Thursday, 29 December 2016

29th - 31st December 2016

Saturday, 31st December: Foggy again early on, but clearing through the morning to give a generally cloudy and still day with just a very light westerly breeze.....

The editorial team (sounds posh like that!) would like to wish everyone a happy and bird-filled New Year. There were no additions to the Peninsula List this year so let's hope we can do better in 2017; meanwhile look out for a very prompt Review of the Year compiled again by AH who has been working feverishly to reach his deadline! (OM/AH/BI)

Selsey Bill: (1210-1400hrs) (JA/SH)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Red-throated Diver - 7E, 4W
Red-necked Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1os
Gannet - 13E, 4W
Shag - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 8W, 10os
Grey plover - 60W
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Razorbill 5E, 2W, 6os
auk sp - 74E, 3os 

Coastguard Station: There were several surprises in the Common Scoter flock this morning (c85 birds), in the form of a Long-tailed Duck, a drake Pochard and a female Tufted Duck. Also on the sea were two Red-throated Divers, eight Red-breasted Mergansers and two Mallard, with six Brent Geese flying west. (AH)

Long-tailed Duck with Common Scoters (above) & Pochard and Tufted Duck with Common Scoters from the Coastguard Station (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: There were a Snipe, a Grey Wagtail and a Fieldfare around the farm this morning. (S&SaH)

Later on there was a Redwing at the rear of horse field, a Fieldfare over and a single Greylag Goose over the fields walking out from the Farm towards the Harbour. (IP)

Ferry Pool: Early on there was a Green Sandpiper and eight Shoveler on the pool, and ten Black-tailed Godwits in the channel opposite, whilst later there were 45 Lapwing, a Black-tailed Godwit, 20 Teal and c300 Wigeon on the pool. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing (above) & Wigeon at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: On the sea this morning there were two Velvet Scoters, a Razorbill, a Great Northern Diver,  two Red-throated Divers (with four west and two east offshore, too), seven Slavonian Grebes, ten Great Crested Grebes, 14 Red-breasted Mergansers, and, unusually, a Little Grebe, plus a dozen distant Gannets and at least 500 Brent Geese that flew in from Rectory Lane.
In the harbour there were four Goldeneyes, another ten Little Grebes and a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers, plus plenty of roosting waders. Also, there were 10+ Skylarks and a couple of Stonechats on the spit, with another of the latter on the horse field, and there were a pair of Pochard on the second Several. (AH/BI/S&SaH)

Velvet Scoters (above), Slavonian and Great Crested Grebes, Goldeneye, Pochards & Brent Geese at Church Norton (AH)

Later on there were ten Slavonian Grebes, 6+ Great Crested Grebes, the two Velvet Scoters, five Red-throated Divers and a female Red-breasted Merganser offshore, and in the harbour there were four Avocets behind Tern Island, a Peregrine eating a kill on its usual island and 500+ Dunlin, 100+ Pintail among the regular waders and wildfowl. (IP)

Distant Avocets at Church Norton (IP)

Ivy Lake: The Scaup was on the lake this morning, but there was no sign of the Long-tailed Duck. Also present were ten Shovelers and c.45 Common Pochard. (BI)

                                                                 Scaup at Ivy Lake (BI)

Friday, 30th December: A frustratingly foggy start almost everywhere except the Bill this morning, and proving very slow to clear, too.....

Selsey Bill: There was not too much moving on the flat calm, though a big gathering of gulls brought some interest later on. Full log below
(0740-0840hrs) E, F1-2 cloudy  (JA)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 3W
Gannet - 2W
Brent Goose - 8E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W, 5os
Razorbill - 1os
Wood Pigeon - 16E
(0850-1005hrs) (AH)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 2W
Gannet - 20E, 65W
Shag - 1os then W
Brent Goose - 22E
Common Scoter - 2E
Red-breasted Merganser - 6os
Mediterranean Gull - 6os
Common Gull - 4os
Kittiwake - 1os then W
Sandwich Tern - 4os

Shag (above), Great Northern Diver, Sandwich Terns & Gannet at the Bill (AH)

Coastguard Station: The Black Redstart showed briefly this morning and there were c125 Common Scoter and six Red-breasted Mergansers offshore. (AH)

Black Redstart (above) & Common Scoter at the Coastguard Station (AH)

Church Norton: All that could be found in the fog was the Whimbrel, a few Redshanks and a single Great Crested Grebe offshore, though visiting birders reported Slavonian Grebes and Red-throated Divers on the sea before the fog came in again. (AH/BI) Another look around mid-day (and before it became even foggier!) found 119 Brent Geese close in on the sea and half a dozen each of Wigeon & Teal in the harbour. (BI)

