Current birding news from Selsey Bill and other important Peninsula sites including Pagham Harbour and Medmerry nature reserves. Visiting birders are always welcome and submissions for the blog should be sent to BOTH co-editors as follows:- email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org (if absent Deputy Editor email@example.com)
Saturday, 17th March: A bitingly cold morning, with heavy cloud clover and a strong east-north-easterly breeze and some flurries of snow.....
Selsey Bill: Once again little was on the move, bar a few Pintail and Brent Geese, though a drake Common Scoter close inshore and a couple of Sanderlings on the beach provided a bit of interest. Full log below. (JA/IP/SR/AH/BI)
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Red-throated Diver - 2W
diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1os
Fulmar - 1W
Gannet - 5E, 9W
Brent Goose - 74os, then W
Pintail - 5E
Common Scoter - 2E, 31os
Red-breasted Merganser - 6E, 3W, 2os
Sanderling - 2p
Redshank - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Lesser Black-backed Gull - 2W
Wood Pigeon - 1N
Meadow Pipit - 2N
Chiffchaff - 1p
Starling - 2N
Common Scoter (above), Pintail & Sanderling at the Bill (AH)
Ferry Pool: There were still eight Gadwall on the pool, along with a pair of Shoveler, six Shelducks, c40 Teal and c150 Wigeon this morning. (AH)
Shoveler (above) & Wigeon on the Ferry (AH)
Park Farm, Selsey: There were a dozen Curlews, a few Oystercatchers, four Pied Wagtails, a couple of Stock Doves and a Common Gull around the farm, and two Fieldfares flew over, whilst a drake Teal was on the small pond in the new housing development.. (AH/IP/BI)
Common Gull (above) & Teal at Park Farm, Selsey (AH)
Church Norton: There were up to five Sandwich Terns, three Gannets, a couple of Mediterranean Gulls and a dozen Common Gulls offshore, plus a Great Crested Grebe on the sea, whilst in the harbour there were a dozen Pintail, a few Wigeon and Teal and 100+ Brent Geese.
One of the Peregrines was on its island and a Buzzard was up at the back, but waders were fairly thin on the ground, but did include one or two Ringed Plovers and Bar-tailed Godwits, whilst passerines were all but non-existent, save a Chiffchaff at the back of the Severals. (AH/IP/BI)
Sandwich Terns (above) & Gannet off Church Norton (AH)
Chi GPs - Drayton pits: Little to report, with the wildfowl numbers much reduced as the spring progresses.... the best on offer were 35 Shoveler, 55 Pochard, 75 Tufted and 7 Snipe.... though an agitated pair of Greylags and 2 pairs of Canada Geese looked like they were planning to settle in for the breeding season. (OM)
Friday, 16th March: A mostly grey start to a fairly mild morning, with a moderate south-westerly breeze soon giving way to a chillier south-south-easterly....though with sunshine developing. Selsey Bill: There was very little moving this morning beyond the odd Brent Goose and Red-throated Diver, though there were a couple of newly-arrived Chiffchaffs about, plus a Firecrest and two Goldcrests in the small ornamental garden in Broadreeds Estate. Full log below: 0645-1115hrs: (JA/OM/AH/SR/BI et al) Red-throated Diver - 16E, 1W, 2os Great Northern Diver - 1 os diver sp - 1E Slavonian Grebe - 1W Great Crested Grebe - 1os Gannet - 2W Brent Goose - 17E Common Scoter - 8E Red-breasted Merganser - 10E Mallard - 2 in gardens! Sandwich Tern - 4E, 1W Mediterranean Gull - 1E Song Thrush - 1 gardens Pied Wagtail - 1 gardens Chiffchaff - 2 gardens Goldcrest - 2 gardens Firecrest - 1 gardens
A just-discernible record shot of the Firecrest, and a collector's item - a snap of all three blog editors in the field together - along with JA, our official Log-keeper (seated, left) (SR)
Ferry Pool: There were two Green Sandpipers at the back this morning, and there were also 11 Gadwall, eight Shelduck, four Shoveler and c30 Teal on the pool, with another ten Shoveler on the creek and c200 Wigeon on the field. (AH/OM)
Green Sandpipers and Teal at the Ferry (AH)
North Wall: A Spotted Redshank and c80 Black-tailed Godwits were in White's Creek, with at least another 200 of the latter and up to 400 Wigeon, plus four Gadwall and eight Shovelers, in the flooded fields behind the Breech Pool. (AH/JDW)
At Honer reservoir the Long-tailed Duck was still present with 4 Tufted Ducks and a couple of Coots. At the top end of Honer 1 field were 42 Meadow Pipits - though this field is still impassable unless wearing wellingtons - whilst in Honer 2 and 3 were 90 Curlew. The first Little Egret this year was seen nest renovating in Owl Copse. A pair of Stock Doves was prospecting a nest site in Pagham Churchyard, but it was generally very quiet, as it has been all week. (JDW)
Spotted Redshank (above), Spotted Redshank and Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit & Wigeon and Black-tailed Godwits from North Wall (AH)
East Side: There were still lots of waders and wildfowl in the harbour on the rising tide, including at least 40 Pintail, 500 Brent Geese, four Gadwall, many Wigeon and Teal and five Great Crested Grebes.
Among the waders were at least 150 Grey Plover, a dozen or so Bar-tailed Godwits and Knot among many hundreds of Dunlin, and a Lesser Black-backed Gull and half a dozen Mediterranean Gulls were out in the middle, whilst at least 200 Linnets came out of the Slipe Field and settled along the hedges. (AH)
Pintail (above), Linnets & Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot, Grey Plovers and Dunlin along East Side (AH)
Pagham Lagoon and Spit: There were seven Pochard and ten Tufted Ducks on the Lagoon, plus c30 Mediterranean and four Common Gulls.
