Sunday, 28 November 2021

28th - 30th November 2021

Tuesday, 30th November: A much milder morning than of late, though under leaden skies and with the breeze fresh and from the west.........

Selsey Bill: It was a morning dominated by auk movement - primarily east, with a few Kittiwakes west, but not too much else beyond the odd Great Northern and Red-throated Diver. Full log below. (AH/SR/KT/IP)
(0745-0945hrs) (W, F5)
Great Northern Diver - 2E, 3os
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 1W, 2os
Gannet - 6E, 15W
Little Egret - 1W
Brent Goose - 2W
Common Scoter - 3W
Red-breasted Merganser - 6W
Oystercatcher - 1E, 1W
Turnstone - 6
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Common Gull - 1W
Kittiwake - 32W
Guillemot - 2W
Razorbill - 27E, 112W
auk sp - c1800E, 175W
Pied Wagtail - 1E

Kittiwakes (above), Gannet, Razorbills and Guillemots, Great Northern Diver, Common Scoters & Red-breasted Mergansers at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: The Kingfisher was back in the channel opposite, whilst the pool held at least six Snipe, two Pintail and c50 Shovelers and Teal, with c80 Wigeon out on the field. (AH)
Later on, a Marsh Harrier was over the fields near the farm shop, south of the Ferry. (IP)

Kingfisher (above) & Pintail, Shovelers and Teal at the Ferry (AH)

West Wittering: A pair of Coal Tits and a Firecrest were again in the garden today. (GM)

North Wall: A Spoonbill was very busily feeding close to the sluice gates, along White's Creek early on, and there were close to 500 Brent Geese having a wash and brush up before flying north towards Sefter Farm. Elsewhere it was very quiet and predictable along the Wall. (JDW)

Spoonbill at the North Wall (JDW)

Church Norton: Around 100 Brent Geese were in the harbour, along with c80 Knot, a handful of Ringed Plovers, c50 Grey Plovers and c400 Dunlin, whilst up to a dozen Pintail were among the Wigeon and Teal. Also, at least 300 Golden Plovers and 500 Lapwing went up from the far end of the harbour.
The bushes were quiet, though two Chiffchaffs were along the path to the beach, along with a few Greenfinches, whilst a Jay was by the concrete wall. (AH)

Ringed Plover (above), Brent Geese & Jay at Church Norton (AH)

Monday, 29th November: After a surprisingly large amount of overnight snow, a cold and mostly bright morning in a moderate north-westerly.........

Selsey Bill: A Velvet Scoter west was the only thing of note this morning. Full log below. (SR/AH)
(0745-0845hrs) (NNW, F4)
Great Northern Diver - 1E
Gannet - 6E, 2W
Velvet Scoter - 1W
Common Scoter - 3E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 3W
Oystercatcher - 1
Turnstone - 7
Common Gull - 1E
Razorbill - 3E
auk sp - 9E, 3W
Pied Wagtail - 1

Red-breasted Mergansers (above), Turnstone (AH) & a snowy Oval Field (SR) at the Bill

Ferry Pool: Up to eight Snipe were on the largely frozen pool this morning, along with c25 Lapwings, c50 Shoveler, c20 Teal and c80 Wigeon. (AH)

Snipe (above), Lapwings and Shovelers & Wigeon at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: An Eider was in the harbour mouth this morning, whilst half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers were in the harbour, but a lone Great Crested Grebe was the only bird offshore.
Otherwise, c50 Brent Geese and plenty of Wigeon and Teal were in the harbour, along with the regular Whimbrel, a single Black-tailed Godwit, c50 Grey Plovers and 300 Dunlin, whilst at least two Goldcrests were among a mobile flock of Long-tailed and Blue Tits around the churchyard. (AH)

Eider (above), Red-breasted Mergansers, Teal, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit & a snowy beach at Church Norton (AH)

: Easton Lane toward Ham -
 A Barn Owl was hunting toward the centre of the reserve and a Marsh Harrier flew west. 
Three fields held mixed flocks of feeding Lapwing and Golden Plover and at Wilson's Farm there was a large mixed flock of Reed Buntings, Yellowhammers, Greenfinches, Chaffinches and Dunnocks with a flock of c30 Skylarks close by. Two Song Thrushes were also seen together with four Stonechats, two Green Woodpeckers and a Cetti's Warbler. (SR)

Marsh Harrier and Golden Plover at Medmerry (SR)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - Later on, a Short-eared Owl was hunting over the reserve by the Stilt Pool, before flying off north (GT) and the Spoonbill was again on the Stilt Pool (AH).

