Monday, 28 November 2016

28th - 30th November 2016

Wednesday, 30th NovemberVery cold at first, giving way to a beautiful, clear bright and sunny morning, with hardly a breath of wind....just a very gentle NNE breeze.

Selsey Bill: Highlights included three Velvet Scoter west and a Marsh Harrier east this morning, plus a couple of Great Northern Divers on the sea. A later watch also produced a Long-tailed Duck out of the blue (literally!) going east. Full log below.....
0730-1030hrs: NNE1-2. (Obs: NS/OM)
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Great Northern Diver - 2o/s
Diver sp - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 3E
Common Scoter - 41W, 9E
Velvet Scoter - 3W (2 o/s for some while before departing; (sorry AH, my pics useless)
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W
Wigeon - 7o/s
Marsh Harrier - 1 E well o/s (NS)
auk sp - 1E
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
Also: 1200-1315hrs: (OM)
Red-throated Diver - 6E
Great Northern Diver - 1E
Diver sp - 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 2E
Common Scoter - 15E
Red-breasted Merganser - 3W
Long-tailed Duck - 1E (1230hrs)

Selsey (west) - Coastguard Station: A Black Redstart was around the houses this morning, but elusive, and offshore there were at least 70 Common Scoter, with a Teal among them, plus three Great Northern Divers and two Red-breasted Mergansers, with eight Red-throated Divers going east and a Grey Heron which was sat out on a groyne. Nearby two Stonechats were in the field and area behind the cliffs. (OM/AH)

Common Scoter (above) & Grey Heron off the Coastguard Station (AH)

Stonechat at West Selsey (OM)

Ferry Pool: Just two Redshank were on the pool, six Teal on the rife and 20 Lapwing in the field this morning. (AH)

Snowhill Creek: There was a Water Rail present this morning. (MR)

Water Rail in Snowhill Creek (MR)
Sidlesham ChurchyardNot too much of note - just one or two Goldcrests, a few Goldfinches, a couple of Song Thrushes, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and five Blackbirds. (AH)

Goldcrest in Sidlesham Churchyard (AH)

Fishbourne Creek: Not too much out of the ordinary, but a good selection of the usual birds this morning. There were three Red-breasted Mergansers, a couple of Great Crested Grebes, at least 40 Pintail and 500+ Wigeon on the water, but relatively few Brent Geese were about. 
At least three Greenshank were among the roosting Redshank flock and there were also 20+ Black-tailed Godwits and Grey Plover about, plus a couple of Snipe.
Along the hedges/fields there were at least five Rock Pipits, 20+ Reed Buntings, a lone Fieldfare, two pairs of Stonechats, half a dozen Song Thrushes, five Jays and a few Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits.
There were no Yellowhammers by the stables, but there were 20+ in a game cover strip up near the junction with the main road. (AH)

Rock Pipit (above), Fieldfare, Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Goldcrest, Greenshank and Redshank & Pintails at Fishbourne Creek (AH)

Birdham: There was a Mistle Thrush in the big arable field on Sidlesham Lane. (AH)

East Head/Snowhill Creek: A great day's birding around East Head and Ella Nore today. A Snow Bunting was at the tip of East Head, ignoring all the walkers and dogs, and I caught a brief view of a Dartford Warbler in scrub nearby. 
In the Chichester Channel, amongst the Great Crested Grebes was a group of 4 Eiders, 10 Red-breasted Mergansers and oddly two female Common Scoters. Also a mixed flock of Linnets and Skylarks on the saltmarsh and a few Stonechats inside the dunes. There was a nice group of Sanderlings along the tideline on the sea side, also ignoring human and canine presence! 
Small birds were much in evidence in the scrub and woodland along the road from West Wittering, with several Goldcrests, lots of Dunnocks, Long-tailed Tits and a couple of Chiffchaffs. Snow Hill Marsh produced the usual waders and wildfowl, including Snipe and Greenshank, and Golden Plovers showed well in the sunlight in the field by the car park. (C Barfield per SOS)

Snow Bunting at East Head (C Barfield per SOS)

Church Norton: Offshore today there were two Long-tailed Ducks, nine Eider (including two drakes), two Velvet Scoter, eight Slavonian Grebes and five Common Scoter, and nine of the latter flew east and four Red-throated Divers flew west.
Also 16 Ringed Plover went east along the beach, and a Peregrine was in the harbour. (NS)

Tuesday, 29th November: A very cold start to the morning, but again dry, pleasantly sunny and bright with a moderate north-easterly wind.....

First up today is belated news of a Caspian Gull at Church Norton on 26th November, which if accepted would be only the second confirmed record for Pagham Hbr and the Peninsula. A 1st-winter bird, it was found by IL who felt that it was a Caspian, but sensibly he managed to take several photos in order to seek further opinions and confirmation. Two photos were sent to us at this blog, where the images certainly looked promising, but there were several possible anomalies that needed further investigation and so the opinion of a more experienced and trusted observer were sought. Fortunately, IL was able to supply a couple of additional flight shots not originally submitted - and in short a detailed review supported the ID as a Caspian Gull. Two of the images are reproduced below (note that these have been cropped for the purposes of the blog). The Editors are grateful to Dave Cooper for his valuable and ever-reliable assistance and to IL for the information and photos....

