Thursday, 25 February 2021

25th - 26th February 2021

Friday, 26th February: A beautifully warm and sunny morning, with just a light northerly breeze......

Selsey BillIt was very quiet this morning, with just two Great Northern Divers on the sea, along with a few Red-breasted Mergansers, whilst four Red-throated Divers went west, two Sanderlings were at Hillfield Road and, oddly, a Red-legged Partridge was walking down the middle of Clayton Road. Full log below.
(0730-0900hrs) (N, F1-2)
Great Northern Diver – 2os
Red-throated Diver – 4W
Great Crested Grebe – 1os
Mute Swan – 1W
Common Scoter – 1E
Red-breasted Merganser – 6E, 10os
Red-legged Partridge - 1
Sanderling – 2
Turnstone – 20
Curlew – 1E
Mediterranean Gull – 2os

Mediterranean Gull (AH) (above), Sanderlings & Red-legged Partridge (AW) at the Bill

Ferry Pool: At least ten Snipe were in the reeds, with a handful of Black-tailed Godwits and 100+ Wigeon on the field, whilst the pool held a pair of Avocets, a Dunlin and a few Lapwing, along with 50+ Teal and Shovelers and 20 Shelducks.

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

Park Farm, Selsey: There were a Grey Wagtail and a Pied Wagtail present this morning, along with a Kestrel and 500 Brent Geese.

Church Norton: Despite the flat calm, offshore this morning there were just a Great Northern Diver, two Red-breasted Mergansers, a Great Crested Grebe and a Common Gull, whilst the Barnacle Goose flew through the harbour among 15 Brent Geese and may have ended up among the 300 on the sea to the south of the reserve.
Among the waders in the harbour were the regular Whimbrel, six Avocets and single Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, whilst both a Sparrowhawk and a Buzzard were around the Severals, along with a singing Chiffchaff, a Stonechat and a flyover Grey Wagtail.
This afternoon there were 70 Black-tailed Godwits in the harbour, looking like they had just arrived.

Black-tailed Godwits at Church Norton (AW)

Sidlesham: Three Buzzards were over a garden along the main road this morning.

Runcton: Round and about the village today, there were two Common Buzzards, a Kestrel, Grey Wagtail and a Reed Bunting, and also my first Brimstone butterfly of the year.

Medmerry: Windmill area - A Black Redstart was by the go-kart track this morning.

Black Redstart at Medmerry (AW)

North Wall: A Short-eared Owl went over early this morning, whilst later three Marsh Harriers and four Buzzards were all thermalling together, with a Sparrowhawk nearby.
Also, a Grey Wagtail and a couple of Song Thrushes were in the paddocks and a couple of Reed Buntings and a Cetti's warbler were nearby.

Marsh Harriers (above), Sparrowhawk, Buzzard & Grey Wagtail at the North Wall (AH)

East side: There was nothing unusual, but lots of waders and wildfowl were along White's Creek and adjacent areas, including at least 300 Golden Plovers, 200 Black-tailed Godwits, 300 Knot, 200 Lapwing, a few Avocets, 25 Pintail, including a very odd hybrid-type, 40 Teal, 200 Wigeon and 800 Brent Geese.

Pintail (above), Pintail-type hybrid, Wigeon & Brent Geese along the East side (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - It was very quiet this afternoon, with just a pair of Stonechats and a few Meadow Pipits and Yellowhammers along the banks, with four Avocets on the Stilt Pool being the only birds of note there, but one of the Barn Owl was showing very well as it hunted along the banks in the sunshine.

Barn Owl at Medmerry (AH)

Thursday, 25th February: An overcast, if fairly mild, morning, with just a light westerly breeze and a few spits of drizzle......

Selsey Bill: An interesting gull was on the water this morning before flying off west, that was considered to be a potential first-winter Caspian Gull. Some pictures were circulated on Twitter etc and the consensus was leaning towards Caspian, though it is inevitably a tricky species to nail down. Pictures are shown below, and as always all comments are welcome!

putative Caspian Gull at the Bill (AH)

Otherwise, it was very quiet this morning, with eastbound passage restricted to 13 Brent Geese and five Common Scoters, though two Pied Wagtails in off the sea were the first indication of visible migration and two Great Northern Divers and a Red-throated Diver were offshore. Full log below.
(0730-0830hrs) (W, F3)
Great Northern Diver – 2os
Red-throated Diver – 1os
Brent Goose – 12E
Mallard – 4E
Common Scoter – 5E
Red-breasted Merganser – 4E, 6W, 6os
Oystercatcher – 1W
Mediterranean Gull – 2os
Common Gull – 4E
Caspian Gull – 1os, then W
Pied Wagtail – 2N

Brent Geese at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: About 40 Black-tailed Godwits and 100+ Wigeon were on the fields, along with a few Lapwings, whilst at least eight Snipe were in the reeds and a Gadwall, ten Shelducks, c20 Teal and c40 Shovelers were on the pool.

Snipe at the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: Although the fields along the Wall are less flooded than before, there is still enough water to attract modest numbers of Shoveler, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Curlew, though just a Great Crested Grebe and six Tufted Ducks were on the Breech Pool.
The Grey Herons were beginning to renovate nests at Owl Copse, but otherwise, just a Greenfinch at the sluice gates and a pair of Great Crested Grebes on the Breech Pool were the only birds of note.
The birds appear to have moved on from the Church Barton fields, with very little there this morning - just a few Curlew and Wigeon, whilst around 0900hrs a flock of some 1500 Brent Geese moved north possibly heading to Chalcroft Lane where they have been gathering this week.
Later on, a male Marsh Harrier was perched in a tree behind the Breech Pool, a Cetti's Warbler was along the wall  and the harbour held c12 avocets, c100 Golden Plovers, c100 Grey Plovers, 24 Pintail, ten Red-breasted Mergansers and two Little Grebes.

East Side: About 500 Brent Geese were in Whites Creek early this morning accompanied by the Barnacle Goose and plenty of Knot, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits, Wigeon, Teal, Redshank and a few Grey Plovers and Pintail.

Barnacle Goose & Brent Geese in White's Creek (JDW)

Church Norton and West side: There were at least 500 Brent Geese, along with the two Pale-bellied Brent Geese, in the harbour this morning and five Sandwich Terns and 40 Mediterranean Gulls, plus a Lesser Black-backed Gull, were among the many hundreds of noisy Black-headed Gulls reclaiming the area for the breeding season.
There were also half a dozen Black-tailed Godwits and a Bar-tailed Godwit among the many commoner waders present, whilst the two Peregrines were on their island and two Red-breasted Mergansers were offshore.
There were large numbers of birds towards the end of Ferry channel, including at least 70 Avocets, 300 Golden Plovers, 500 Lapwing, 50 Shovelers, a few Pintail and 100 Wigeon, whilst a Snipe flew over and a few Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits were along the edges.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose (above), Sandwich Tern, Black-tailed Godwits, Mediterranean Gull, Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls, Avocets, Golden Plovers & Shovelers and Wigeon at Church Norton (AH)

Chichester: Just outside the Peninsula, but still astonishing for those of us who remember just how scarce both species were - two Ravens were in the Bishop's Palace garden whilst a Peregrine circled overhead this afternoon.

Raven (above) & Peregrine around Chichester Cathedral (RB)

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