Monday, 30 December 2013

30th - 31st December 2013

Tuesday, 31st December: Overnight gales with rain, then a cloudy and grey morning with a strong S/SSW wind 6-7. More of the same is forecast for New Year's Day, which may mean things get off to a bit of a slow start, but very best wishes to all for good birding in 2014. Meanwhile, on with today's bird news....

Selsey Bill 0745 to 1000hrs: Cloud, showers, S/SSW 6-7   (Obs: SH/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 1W
Red-throated Diver - 4W
Diver sp - 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 3W
Gannet - 3W
Brent Goose - 6W
Common Scoter - 5W
Eider - 1E
R/b Merganser - 1E, 3W
Guillemot - 7W
Auk sp - 1E, 2W
Grey Plover - 10W
Knot - 30W
Turnstone - 6W
Med Gull - 1 os
Kittiwake - 28W

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: An extremely high tide meant the path to the beach was impassable, and all the birds were repeatedly disturbed by a kite-surfer getting his kicks at their expense. Not much to report other than the commoner waders and a big flock of Brent Geese coming in to roost (AH). The high tide also partly submerged Tern Island, leaving waders (especially Grey Plover and Knot) to huddle together on any available spot.


One selfish kite-surfer in the harbour.........................
and the results are plain to see

Waders and wildfowl whirling in all directions
(photos: AH) 

A half-submerged Tern Island and roosting Grey Plovers and Knot (Sam Hill)


Well that's it for this year folks - see you next year!

(ps - I'm out celebrating tonight, so a slow start tomorrow is anticipated)




Monday, 30th December: After yesterday's welcome sunshine it was back to yet another foul morning as the next storm system rolled in off the Atlantic bringing strong-gale force winds and driving rain. This pattern seems set to remain into the first week of the new year, so it will be interesting to see how things proceed. Reports are likely to increase over the next few days as observers get out and about trying to finish their year lists and start a new one, so in case I forget, I would like to take the opportunity now of thanking Andy House for his help and support in maintaining the blog since its inception. Thanks also to those who provide the reports and photos which are the lifeblood of the blog, and to all others who are interested enough to follow the news we publish in these pages. It's a little over nine months since the blog began (it seems longer!) and so far we haven't missed a day of news - though it's been touch and go sometimes! Doubtless there will be times in the future when neither Andy or I can cover the blog due to commitments, but hopefully these will be few. We may even try to recruit a substitute - so be warned, we're looking! Lastly, it is hoped to add or update some of the info pages in the near future, and Andy is currently working on a review of the year, but meanwhile may I take this early opportunity of wishing everyone who goes birding on the Peninsula a Happy New Year for tomorrow night. Owen.
Today's news:..
Selsey Bill 0800 to 1100hrs: Cloud, SW7, rain/showers     (Obs: SH/AH)
Gannet - 7W
Fulmar - 2W
Brent Goose - 10E, 8W
R/b Merganser - 8W, 4 os
Auk sp - 1W
Razorbill - 1W
Kittiwake - 157W
Rock Pipit - 1 ob
Adult Kittiwake (above),  and rough seas crashing over the old Pontins area (S. Hill), and (below) juv Kittiwake off Selsey Bill (A. House)
Additional sea-watch: 1300 to 1430hrs: SW4.  (Obs: SH)
Red-throated Diver - 2W
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Shag - 1E
Gannet - 1E, 1W
Eider - 1 os
R/b Merganser - 1E, 12W, 5 os
Razorbill - 2E
Guillemot - 1 os
Auk sp - 1W
Kittiwake - 13W

Church Norton: Combined sightings for AH & IP this afternoon - 1 Long-tailed Duck and 6 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore, the Peregrine stirring up the waders, large numbers of Golden Plover and Lapwing in the harbour and 3-4 Goldcrests at the bottom of the path to the harbour.
Also IP reported the regular Grey Wagtail at Park Farm, Selsey and I had one over my Sidlesham garden this afternoon. (AH)

Saturday, 28 December 2013

28th-29th December 2013

Sunday 29th December 2013

A beautiful winter's day, but a bit less birding activity today,though a good selection at the Bill.

