Wednesday, 28 September 2016

28th - 30th September 2016

Friday, 30th September:  A fairly unsettled day, with the westerly breeze picking up and bringing some fairly frequent heavy showers between spells of warm sunshine.....

Selsey Bill: A slow but steady morning overall, with just about enough happening to maintain the interest (well, OM's anyway!) throughout. Although most of the action concerned visible migration of passerines and hirundines moving west, there was also a small tern movement and an Arctic Skua offshore, whilst the long-staying Dartford Warbler was again re-located in the Bill House garden (A&YF), showing well but briefly, and a dozen Chiffchaffs were present in the gardens.  Full log below.....
0730-1300hrs: W4-5   (Obs: OM/SR/C&ME/AH/A&YF/JA et al)
Brent Goose - 7W
Common Scoter - 3E
Ringed Plover - 3W
Turnstone - 51 ob
Sparrowhawk - 1 area
Arctic Skua - 1W (d/p)
Sandwich Tern - 23W (inc flock 11), 1os 
Arctic Tern - 2W (juv's, close in,1220hrs)
Mediterranean Gull - 12W, 3os
Razorbill - 2E
auk sp - 1E
Meadow Pipit - 445W
Pied Wagtail - 12W
Grey Wagtail - 5W
Swallow - 700+ W 
House Martin - 22W
Skylark - 2W
Goldfinch - 110W
Greenfinch - 6W
Siskin - 8W
Dartford Warbler - 1 Bill House garden
Chiffchaff - 12 gardens

Dartford Warbler in Bill House garden (above AF) (below OM)

Selsey - East Beach pool: Six Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests present early afternoon (OM)

Ferry Pool/Ferry Channel: There were just two Black-tailed Godwits and 16 Teal on the pool, and a Hobby shot over heading south early this morning, whilst the Kingfisher was again in Ferry Channel, along with a Whimbrel and a Spotted Redshank. Also, there were at least a dozen Blackcaps and half a dozen Chiffchaffs in the bushes around the nearby Discovery Area. (AH)

Kingfisher (above), Whimbrel & Blackcaps around the Ferry (AH)

North Wall: A good selection this morning, including the Osprey fishing over the harbour again and a Hobby upsetting the hirundines (c200 Swallows and c50 House Martins) on the wires in Church Lane and it or another over the North Wall later, plus the Peregrine over the harbour and two Ravens west along the wall.
On the Breech Pool there were up to nine Spotted Redshanks and a dozen Greenshank, plus c80 Black-tailed Godwits, seven Snipe, three Dunlin, c120 Redshank and c50 Lapwing.
There were at least four (and probably more) Wheatears and two Stonechats along the wall, and one or two Reed and Sedge Warblers, Whitethroats and Blackcaps were seen, plus a few Chiffchaffs and Reed Buntings, with numerous Swallows and Meadow Pipits over, and a Mistle Thrush was briefly near the stables. 
There was not much around Halsey's Farm other than a few Stonechats and Blackcaps with the occasional Chiffchaff, too. (AH/BI/TG/PC et al)

Hobby (above), Osprey, Wheatears, House Martin and Swallow, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Raven, Spotted Redshanks, Greenshank and Redshank & Greenshank and Lapwings around the North Wall (AH)

Pagham Spit: Many small birds mid-morning but nothing out of the ordinary, the best being five Wheatears and three Stonechats. There were 37 Turnstones & two Redshanks on Little Lagoon and a Peregrine and a Raven were involved in a short dual overhead. (BI)

Stonechat and Wheatear at Pagham Spit (BI)

Church Norton: A Spotted Flycatcher and a Willow Warbler were behind the hide this morning and 20+ Blackcaps and 50+ Chiffchaffs were in the churchyard. (A&YF)

Robin chilling at Church Norton! (AF)

Long Pool: This evening there were 20+ Chiffchaffs and 10+ Blackcaps among a big mixed flock of Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits along the pool, and two Greenshank and five Grey Plover among 50+ Redshank and 100+ Teal and Wigeon along Ferry Channel, plus the Kingfisher flew through. (AH)

Greenshank (above) & Grey Plover in Ferry Channel (AH)

Sidlesham: Whilst watching huge numbers of gulls, including many hundreds of MMediterranean Gulls, going over our garden heading for the harbour from Medmerry a really small male Merlin shot through heading east. (AH)

Thursday, 29th September:  A truly dismal start to the day, with a strong south-westerly wind and persistent heavy drizzle, before brightening up a little late morning.....

