Site totals and Maps

updated Jan 2016
The Selsey Peninsula recording area.

Map of the Selsey Peninsula recording area (edged pink). Note that the boundary area extends to the A27 by-pass, which loops around but does not include Chichester itself. The area to the top right, highlighted green, is the Chichester Gravel pits; although this has at times been the subject of much debate, and some dissent, traditionally all these gravel pits have been included for the sake of completeness and this situation is the one currently adopted... this seems the sensible option as the eastern boundary of the patch is somewhat arbitrary in any case. In practice, only three groups of pits are now visited by birders - the Ivy Lake complex, the newer Drayton pits and the Westhampnett windsurf pit - as some of the more obscure pits are either inaccessible or disused (OM).

Map of the Pagham Harbour area showing the various sites therein (courtesy of Shaun Ferguson, Surrey Birders)

Selsey Peninsula Bird Lists
(compiled by OM)
How many bird species have been recorded on the Selsey Peninsula, or at Selsey Bill, or Pagham Harbour? Good question(s) - I will give a short resume of what the totals currently are, but please bear in mind that this section is a work in progress and will doubtless change in the future. I should also add that I will only use officially accepted rarity records here (SOSRC & BBRC) - even though regrettably it means that several probably good records must be excluded, e.g. Blue Rock Thrush. Note also that the totals given relate to BOU species only, so if you include such forms/sub-species as Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Black Brant, White Wagtail and Siberian Chiffchaff, which have already been split as full species by some authorities, please make the necessary additions. One other species - Snow Goose - is not included but is always the subject of controversy and discussion relating to one potentially wild/feral flock which appeared in early 1983; again make the necessary allowance if you consider this a valid addition.

Firstly the easy bit, the whole Selsey Peninsula: the total as at the start of 2017 was 337 species....this actually being a reduction of two species from the preceding year. The reason for this is that the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU) have now decided to adopt the world species list as compiled by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) as from 2018. However, this being the case it makes sense to adopt this new species list now, when considering all bird records for the Peninsula, so with immediate effect this has been done.

So what's changed on the Peninsula List? There are apparently very few changes that currently affect us, but two that do are Hudsonian Whimbrel and Lesser Redpoll.

There was a real surprise in 2015 when a Hudsonian Whimbrel appeared at Church Norton, drawing crowds of observers from far and wide, at the time being deemed a new and valid full species, having been recently split from European Whimbrel. This 'lumping' of the two forms as a single species again is a bit of a shock to listers and time will tell whether this is reviewed and they are split again. As our newest species to be added to the Peninsula List it didn't last long!

The other 'loss' to the List is Lesser Redpoll, which is no longer treated as a separate species but is now treated as a form of Common Redpoll (formerly Mealy Redpoll). Given the minefield that is Redpoll taxa and identification this does make sense, but unfortunately results in a drop in our species list total!

The Peninsula includes Selsey, Pagham and Medmerry, plus a small part of Chichester Harbour and the whole of the Chichester Gravel pits. It is clear that the southern half of the Peninsula accounts for the lion's share of the records (even allowing for the obvious coastal observer bias). Only seven species have appeared on the Peninsula that have NOT been recorded in the Selsey and Pagham area and these are as follows:- Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Semi-palmated Sandpiper, Rough-legged Buzzard, Ring-billed Gull and Dusky Warbler, plus a historical record of Pallas's Sandgrouse from 1889.The full Peninsula checklist appears on a separate page - just click the link on the home page title bar.

For the record, my own Peninsula list now stands at 300. I've been birding here for a good many years now and don't know how this compares with other regular observers, but if anyone wants to submit their totals/list I'd be happy to add them.

Selsey area (Bill-tip and all of Selsey): This area (see map below) is what I consider as the all-Selsey recording area for the purpose of my lists. Note that it excludes Medmerry and much of West Sands caravan site to the west, but extends northwards to just include Northcommon Farm and what was the old Selsey sewage farm. It also excludes any part of Pagham Harbour LNR. Research is ongoing but the total currently appears to be 264 species (BOU)... and again for the record my own total stands at 228.

This is how I see the Selsey recording area for my listing purposes! Some observers consider only the limited area of the Bill-tip (south of the line from the Lifeboat station to the Coastguard station) should be considered as the valid recording area; however I feel this is rather too narrow an outlook and that all of the built-up area of Selsey and its immediate environs should be included (as it was in the early days when watching began here). This reaches northwards to the roundabout on the B2145/Manor Road junction, extending eastwards to East beach and westwards to Northcommon farm - but still excludes much of the West Sands caravan park, roughly from the Windmill westwards (OM).  

Selsey Bill: Firstly we need to define the recording area itself. As mentioned above, a number of current observers consider the Bill-tip as the only 'proper' Selsey recording area, i.e. from the Lifeboat station to the West beach Coastguard tower, but the truth is we don't yet know how many species have been seen in just this restricted area - although our Log-keeper Justin Atkinson is currently fully researching this - and I don't even know as yet what my personal list would be! The problem is that I and many others have always previously considered the Selsey Bill list to include all of Selsey and the surrounding area, so it will take time to extract the relevant records and establish the exact total for the Bill-tip only, but whilst that total is currently uncertain it may be in the region of 240+ species. 

Selsey Bill street map. The red line indicates the northern boundary of what is currently considered the Bill-tip area, extending from the Lifeboat station in the east to the Coastguard station in the west (OM).

Pagham Harbour RSPB: This site alone (formerly a local authority nature reserve but now managed by the RSPB) had a list of 319 species as at the end of 2008, but with the  addition of the Oriental Pratincole in 2009 and more recently a Paddyfield Warbler and a Hooded Merganser (2012) and a  Western Bonelli's Warbler (2013), the total moved to 323 (BOU). 

The following site map depicts the former area of the LNR (prior to RSPB taking over), but gives an indication of the various sites within the area often mentioned on the daily blogs:

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