Tuesday, 30 December 2014

30th - 31st December 2014

Wednesday, 31st December: A grey, gloomy start with a moderate south-westerly wind....which was decidedly chilly on the coast. And as 2014 draws to a close Andy and I wish everyone a VERY HAPPY AND BIRD-FILLED NEW YEAR (OM).

Selsey Bill (0745 - 1000hrs): Cloudy, chilly, wind SSW 4-5  (Obs: SH/JA/OM)
Red-throated Diver - 2E, 7W, 1 os
Great Northern Diver - 1E, 2 os
diver sp - 7E, 3W
Slavonian Grebe - 1E, 1 os
Great Crested Grebe - 3E, 4W
Gannet - 3E, 11W
Brent Goose - 3W
Common Scoter - 3E
Red-breasted Merganser - 17E, 2 os
Oystercatcher - 6W
Guillemot - 23W, 7 os
Razorbill - 22W
auk sp - 3E, 403W
Kittiwake - 86W
Common Gull - 78W
Med Gull - 1E, 1W

At the Bill this morning; above - a bit of divine intervention.? ...(if so it didn't make for easy counting of distant birds) and below - JA and SH in action logging auks (Sam is not asleep just using his phone!)(OM)

Church Norton: The Green Sandpiper was still around Park Farm,  the two Ruddy Shelduck were in the harbour, a drake Goosander was in the channel off Tern Island along with a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers and four Stonechats along the front. (S&SaH) Also 15 Avocets were off the end of the Long Pool. (KF) A single Slavonian Grebe and 6 Great Crested Grebes were offshore (OM/SR)

Honer Farm and Reservoir: No sign of the usual two Whooper Swans this winter as far as I know, but a flock of 41 Mutes on the South Mundham fields. On the reservoir 49 Black-headed Gulls, 4 Common Gulls, 3 Mediterranean Gulls, 4 Coot and a pair of Gadwall. Also present were a Stonechat and 5 Meadow Pipit. Not much else to report except for a couple of Kestrel and a flock of c750 Brent Geese up over Marsh Farm. (CRJ)
Ferry Pool: The Bean Goose was not on the field, but I am pretty certain it flew over with a flock of Brent Geese that came in from the west and went off over the harbour. There were many less Brent Geese than yesterday, though the Canada and two Greylag Geese were still present, along with 300 Wigeon, 40 Shoveler, 100+ Black-tailed Godwit and 500 Lapwing. Also a Cetti's Warbler was in the reeds by the road, and 5 rey partridges flew into the nearby arable fields from the west side, where shooting was taking place. (AH)

Pagham Spit and Lagoon: There was a total of 9 Goldeneye (3 drakes}; five on the lagoon and four in the harbour mouth channel, where 7 Red-breasted Mergansers were also present and at least one Spoonbill was feeding. A Chiffchaff was in the small bushes near the hide (OM).
Fishbourne Creek: Highlight of an interesting morning were three Spoonbills dropping into the creek before going back out into the main channel - they were all 1st-winters and unringed, presumably the birds from Snowhill Creek.
Other highlights included a male Marsh Harrier over, 3 Goldeneye in the channel, about 6 Spotted Redshank and 5 Greenshank spread about the area, a Whimbrel in the same area as one previously wintered near the boatyard, two pairs of Stonechats and about half a dozen Rock Pipits.
There were a few Common Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull about, 100+ Black-tailed and a few Bar-tailed Godwits, masses of the commoner waders and probably 2000 Brent Geese, though flocks were coming and going all morning. (AH/KF)
Spoonbills (above), Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Rock Pipit, Stonechat & Common Gull along Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Birdham: There were c80 Golden Plover, c40 Lapwing and c200 Brent Geese in the arable field just south of Cowdry Farm, along the Birdham straight this morning. (AH)
Tuesday, 30th December: A bright, cold start with heavy frost quickly gave way to a cloudy but still day. Bird-wise the Tundra Bean Goose was still present at the Ferry and there were some hints of a bit of hard-weather movement with wildfowl numbers beginning to increase and a handful of divers off the Bill....