We are grateful to Ivan Lang, Conservation Warden at Pagham Harbour RSPB, for the following.....    
"Hi All, something to update those who came across to Tern Island last winter:-
You may remember that I put out a request for help with some management to help Little Terns, one of South East priority species and we had an amazing response with over 50 volunteers days over three visits to Tern Island. Well due to all the hard work carried out in the winter we had a very successful year on Tern Island and possibly the best ever. So here are the results.......

13 pairs of Little Tern (there was one on the spit but 12 were on Tern Island) which fledged 11 young
3 pairs of Sandwich Tern which fledged 3
15 pairs of Common Tern which fledged 15
59 pairs of Black-headed Gull which fledged 58

Also Skylark, Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher fledged on the island
And here are a couple of photos of the new arrivals.......

 Black-headed Gull (above) and Little Tern chicks in nest (IL)

So thanks for all the help and watch this space for the up and coming winter” (IL)

Selsey Bill: There really wasn't much this morning, with just a few Brent Geese, Sandwich Terns and Mediterranean Gulls west, a Sanderling which dropped in with a few Turnstones on the beach and a few Swallows battling the weather. In the end five hours watching were clocked up - I didn't plan it that way but several observers came and went to keep me company....and even when they went a tiny mouse (presumably a young Field Mouse?) came up to join me at the bench, running around my feet and tripod! (OM)  Full log below.....
0720-1220hrs: SW6-7   (Obs: OM/AH/BFF/DM/SR et al)
Gannet - 11W
Common Scoter - 2W
Brent Goose - 38E
Dunlin - 1W
Sanderling - 1 ob
Turnstone - 20 ob
Oystercatcher - 4W
Sandwich Tern - 6W
Mediterranean Gull - 4W
Meadow Pipit - 8W
Pied Wagtail - 2 ob
Swallow - 45W

 Brent Geese passing the Bill and Sanderling on the beach (OM)

Tiny the Mouse (presumed juvenile Field Mouse unless someone tells me otherwise) at my feet and keeping me company by the bench this morning.....well, you must admit he's cute! (OM)

Selsey: East Beach pond area: A total of 10 Chiffchaffs were present in the trees and bushes. (OM)

Ferry Pool: Just a Snipe, a Black-tailed Godwit, three Shelduck and eight Teal were on the pool this morning. (AH)

Church Norton: There was not much to report in the dire weather and a near-full tide, though there were two Greenshank, six Bar-tailed Godwits and a Whimbrel among the few waders on show, and there were at least a dozen Chiffchaffs along the sheltered side of the hedge by the path to the beach and a few more around the hide. (AH)
A later walk along Norton Lane to Greenlease Farm and The Severals produced 12 Chiffchaffs, a single Blackcap and 3 Stonechat. Also a pair of Ravens spent most of the morning hanging around the Norton Spit. (BFF/DM)

Bar-tailed Godwits (above), Greenshank & Chiffchaffs at Church Norton (AH)

Wednesday, 28th September:  A fine and bright morning, though breezy, with a fresh westerly 4-5 and the temperature above average again for the time of year....

Selsey Bill: A bit of a gathering of old-time observers this morning (SR excepted!) and some lively banter to go with it. Visible migration was at last much more obvious, though there wasn't too much moving over the sea. There was an interesting debate over a dark-looking tern, which was a good way out moving west, before the ID was concluded as a Black Tern, whilst several Sandwich Terns also moved purposefully through.....  Full log below....
0715-1045hrs(Obs: JF/ML/OM/MJ/ES/CRJ/SR)
Gannet - 3E, 9W
Little Egret - 1W
Brent Goose - 9W
Curlew - 1W
Black Tern - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 7W, 1os
Mediterranean Gull - 4W
Guillemot - 1W
auk sp - 1E
Meadow Pipit - 144W
Pied Wagtail - 29W
Skylark - 16W
Swallow - 300W
House Martin - 10W, also a pair still feeding young on the estate (Canadian Crescent)
Chiffchaff - 7 gardens
Around 4:30pm a dark-phase Arctic Skua was off the Bill before being mobbed by gulls and heading west. (K. Harris)