Selsey Bill:

Great Northern Diver 1E, 2W & 3 o/s
Red-throated Diver 9E, 3W & 5 o/s
diver sp 2E & 1 o/s
Slavonian Grebe 13 W
Great Crested Grebe 6E, 3W & 2o/s
Gannet 1E
Shag 1E
Brent Goose 3W
Common Scoter 10E, 3W & 5 o/s
Eider 5E & 7 o/s
Red-breasted Merganser 14E, 3W & 6 o/s
Kittiwake 22W
Razorbill 3W
auk sp 5E & 3W

Fishbourne Creek: Plenty of birds about this morning though the tide remained high enough to keep the scarcer waders hidden. Highlight was a total of about 15 Yellowhammers in the cow fields. Also seen were the very tame Grey Wagtail, 3-4 Rock Pipits, a Bullfinch heard but not seen, a couple of Spotted Redshanks amongst its commoner cousins, 2 drake Goldeneye, 4 Red-breasted Mergansers, a Peregrine and then a Buzzard disturbing the tranquil scene and large numbers of Wigeon and Brent Geese.

Yellowhammers at Fisbourne Creek (8 in a tree above) 29/12/13 (AH)

Grey Wagtail at Fishbourne Creek 29/12/13 (AH)
West Itchenor: Best bird was a Red-throated Diver in the channel, along with about 20 Red-breasted Mergansers, though otherwise quite quiet - several hundred Brent Geese and about a dozen Bar-tailed Godwits being the best of the rest.

Shelduck & Bar-tailed Godwit, West Itchenor 29/12/13 (AH)

Pagham Harbour: Paul Bowley reported seeing one of the Ruddy Shelducks in White's Creek early this morning.
Below a summary from Ian Pitts of his regular walk from Park Farm, Selsey to Church Norton this morning -
 'It was one of those days where nothing of any great note was seen, but there were lots of birds about, I did hear a Cetti's Warbler in full song behind the first Several (as you know they have been very quiet this Autumn).
Offshore was also very quiet, disappointing since the sea was beautifully flat for searching. 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 female Eider, a fly-by Red-throated Diver and 2 Great Crested Grebes was all I could manage, until I met Sam and Sandra, who then found a single male Long-tailed Duck about a mile offshore feeding furiously (my excuse for missing it!)
All the common waders were in evidence in considerable numbers within the harbour, plus a lone Peregrine on its island,  and a Chiffchaff popped out of the lone bush at the southern end of the harbour and sang to me!
Apart from a Jay over the second Several that just about sums up three hours of glorious weather, not much of that forecast for tomorrow!' (A total of 61 species - his second highest count of the year)

Finally, below a selection of shots by Chris and Juliet Moore, from the Church Norton area this afternoon in the splendid winter sunshine:

from the top: Kingfisher (C. Moore), exposed ironwork of the old harbour entrance, gathering of gulls including Black-headed and Med, Mediterranean Gull, and Little Egret (J. Moore)

Saturday 28th December 2013

A bright and pleasant morning to be out and about, but a dull, dank afternoon followed.

Selsey Bill 07.45 to 09.45 SH, CN & SR:

Great Northern Diver - 1E & 1 o/s
Red-throated Diver - 4E & 4W
diver sp 1E & 3 o/s
Great Crested Grebe 2E, 2W & 1 o/s
Gannet 1W
Brent Gooe 3W
Pintail 2W
Common Scoter 9E, 2W & 7 o/s
Eider 7E & 4 o/s
Red-breasted Merganser  16E, 1W & 6 o/s
Kittiwake 21W
Guillemot 5W
Rock Pipit 2 ob
Meadow Pipit 1 ob

