Wednesday, 20 October 2021

20th - 22nd October 2021

Friday, 22nd October: Another chilly morning in a fresh westerly breeze, mostly under cloud, but with the odd sunny interval.............

Selsey Bill: Thee was nothing that unusual, but quite a range of species went west overhead, including 687 Wood Pigeons, 12 Stock Doves, 14 Siskins and a Reed Bunting, plus a lone Swallow east, but it was quiet offshore. Full log below. (BI/AH/SR/P&LH/AF)
(0730-0915hrs) (WNW, F5)
Gannet - 1E, 2W, 50os
Brent Goose - 6W
Red-breasted Merganser - 1W
Dunlin - 2W
Turnstone - 5
Mediterranean Gull - 3E, 4W
Common Gull - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 1os
auk sp - 3E
Wood Pigeon - 687W
Stock Dove - 12W
Swallow - 1E
Rock Pipit - 1W
Meadow Pipit - 181W
Grey Wagtail - 3W
Pied Wagtail - 3E, 12W
Jackdaw - 40W
Siskin - 14W
Linnet - 41W, 40 present
Chaffinch - 5W
Greenfinch - 2
Goldfinch - 60 
Reed Bunting - 1W

Sandwich Tern (above), Mediterranean Gull, Brent Geese & Meadow Pipit at the Bill (AH)

The show must go on! Sea-watchers taking what little shelter there is still available at the Bill (SR)

Ferry Pool:  The only waders on a very full pool were a handful of roosting Lapwing among c50 Shoveler and Teal and a dozen Wigeon. (AH)

Teal and Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)

Honer: A good look along the rife and surrounding fields failed to locate the Purple Heron today but there were a few other bits of interest, including two Woodlarks that flew north and two Mistle Thrushes feeding in the field by the bridge.
Also in the area were numerous Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, half a dozen Chaffinches, three Chiffchaffs and two Grey Herons whilst the reservoir held c.30 Coots, six Gadwall, a Shoveler and ten Tufted Ducks.
Please note that all the fields and footpaths here are partially flooded (and the rife has burst its banks) so wellies are a must if visiting! (BI)

North Wall: A Jack Snipe was seen in flight and there were also seven Snipe about, as well as a female Marsh Harrier and two Rock Pipits. (P&LH)

Church Norton: A Woodlark went over the churchyard/Mound area this morning, along with a Brambling and a few Chaffinches, Siskins and Lesser Redpolls, whilst at least 300 Goldfinches were mobile in the area. (DC)
Also seen in the vicinity were a handful of Chiffchaffs and Long-tailed Tits, a Mistle Thrush and at least six Jays, with A Stonechat along the path to the beach,whilst a modest overhead movement along the front was mainly Linnets and Meadow Pipits.
A Peregrine was sat out on its island, but the harbour was generally quiet beyond the usual Grey Plovers, Dunlin and other commoner waders. (AH/P&LH)

Chiffchaff (above), Jay & Long-tailed Tit at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry Trail
The area around the sewage farm at the back of the ferry this afternoon produced six Shelducks, a Buzzard, a Kestrel, 150 Wood Pigeons, five Pied Wagtails, a male Stonechat, two Chiffchaffs, 50 Linnets, three Goldfinches and two Greenfinches, plus a herd of eight Roe Deer. (CRJ)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - Two Great White Egrets were on the reserve this morning, viewable from the banks at the Stilt Pool. (IL)
Later on, it was very windy and getting on for high tide, and the two Great White Egrets were hard to see as they were taking shelter, the best view turned out to be by the gate at the bottom of the slope opposite the Stilt Pools, looking left into the centre of the reserve.
Apart from that, the mix of birds was similar to yesterday evening with the addition of a flock of c60 Dunlin and c80 Lapwing flying west and half a dozen Skylarks overhead. (SR)

Great White Egrets at Medmerry (IL above, & SR)

Thursday, 21st October: There was a big drop in temperature this morning, as the strong westerly shifted towards north, though it was mostly bright and quite sunny.........

Selsey Bill: A Wheatear was by the houses this morning, with three Rock Pipits on the beach, whilst six Swallows went west, as did a Great Northern Diver. Full log below. (AH/MO-W/SR/AW)
(0740-0900hrs) (W, veering NW, F6-7)
Great Northern Diver - 1W
Gannet - 6W
Oystercatcher - 1E, 1W
Turnstone - 12
Common Gull - 1E, 2W
Mediterranean Gull - 1E, 2W
Rock Pipit - 3
Meadow Pipit - 7W
Pied Wagtail - 2W
Wheatear - 1
Linnet - 45W

Wheatear (above), Swallow, Great Northern Diver & Rock Pipits at the Bill (AW)

Ferry Pool:  Avocet numbers had increased to eight on the pool this morning, whilst there were also a Snipe, c30 Lapwings, c20 Wigeon and 50+ Shoveler and Teal sheltering along the banks.
Also, a Kingfisher was in the channel opposite, two Siskins went over the Visitor Centre and five Skylarks were over the fields at the back. (AH/BFF/DM)