Sandwich Tern loitering at the Bill this morning (OM)

Ferry PoolJust a Dunlin, a Black-tailed Godwit, four Lapwings and eight Teal on the pool this morning, and only a handful of Yellow Wagtails evident among the cattle in the field. There was a Kingfisher in the channel and a Grey Wagtail over, but the only waders present were a Grey Plover and a handful of Redshank, whilst there were at least a dozen Chiffchaffs and a few Blackcaps among a big flock of mainly Blue and Long-tailed Tits. (AH)
Later a Hobby was hunting here. (K.Harris)

Church Norton: The sunshine brought the raptors out this morning, with the Osprey out and catching a fish around 9.30am, before drifting off west over the harbour, and a juvenile Peregrine messing about around the island, whilst the air-space over Priory Wood contained a Hobby that was on more or less continuous show for over half an hour, four Sparrowhawks, four Buzzards and a Kestrel, at times all up together.
The Whinchat and four Stonechats were still in the horse field, with 100+ Meadow Pipits moving around/over, and there were at least 500 hirundines over the Severals and the fields behind - mainly Swallows, but with at least 100 House Martins among them, and four Sand Martins passed through along the beach.
There were Chiffchaffs in all the hedges from the hide to the Severals, and half a dozen Blackcaps in the hedges by the Mound, but there was not much other evidence of migrants, whilst in the harbour there were three Brent Geese, a Whimbrel, four Bar-tailed Godwits and plenty of the commoner waders. (AH/A&YF/Ga&RH)
Later in the morning the Hobby was still showing with two Sparrowhawks and a Kestrel whilst the juvenile Peregrine was still harassing the waders.... which included a Common Sandpiper, a Whimbrel, 60 Grey Plover and 7 Knot, The Stonechat count was at least six, there were three Wheatears along the beach, two Whitethroats were in the bushes, 30+ Meadow Pipits were in the horse field and a Kingfisher whizzed along the creek there. At least one calling Siskin flew over west, (perhaps the first of the autumn?) and a couple of Sand Martins were amongst the Swallows. (JF/ML/OM/MJ/CRJ/ES). A 2/3rd cy Gannet and an adult Gannet were also offshore. (K.Harris)

Hobby (above), Sparrowhawk and Carrion Crow, Whinchat, Chiffchaff, Sand Martin & House Martin at Church Norton (AH)

North WallA lovely warm morning. A flock of 70 Linnets were feeding in the field north of Church Lane, whilst 3 Whitethroats were feeding on blackberries at the sluice gates and Chiffchaffs were in the bushes and hedgerows. The rising tide pushed a good selection of waders on to the Breech Pool..... 130 Redshank, 70 Black-tailed Godwits, 28 Lapwing, 16 Greenshank, 2 Spotted Redshanks and 2 Common Snipe, plus 76 Teal and a skulking Grey Heron there. Amongst the cattle in Honer field were up to 40 Yellow Wagtails and further back were 26 Curlew. Swallows and a few House Martins were moving SE all morning, at one point there were over 200 Swallows on the wires behind Honer Cottages (sharing this location with a Kestrel). Every bramble bush seemed to be host to a Red Admiral butterfly and there were also good numbers of Southern Hawker dragonflies on the wing. (JDW)

At the North wall this morning: Yellow Wagtails, Red Admiral butterfly, roosting Redshanks with Black-tailed Godwits and Kestrel (JDW)

Medmerry: Easton Lane to the Stilt Pools - This evening there were five Wheatears and a Stonechat along the banks, with ten Swallows and 100+ Meadow Pipits over, 50+ Mediterranean Gulls in the fields and up to six Sparrowhawks, two Kestrels and a Buzzard about, too. (S&SaH)

Sunday, 25 September 2016

25th - 27th September 2016

Tuesday, 27th September: A very grey, drizzly morning with a stiff southerly breeze, though remaining mild.....