Pagham Harbour: Walked the east side of the harbour this morning - nothing out of the ordinary but the harbour is teeming with birds at the moment. At least 500 Black-tailed Godwits and 300 Golden Plover were along White's Creek on the falling tide, along with a few Bar-tailed Godwits, though the flooded fields behind the Breach Pool were surprisingly empty - 100+ Curlew and similar of Wigeon was about it and around 1000 Lapwings periodically taking to the wing. The Lagoon held 2 Goldeneye and a Red-breasted Merganser, plus at least 30 Little Grebes. (AH)

Brent Geese over the Breach Pool 28/12/13 (AH)

Part of the Golden Plover flock in White's Creek 28/12/13 (AH)

Grey Plover in White's Creek28/12/13 (AH)

Church Norton: Accumulated highlights from IP, S&SaH & AH as follows -
Offshore there were still 3 Long-tailed Ducks, 6 Eider, 3 Slavonian Grebe, a Red-throated Diver, 8 Red-breasted Merganser and 6 Great Crested Grebes.
In the harbour there was a flock of 16 Avocets in the central channel, and the two Ruddy Shelducks were there again late this afternoon, though there were no reports of the unusually plumaged Golden Plover amongst the several hundred still present. Also seen in the harbour were a Peregrine, 7 Red-breasted Mergansers and a Chiffchaff by the second Several.
Two other bits from IP - firstly he had 5 Sanderlings on the beach yesterday (rare in winter at Pagham), and secondly, there appears to be a wintering Grey Wagtail at Park Farm, Selsey.

To prove Ian & I can count - 16 Avovets in the twilight! 28/12/13 (AH)

Medmerry: Sarah Russell reports - From the breach at Medmerry looking across to Bracklesham: a Peregrine perched on the fence, c75 Lapwing, soon joined by 32 Shoveler and c50 Brent Geese. The new reserve shaping up nicely with the banks of the breach channel constantly crumbling away into the water and the shingle bank looking narrower than before. Medmerry itself had the usual Buzzard on his post, a hunting Kestrel, 3 Little Egrets, c100 Lapwing, c100 Brent Geese and no doubt a good deal more further out of sight. I look forward to the footpaths being complete and open.

East Head: The two Snow Buntings were reported again today, via SOS.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

25th - 27th December 2013

Friday, 27th December: Wet and windy again, with strong/gale south-westerlies and heavy showers. Yours truly will be away for the weekend so Andy House will be running the blog for the next two days - all reports to him please.

Sarah Russell reports...I walked a stretch of the Canal this morning, it was relatively sheltered and not too muddy.  Two Grey Wagtails, a Little Grebe, 27 Goldfinch, and 28 Long-tailed Tits in two flocks were the highlights.  Stopped off at Ferry Pool between showers and started a bird count but didn't get very far as the wind was determined to take my tripod and the Lesser-brained Motorist was out in force, tooting his horn.  Clearly visible at the back of the pool was one of the Ruddy Shelducks, also c70 Curlew, c80 Shelduck, c38 Shoveler, c100 Wigeon, c18 Canada Geese, c20 Black-headed Gulls and 4 Great Black-backed Gulls (SR).

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton 12.30hrs (SH)
One Goosander, 3 Eider, 6 R/b Mergansers and 24 Avocets.

Ivan Lang reported an odd summer-plumaged 'Golden Plover' amongst a flock of regular w/plum Golden Plovers at Church Norton. Unfortunately it was not possible to confirm the exact identity of this bird (apparently it looked a bit short-tailed and the axillaries were not fully seen but may or may not have been white) as the flock kept flying around and then the s/plum bird disappeared. It may be worth checking out in coming days.... note that nothing is yet being claimed!  Ivan's report herewith...
The highlight of the morning was a return of the wintering Avocets with 23 in the centre channel. Good numbers of waders are now in the harbour with at 600 Knot, 1500-2000 Lapwing, 1800 Dunlin and 700 Golden Plover. Within the flock of the Golden Plover one individual stood out as it was in almost full summer plumage, which invoked the interest of a few birders; on further observation the bird seemed to have darker underwings than expected from Golden Plover and shorter tail, it was also having a bit of a hard time from the other plovers. Unfortunately, after the flock was disturbed a few times the bird disappeared. so it would be worth checking out the Golden Plover flock to see if it is more than a European Golden Plover (IL)
 Sam Hill managed to get a dodgy shot (his words!) of the s/plum bird amongst the Golden Plover flock; looks rather like a standard GP from this view, but views of the underwing will help!
Selsey Bill 0745-0910hrs:   Cloudy, showers, wind SW7    (Obs: JA/SH)
Great Northern Diver - 1W, 1 os
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 1 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Slavonian Grebe - 1 os
Gannet - 2E, 11W
Eider - 3 os
R/b Merganser - 4E, 6W, 6 os
Common Scoter - 1E
Kittiwake - 1E, 7W
Razorbill - 2W, 1 os
Guillemot - 1W
Auk sp - 6W


