House Martin nests this morning shows the Bill is supporting a minimum of 22 breeding birds this year, 10 occupied nests were found with another in the process of being built. This compares to 8 found on a similar date last year and 14 in 2018. (SR)

House Martin at the Bill (SR)

Ferry Pool: There were just eight Teal and nine Shelducks on the pool, with the only waders present being an Oystercatcher and a Redshank, both of which flew into the harbour. (AH/MO-W)

Teal on the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: There was no sign of the Little Owl this morning and indeed no sign of much else including the "no cycling" signs at the end of the Wall - although at least they lasted nearly a week which is some sort of record. 

A Spotted Redshank made a failed attempt to find a muddy margin at the Breach Pool, touched the water and flew off in the direction of the Ferry Pool. A previously agreed protocol states that the appropriate authorities should attempt to maintain muddy margins from 16th July of each year so we live in hope.
Last night Purple Hairstreak butterflies were very active in the evening sunshine in the stunted oaks along the path from Church Lane along the east side of the harbour and they were accompanied by pristine Red Admirals, Meadow Browns and at least one Comma. (IH/TH/SP)

Purple Hairstreaks at the North Wall (TH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - It was generally very quiet on the banks, though there were still a few Yellowhammers, Linnets, Skylarks and Whitethroats about, plus a couple of Reed Buntings and a handful of Swallows.

Two Egyptian Geese were on the Stilt Pool, with, later on, two more appearing to fly in to join them, but otherwise there were just a Little Ringed Plover, a pair of Ringed Plovers, a lone Avocet, six Lapwings, a pair of Oystercatchers and 15 Black-tailed Godwits present, along with a dozen Gadwall and the Canada Goose family. (AH)

Egyptian Geese (above), Little Ringed Plover, Swallow, Reed Bunting, Whitethroat & Linnet at Medmerry (AH)