Selsey Bill (0830-0945hrs): Very frosty, sunny and calm, wind NW1-2 (Obs: OM)
Red-throated Diver - 10E, 4W
Great Northern Diver - 4 os
Diver sp - 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 5 os
R/b Merganser - 2E, 2 os
Razorbill - 1 os

Selsey - Drift Lane area: A Woodcock flushed from a bit of frozen marsh and showed well although briefly, and there was at least one Jack Snipe and 15 Common Snipe this morning, plus a Great Spotted Woodpecker, whilst nearby c.100 Curlew were feeding in a damp field behind the old Coastguard cottages (OM),

Ferry Pool: The Tundra Bean Goose was still present on the fields this morning in the company of 2 Greylag Geese, about 60 Canada Geese and 300 Brent Geese. (It seems to show quite a lot of orange on the bill for Tundra, but its size and structure would seem to support this conclusion - see pics below).
There were also 120 Black-tailed Godwits, 20-30 Curlew and many hundreds of Lapwing on the fields and at least 300 Wigeon and 40 Shoveler on the pool. Also, a Water Rail was lurking in the roadside reedbed. (AH/BI)

Tundra Bean Goose with Brent Geese (above), with Greylag Goose, Black-tailed Godwits & Wigeon and Shoveler on the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A male Brambling was in the hedge at the back of the field before the harbour, but little else of note. (A&YF)
Three Goosander - two males and a female - were off the beach early this afternoon. (BI) 
Goosander off Church Norton (BI)
No joy with the Goosanders later in the afternoon, but the three Spoonbills were performing well in the channel beside the spit. The only birds on a flat calm sea were a Guillemot and two Great Crested Grebes, and there was not much else out of the ordinary in the harbour, though a drake Red-breasted Merganser was in the harbour mouth. (AH)
All three Spoonbills together (above) & separately at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Chainbridge to Ham viewpoint - There were 1000 plus Brent Geese at Ham Farm, and the Southern Pochard was still on the long pool. Also present were a Chiffchaff, a few Yellowhammers, a pair of Stonechats and a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits around the sluice. (BI)


Chiffchaff at Medmerry (BI)


Chainbridge Field: A Short-eared Owl was out and about in the mist at dusk (SR).

Chichester GP's - Drayton Pit: Plenty of wildfowl were present: 70 Shoveler, 40 Gadwall, 25 Pochard, Great Crested Grebes, Little Grebes and good numbers of Teal plus hundreds of Coot. Few passerines to report except for a few Long-tailed Tits and two Goldcrests (BI/OM).

Goldcrests at Drayton GP (OM)
A check of Ivy Lake and Westhampnett pits failed to produce anything of significance and certainly no sign of any cold-weather scarcities! (OM)
West Wittering: The three Spoonbills at Snowhill Marsh were still present today (per BFF) so we still have six present on the Peninsula.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

28th - 29th December 2014

Monday, 29th December: A very cold and frosty morning, fine and sunny again with a fresh NW wind, although the temperature today may only just about get above freezing. One item of early news concerning found property..... I got a call from Paul Bowley who had found some spectacles/shades in an expensive looking black case at the Bill. If they are yours and you can identify them, please contact me or Paul to arrange their return (OM).
Selsey Bill: (0800 - 0930hrs) (Obs: AGB/PB)
Great Northern Diver - 1os
Red-throated Diver - 2W, 2E
Gannet - 7E
Shelduck  4W
Common Scoter - 5W

Red-breasted Merganser - 2W, 2os
Turnstone 12E
Oystercatcher - 7W
Kittiwake - 1W
Common Gull - 3W
Razorbill - 1W, 2E, 1os
auk sp - 1W, 3E
Wood Pigeon  54W (1 flock)