Whimbrel at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: A late afternoon walk in the fog produced - more heard than seen! - a Raven, a Grey Wagtail, a Green Woodpecker and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. (JA)

Ferry Pool: Just three Black-tailed Godwits, three Redshank and c200 Wigeon discernible in the fog this morning. (AH)

Ivy Lake: Early morning found the lake fog-bound and it was still murky later on with just a few Tufted Ducks visible close in. (BI)
Not much on offer in the thick fog, though the four Black Swans came into view, along with one Little Grebe, 6 Great Crested Grebes (some already in breeding plumage), 9 Greylag Geese, 22 Canada Geese, 6 Little Egrets, 6 Mute Swans and 14 Tufted Ducks.  The bushes were generally quiet with 3 Goldcrests, 3 Chiffchaffs and a Jay being the only birds of note, whilst  Nunnery Lake held 6 Gadwall and a pair of Mute Swans. (SR)

Mute Swan on Ivy Lake (SR)

East Beach: An unusual sight this afternoon of a Grey Heron perched on my neighbours' roof before flying down to their fish pond. (SR)

Grey Heron on a Selsey rooftop (SR)

Pagham Beach: This afternoon I came across this gull feeding alongside several Black Headed and Mediterranean Gull. Its mantle was obviously very pale and but the ear coverts and wing tips were 'normal'. I deduced this was an instance of leucism as in every other aspect it was very much a Black-headed Gull. (TG)

(This is presumably the bird reported a few times over the last couple of winters, primarily around Park Farm, Selsey. (Eds))

'Leucistic' Black-headed Gull on Pagham Beach (TG)

Thursday, 29th December: Another cold, crisp and bright day, with early frost giving way to sunshine and a light but chilly SSE breeze.....

Well, three days to go until the New Year, when active year-listers will be chasing about the Peninsula trying to 'mop-up' all those interesting and uncommon species that are still currently with us - such as Long-tailed Duck, Scaup, Velvet Scoter and the like. Many birders will be checking over the next couple of days to ensure their target birds are still present, yet history shows you can take nothing for granted, with all too many scarcer birds taking their cue to disappear just before the New Year starts, so it will be interesting to see how things pan out this time. Fingers crossed....!

Selsey Bill: This morning around 30 Red-throated Divers went west and another ten east, and there were at least two Great Northern Divers on the sea. Also a Razorbill was on the sea, a Sandwich Tern was lingering offshore and there were half a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers around. (PC/BC)

Northcommon Farm, Selsey: There were 57 Curlews feeding in the fields watched over by a Buzzard. A Kestrel was also present and a Green Woodpecker was nearby. (SR)

Medmerry: Breach area - There were two Black Redstarts and a Stonechat around the viewpoint this morning. (&YF)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pool - There were two Greenshanks in the big pool opposite the Stilt Pool this morning, plus a few Curlews and Wigeon, on the Stilt Pool itself there were just a Snipe, a couple of Shoveler and a few Lapwing, Wigeon and Teal, and a Green Sandpiper was near the poplars.
Along the banks there were four pairs of Stonechats, up to a dozen Yellowhammers, 30+ Linnets and a handful of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, whilst up to eight Stock Doves were around Marsh Barn. (AH)

Greenshank (above), Stonechat, Yellowhammers, Stock Dove & Shovelers at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: A Fox flushed a Water Rail from the roadside reeds, a Grey Wagtail was at the back, and on the pool there were five Black-tailed godwits, c200 Wigeon and c50 Lapwing. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit (above), Fox & Fox and Water Rail (top right if you look carefully!) at the Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: A quick late morning look produced the Long-tailed Duck in the harbour, and the three Velvet Scoters, seven Slavonian Grebes, five Great Crested Grebes, six Red-breasted Mergansers and a Red-throated Diver on the sea, with three of the latter going east, and there were also up to a dozen Gannets distantly offshore. There were also  a few Common Gulls along the beach and at least 1000 Brent Geese flew in over Priory Wood.(AH/PC/BC)
Later the Long-tailed Duck was still present, plus 3 Goldeneye in the harbour and offshore 3 Red-throated Divers and 6 Slavonian Grebes, the low afternoon sun making identification increasingly difficult. (BFF/DM)

Slavonian Grebes (above), Red-throated Divers, Brent Geese & Common Gull at Church Norton (AH)

West Itchenor: What a beautiful day with a sharp overnight frost, blue skies and a low winter sun lasting all day. We decided to try a walk that I have not done for several years - from West Itchenor taking the public footpath via Home Farm to Chichester Harbour and viewing from Horse Pond. In the small woods and copses we had a calling Nuthatch and 2 drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers, with 20 each of Redwing and Fieldfare plus a Bullfinch. Viewing the harbour from the sea wall we found 2 Eider, a Great Northern Diver and 8 Red-breasted Mergansers. A stunning male Merlin then flew close by causing havoc amongst thousands of waders. In the marsh behind the sea wall was a calling Water Rail plus 2 feeding Chiffchaffs and 5 Stonechats in the hedgerow. As the tide came up a Whimbrel called flying north up channel. (BFF/DM)