Boxing Day, Thursday, 26th December: Cold and frosty overnight, leading into a very welcome sunny and bright day with only a fairly light SW wind.

Selsey Bill 0745-0900hrs: Sunny, cool, SW 3-4.  (Obs: SH/JA)
Great Northern Diver - 1 os
Red-throated Diver - 2W
Diver sp - 1E, 3W, 1 os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 3W, 2 os
Slavonian Grebe - 1E, 7W, 1 os
Fulmar - 1E
Brent Goose - 1W
Eider - 1E, 2os
Common Scoter - 3E, 8os
Guillemot - 1W
Auk sp - 8W
Med Gull - 1W
Kittiwake - 2W

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: One (and possibly two) Long-tailed Duck offshore, along with 3 Eider and 10 Red-breasted Mergansers. Along the spit, a few Skylarks and Linnets, a beautifully showy Kingfisher on the old harbour mouth, a pair of Goldeneye in the actual harbour mouth and the Peregrine on its island. The harbour was teeming with life in the winter sun, but I couldn't find much else out of the ordinary. Around the churchyard there were 2 Song Thrushes, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 40+ Goldfinches (AH)

Back to Church Norton this afternoon - biggest surprise was a flock of five redhead Goosanders that cruised into the harbour and down the central channel. Also there were 3 Long-tailed Ducks together on the sea and a single Slavonian Grebe and Guillemot offshore, too, but otherwise not much different to this morning (AH).

Redhead Goosanders, the showy Kingfisher and a Song Thrush, Church Norton (A. House)

Selsey East beach- Church Norton: The regular walk by Sam and Sandra commenced at 1000hrs and produced the following:
Eider - 1,
Slavonian Grebe - 3,
R/b Merganser - 6
Razorbill - 1
Ruddy Shelduck - 2 (their 169th species on these walks)
Peregrine - 1
Fieldfare - 1
Grey Wagtail - 1
Cetti's warbler - 1
Reed Bunting - 5  (S & SaH)

Medmerry banks: 14.00  to dusk: Marsh Harrier fem, at least 5 Kestrels, a Green Sandpiper
and 2 Grey Wagtails (SH).


Christmas Day, Wednesday, 25th December: A very merry Christmas to all and best wishes for a bird-filled new year. Brighter, drier and a bit cooler this morning with welcome glimpses of sun, so let us all enjoy the moment, even if the forecast is for the weather to go downhill again shortly. Once again apologies for late news yesterday, due to technical problems beyond my control (blame BT!)

A late report from yesterday from Ian Pitts.... I did undertake a very soggy walk from Selsey to Church Norton between midday and 2pm with actually little to report (I would have been better off sending you some from recent weeks, I have made a mental note to send these in future after each walk). The best sightings were 3 Eider (all females) and a Guillemot offshore, together with the usual R B Mergansers. Also at Park Farm as I reached home a Grey Wagtail flew overhead calling (IP).

At Church Norton, 3 Eider and 6 Red-Breasted Mergansers offshore and 100+ Knot and 6 Bar-tailed Godwits amongst the waders on the beach, and the 2 Ruddy Shelduck still on Sidlesham Ferry (AH).
 Selsey to Church Norton 10.00rs (SH): A Long-tailed Duck, an Eider, 4 R/b Mergansers, 1 Med Gull and a Kittiwake.