Ferry Pool: A Tundra Bean Goose was at the back of the pool this morning with the Canada Geese, and there were also 2 Greylag Geese and several hundred Brent Geese and Wigeon on the grass. There were at least 120 Black-tailed Godwits, 30 Curlews, 50 Golden Plover and 500+ Lapwing on the fields, a Water Rail and six Snipe  on, and a Kingfisher over the pool, and there were still three Gadwall, c50 Shovelers and c40 Shelduck present, too. (IL/AH/AGB/PB/SR)
The Tundra Bean Goose was still present late afternoon. (S&SaH)
Bean Goose (above) & Black-tailed Godwits and Shovelers on the Ferry (AH)
Church Norton: The Whimbrel, the leucistic Curlew and the two Ruddy Shelducks were in the harbour, and the three Spoonbills and an Avocet were in the channel at the end of the Long Pool. (AGB/PB)
North Wall: A Spotted Redshank was in White's Creek, feeding south of the sluices (S. Thomas)
Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - There was a Rock Pipit briefly on the rocks this morning and there were five Sanderlings and a Dunlin on the now quite large area of sand around the breach. Not much in the pools, about 20 Grey Plover, 20 Dunlin and a couple of Curlew was about it, and there was just a flock of 30 or so Goldfinches and a few Meadow Pipits along the fences. (AH)
Sanderling (above) & Grey Plover at Medmerry (AH)
Medmerry: Easton Lane area - Not a lot in a fairly quick look, though a dozen or so Fieldfares were on the uncropped field just past the first pool, at least 100 Teal were on the tidal area and a Snipe came out of one of the ditches. (AH)
Medmerry: Chainbridge Field to Ham Farm - One Short-eared Owl was present along the hedgerow of Chainbridge Field, but didn't seem very keen to hunt, a Green Sandpiper came out of one of the ditches and there were a couple of Buzzards about, too. (S&SaH/AH)
Spot the Short-eared Owl! Chainbridge Field (AH)
There was a huge flock of Brent Geese - at least 1500 - at Ham Farm, and there were 100+ Golden Plover and 200+ Lapwing in the same field.
A Stonechat, a Skylark and 10+ Meadow Pipits were along the bank, the Southern Pochard was still present and a Water Rail was in another of the ponds. There were also 20+ Dunlin and 10+ Ringed Plover on the tidal area nearby. (AH)
Part of the Brent Goose flock, Golden Plovers, Southern Pochard, Dunlin and Ringed Plover and sunset at Medmerry (AH)

Sunday, 28th December: A cold but splendidly fine and sunny winter's day, with a biting N/NE wind....

Selsey Bill (0745-1030hrs) Cold, sunny (Obs: SH/JA/SR/StH)
Great Northern Diver - 3os
Black-throated Diver - 1os

Red-throated Diver - 6E, 20W, 5os
diver spp - 5E,10W
Great Crested Grebe - 1os

Gannet - 32E, 19W
Mute Swan - 2E
Brent Goose - 3E
Shelduck - 16W
Teal - 5E, 9W, 9os
Wigeon - 65E, 35W, 20os
Pintail - 37E, 4W

Shoveler - 4E, 4W
Eider - 2W
Common Scoter - 1os
Red-breasted Merganser -  2E, 9os
Turnstone - 14E

Dunlin - 1W
Sanderling - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 2E, 2os
Kittiwake - 8E, 2W
Razorbill - 1E

auk spp - 3E
Skylark - 1N

(also a Chiffchaff at East Beach pond) (SH).

Church Norton: The rarest bird of the morning for me - which will hardly set the pulses racing, but in 5 years this is only my third sighting - was a pair of Gadwall on the 2nd Several. Otherwise there was no sign of any Spoonbills this morning in the harbour on the low tide, but both the Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper were just beyond Park Farm, a male Stonechat was along the fence line at the start of the Spit, whilst offshore there was just one Great Crested Grebe, and two Red-breasted Mergansers, which flew along the shoreline. (IP)
To add to the above list,there were 5 Avocets and a Yellow-legged Gull in the harbour, and a Red-throated Diver and 11 Pintail offshore. (S&SaH)

North Wall: About five Snipe along the Breach Pool, plus 40 Teal and a handful of Reed Buntings, but not much else. There was a big flock of Brent Geese (800?) in the field with the footpath through it, and there were plenty of Curlews and Black-tailed Godwits at the far end, too distant to count. (AH)

Snipe on the Breach Pool (AH)

Pagham Lagoon: A very smart drake Goldeneye was the highlight, and there were also 6 Pochard, 30 Tufted Duck, 40 Little Grebes and a few Common Gulls present. (AH)

Goldeneye (above), Pochard & Little Grebe on Pagham Lagoon (AH)

