Tuesday 29 December 2020

29th - 31st December 2020

Thursday, 31st December: A cold and frosty start, with early cloud clearing to give a bright and sunny morning with just a light NW breeze....

We would like to wish all readers and contributors a very happy, healthy and bird-filled New Year. We are most grateful to all those who have made kind comments and/or supported us through the year - especially those who help us behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of the (ever-increasing) workload. (Eds)

Also, the Review of 2020 is now available and all the Stats are up to date to the end of year and are available from the list above.

Covid and the New Year: Doubtless some of you will already be planning your New Year's Day birding and naturally, given the number of interesting birds on the Peninsula, the keener year-listers will perhaps be thinking of heading straight for them, as might normally be the case in any normal year. But please bear in mind, these are not normal times.......
As is our usual policy, we will continue to put out the bird news, but we ask you all to bear in mind the current Tier 4 Covid restrictions. We do not intend to repeat here all the conditions and limitations imposed and it is the responsibility of the individual to comply as he/she thinks fit. 
However we do ask you to think long and hard before visiting, bearing in mind the travel situation. Also bear in mind Joe Public is out and about in force and it is not a good idea for birders to gather in groups (e.g. at the Bill or a scarcity site) - in short, we ask you to please use your common sense and stay safe. (Eds)

Selsey Bill: Five Eider and a few Red-throated Divers were the highlights this morning. (SH/AH/BI)
(0740-0930hrs) (N, F3)
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Red-throated Diver - 3E, 9W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 2E, 9W
Shag - 1E
Wigeon - 2os
Eider - 1E, 5W
Common Scoter - 31W
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 2W, 2os
Mediterranean Gull - 1E, 6W
auk sp - 7E, 6W

Eider (above), Common Scoter & Red-breasted Mergansers at the Bill (AH)

This afternoon the Red-necked Grebe went east and a few more Red-throated Divers went west. (SH)
Great Northern Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 6W
Red-necked Grebe - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 20os
Brent Goose - 5E
auk sp - 4E, 1W

Ferry Pool: There were at least 500 Lapwings, 50 Black-tailed Godwits and 100 Wigeon on the fields, with half a dozen Snipe, a Gadwall, c80 Shoveler and c150 Teal on the pool. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwits (above), Lapwing & Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler on the Ferry (AH)

Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: The Richard's Pipit was present again this morning, and the Glossy Ibis was seen in flight towards the North Wall. (BI/SR)
Earlier, there were 16 Cattle Egret in the fields, a Chiffchaff and two Yellowhammers in the hedgerows, and six Fieldfares and several Skylarks flying over. (A&YF)

East Head: A flock of 15 Avocets were at Snowhill Creek this morning. (MR)

Avocets at Snowhill Creek (MR)

Chichester Canal to the Marina: A flock of around 20 Fiedfares and ten Redwing were along the canal this morning, while a Marsh Harrier was hunting over the reed-beds at the Marina. also, two Ravens went over high heading south. (AW)

Marsh Harrier (above), Fieldfare & Redwings at Chichester Canal (AW)

Park Farm, Selsey: There were just a Sparrowhawk, a Grey Wagtail, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and the flock of c500 Brent Geese around the fields this morning. (IP)

Church Norton and West side: A group of five White-fronted Geese flew in and landed near Peregrine Island, whilst a Bar-tailed Godwit was among the many commoner waders, three Snipe were by the horse field and two Green Sandpipers flew in and appeared to land on the first Several.
A Stonechat was nearby, whilst nine Shoveler dropped in offshore and c40 Gannets were feeding further out. (IP/S&SaH)
This afternoon a look along the west side of the harbour produced two Kingfishers, a Stonechat and a Marsh Harrier. (S&SaH)

North WallIt was quiet along the wall, with the exception of a pair of Marsh Harriers hunting and even seen displaying, with possibly a third bird drifting in from the west.
White's Creek, however, was full of birds towards high tide, including 400+ Black-tailed Godwits, 200+ Knot and Golden Plover, 50+ Grey Plovers and innumerable Dunlin and Lapwings, along with 200+ Wigeon, 50+ Teal and 20+ Pintail. (AH/IH/SP)
Later, six Marsh Harriers were seen coming in to roost behind the willows. (D Hillier per SOS)

Marsh Harrier (above), Golden Plovers, Pintail & Knot and Black-tailed Godwits at the North Wall (AH)

Pagham Lagoon and Spit: A female Goldeneye and a drake Pochard were on the Lagoon this morning, along with c20 Tufted Ducks and half a dozen Little Grebes, whilst a pair of Stonechats were along the bank.
The five White-fronted Geese were seen from here, too, as they dropped in, but could not be seen on the ground. Also, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 20+ Grey Plovers were among the hundreds of roosting Dunlin, whilst a few Pintail were among the Wigeon and teal. (AH/TG)

White-fronted Geese (above), Goldeneye and Pochard, Bar-tailed Godwit & Grey Plovers around Pagham Spit (AH)

Chichester Marina: Salterns Way - The Black Redstart was around the farm buildings along with two Grey Wagtails, a Pied Wagtail, half a dozen Meadow Pipits, a Kestrel and three Yellowhammers. 
The Brent Goose flock of 2,000 or so birds was alongside the road but I failed to find the Black Brant and the Barnacle Goose this time. (SR)

Black Redstart at Chichester Marina (SR)

Medmerry: Windmill to the Breach - This afternoon the Eider was offshore near the breach and at least one, possibly two Black Redstarts were around the building works and caravans. (AW)

Eider (above) & Black Redstart at Medmerry (AW)

Wednesday, 30th December: A pleasantly still and bright morning after a sharp frost, with the breeze light and from the north-west.....