That's it for today.  Happy Christmas again OM.

Monday, 23 December 2013

23rd - 24th December 2013

Tuesday, 24th December: The predicted and prolonged storm arrived with a vengeance yesterday evening, reaching its peak around 0300 today before the wind and rain very slowly began to recede. It was probably one of the most severe winter storms for a good many years, resulting in plenty of disruption this morning. Things had improved considerably by mid-morning with a bit of blue sky and even a hint of sunshine appearing as the wind subsided. Once again the sea was watched for a while, although it was back to normal today with nothing out of the ordinary - perhaps a surprise in itself given the ferocity of the storm.
Apologies for late evening updates and/or any info missed from contributors....... seems BT were working on their system today and broadband was unavailable for lengthy periods.
Selsey Bill 0800 - 1000hrs: Overcast then brighter, wind SW6-7. (Obs: SH/SR/CRJ/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 2 os
Red-throated Diver - 1W, 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 4W
Cormorant - 47W
Gannet - 5W
Brent Goose - 26W
R/b Merganser - 19W, 6 os
Common Scoter - 4 os
Pintail - 2W
Razorbill 1w
Auk  sp. 3w
Sparrowhawk - 1 gardens
Kittiwake - 3W
Pied Wagtail - 1 ob

The wall, after the storm (S. Russell)
Sarah comments," the above pic shows how our viewing point looks following the strong tides. The shingle has been sucked away, revealing an earlier garden wall and the area now resembles an archeological site."

Pagham Hbr: The North Fields are flooded and footpaths are only passable with good Wellington boots. Viewed from the North Wall were 1400 Lapwing, 660 Wigeon, 80  Black-tailed Godwits, 23 Redshank, 21 Moorhen and 34 Canada Geese. Happy Christmas. Jim Weston
Church Norton: A Firecrest and a Treecreeper amongst a big mixed flock of Goldcrests and Blue and Great Tits at the bottom of the path from the car-park, and offshore a close-in Black-throated Diver, 3 or 4 Eider, a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls. 
Ferry Pool: The two Ruddy Shelduck present this morning among 126 Common Shelduck and 35 Shoveler (AH).
Goldcrest and Treecreeper at Church Norton, and Ruddy Shelducks at Sidlesham Ferry (A. House)

Monday, 23rd December: Overcast and very windy with rain. Once again sea-watching was the only real option and Sam Hill and Andy House braved the weather for three hours this morning, being rewarded for their efforts with a close Balearic Shearwater. Sam reports, "At 0820 I had a distant shearwater west which I thought a Balearic, then at 0840 a definite Balearic flew west at about half mile distance, Andrew joined me shortly after, he then picked up the shearwater sat on the sea within 100 yds of the shore, it then drifted past in front of us; a few record shots taken."

Selsey Bill 0745 - 1045hrs: Grey and overcast, heavy showers, wind SSW 7-8 (Obs: SH/AH)
Red-throated Diver - 6W
Great Northern Diver - 1 os
Great Crested Grebe - 8W, 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 1W, 1os
Cormorant - 132W
Balearic Shearwater - at least 1W, settled os (see above)
Fulmar - 5W
Gannet - 71W
Teal - 1W
R/b Merganser - 1E, 4W, 6 os
Common Scoter - 2E, 4W, 6 os

Guillemot - 12W
Razorbill - 3W

Auk sp - 42W
Kittiwake - 58W
Rock Pipit - 1 ob               

Record shots of a Balearic Shearwater off the Bill this morning (two above - Sam Hill, below - Andy House)

Selsey East beach - Church Norton: 1200hrs: The regular walk undertaken by SH produced
2 Kittiwakes W and 7 Med Gulls os, plus a drake Goldeneye on the second Several.

Friday, 20 December 2013

20th - 22nd December 2013

Sunday, 22nd December: Another very wet and windy morning, slowly clearing to becoming drier by late morning, but the forecast up until Christmas eve is fairly dire, with severe gales and torrential rain predicted. One piece of good news is that the two Ruddy Shelducks were seen again today; rumours of the demise of one of them would therefore seem somewhat premature!