Ivy Lake: The Long-tailed Duck and the Scaup were both still present, as were the Black Swans and a few Canada Geese, and there were also a couple of Chiffchaffs along the path. (AB)

Black Swans (above), Canada Geese & battling Coots on Ivy Lake (AB)

Monday, 26 December 2016

26th - 28th December 2016

Wednesday, 28th December: Another bright, cool and crisp morning, though with a stiff onshore breeze along the coast .....

Selsey BillA fair selection again this morning, including seven Velvet Scoters and several hundred auks going west. Full log below.
(0740-0940hrs) SE4 sun/cloud (JA)
Great Northern Diver - 2os
Red-throated Diver - 8E, 21W
diver sp - 4W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 87E, 41W
Brent Goose - 7E
Common Scoter - 1W

Velvet Scoter - 7W
Red-breasted Merganser - 4E, 9W, 12os
Mediterranean Gull - 1E

Common Gull - 7W
Kittiwake - 34E, 3W

Sandwich Tern - 2E
Razorbill - 14W
Guillemot - 1E, 3W
auk sp - 8E, 352W

Church NortonThere was not as much on the sea in the choppy conditions, but there were still a Red-throated Diver, five Slavonian Grebes, a Razorbill, four Red-breasted Mergansers and four Great Crested Grebes to be seen, plus a dozen distant Gannets and 20 Common Gulls and four Mediterranean Gulls along the beach.
The four Goldeneye were still in the harbour, along with plenty of Wigeon and Pintail, but most of the waders were roosting.
Also, there were at least 1000 Brent Geese in the fields along Rectory Lane again. (AH) Later on a Long-tailed Duck dropped in offshore from the west and the Brent Geese moved en masse into the harbour. (BI)

Red-throated Diver (above), Slavonian Grebes & Goldeneye at Church Norton (AH)

Brent Geese, below (BI)

Ferry Pool: There were just two Black-tailed Godwits on the pool, but at least 100 Lapwing were on Ferry Field and 250 Wigeon were on the adjacent arable field. (AH)

Long Pool: Just two Reed Buntings were along the pool, whist at the far end of Ferry Channel there were 28 Avocets, two Bar-tailed Godwits, 50+ Grey Plovers and Redshanks and hundreds of Wigeon and Teal. (AH)

Avocets (above) & Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Wigeon and Teal in Ferry Channel (AH)

Ivy Lake: The Long-tailed Duck was by the Water-ski jetties this morning and the Scaup was in the middle of the lake. A few Shoveler and Pochard, plus the four Black Swans and six Common Gulls were also on Ivy Lake, whilst at least 14 Gadwall were on the small lakes, and several Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs were among the roaming Long-tailed Tits. (AH)

Long-tailed duck (above), Scaup, Gadwall & Common Gull on Ivy Lake (AH)

West Itchenor & Pond: Not a great deal on offer this morning bird-wise, but on the saltmarsh were at least five Snipe and six Rock Pipits, whilst in the channel were several hundred Dunlin flying to and fro, plus c.400 Brent Geese and several Red-breasted Mergansers. The woods around the pond were quiet today, producing just half a dozen Goldcrests and a few Long-tailed Tits, a Buzzard, two Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a single Fieldfare. The highlight at the latter site was probably a Roe Deer casually prancing around the woods and gardens. (OM)

Roe Deer at Itchenor (OM)

Chichester Marina: In the channel were eight Goldeneye, three Red-breasted Mergansers, 100 Wigeon and 45 Little Grebes, plus 40 Oystercatchers, a Kingfisher and c.250 Brent Geese. Small birds were few; a Chiffchaff was calling from Saltern's Copse and around the marsh were a couple of Snipe, another Kingfisher, two Buzzards and a Cetti's Warbler. (OM)

Bank Holiday Tuesday, 27th December: A beautiful, crisp morning after a frosty start and not a breath of wind all day...