Selsey Bill: There were a few Red-throated Divers on the move, but it was generally a quiet morning. Full log below.(SH/JA/AH)
(0740-0930hrs) (NW, F2)
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Red-throated Diver - 9E, 25W, 3os
diver sp - 5E
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 4W, 1os
Gannet - 9E
Brent Goose - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 6W, 6os
Common Scoter - 9E, 21W, 5os
Mediterranean Gull - 1E, 2W
Kittiwake - 1W
Common Gull - 2E, 6W
Guillemot - 1E, 
Razorbill - 6E, 10W, 2os
auk sp - 15E, 30W

Red-throated Diver (above), Common Scoters, Mediterranean Gull & Common Gull at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were several hundred Lapwing on the field again this morning, with a dozen Snipe in the reeds and at least 60 Shovelers and 100 Wigeon and Teal on the pool. (AH)

Snipe (above) & Shovelers, Wigeon and Teal on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool and West side: The flock of four White-fronted Geese flew around the harbour for a couple of minutes this morning before settling out of view in the middle and several hundred Brent Geese went over west.
There were large numbers of wildfowl and waders at the end of Ferry Channel, including a Spotted Redshank, c40 Avocets, c60 Grey Plovers and up to 1000 Lapwings, with 25 Pintail among the many Teal and Wigeon present, but the hedges held little of note beyond a handful of Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits. (AH)

White-fronted Geese (above), Pintail, Wigeon, Avocets, Reed Bunting & Meadow Pipit from the Long Pool (AH)

North Mundham to Fisher Crossroads: A Chiffchaff and pair of Egyptian Geese were noted, the first time I have seen the latter this area. (MJ)

North Wall: It was generally quiet along the Wall and in the flooded fields this morning apart from a Kingfisher at the sluice gates, two Marsh Harriers over the reed beds and a Song Thrush and an occasional Reed Bunting in the hedgerows. (IH/SP/JDW)

The Black Redstart was still at Shipverling Barn along with two Grey Wagtails. In the fields west of Church Barton reservoir were 700 Lapwing, 23 Dunlin, 14, Redshank, three Curlew and eight Shelduck, whilst on Honer reservoir were 12 Gadwall and 35 Coot. In the flooded field just SE of the reservoir wildfowlers were spreading corn seed which did not seem very sporting..... hence with all of the North Wall fields flooded I was unable to record a single wildfowl or wader! (JDW)

East Side: Eight Red-breasted Mergansers were in Whites Creek this morning together with Wigeon, a smattering of Brent Geese and two Great Crested Grebes. 
On the reducing mud as high water approached, there were at least 160 Shelduck, about 200 Black-tailed Godwit, some 150 Golden Plover, at least 800 Lapwing, three Great Black-backed Gulls as well as plenty of Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plover. (IH/SP)

Park Farm, Selsey: Around the fields this morning there were a Sparrowhawk, pair of Kestrels, single Grey and Pied Wagtails and c500 Brent Geese. (IP)

Church Norton: There wasn't too much of note beyond the four White-fronted Geese that dropped into the central vegetation near Tern Island, a dozen Bar-tailed Godwits among the large numbers of the commoner waders in the harbour and up to ten Snipe in the creek by the horse field, where there were also c40 Teal and c20 Wigeon.
A couple of Red-breasted Mergansers were in the harbour, with a couple more pairs offshore, where also a Red-throated Diver went west, a Great Northern Diver was on the sea and a Velvet Scoter flew in from way out and landed on the water.
Passerines were few beyond a Mistle Thrush at Greenlease Farm, the odd Skylark from the beach and a Cetti's Warbler calling from the second Several. (AH/IP/AW)
Later a Shag was present offshore. (SH)

White-fronted Geese (AW) (above), Bar-tailed Godwits & Snipe (AH) at Church Norton