Spoonbill at Medmerry (AH)

Sunday, 28th November: A bright and breezy day in a fresh north-westerly, but with the temperature remaining just above freezing....

Selsey Bill: A Velvet Scoter east, a few Red-throated Divers west and a Slavonian Grebe on the sea were the highlights this morning. (SH/PB/SR/BI/AH/IP/OM/P&LH)
(0715-0900hrs) (NNW, F5-6)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 6W, 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Gannet - 36E, 3W
Common Scoter - 1W
Velvet Scoter - 1E
Ringed Plover - 2W
Knot - 1W
Dunlin - 12W
Turnstone - 10
Mediterranean Gull - 2W
Common Gull - 1E, 7W, 1os
Kittiwake - 3E, 5W
Razorbill - 9W
auk sp - 396E, 1W

Gannet (above) & Ringed Plover at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Three Snipe were at the front and a dozen Black-tailed Godwits were among the roosting wildfowl, which included two drake Pintails, c120 Wigeon, c60 Shovelers and just c30 Teal. (AH)

Pintails (above) & Wigeon at the Ferry (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: A Grey Wagtail, a Green and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were along Park Lane, whilst a Buzzard went over the farm. (IP)

Church Norton: A Long-tailed Duck was again off of Church Morton beach, where there were also three Goosanders and eight Red-breasted Mergansers, though there were only about a dozen Brent Geese about.
There were the usual waders in the harbour, with at least 250 Dunlin amongst them and a single Black-tailed Godwit, and there were also a minimum of 30 Great Crested Grebes in the harbour too, along with a female Peregrine which appeared to be sunning herself on the new island, whilst a Green Woodpecker flew along the spit and a Grey Wagtail was in rectory Lane. (P&LH/IP/SR)

Goosander (IP) (above) & Grey Wagtail (SR) at Church Norton 

Pagham Spit: Another Goosander was viewable from the spit this morning. (BI)

Marsh and Chalder Farms: A pleasant walk in the sunshine but few birds about, though including 13 Cattle Egrets with the sheep, c150 Lapwings flying over toward the harbour, three Green Woodpeckers and a flock of eight Linnets, whilst a Mistle Thrush was in the churchyard. (SR)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - A visiting birder reported the two Short-eared Owls and the Barn Owl out vey early this morning, whilst later on, a male and a female Merlin were out on the reserve and the Spoonbill was on the Stilt Pool.
Also around the pool were at least two Snipe, a Dunlin, a dozen Black-tailed Godwits and a few Lapwings, along with three Greylag Geese (with another among c80 Canada Geese on the reserve) and a few Shovelers, Teal and Wigeon.
The banks were quite quiet, though a couple of Dartford Warblers and Yellowhammers and at least ten Stonechats were present, along with a few Meadow Pipits, Linnets and Stock Doves. (AH/S&SaH/PB)

Spoonbill (above), Stonechat, Meadow Pipits, Greylag Geese & Stock Doves at Medmerry (AH)

At 1415hrs a Wheatear sp - considered probably Northern - was reported briefly from the middle of the reserve (AT). It naturally attracted some interest from other birders - not least the Editors of this blog (!) - due to the late date, but regrettably it could not be re-located later. However, the Spoonbill flew across towards Ham as some compensation at 1450hrs. (AT) 
Also, this afternoon, a Merlin was along Ham Road, a Raven went over the Easton Lane car-park and 100+ Golden Plovers were up over the reserve. (AH/S&SaH)

Raven at Medmerry (AH)

Thursday, 25 November 2021

25th - 27th November 2021

Saturday, 27th November: A thoroughly cold and miserable morning, with a near gale-force north-westerly, leaden skies and the odd squall of rain.......

Once again may I thank those who have left additional kind comments following my updated Birding History of Selsey Bill and also the update on Steve Hooper's medical problems. (OM)

I don't wish to keep dwelling in the past, but I thought the following from Dave Flumm (DSF) was of general interest and worthy of recording here for future researchers. I have also received more material emanating from Harry Robinson (HPKR) and may well add an Archives section to the blog in the future.....