A short editorial note to the regulars and/or contributors to the blog.... its nearing the time when yours truly will be heading north for a spot of Shetland birding and so absent from the blog. This would normally place quite a burden on AH who has to work (!) and run the blog alone; however fortunately we now have our assistant editor - Bart Ives - in position and ready to assist. Could all contributors now add Bart's email address ( when forwarding any posts with immediate effect.... this will give him time to see your writing style and be ready to make the necessary editorial adjustments in my absence!  (OM)

Selsey Bill: Very quiet offshore, with just a handful of Kittiwakes and Gannets moving, and the wind keeping any small birds down. The strong southerly and sea conditions felt right for a decent bit of passage, but as has happened all too often this autumn it quickly proved to be disappointing.....
Full log below....
0730-1030hrs:   (Obs: OM/DS/DF/CRJ)
Gannet - 30E, 11W
Common Scoter - 1E
auk sp - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 3E
Kittiwake - 7W
Meadow Pipit - 4W
Swallow - 2E
and that was it!!

Selsey: East Beach pond - at least six Chiffchaffs were the only birds of interest. It was a similar situation at Northcommon farm, with four Chiffchaffs in the trees and c.50 Meadow Pipits in the long grass. (OM)

Ferry Pool/Ferry Channel: Still just the single Black-tailed Godwit present on the pool, plus three Shelducks and 15 Teal and a Grey Wagtail over. Surprisingly, when the flock took to the air, there proved to be 80-100 Yellow Wagtails among the cows, having looked liked barely a dozen on the ground.
A Spotted Redshank was with a dozen Redshank in Ferry Channel, but the tide was too high for anything else bar 100 Teal. (AH)
A walk around the circuit from the hide - tramway - back of the Visitor centre produced 14 Chiffchaffs and 5+ Blackcaps; also a few Wigeon and 40 Teal in the channel. (OM)

Yellow Wagtail (above) & Spotted Redshank, Redshank and Teal around the Ferry (AH)

Wigeon in Ferry channel, right up by the sluice gates (OM)

Church Norton: Nothing much of note, with the wind ripping through, with just the odd Chiffchaff and Goldcrest heard and glimpsed, whilst in the harbour there were up to three Whimbrel, half a dozen Knot and 40 Grey Plover among the roosting waders. A few Swallows and Meadow Pipits were going west over the beach and a couple of Gannets were far offshore. (AH/BFF/DM/DIS)

Whimbrel (above), Grey Plovers & with Curlew at Church Norton (AH)

Monday, 26th September: A fairly grey and breezy day, though still quite mild....with some brightness and a light-moderate SW wind. Despite it being late September - a traditionally good time for migrants with many a rarity nationally - we seem to have entered that frustrating time in our little corner of the world when there's little on offer yet for us and we just have to wait. Rumour has it that there's another outbreak of the dreaded Scad  (= Sussex coast autumnal doldrums!)

Selsey Bill: Quiet again this morning, with little of note over the sea and just a few Mediterranean Gulls moving offshore. Migrants were few,  with just a trickle of Meadow Pipits and Swallows on the move and a measly five Chiffchaffs in the gardens! Full log below...
0715-1015hrs: (Obs: SR/OM)
Gannet - 2E, 6W, 3os
Wigeon - 4W
Auk sp - 2W
Sandwich Tern - 3os
Mediterranean Gull - 7W
Meadow Pipit - 42SW
Swallow - 54E, 15W
House Martin - 10E
Goldfinch - 30 p
Chiffchaff - 5 gardens

Selsey: East Beach & Pool: Six Chiffchaffs and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were present this morning. (OM)
Northcommon Farm: At least 100 Meadow Pipits were in the grassy fields and 3 Chiffchaffs in the trees, but it was generally very quiet. (OM)
Ferry Pool: Just two Dunlin, a Black-tailed Godwit, 14 Lapwing and eight Teal on the pool, and nothing in the channel on the high tide early on, whilst along the adjacent hedges there were half a dozen Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, but no other migrants. (AH)
This afternoon a Coal Tit was near Ferry Small Pool moving northwards towards the Visitor Centre. (IL)

Coal Tit near Ferry small pool this afternoon (IL)

