Wednesday, 29 December 2021

29th - 31st December 2021

Friday, 31st December: Yet another very murky morning, after a rainy start, and unseasonably warm in the brisk south-westerly.......

As the new year beckons, the editors and all at the blog wish everyone a very Happy New Year and a bird-filled and Covid-free 2022.

As has now become traditional, AH has been beavering away behind the scenes in order to produce the annual Review of the Year bang on time and we are pleased to say it can now be seen - just click on the title bar for the 2021 review - a great effort!

On the subject of updates, the amended History of the Blog is now also available - if you read it before, it starts in a similar fashion but also moves on to the last few years....and there is perhaps a bit of a surprise and a request in the last couple of paragraphs!   (OM/Eds)

Selsey Bill: There was a bit of a selection early on, including the Black-throated Diver, the Long-tailed Duck and two Velvet Scoters west and eight Eider east. Full log below. (SH/BI/AH/SR)
(0745-0930hrs) (SW, F6)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 7W, 1os
diver sp - 1E, 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 4os
Great Crested Grebe - 2W
Fulmar - 2W
Gannet - 57W, 50os
Brent Goose - 4W
Eider - 8E
Long-tailed Duck - 1os
Velvet Scoter - 2W, 
Common Scoter - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 6W
Dunlin - 50W
Turnstone - 19
Mediterranean Gull - 1E
Common Gull - 1W
Kittiwake - 20W
Guillemot - 1W
Razorbill - 14W, 1os
auk - 7W

Eider (above), Razorbills, Red-throated Diver & Gannet at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: At least 40 Avocets were roosting at the back, but there was nothing else beyond c40 Shovelers and Teal spread around the pool and similar of Wigeon on the flooded parts of the field. (AH)

Avocets on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There was little to report this morning, with just three Eider, a Red-throated Diver, half a dozen Gannets and three Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, with three more of the latter in the harbour.
Most of the waders were tucked away roosting on the big tide, though the Whimbrel was there to see the year out and there were plenty of Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plovers present, plus a few Wigeon and Teal, whilst the Dartford Warbler was by the first Several. (AH/SH)

Eider (above), Gannet, Whimbrel, Teal & Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plovers at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm to Easton Lane - The Swallow made it to the end of the year around the settling tanks (a first for the peninsula), whilst there were three Pale-bellied Brent Geese - two adults and an immature - among c2000 Dark-bellied Brent Geese in the nearby fields. (SH/AW)

Swallow (above) & Pale-bellied and Dark-bellied Brent Geese at Medmerry (AW)

Thursday, 30th December: Another very gloomy morning, though dry, and very mild again in the moderate south-westerly.......

Selsey Bill: The Red-necked Grebe popped up again with four Slavonian Grebes offshore and a dozen Eider were about, too, whilst a Black-throated Diver went west. Full log below. (SH/JA/BI/IP/SR/MO-W/AH/CRJ)
(0745-1000hrs) (WSW, F6)
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 9E, 5W, 2os
Red-necked Grebe - 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 4os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W, 1os
Gannet - 1E, 34W
Eider - 12os
Common Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 4W
Turnstone - 1
Kittiwake - 46W
Sandwich Tern - 1W
Guillemot - 1W, 2os
Razorbill - 24W, 6os
auk sp - 23W

Red-throated Diver (above), Razorbill & Kittiwake at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: At least 42 Avocets and 30 Black-tailed Godwits were on the pool, but not much else beyond c30 Shovelers and c40 Teal. (AH)
There were also two Chiffchaffs, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel around the discovery Area. (CRJ)

Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits at the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm to Easton Lane - The Swallow was still present this morning, and the Pale-bellied Brent goose was again among c2500 of its Dark-bellied congeners. There were also 40 Fieldfares along the hedges and c.250 Golden Plover came up from the fields along with c.250 Lapwings. There were also still plenty of smaller birds in the cover crop near the paddocks including today a flock of 30 Linnets. (BI)

Pale-bellied Brent Goose & Fieldfares at Porthole Farm (BI)

Church Norton: There were c50 Gannets feeding quite close in his morning and moving off west, but the only birds on the sea were an Eider, three Red-breasted Mergansers, three Great Crested Grebes, a Great Northern Diver and two Red-throated Divers, whilst another of the latter went over east.
A female Goldeneye was near Tern Island, a Peregrine flushed a lot of waders, mostly Knot, from the beach, there were large numbers of the regular waders in the harbour, along with c200 Brent Geese, whilst a Firecrest was in the trees between the Severals. (AH/IP et al)

Eider (above), Red-breasted Mergansers, Gannets & Dunlin and Knot at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall: There were c500 Brent Geese in the harbour first thing, with a constant stream of small groups heading north. The water level in the Breech Pool is now very high and it held just 90 Mallards and a pair of Shovelers, whilst along the wall it was very quiet although there was unusually, a Yellowhammer on the path.
In the field by the rife before Marsh Farm were 52 Cattle Egrets, two Egyptian Geese and the Spoonbill before they were disturbed by a Marsh Harrier, whilst another Marsh Harrier was seen from the stables where there was also a couple of Chiffchaffs. (LP)

Spoonbill (above), Cattle Egrets & Egyptian Geese around he North Wall (LP)

Wednesday, 29th December: A very murky and drizzly morning, though unseasonably mild in the moderate south-westerly....