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

Church Norton: A flock of 34 Barnacle Geese flew into the harbour from the east, circled around as if to land and then headed on west.
Otherwise, a House Martin was over the hide area and up to half a dozen Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were in the sheltered hedges, along with a couple of Jays.
There wasn't too much of note in the harbour beyond a Peregrine, good numbers of Grey Plovers and Dunlin and a few Wigeon and Pintail. (AH/BFF/DM)

Barnacle Geese (above), Blackcaps & Grey Plover at Church Norton (AH)

An afternoon visit to Church Norton produced a couple of Little Egrets, the wintering Whimbrel and 50 Grey Plovers in the harbour, and three Chiffchaffs around the car park, plus Wilf the tame pigeon and a Common Darter. (CRJ)

Grey Plovers and Dunlin (above), Little Egret, Common Darter & Wilf the pigeon at Church Norton (CRJ)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pools - A Dartford Warbler and six pairs of Stonechats were in the hedges late this afternoon, along with a couple of Chiffchaffs, a Cetti's Warbler and four Yellowhammers.
The Stilt Pools held three Egyptian Geese, 32 Canada Geese, three Greylag Geese, three Shovelers, four Gadwall, 35 Lapwings and a mixture of c150 Teal and Wigeon, along with a Kestrel and a calling Cetti's Warbler, but it was generally quiet. (SR/S&SaH)

Wednesday, 20th October: A very blustery morning of squally showers and fast moving cloud, though still mild in the near gale-force south-westerly.....

It's with sadness that we have to report on the loss of yet more precious habitat - and indeed shelter for observers - with the removal of the tamarisk hedge and hebe gardens at the Bill House (see comments/pic's below). On a personal note it was a feeling of shock and grief to actually witness the destruction  - rather akin to the development of the old Pontin's site - but as with that situation I/we are virtually powerless to intervene.

Circumstances dictated however that today I did at least manage to grab the opportunity of speaking to a couple of people connected to the present owners and learned a little of what is being planned. In fairness they are running a commercial enterprise and understandably will be hoping to reap benefits from their investment, whilst maintaining prime birding habitat is not really under their consideration. I did point out the things that might be expected, from the wisdom of removing their mature windbreak only to replace it with something inferior, to the release of carbon in their slash and burn removal operation - but ultimately the owners are free to make their choices. And rather than alienating them, it is surely better to at least try and keep things on good terms for the future and retain a rapport. 

It's going to hurt - but this is what has been lost - the Bill House garden in 2018 (OM)

So, ultimately the days of sheltering behind that thick hedge in a strong south-westerly seem to be gone and it's likely we will now need to find another spot to base ourselves in such conditions. A setback yes, but it's happened before and the show must go on. (OM/Eds)

Selsey Bill: There wasn't too much on the move, with a Bonxie and a Swallow west and a wheatear on the beach  the highlights. Full log below.....
Sadly, the clearance of all the Tamarisk hedging has now been completed in Bill House garden, leaving what had been a little wildlife haven, full of butterflies and bees (and the odd bird!), barren and exposed to the sea and wind. (CRJ/AH/SR/OM/AW)
(0730-1130hrs) (SW, F6-7 gusting F8)
Gannet - 1E, 16W
Brent Goose - 2W
Common Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1W
Redshank - 1W
Sanderling - 1
Turnstone - 15
Dunlin - 20W
Great Skua - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 5W
Razorbill - 1W
auk sp - 2W
Meadow Pipit - 7W
Pied Wagtail - 5W
Swallow - 1 out S
Wheatear - 1
Goldfinch - 70W
Linnet - 8W

Bonxie (above), Razorbill, Sanderling, Brent Geese (AW), Gannet, Mediterranean Gull & Turnstones (AH) at the Bill

The stark and windswept view of the newly cleared Bill House garden (AH) and (below) additional images of the destruction.  Note also the new sign now advertising the ocean view  - but perhaps Bleak House is currently more appropriate! (OM)

Ferry Pool:  The five Avocets were still on the pool this morning, along with c30 Black-tailed Godwits, c30 Wigeon, c40 Shovelers and c20 Teal. (AH)

Avocet (above) & Wigeon, Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A Merlin along the beach and a flock of 100+ Golden Plovers, that flew out of the harbour and headed west, were the most notable sightings this morning, with the harbour otherwise holding a single Sandwich Tern and  fair numbers of waders, including a Bar-tailed Godwit, 50+ Grey Plovers and 100+ Dunlin, plus a few Pintail, Teal and Wigeon.
Four or five Chiffchaffs along the sheltered hedges, a Jay in the car-park and a few Meadow Pipits and Greenfinches along the front were the only land-birds noted. (AH/CRJ)

Golden Plovers (above), Sandwich Tern, Jay, Grey Plover, Dunlin & Pintails at Church Norton (AH)

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