Selsey Bill: 0800 - 1030hrs: - overcast - Heavy shower - SW6
(Obs: PB - alone until CRJ turned up later, then also Dick Senior, Andy House and Sarah Russell).
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Great Crested Grebe- 4W

Gannet - 3W
Cormorant - 86W (flocks of 57,17 and 12)

Fulmar - 1W
Brent Goose - 5W
Wigeon - 3W
R/b Merganser - 11W, 5 os
Sparrowhawk - 1 gardens
Razorbill - 8W
Guillemot - 2W
Auk sp - 2W
Great B/B Gull - 40 in a flock
Kittiwake - 6W
Rock Pipit - 1 ob

Additional watch: 1445 to 1545hrs (Obs: SH)
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
R/b Merganser -  10E, 1W, 6 os
Auk sp - 1E, 1W
Kittiwake - 4W

Black-headed Gull - 130 os

Ferry Pool: the good news this morning is that both Ruddy Shelducks were present and looking alright. Still plenty of Shelduck, Wigeon, Shoveler and Lapwing present too, plus about 20 Canada Geese (AH).
Back together again; the two Ruddy Shelducks (with Shelduck and Canada Geese), Ferry Pool (A. House)

A report  of a Firecrest at Earnley and a regular Nuthatch on a garden feeder at West Wittering (per G. Michelmore/SOS website)

Saturday, 21st December: The Winter Solstice; the shortest day was greeted with  very wet, gloomy and windy conditions. Even so, three of the regular stalwarts managed to put in a shift at the Bill...well done boys, though the rewards hardly matched the effort involved.

Selsey Bill 0750 to 1050hrs: Gale SSW8, prolonged showers: (Obs: JA/SH/AH)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Red-throated Diver - 5W
Gannet - 17W
Cormorant - 103W
Eider - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 8W, 1os
Common Scoter - 8W, 7os
Oystercatcher - 1E, 1W
Turnstone - 7ob
Kittiwake - 1E, 22W
Med' Gull - 2W
Razorbill - 1W
Guillemot - 3W
auk sp - 3W, 3os
Pied Wagtail - 1ob
Rock Pipit - 1ob.

Walk Selsey to Church Norton (1400hrs)
2 Raven, 1 Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk and a Chiffchaff (S. Hill)

Friday, 20th December: Quite bright for much of the day but cooler, with cloud building later and a fresh-strong SW wind. The next few days leading up to Christmas look decidedly wet and windy according the forecast I saw today. Most folks seem to have been committed today, though fortunately Mr Janman managed to find time for a spot of birding!
Evening update... seems I was a little premature in my prodding and further reports have now been received. Sadly it seems that one of the Ruddy Shelducks has now disappeared (and may perhaps have perished). Whilst there is no evidence it was shot, this is a distinct possibility; I say this because when first found both birds were apparently fit, then after a few days (when shooting and disturbance occurred around farmland margins) Andy House and others noticed one of the two was limping and becoming progressively lame. It may therefore have now succumbed, though of course this is just speculation at present so we must keep an open mind to other possibilities, but if anyone does get further info could they please advise.
A nice day for a ride on the Mountain Bike, although a bit muddy and like riding through treacle at times. Honer Reservoir area, 60 Linnet, 30 Reed Bunting and small numbers of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Yellowhammer. A deafening scream above my head was the result of an adult Peregrine chasing a young bird off from it’s territory. At the sewage farm c10 Pied Wagtails, with a further 7 birds in the field north of the southerly reservoir, also here were 1500+ Brent and a handful of Canada Geese. A female Sparrowhawk flew right in front of me down Church Lane, where still plenty of House Sparrows. Along the North Wall at least 160 Black-tailed Godwits and a Jay at Halsey’s Farm. Very little seen on the return journey through Marsh and Fisher Farms, apart from the odd Buzzard and small numbers of House Sparrow (CRJ).