Church Norton: The Osprey was over the harbour again before drifting off, and there were a few birds along the stretch from the hide to the beach, including a Spotted Flycatcher, 20+ Blackcaps and 20+ Chiffchaffs, plus a couple of Whitethroats and two Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
A Whinchat and three Stonechats were with a dozen Meadow Pipits along the creek by the horse field, but only a couple of Whitethroats and one or two Chiffchaffs were to be seen along the front. Around 150 Swallows, 50 House Martins, 30 Meadow Pipits and three Pied Wagtails went west along the beach, and a Sparrowhawk disturbed plenty of waders in the harbour, including 50 Grey Plover, five Bar-tailed Godwits and many hundreds of Dunlin. (AH/A&YF)
Nearby at Park farm this evening there were 10 Chiffchaffs, a Sparrowhawk and a single Swallow! (SH)

Whinchat (above), Spotted Flycatcher, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker & Grey Plover and Redshanks at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: A Hobby was present this afternoon, putting up the many Goldfinches on the bank on the east side; also  3 Wheatears and a Stonechat there. (PH)
Breach Viewpoint to Chainbridge: 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 Greenshank, 9 Grey Plover, 25+ Dunlin, c30 Ringed Plover, 5 Canada Geese, 1 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear, 1 Whitethroat, c25 Meadow Pipits, 5 Stock Doves. (SR)

Sunday, 25th September: Some rain overnight, giving way to a fairly pleasant morning with sunshine and some cloud, but also a fairly brisk westerly wind taking the edge off the temperature along the coast.....

An item of news from 18th September...... a Swallowtail butterfly was seen and photographed (pm) just west of the Pagham Spit car park by MW (per JDW)

Swallowtail butterfly, Pagham Spit car park 18th September (MW)

Selsey Bill: (0645-0930hrs):

Gannet - 14E, 9W
Shag - 1E
Brent Goose - 1E
Wigeon - 10W
Sanderling - 3W
Mediterranean Gull - 1W, 5os
Sandwich Tern - 1E, 1W 
Razorbill - 2W 
auk sp - 1W 
Swallow - 223W 
House Martin - 4W 
Meadow Pipit - 6W 
Pied Wagtail - 3p
Wheatear - 1p

Mediterranean Gull past the Bill (AH)

(1630-1730hrs) (SH)
Gannet - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 3W
Probably the worst hour of sea watching I've ever had at the Bill!

Park Farm, Selsey: There were a Stonechat, a Blackcap, a Green Woodpecker, a Grey Wagtail and a Sparrowhawk about this morning. (S&SaH/AH/IP)

Green Woodpecker at Park Farm, Selsey (AH)

Ferry Pool/Ferry Channel: At least six Curlew Sandpipers were present this morning, plus 20 Dunlin and the usual Redshank and Teal numbers. There was nothing much on the pool beyond 26 Lapwing, 15 Teal and a single Black-tailed Godwit. 
This evening there were definitely two, and possibly three, Kingfishers in the channel, plus two Greenshank and five Grey Plovers, and a Grey Wagtail over. (AH)

Kingfisher (above), Curlew Sandpipers and Redshank & Teal around Ferry (AH)

Church Norton: An Osprey was again fishing over the harbour this morning, whilst migrants included a Whinchat and five Stonechats in the horse field and a Hobby over, plus one or two Whitethroats, but not much else.
In the harbour there were at least eight Bar-tailed Godwits plus a few Knot among the Dunlin and Grey Plovers, and a few Pintail among the Wigeon. Also two Gannets and a Sandwich Tern were offshore. (AH/IP/S&SaH/A&YF/RJS)

Osprey (above), Bar-tailed Godwit & Grey Plover and Dunlin at Church Norton (AH)

North Wall: Fairly quiet today with most of the birdlife around White's Creek which held numerous Wigeon and four Pintail, plenty of Redshanks & Black-tailed Godwits, two Bar-tailed Godwits and five Grey Plovers; the Kingfisher was also here around the sluice. On the Breech Pool, good numbers of Teal, six Snipe and similar of Dunlin but little else of note. Along the fenceline were two Stonechats whilst the flock of Yellow Wagtails were once again with the cattle. On the hedges were just a few Reed Buntings, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff and a Whitethroat but there did seem to be more Meadow Pipits than recently over the fields. (BI)