Ferry Pool: Still large numbers of birds on the fields, including 80+ Black-tailed Godwits, 40+ Curlew, 400 Brent Geese, 200 Wigeon and at least 1000 Lapwing. On the pool itself there were 3 Gadwall, 30 Shoveler and similar of Shelduck and Teal. (AH)
Gadwall on the Ferry (AH)

Thursday, 25 December 2014

25th - 27th December 2014

Saturday, 27th December: A bit of a wet, wild and windy night but by morning the front had passed through, leaving a cold, dry and fairly sunny day with a strong NW wind....
Selsey Bill (07.40 - 10.00hrs): Cold, bright, wind NW 5-6 (Obs: JA/SH/CN)
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Red-throated Diver - 3W
diver spp - 3E, 3W
Slavonian Grebe - 1E, 2os
Great Created Grebe -  1W
Gannet - 158E, 19W
Brent Goose - 7W
Teal - 4W
Common Scoter - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 6os
Great Skua - 1W
Kittiwake - 100E, 16W
Mediterranean Gull 4W, 2os
Razorbill - 1E, 3W
auk sp - 13E, 55W

Church Norton: The Green Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail were both by Park Farm reservoir this morning, two Ravens flew over Church Norton and there were four Red-breasted Mergansers on the sea. (S&SaH)
Not much of note in the harbour in a quick look, though there were plenty of common waders, including c200 Knot. (AH)

Knot at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall: A cold, brisk NW wind along the Wall this morning White's Creek was almost deserted - just a few Wigeon, and one each of Little Egret and Spotted Redshank. The Breach Pool was similarly quiet with 70 Teal, 53 Black-tailed Godwits and a Spotted Redshank. Honer Field held 700 Brent Geese, 90 Curlew, 44 Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Lapwing, 260 Wigeon and 14 Moorhens. Elsewhere along the Wall was quiet. The large field immediately east of Marsh Farm held 200 Lapwing, 45 Curlew, 12 Black-tailed Godwits and 300 Wigeon. There were 800 (skittish) Wigeon in the field between The Wall and Halseys Farm. (JDW)

Pony & Curlew along the North Wall (JDW)
Medmerry: West Sands to the breach - Windy conditions made viewing difficult this morning, but a Peregrine flew through, a couple of Stonechats, c10 Meadow Pipits and c40 Goldfinches were along the banks, and on the pools there were a few Grey Plover, half a dozen Shelduck and 30 Teal. Also there were 45 Curlews on the small paddocks immediately before the caravan park check-point at Warner Lane. (AH) 
Curlews at Warner Lane (AH)
Ferry Pool: A lot of birds again this morning, mostly on the fields, including the two Ruddy Shelduck, 42 Shelduck, 38 Shoveler, c400 Brent Geese, c200 Wigeon, c50 Teal, 30 Curlew, 25 Black-tailed Godwits and at least 1000 Lapwing. (AH)
Ruddy Shelducks, Shelducks and Lapwing on the Ferry (AH)
Medmerry: Easton Lane westwards - Birds seen this afternoon included a Green Sandpiper, a Greenshank, a Kingfisher, 17 Fieldfare, 29 Gadwall, 2 Stonechat, 5 Yellowhammer & 2 Reed Bunting. (S&SaH/IP separately)
Ham Farm area - No sign of the White-fronted Goose in its favoured field, though there were about 800 Brent Geese! There were another 120 in the field by the farm, along with 200 Lapwing and 40 Golden Plover, and around the hedgerows/fences were single Corn Bunting and Yellowhammer, a pair of Stonechats and a few Meadow Pipits. Also seen were 4-5 Kestrels and Buzzards, but no other more 'interesting' raptors. (AH)

Kestrel & Buzzard (above) & Stonechat at Medmerry (AH)

Ivy Lake: No sign of the female Red-Crested Pochard, though there were 10 Common Pochard, including 2 females, and the best sighting was 2 Kingfishers zipping across the smaller pools. (IP)

Fishbourne Creek: It was very full of water at high tide, but not brimming with birds; highlight being 3 Goldeneyes, 2 of which were drakes. (IP)

Boxing Day, Friday, 26th December: A cold start with heavy overnight frost, then cloudy with a light ENE wind, but with the prospect of rain by afternoon. At the Bill a few wildfowl and bits and pieces moving about, and an increase of Great Northern Divers offshore to nine..........