Chichester Marina: A walk from the Marina to Dell Quay produced just a solitary Brent Goose on the fields this morning, though plenty were flying around over the harbour.
Also seen were lots of Lapwing and Wigeon, 100 Curlews, four Yellowhammers and a Peregrine that shot down over the harbour, heading south.
A look from the reedbed hide just produced six Tufted Ducks and a dozen Canada Geese. (RP)
Early this afternoon there were a couple of thousand Brent Geese, with the single Black Brant among them, on the last field on the right going towards the Dell Quay. 
The Canada Geese and Tufted Ducks were still present at the reedbeds, along with four Mallard, three Snipe and a Common Buzzard. (CRJ)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm - The two Pale-bellied Brent Geese were present again this afternoon, among c200 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, whilst the maize stubble fields held 50+ Fieldfares, the cropped fields 100+ Pied Wagtails and the hedges a Chiffchaff, a Stonechat and half a dozen Yellowhammers. (AH)

Pale-bellied Brent Geese (above), Yellowhammer, Stonechat & Pied Wagtail at Medmerry (AH)

Tuesday, 29th December: After a grey start and one big squall of sleety rain, a bright, cold morning with just a light north-westerly breeze.....

Selsey Bill: There were good numbers of Great Northern and Red-throated Divers again, along with five Slavonian Grebes and a mix of regular species. Full log below. (SH/AH/BI/AB et al)
(0745-1000hrs) (NW, F1)
Great Northern Diver - 3E, 4W, 7os
Red-throated Diver - 8E, 31W
Slavonian Grebe - 1W, 4os
Great Crested Grebe - 2os
Gannet - 2E, 14W
Brent Goose - 20W
Wigeon - 1W
Tufted Duck - 1W
Eider - 1W
Common Scoter - 13E, 20W, 7os
Red-breasted Merganser - 30E, 6W, 8os
Mediterranean Gull - 1E, 1W
Razorbill - 2E, 1W
auk sp - 8E, 6W

Great Northern Diver (above), Common Scoters & Red-breasted Mergansers at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were up to 1000 Lapwings on the field this morning, along with 50+ Black-tailed Godwits and 100 Wigeon, whilst ten Snipe, c60 Shovelers and c100 Teal were around the pool. (AH)

Snipe on the Ferry (AH)

Long Pool: What were presumably the same four White-fronted Geese seen in the harbour a couple of times recently were reported from the arable fields at the end of the Long Pool today. (per Twitter)

North Wall: At Shipverling Barn there was a Black Redstart and a pair of Stonechats, whilst in the flooded fields immediately west of Church Barton reservoir were 1340 Lapwing, 21 Dunlin, nine Shelducks and three Roe Deer. 
A pair of Stonechats were at the back of the horse field at Welbourne but, on a rising tide, there was very little to be seen on White's Creek apart from a few Wigeon and two pairs of Red Breasted Mergansers, the males of which were displaying, whilst 200 Golden Plover, 400 Lapwing and plenty of Brent Geese, Shelducks, Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin were spread around the last slivers of land in the harbour. 
There were just eight Shoveler and a Curlew on the flooded fields, and a Rock Pipit was along the wall, but otherwise but was very quiet apart from at least nine Reed Buntings, a pair of Pied Wagtails and a Song Thrush, quite a rarity along the Wall, with another, plus eight Blackbirds in the paddocks. (JDW/IH)

Stonechat, Song Thrush (above) & Roe Deer at the North Wall (JDW)

Chichester Marina: The Black Brant and Barnacle Goose were among the 1000+ Brent Geese along the salterns way this morning, whilst the Black Redstart was still near the farm buildings, along with a Grey Wagtail,  and a Marsh Harrier went over. (BI/KJ/NR et al)

Fishbourne Creek: Later on, the big flock of Brent Geese, plus the Black Brant and Barnacle Goose, were just inland from Dell Quay, whilst a Chiffchaff, a Reed Bunting and half a dozen Yellowhammers were in the nearby hedges.
Along the creek at high tide there were eight Goldeneyes together (including three drakes), seven Red-breasted Mergansers and 300+ Wigeon, whilst a Kingfisher, up to ten Rock Pipits and a couple of Reed Buntings were along the edges. 
Most of the waders were roosting on the far side, though two or three Greenshank and Spotted Redshank could be discerned, and there were large numbers of Lapwing, too. (AH/OM/KJ/NR et al)

Goldeneyes (above), Rock Pipit, Reed Bunting, Wigeon, Black Brant & Barnacle Geese with Brent Geese at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - The banks were quiet this afternoon, with just a pair of Stonechats, a Green Woodpecker, a Yellowhammer and a handful of Linnets noted, with a Buzzard and two Peregrines over.
The large pool opposite the Stilt Pool held the most interest, with a Kingfisher, a Greenshank and three Red-breasted Mergansers seen there. (S&SaH)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm to Ham Farm - Late this afternoon there were two Pale-bellied Brent Geese among a flock c300 of their Dark-bellied counterparts (which included a large number of juveniles) in the arable field east of the cycle track.
Otherwise it was quiet, beyond a big mixed finch/bunting flock, numbering c75 birds, of which two or three were Corn Buntings, half a dozen were Reed Buntings and the rest comprised of Yellowhammers, Linnets and Chaffinches. (AH)

Pale-bellied Brent Geese (above), Dark-bellied Brent Geese & Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer at Medmerry (AH)