"A great read Owen and it brought back a lot of happy memories of my time there during the 1960s until I left Sussex in 1980. I used to spend my summer holidays (and occasionally Xmas!) at the Obs there, hitching down from Worthing on a Friday evening after school. Your tales of the traffic these days starkly contrasts with the situation in the 60s when I would wait for ages for a car to give me a lift on the final leg from Chichester. Occasionally I would borrow my brother's Lambretta scooter and I remember on one occasion racing Mike Shrubb on his red Vespa(?) to Church Norton. I almost won but, refusing to brake at the CN turning, carried straight on over the hedge into the field beyond!

I do remember a more recent visit to see Beryl James, a great friend, at Selsey but had to turn back due to the traffic! Happily we did catch her another time before she passed away. She was a wonderful lady and, together with husband Charles and their children, would take me out at weekends all over the peninsula.

Staying in the Obs was never for the faint hearted and if Harry Robinson wasn't with me, I only had the rats for company. I think there was a nest under the floorboards and they would keep me awake all night with their gnawing as I lay in my sleeping bag with a heavy stick next to me which I would bang loudly if one ran over me in the night. They would eat their way in through the skirtings and every morning I would place bricks over the holes to keep them out. Eventually I took all the bricks away as I was worried the walls of the hut would collapse! The hut was very sparse: no windows, a table, chair and bench. We cooked on paraffin Primus stoves by Tilley lamp (which also served as heating) and would spend the evenings reading Field Guides. We kept our food in tins on top shelves but invariably there would be a loud crash in the night as the tin with my food would fall to the floor so the rats could get at my sandwiches. Rats are clever!

In 1980, Gerda and I got married in Chichester. My parents had moved to Selsey by then and following our Reception at the Rushmere Hotel (now sadly gone), we all went for a seawatch. My notebook entry for 19.07.1980 reads: 'We got married today! Seawatch 1620-1715 - 2 Gannet, 5 LBBGull, Guillemot & Turnstone west. With Tony Marr, Nick Lord, Alan Kitson, Sally & their son Jamie et al' The next day, as we left Selsey, I had a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker over the road just south of Sidlesham." Happy days. Dave Flumm   (OM/Eds)

Selsey Bill: A Long-tailed Duck flew in from the east and landed on the sea, whilst two Slavonian Grebes were offshore, along with a Great Northern Diver, but little was on the move. Full log below. (SH/JA/SR/BI/AH)
(0715-0900hrs) (NNW, F7)
Great Northern Diver - 1W, 1os
diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 2os
Gannet - 4E, 2W
Brent Goose - 1E
Common Scoter - 3E
Long-tailed Duck - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 3W, 4os
Turnstone - 2
Mediterranean Gull - 16W
Razorbill - 1E, 3W
auk sp - 13W

Slavonian Grebe (above) & Great Northern Diver at the Bill (AH)

This afternoon, a Swallow was sheltering from the weather at the Bill. (AW)

Swallow at the Bill (AW)

Ferry Pool: At least 200 Lapwings were around the fields, along with half a dozen Black-tailed Godwits, with the same again of the latter, c60 Wigeon, c80 Shovelers and c150 Teal on the pool.
Also, a Water Rail was showing well in Red Barn Ditch, a Kingfisher flew through there and c40 Goldfinches were feeding on the Tramway. (AH)

Water Rail (above), Goldfinches & Balck-tailed Godwits, Wigeon, Teal and Shovelers around the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: A Marsh Harrier was over the reeds behind the Breech Pool, which held just one Black-tailed Godwit along with the usual Teal and Mallards, whilst a Water Rail was out feeding on the mud. 
There were also 12 Avocet in White's Creek, along with the usual waders and wildfowl, and a pair of Stonechats were in the horse paddock. (LP)

Church Norton: There wasn't much to report this morning, though a Goosander was close offshore and the harbour held 40+ Pintail and 100+ Wigeon and Teal, though no Brent Geese were seen.
There were plenty of Dunlin on the mud, along with a few Grey Plovers, Curlew and Redshanks, but that was about it. (AH)
Late this afternoon four Long-tailed Ducks flew in and landed distantly offshore and there were also a female Eider, two Slavonian Grebes and a Shag on the sea. (IL)

Goosander (above), Pintail, Grey Plover & Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

Runcton: For the second day running a Coal Tit came to the feeders, and we also now have a healthy population of about a dozen House Sparrows. (CRJ)

Coal Tit in a Runcton garden (CRJ)

Friday, 26th November: Another cold morning, with a mix of bright sunshine and heavy cloud and the odd spot of rain, with the westerly breeze freshening towards gale-force.......