Further news from Ads Bowley at Pagham Hbr: Nipped down the Harbour today for a couple of hours..... Just one Ruddy Shelduck flew onto Ferry Pond with c12 Shelducks at c1150, rising up from a couple of fields behind as a noisy plane went over. No sign of other one with it....and there was no sign of either 1.5hrs later as I drove back past. Also c20 Canadas and a single Brent around the edges and good numbers of Shoveler on there too.
In the harbour itself there was the usual fare: still good numbers of common waders around, Lapwing, Golden & Grey Plovers, Redshank, Knot, Dunlin, Oysters, Curlew (including 'Milky'), several Bar-wit, a single Black-wit and the pair of Peregrines were on 'their' island for a while and 4 Little Grebes were floating about.  Offshore there was a hell of a swell so viewing not that easy! Four Great Crested Grebes, 2 male Mergansers and c9 Eider were all I could make out whilst 3 Med Gulls were loafing near the shore. (
Also don't know if I mentioned it before, but we had a Treecreeper on 1st Dec in the 'Pallas' tree behind the seat overlooking the crescent. Must be only my 3rd or 4th record for the harbour in over 30yrs!) (AB)

Black-tailed Godwit, Pagham Hbr (Ads Bowley)
This from Andy House..."I was out today....Spent the morning around the East side of the harbour - highlights as follows: Non avian highlight was the Common Seal hauled up on the mud near the hide enjoying the sun, that eventually was joined in the water by a second one that swam in the harbour entrance. Bird highlights were 2 Peregrines on their island, at least 400 Black-tailed Godwits and 300 Golden Plover in the harbour, along with at least 1000 Lapwings, a female Red-breasted Merganser and a Kingfisher by the sluice and two Stonechats by the paddocks (per P. Callis). Also C&ME had one (but sadly not both) Ruddy Shelduck on the Ferry Pool." (AH).
 Common Seals, Peregrine and female R/b Merganser from Pagham Hbr east side (A. House) 
Some good birds at Fishbourne Creek on the rising tide this morning including Jack Snipe, Greenshank, three Spotted Redshanks, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and several Rock Pipits. It was noticeable however that some species were in very short supply - just a single Shelduck and Pintail and no Goldeneye, presumably reflecting the absence of cold weather so far (per P. James/SOS website).

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

17th - 19th December 2013

Thursday, 19th December: Fine and sunny all morning, and remaining dry until late afternoon when cloud and showers arrived. Talking of arriving I had the journey from hell this morning, with hold-up after hold-up on the roads, before I eventually arrived at the Bill. When I got there AH and Peter Callis were watching a flock of divers passing, and divers on the move was really the highlight other than 4 Slavonian Grebes. Elsewhere the 2 Ruddy Shelducks were again present in the middle of the harbour and a Merlin was disturbing the waders big-style. 
Selsey Bill (0830-1230hrs): Sunshine and cloud. Wind SW3  (Obs: AH/PC/OM)
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 65W
Black-throated Diver - 3W
Great Northern Diver - 3W
Diver sp - 2W
Slavonian Grebe - 4W settled os
Shag - 1 os, flew off E then later returned os
Brent Goose - 11E
Gannet - just 1W
Eider - 2E, 1os
R/b Merganser - 12E, 36W, 8os
Common Scoter - 1E, 10 os
Auk sp - 8W
Guillemot - 8W
Kittiwake - 4W
Med Gull - 5W, 2os
Rock Pipit - 2 ob
Pied Wagtail - 2 ob

 Selsey Bill this morning: Red-throated Divers moving west (A. House), looking east along the wall  with not a soul around during a big tide, and Peter 'Palace' Callis (OM).
Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Difficult viewing offshore with a huge swell running, but the two Long-tailed Ducks obligingly got up and briefly flew around. Also offshore, at least six Eider, two Common Scoter, up to 10 Great Crested Grebes and 20 Red-breasted Mergansers. Quiet in the harbour, but at least 150 Grey Plover, 100 Knot and 100 Dunlin roosting on the old harbour entrance (AH). A later visit failed to locate the Long-tailed Ducks and indeed most of the birds noted earlier by AH; just a few Mergansers, Great Crested Grebes and an Eider were located, plus a couple of divers of which one was a probable Black-throated. The 2 Ruddy Shelduck were seen somewhat distantly in the middle of the harbour, and a Merlin was reported by several observers. A massive flock of c.2000 Lapwings with several hundred Golden Plovers was disturbed by the latter over the North Wall side (OM/DM/DIS).