Selsey Bill (07.45 - 10.00hrs} cloudy, cold, wind NE 1/2.  (Obs: JA/SH/SRCN}
Red-throated Diver - 7E, 5W, 1 os
Great Northern Diver - 9 os
Diver sp - 1E
Slavonian Grebe - 1E, 1 os
Great Crested Grebe - 4E, 4 os
Brent Goose - 20W, 1 os
Gannet - 3E, 4W
Eider - 1 os
Shelduck - 2W
Pintail - 3 os
Wigeon - 9E, 9W
Teal - 9W
Dunlin - 8W
Curlew -  1W
Oystercatcher - 23 ob
Peregrine - 1 os
Med Gull - 5 os
There were still 5 Great Northern Divers and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers offshore at midday. (AH)
Great Northern Diver off the Bill (AH)
Church Norton: I cycled along to Church Norton this afternoon, getting rather wet in the process. The tide was rapidly rising and there were plenty of our usual waders and waterfowl to please the visitors, but nothing out of the ordinary apart from the drumming Woodpecker in the Priory grounds. The 3 Spoonbills were roosting on Tern Island alongside a couple of Grey Herons and a handful of Little Egrets. A dozen close-in Pintails were looking rather splendid, 4 Mergansers were diving for their lunch, and Grey Plover, Knot, Dunlin and Redshank jostled for position on the remaining little islands and promontories. (SR)
It was pretty quiet ealier on - one of the Spoonbills out on the mud was the highlight, and a solitary juvenile Brent Goose was the only bird on a perfectly calm sea! (AH)
Spoonbill at Church Norton (AH)

Our regular walk to Norton early this afternoon produced the Green Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail at Park Farm, the 3 Spoonbills roosting on Tern Island, 8 Red-breasted Mergansers
in the harbour and a Stonechat on the spit, along with a Red-throated Diver and 2 Gannets offshore. (S&SaH)

Ferry Pool: Still up to 1000 Lapwing on the field, along with 80 Brent Geese, 50 Canada Geese and 200 Wigeon. Along the edge of the pool were 40 Shelduck and 25 Shoveler. (AH)

Christmas Day, Thursday, 25th December: A fine, cold and crisp day with a cool W/NW wind. The editors would like to wish all contributors, regulars and casual visitors to this blog site the compliments of the season and hope you have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas (AH/OM). Wasn't too sure there would be any birding news today, but as ever several of the locals managed to make it out in the field for a short while.......
Church Norton: This morning there was a single Spoonbill that flew into Tern Island, a Greenshank on the island, a Raven over, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers in the harbour, a Stonechat on the horse's field, and the Grey Wagtail and Green Sandpiper around Park Farm Reservoir. (S&SaH/IP/AH)
Raven (above), Spoonbill & the resident Redshank by the bench at Church Norton (AH)

Chichester GP's - Ivy Lake: Generally quiet apart from a few Cormorants in the roost and a scattering of Great Crested Grebes and Tufted Ducks. On Copse lake the female Red-crested Pochard was showing well along with a Kingfisher and there were eight Little Egrets in their roost (BI}

 Red-crested Pochard, Kingfisher and roosting Little Egrets at Chichester GPs (BI}

Medmerry: A nice day for a bike ride but the birds seemed to be keeping tucked away out of the wind..... Chainbridge Field to Ham:  No owls despite a good search, 4 Stonechats close to the bridge, and a Kingfisher flew across heading toward the pools.  Further along toward Ham the lonely White-fronted Goose was in its usual place, happily munching away, whilst on the Ham long pool the Southern Pochard kept company with a few Tufted Ducks. 

West Sands - Breach Viewpoint: It was high tide when I reached the viewpoint; 2 more Stonechats were in the field opposite, a Buzzard, a chattering flock of Goldfinches, c30 Grey Plover, and assorted Teal and Wigeon, Stock Doves and Lapwings in the fields and distantly a large flock of Brent (SR}.