Selsey Bill: A quiet morning, with just a Red-throated Diver, a Kittiwake, two Little Egrets and a few auks going west. Full log below. (AH/BI/SR/P&LH/IP)
(0730-0845hrs) (WSW, F6-7)
Red-throated Diver - 1W
Gannet - 3W
Little Egret - 2W
Turnstone - 4
Kittiwake - 1W
Razorbill - 6W
auk sp - 6E, 27W
Pied Wagtail - 2
Linnet - 2

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

Ferry Pool: There were just a handful of Lapwings, c40 Wigeon, c60 Shovelers and c100 Teal on the pool this morning. (AH)

Wigeon on the Ferry (AH)

North Wall area: There was a murmurration of between 900 and 1000 Starlings on the ploughed field west of Pagham Road, whilst on Honer reservoir there were 42 Coot, 12 Gadwall, seven Shelducks, a pair of both Tufted Duck and Shoveler and a Little Grebe.
Between Bramber and Marsh Farms there were 43 Cattle Egrets, whilst a Merlin unsuccessfully chased a Greenfinch close to Marsh Farm.
I have never seen the water levels on the Breech Pool so low, but the only waders present were 37 Black-tailed Godwits and two Common Snipe. (JDW)

Church Norton: The four Goosanders were again around the harbour mouth this morning, whilst two Sandwich Terns went west along the beach and a Peregrine was sat on the new shingle island, with another going over the horse field.
Otherwise, there were plenty of Brent Geese about, along with a few Wigeon and Teal, with lots of Grey Plovers and Dunlin on the mud and c50 Turnstones on the beach, but the hedges just held a Jay and a Goldcrest of note. (AH/LP/P&LH)

Peregrines (above), Grey Plover & Teal at Church Norton (AH)

Thursday, 25th November: A cold and bright morning in a brisk north-westerly breeze.....

Selsey Bill: Unsurprisingly, what was moving, which was mostly auks, was very distant, though four Great Northern Divers were sat together offshore and a Turnstone visited the tops of three different rooftops around Bill House, seemingly looking for invertebrates among the lichen. Full log below. (AH/IP/CRJ/RJS/MG)
(0730-1000hrs) (NNW, F3-4)
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 4os
Red-throated Diver - 3E, 3W
diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 5E
Brent Goose - 1E
Common Scoter - 41E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2W
Turnstone - 4
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Kittiwake - 20E
auk sp - 203E, 14W
Pied Wagtail - 2

Great Northern Divers (above) & Turnstone at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: The pool just held seven Snipe, c120 Lapwings and lots of Shovelers and Teal tucked into the banks, whilst a Marsh Harrier was hunting over the harbour, viewable from the Tramway, a Water Rail was at the harbour end of Red Barn Ditch and the Kingfisher was near the sluice opposite the pool. (AH)

Water Rail (above), Marsh Harrier, Kingfisher & Snipe, Lapwings, Teal and Shovelers around the Ferry (AH)

Pagham Lagoon and East sideTwo female Goldeneyes were on the lagoon this morning, whilst a Siberian Chiffchaff was head calling from the adjacent Slipe Field and a Kingfisher and a Rock Pipit were by the sluice by the Salthouse. (AT)

East Head: There was no sign of the Velvet Scoters off Ella Nore, but a Black-throated Diver was on the water there. (RJF/DB)

North Wall: The Jack Snipe was again on the Breech Pool today, whilst three Marsh Harriers were scrapping over the reeds behind. (LP)
Also, a Bullfinch was calling to the north of Halsey's Farm this afternoon. (AT)

Church Norton: A Merlin was on Tern Island this morning, whilst a Peregrine was briefly on its island, too, eating prey. (CRJ)
This afternoon, at around 1430hrs, there were seven Slavonian Grebes, a Long-tailed Duck and an Eider offshore from the spit, whilst four Goosanders were in the harbour mouth (RJF/Twitter per BI)

Marsh Farm, Sidlesham: At least 50 Cattle Egrets were spread around several fields this morning, though most were in the sheep field by Chalder Farm.
Otherwise, it was quiet, with a couple of pairs of Stock Doves and a few Chaffinches being about it, though a flock of c250 Lapwings were over the fields to the south. The churchyard was very quiet, too, with just a single Goldcrest and ten Blackbirds seen. (AH)

Cattle Egrets (above), Stock Dove & Lapwings at Marsh Farm, Sidlesham (AH)