Selsey Bill: There wasn't too much in the poor conditions, though a Fulmar went west and two Shags went east. Full log below. (SR/IP/BI)
(0800-0900hrs) (SW, F4)
Red-throated Diver - 3E, 1W, 2os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 21W
Shag - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 9E, 2os
Common Gull - 1W
Guillemot - 1os

(1240-1410hrs) (SH)
Red-throated Diver - 5W
Gannet - 2E, 10W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W
Turnstone - 14
Kittiwake - 1E
Sandwich Tern - 3os
Guillemot - 1os
Razorbill - 2W

Gannets (above) & a bedraggled BI at the Bill (SR)

Ferry Pool: At least 40 Avocets and 20 Black-tailed Godwits, plus just a few Shoveler and Teal were on the pool early on, whilst a dozen Snipe were in the reeds and the Kingfisher was in the channel opposite. (AH)

Kingfisher (above), Snipe & Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits at the Ferry (AH)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm to Easton Lane - The Swallow was still present this afternoon (AB)
Later, in the weedy field between the Easton Lane and Ham there were c 60 Chaffinches, c60 Reed Buntings, c30 Yellowhammers, c 20 Greenfinches and c10 Goldfinches, with 40 Stock Doves, a Kestrel and 25 Golden Plover in the area, plus 2 Roe Deer.
The Swallow was still present, whilst in the field immediately east of Ham Lane there were c2000 Brent Geese including a first winter Pale-bellied Brent, and a few candidates for adult Pale-bellied and Black Brant, but none pure enough to my eyes. (CRJ)

Swallow at Medmerry (AB)

Fishbourne Creek: Three Goldeneyes, a pair and a lone drake, were in the channel this morning, along with many Brent Geese and Wigeon, whilst four Greenshanks and many Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwits were among the waders present. (AH/KJ/NR/TB et al)

Goldeneyes (above) & Grey Plover and Curlew in Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Sunday, 26 December 2021

26th - 28th December 2021

Bank Holiday Tuesday, 28th DecemberA mild and mainly cloudy day with the odd brighter period and a blustery south-westerly wind, driving through frequent showers during the morning....

Selsey Bill: Gannets were passing through in both directions, whilst Red-throated Divers did likewise, a couple of Tufted Ducks went west and up to nine Eiders were logged, but otherwise it was standard fare. Full log below. (SH/BI/SR/AH/CRJ/P&LH/KT/AW)
(0740-1000hrs)  (SW, F5)
Red-throated Diver - 16E, 6W, 1os
Great Northern Diver - 1E
diver sp - 3E
Great Crested Grebe - 1 os
Gannet - 89E, 67W
Tufted Duck - 2W
Eider - 3E, 6os
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 7W
Turnstone - 6
Mediterranean Gull - 1E, 1os
Common Gull - 1W
Kittiwake - 8E, 4W
Sandwich Tern - 1 os
Razorbill - 8E, 5W, 1os
Guillemot - 1 os
auk sp - 16E, 2W

Later, there was some further movement and also a Black-throated Diver offshore. (P&LH/SH)
Red-throated Diver - 5E, 8W, 2 os
Black-throated Diver - 1 os
Gannet - 10E, 19W
Brent Goose - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 7W
Mediterranean Gull - 2 os
Common Gull - 1 os
Kittiwake - 3E
Sandwich Tern - 1W
Razorbill - 1E, 1W
auk sp - 3E

Guillemot (above), Red-breasted Mergansers & Sandwich Tern off the Bill (AW)

Ferry Pool: There were 47 Avocets roosting at the back this morning, though only a handful of Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings and no Snipe, whilst wildfowl included c50 Shovelers and c80 Teal. Also, the Kingfisher was briefly in the channel opposite. (AH/PB/AGB et al)

Avocets at the Ferry (AH)

North WallThere were three Marsh Harriers over the Breech Pool this afternoon, whilst three Greylag Geese were at Halsey's Farm. (AW)

Marsh Harriers (above) & Greylag Geese at the North Wall (AW)

Church Norton: A flock of at least 60 Gannets were feeding close inshore this morning, but a Red-throated Diver and a Great Crested Grebe were all that could be seen on the sea.
The regular Whimbrel was in the harbour, along with a Red-breasted Merganser and three Little Grebes, whilst the two Peregrines were upsetting the many Knot, Grey Plovers and Dunlin present. (AH/P&LH/PB/AGB et al)

Gannets (above), Red-throated Diver, Red-breasted Merganser, Wigeon & Knot at Church Norton (AH)

Bank Holiday Monday, 27th December: A pretty horrible, wet morning in a moderate south-easterly breeze........