Roosting waders at Church Norton (A. House)
Wednesday, 18th December: A blustery day with cloud and sunshine  during the morning then rain and strong winds during the afternoon; the wind increasing by evening with overnight gales forecast. At the Bill, a brisk southerly and bright sun made viewing difficult, but there was still a bit on the move when Andy House visited.

Selsey Bill 0815-0915hrs:  Sunshine with cloud, S 5-7  (Obs: AH)
Red-throated Diver - 3E, 5W
Diver sp - 2E,1W
Gannet - 4W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E
Kittiwake - 23E
Guillemot - 15E, 40W
Auk sp - 10E, 22W
Pagham Hbr: Ferry Pool: The two Ruddy Shelduck were present this morning (one of them sadly is quite lame) amongst 94 Common Shelduck. Also 48 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 22 Teal, 200+ Wigeon and 200+ Lapwing (AH). A very breezy morning on Pagham Lagoon produced 23 Tufted Duck, 3 Goldeneye, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, 120 Coot, 8 Common  and 5 Med Gulls (J.Weston ).

 Seven Eider off West Itchenor, and the Ruddy Shelducks on the Ferry Pool (A. House)

West Itchenor: A walk south from here produced a nice flock of seven Eider, up to a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers, 200 Brent Geese, 2 Great Crested and 4 Little Grebes and a few Curlew, Redshank and Grey Plover on the high tide (AH).

Tuesday, 17th December: Despite the promise of a brighter day it was still fairly gloomy overall, mainly overcast with a light-mod NE wind. The 2 Ruddy Shelducks were still at Pagham Hbr, viewable from the North Wall, although they were reported earlier as being present on the Ferry Pool. I finally caught up with this colourful duo, with the added bonus of seeing dear old Ron 'Chunky' King, erstwhile Hants resident, long-time twitcher and occasional visitor to the Bill - still going strong as he approaches 80!
Ron 'Chunky' King ticking off the Ruddy Shelducks at Pagham North Wall (OM)

Selsey Bill 0830-0930hrs: Dull, drizzly, wind light NE. (Obs; AH/JD)
Red-throated Diver - 10 came off the sea and then W, 3 dropped onto sea
Red-necked Grebe - 1 W then o/s (per JD)
Slavonian Grebe - 1 o/s
Great Crested Grebe - 2 o/s
Gannet - 7E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 5W 5 o/s
Kittiwake - 5 far o/s, lingering
Auk sp - 12 E, 10+ o/s
Rock Pipit - 1 ob
Pied Wagtail - 1 ob

Pagham Hbr: Church Norton: Dave Potter reported 2 Long-tailed Ducks offshore but I couldn't locate them. Otherwise 4 Eider, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 5 Great Crested Grebes and at least 20 Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea and 3 Red-throated Divers flew west.. (AH)
North Wall: The 2 Ruddy Shelducks were still present with Common Shelducks, out in the harbour and viewable from the Salthouse sluice, although they eventually drifted out of view. Other birders present reported that they had earlier been on the Ferry Pool. Also seen were a Kingfisher, a couple of hundred Golden Plovers and what must have been about 2000 Lapwings; something kept spooking them but Chunky and I couldn't see what - possibly it was a Merlin reported by other birders (OM).

This morning on Pagham Lagoon were eight Goldeneyes including two full males. Also here were a pair of smart Red-breasted Mergansers, some 30 Tufted Ducks, a Pochard, two Gadwall, a few Med Gulls and Water Rails kik-calling in reeds at eastern end (ARK/SOS website).