Selsey Bill: There were plenty of divers on the move this morning, and offshore, though less Gannets than yesterday. Full log below. (JA/SH/AH/CN/C&ME)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 7E, 43W, 10os
diver sp - 4E, 5W
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1W
Gannet - 9E, 46W, 20os
Brent Goose - 6E, 34W
Common Scoter - 1E, 25W, 12os
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 5W, 4os
Merlin - 1W
Mediterranean Gull - 1os
Kittiwake - 6E
Razorbill - 3E, 3W
Guillemot - 1os
auk sp - 3E, 11W
Stonechat - 1p

Great Northern Diver (above), Common Scoters & a dramatic sunrise at the Bill (AH)

Park Farm, Selsey: The Dartford Warbler was showing again this morning, along with two Stonechats. (S&SaH)

Coastguard Station: The flock of c100 Common Scoter were again offshore, though fairly distant, plus a few Gannets well out to sea. (AH)

Church Norton: A good selection was on the sea again, though often distant in the flat calm conditions, including three Velvet Scoters, a Long-tailed Duck, 12 Slavonian Grebes, 10 Great Crested Grebes, seven Red-breasted Mergansers and three Red-throated Divers, with three more of the latter, and three Common Scoters flying west far offshore, where there were also a few Gannets among the big gull flock.
In the harbour the other Long-tailed Duck was showing well with four Goldeneye, eight Red-breasted Mergansers and at least a dozen Little Grebes, along with 30 Pintail and large numbers of the commoner waders and wildfowl.
A huge flock - c1000 - Brent Geese were in the fields along Rectory Lane before decamping, half into the harbour and half  offshore. Again it was quiet for passerines, though the Dartford Warbler briefly showed itself along the beach and there were a few Skylarks on the spit. (AH/A&YF)

Long-tailed Duck (above), Velvet Scoters, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebes, Brent Geese & Knot and Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just a single Black-tailed Godwit on the pool, though there were a couple of hundred Lapwing and Wigeon on the fields. (AH)

Black-tailed Godwit on the Ferry (AH)

Ivy Lake: Both the Long-tailed Duck and Scaup were reported as present by visiting birders this morning. (Eds)

Fishbourne Creek: A Water Pipit was present today. (M Silk)

Water Pipit at Fishbourne Creek (M Silk)

Boxing Day, Monday 26th December: A fairly brisk day, with some sunshine but a moderate north-north-westerly breeze....

Selsey Bill: Quite a bit of activity this morning, including a Long-tailed Duck west and a lot of Gannets feeding offshore. Full log below. (SH/AH/SR/CN)
Great Northern Diver - 4os
Red-throated Diver - 14E, 1os
Slavonian Grebe - 4os
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 5E, 177W, 50os
Shag - 1os
Common Scoter - 5E, 32W
Long-tailed Duck - 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 14W
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Kittiwake - 2E, 13W
Sandwich Tern - 1os
Guillemot - 4E
Razorbill - 2W
auk sp - 12E, 15W
Pied Wagtail - 1p

Long-tailed Duck (above), Red-throated Divers & Great Northern Diver off the Bill (centre) (AH) and (below) Pied Wagtail on the beach (SR)

Coastguard Station: The Common Scoter flock was still present, now divided into two, along with a Great Northern Diver. (SR)

Park Farm, Selsey: A Grey Wagtail and a Stonechat were present this morning. (S&SaH)

Church Norton: There was quite a lot present offshore this morning, including a Long-tailed Duck, two (and probably up to six) Velvet Scoters, four Eider, 35 Common Scoters, 12 Red-breasted Mergansers, four Red-throated Divers, a Great Northern Diver east, four Slavonian Grebes and two Great Crested Grebes. 
There were also c30 Gannets and c20 Razorbills among a couple of big feeding flocks of gulls fairly close inshore, with another flock of 500+ birds out on the distant horizon.
The other Long-tailed Diuck was present again in the harbour, along with four Goldeneye (one drake, three ducks), four Red-breasted Mergansers and at least a dozen Little Grebes, whilst a Raven flew in from the Severals direction and settled briefly at the back of the churchyard, and another (possibly different) two were feeding on Tern Island before drifting off east.
The Whimbrel was in its usual area, but small birds were few, though there were a couple of Stonechats in the horse field, a couple of Meadow Pipits along the spit and a few Long-tailed Tits around the car-park. (AH/S&SaH)

Slavonian Grebe (above), Velvet and Common Scoters, Common Scoters, Raven, Stonechat & Redshanks at Church Norton (AH)

Ferry Pool: There were c300 Lapwing on the field, along with a dozen Curlews and 50 Wigeon, with just ten Teal on the pool this morning. (AH)

Lapwings on Ferry Field (AH)

This afternoon there were 500+ Brent Geese on the fields by the Trident Business Park, between the Ferry and Church Norton. (S&SaH)

Ivy Lake: The Long-tailed Duck was still present this morning (J-PC), making it possibly four different individuals on the peninsula today. (Eds)

Long-tailed Duck on Ivy Lake (J-PC)

Medmerry: Easton Lane area - There were around 15 Redwings and the same of Fieldfares around the poplars, a Dartford Warbler was by the first viewpoint, and also seen were three Stonechats, ten Yellowhammers and a couple of Buzzards. (S&SaH)