Selsey Bill: A Bonxie went east this morning, along with five Slavonian Grebes and three Eider, whilst there were lots of Gannets close inshore. Full log below. (SH/BI/SR/AH)
(0745-1000hrs) (SSE, F4)
Red-throated Diver - 11E, 12W, 10os
Slavonian Grebe - 5E
Gannet - 97W, 26E
Shag - 1E
Eider - 3E
Common Scoter - 6E
Red-breasted Merganser - 10E, 8W, 5os
Great Skua - 1E
Kittiwake - 18E, 20W
Razorbill - 1E, 32W, 23os
auk sp - 40E, 31W

Bonxie (above), Shag, Red-throated Diver & Gannets at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were six Avocets on the pool again this morning, along with c50 Shovelers, c100 Teal and c50 Lapwings, whilst half a dozen Snipe were in the reeds and the Kingfisher was in the channel opposite. (AH)

Kingfisher (above) & Avocets at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: From the hide at low tide early this afternoon there were a Red-breasted Merganser, an Avocet, a Little Grebe, three Brent Geese, six Pintail, c60 Wigeon, c20 Teal, the regular Whimbrel, c300 Dunlin, c300 Knot, c200 Grey Plover and a Kestrel, whilst the churchyard held another Kestrel, a Mistle Thrush and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. (SR)

Whimbrel at Church Norton (SR)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm - The Swallow was still around the settling tanks this morning, along with a Stonechat, a Buzzard and four Pied Wagtails, whilst c50 Fieldfares, eight Redwings, two Mistle Thrushes and  c100 Brent Geese were in the nearby fields, along with two more Buzzards.. 
There were also lots of birds around the game cover field west of Wilson's Farm again, including c100 Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers and c50 Chaffinches and Greenfinches. (S&SaH)

Fishbourne Creek: There wasn't much to report this morning beyond a Spotted Redshank and a Greenshank, along with c200 Wigeon, c100 Teal, c500 Lapwings, c200 Black-tailed Godwits and c500 Dunlin. (AH/BI)

Wigeon, Black-tailed Godwit & Dunlin at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Boxing Day, Sunday, 26th December: A mild, but murky morning, with heavy cloud and spells of drizzly rain in a light southerly breeze......

Some sad news to impart I'm afraid....I have very recently learned of the Covid-related passing of Eric Standing (from Littlehampton) on 23rd December. Eric may not have been known to many of the more recent observers as he spent a great deal of his time around his local patch at Climping. However he also made many visits to the Peninsula over the years, especially favouring the Pagham Harbour area. He was not one to criticise others and was invariably the same whenever you met him.... a thoroughly decent guy and a reliable observer. I am still in shock and my thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.(OM)

Selsey Bill: The Red-necked Grebe was offshore briefly before drifting off east, and there were also seven Slavonian Grebes about, too. Full log below. (SH/SR/BI/AH/CRJ/IP/CN)
(0745-0930hrs) (S, F2)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Red-throated Diver - 19E, 6W, 7os
Red-necked Grebe - 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 2E, 5os
Gannet - 94E, 10W
Brent Goose - 2E
Common Scoter - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 3W, 6os
Grey Plover - 1W
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Kittiwake - 5E, 5os
Sandwich Tern - 1E
Guillemot - 1os
Razorbill - 5E, 1W, 4os
auk sp - 6E, 3W

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

Ferry Pool: There were six Avocets on the pool this morning, along with c40 Shoveler and c60 Teal, whilst a least six Snipe were in the reeds, c150 Wigeon dropped into the field, c80 Lapwings went over into the harbour and the Kingfisher was in the channel opposite. (AH)

Kingfisher (above), Avocets & Wigeon at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: There were at least four Slavonian Grebes, an Eider and eight Red-throated Divers on the sea this morning, with two Sandwich Terns, six Mediterranean Gulls and c30 Teal going west and a big, but distant, flock of 100+ Gannets feeding well offshore.
The harbour held the usual mix of Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plovers, whilst a huge flock of c500 Golden Plovers and c2000 Lapwings went up from the north of the harbour. (AH)

Eider (above), Red-throated Diver, Teal, Lapwing and Golden Plovers & Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plovers at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - The banks were quiet this morning, with just two Yellowhammers, two Pied Wagtails and a Cetti's Warbler noted, with 31 Brent Geese, 100+ Lapwings and a Peregrine on/over the reserve.
There was nothing of note on the Stilt Pool, though a Red-throated Diver and four Gannets were offshore. (S&SaH)

Medmerry: Porthole Farm - The one remaining Swallow was still around the settling tanks this afternoon, along with a Grey Wagtail and a couple of Chiffchaffs, whilst c120 Stock Doves and c180 Brent Geese were in the adjacent fields. (AH)

Swallow (above), Grey Wagtail & Stock Doves at Medmerry (AH)