There were just a couple of Skylarks on the spit, with a drake Goldeneye and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers on the water, whilst the Peregrines had reclaimed their island from the Canada Geese, who were nearby. (AH)
Peregrine (above) & Red-breasted Merganser from the Spit & Pochard on the Lagoon (AH)
Sidlesham: There were at least three different Tawny Owls calling around the west of the village at dusk this evening. (AH) Church Norton: There were eight Sandwich Terns roosting on the old harbour mouth this afternoon, whilst the Canada Geese were still in the harbour. (AW) Later on a Tawny Owl was calling from the Priory. (BI)
Canada Goose at Church Norton (AW)
Thursday, 15th March: A pleasantly mild and intermittently sunny morning after another very wet night, with a moderate southerly breeze....
Ferry Pool: There was one Green Sandpiper at the back this morning, with eight Gadwall, four Shelduck and c50 Teal on the pool and c50 Lapwing, ten Redshank and c200 Wigeon in the field, whilst another four Gadwall, 24 Shoveler and c80 Teal were in the main creek. (AH)
Green Sandpiper (above), Gadwall and Teal & Wigeon on the Ferry (AH)
Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - There was no sign of any Little Ringed Plovers this morning, with just a lone Ringed Plover present, though the Avocet flock was up to 64 birds. There were also half a dozen Shoveler, two pairs of Gadwall, ten Tufted Ducks and plenty of Wigeon and Teal on the pool, plus a handful of Mediterranean Gulls.
Along the banks there were a couple of flighty Dartford Warblers, four or five Stonechats, just a dozen Meadow Pipits and 30+ Yellowhammers, 50+ Skylarks, 100+ Linnets and a couple of Reed Buntings and Stock Doves, whilst a flock of a dozen Fieldfare flew into the poplars. There was very little out on the reserve beyond a dozen Curlews, and c80 Teal were near the first sluice. (AH/BFF/DM/MJ)
Church Norton: A quick look at lunchtime found no spring migrants though the female Eider came in off the sea to land in its usual spot near the harbour entrance and there were three Sandwich Terns among the gulls roosting at high-tide.
Also, a pair of Canada Geese were grazing on the Peregrine's island, having displaced both falcons! (AW)
Eider (above) & Peregrine and Canada Geese at Church Norton (AW)
I was chuffed to find the Barn Owl this evening on the old horse-field. After quartering the field it dropped on some rather large prey which it eventually swallowed with some difficulty. In the harbour there were two Black-tailed Godwits along with 10 Bar-tailed Godwits. (AW)
Barn Owl at Church Norton (AW)
Wednesday, 14th March: A mostly cool and grey morning, with periods of sunshine and a brisk south-easterly breeze blowing....
Selsey Bill: The south-easterly breeze brought the watchers out, and they were rewarded with a re-appearance of the Iceland Gull, last seen over a week ago, which flew in with some Herring Gulls at about 8.15am and drifted westwards on the tide for a while before flying off out to sea.
There wasn't very much other movement, though a couple of Black-throated Divers and 50+ Red-throated Divers, along with a few Brent Geese and the odd Sandwich Tern went east. The only passerine migrants were a newly-arrived Firecrest in Bill House garden late morning and two Meadow Pipits in off the sea.
0640-1210hrs: (PB/GH/OM/AH/CN/PC/SR/C&ME/DS/JD) Red-throated Diver - 51E Black-throated Diver - 2E Great Northern Diver - 1E, 4 os Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1os Gannet - 5E Brent Goose - 189E Common Scoter - 42E, c120 os Red-breasted Merganser - 25E, 5 os Teal - 4E Wigeon - 5E Shoveler - 9E Turnstone - 50E Curlew - 2E Kestrel - 1 area/Oval field auk sp - 1W Sandwich Tern - 6E Mediterranean Gull - 2E Common Gull - 4E Iceland Gull - 1 (2nd-w/3CY) os (0810-0905hrs) drifted out to sea Meadow Pipit - 2N Firecrest - 1 Bill House garden
Iceland Gull (above), with Herring Gull, Red-throated Divers, Brent Geese, Red-breasted Mergansers, Sandwich Tern, Common Gull & happy sea-watchers at the Bill (AH)
Whimbrel or Curlew? In the field these two dark-looking birds passing at mid-range were initially considered to be the former - despite the early-ish date - but on examination of the photos, especially the lower, (both GH) it is apparent that they are in fact the latter species.....
Park Farm, Selsey: There were two Firecrests in the hedges this afternoon, whilst a Sparrowhawk went over and 50+ Curlews were on the fields. (S&SaH)
Ferry Pool: There were four Green Sandpipers together at the back this morning, along with a couple of Redshank, and there were 100+ Lapwings on the field.
The Gadwall count had risen to 11, and there were also six Shelduck, c40 Teal and c200 Wigeon about, whilst three Buzzards were tussling over the trees at the back. (AH)
Green Sandpipers (above), Gadwall and Teal & Buzzards at the Ferry (AH)
Ivy Lake: Not too much about today, though two Chiffchaffs were singing and the Black Swans and seven cygnets were still present. (AB)
Medmerry: Stilt Pool - Two Little Ringed Plovers were back and displaying over the pool today. (BO'D)
Medmerry: Coastguard Station to the Breach - There were no indications of migration this morning, with just a couple of Skylarks and a handful of Meadow Pipits about. A Great Northern Diver and 15 Common Scoter were all that could be seen offshore, and around the pools by the breach there were just five Red-breasted Mergansers, two Bar-tailed Godwits, two Shelduck, 50 Lapwings and c120 Brent Geese. (AH)