 First-winter Caspian Gull at Church Norton, 26th November 2016 (IL)
Selsey Bill: A Merlin was out hunting and looked to have caught a Goldfinch, whilst offshore there were a few Red-throated Divers moving and a couple of Great Northern Divers on the sea. (BFF/DM/DIS)
(1000-1200hrs) (C&ME)
Great Northern Diver - 2E, 2os
Red-throated Diver - 5E, 2W
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 1EW
Shelduck - 1W
Common Scoter - 34W
Red-breasted Merganser - 12E, 7W, 3os
Merlin - 1p (2nd sighting of morning)
Guillemot - 1E

Coastguard Station: There were up to 40 Common Scoter - all female/1st winter types - offshore, along with three Great Northern Divers, four Red-breasted Mergansers and a Great Crested Grebe. (AH/BFF/DM/DIS)

Common Scoters off the Coastguard Station (AH)

Medmerry: Breach area - It was fairly quiet, with just a big flock of c50 Goldfinches and c30 Linnets around the viewpoint, along with a Stonechat and a handful of Meadow Pipits, whilst around the pools there were 20 Grey Plover, 50 Dunlin, one or two Curlews and Redshank, plus a few Wigeon and Shoveler. (AH)

Stonechat (above), Linnet & Goldfinch at Medmerry (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just two Redshanks and nothing else on the pool this morning. (AH)

Church Norton: It was quiet here in the chilly easterly breeze, with nothing offshore beyond a big mixed gull flock, including c100 Mediterranean and 20 Common Gulls, a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits were on the spit, and in the harbour there were plenty of the commoner waders, the pair of Peregrines, a Buzzard on Tern Island, along with 93 Oystercatchers, half a dozen Little and Great Crested Grebes and c40 Pintail.
Also a Fieldfare, 85 Starlings and 30 Lapwings were at Greenlease Farm, a Mistle Thrush and 40 Lapwings were along Rectory Lane and a couple of Jays were around the churchyard. (AH/CRJ/BFF/DSM/DIS et al)

Mediterranean Gull (above), Skylark & Mistle Thrush at Church Norton (AH)

Ivy Lake: A quick look at lunchtime produced the first-winter male Scaup, ten Tufted Ducks and 40 Pochard on the water, and a very busy Chiffchaff in the roadside trees. (AH)

Scaup (above) & Chiffchaff at Ivy Lake (AH)

Monday, 28th November: A bright and crisp morning, with a cool, brisk wind from the east to north-east.....though pleasant in the sunshine if in a sheltered spot!

Selsey Bill: A couple of Velvet Scoter and several Eider went by this morning, and there was more diver movement, primarily of Red-throateds. However, perhaps the most surprising feature was the sheer number of Gannets gathered and fishing offshore. Early on, a huge and very distant flock of large gulls and Gannets was present offshore and just visible above the horizon. Then later, at least 150 Gannets were assembled somewhat closer off the Bill-tip; this however was eclipsed by a large flock of several hundred birds - viewed from the West beach/Coastguards area and stretching back towards the Bill - that seemed to be all Gannets and additional to the others. A day total of 500 Gannets is doubtless a very conservative estimate......Full log below.......
0730-1130hrs: NE4-5 (OM/MJ/TR/SR et al)
Red-throated Diver - 16E, 12W
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Great Northern Diver - 1W, 1os
Diver sp - 6E, 7W
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 1os
Gannet - 500+ os
Brent Goose - 2E, 12W
Shelduck - 3W
Eider - 2E
Common Scoter - 29E, 32W, 32os
Velvet Scoter - 2W
Red-breasted Merganser - 3E, 2W, 6os
Teal - 18E
Wigeon - 10E
Razorbill - 1W
Auk sp - 4E, 3W
Mediterranean Gull - 5E
Grey Wagtail - 1E
Red Admiral butterfly - 1 Bill House garden
Also 1230-1400hrs: (C&ME)
Red-throated Diver - 9W
Great Northern Diver - 1E 
Slavonian Grebe - 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E
Eider - 3W (males)
Common Scoter - 17E, 1W
Velvet Scoter - 1E
Red-breasted Merganser - 11E, 2os

A fine sunrise at the Bill this morning (OM)

Selsey (West): Coastguards/West beach-Medmerry cliffs - A massive flock of several hundred Gannets was offshore, stretching back eastwards towards the Bill (see above), whilst a flock of 32 Common Scoters was also present (having presumably drifted from the Bill) Two Stonechats and a Meadow Pipit were in the field near the Go-kart track but there was little else of note. (OM/MJ)

Nearby at Warner Lane/Crablands Meadow were just 24 Mallard and 21 Snipe. (OM)

 Taken against the odds and more in hope than any expectation....distant Gannets off west Selsey (OM)

Ferry Pool: A Green Sandpiper was on the pool first thing (TR), though later on there was just a single Curlew and a Black-tailed Godwit. (AH)

Long Pool: The pool itself was devoid of life, but at the far end of Ferry Channel there were c30 roosting Avocets and similar of Shelduck, Grey Plover and Curlew, a Little Grebe, a few Wigeon and Teal, and a Snipe and a couple of Skylarks went over. (AH)

Avocets, Shelduck and Grey Plover (above) & Curlew in Ferry Channel (AH)

Ivy Lake: A quick look produced no sign of the Scaup, with few duck on the main lake, but around the other lakes there were 20 Gadwall, two Shoveler and six Pochard, a Bar-headed Goose was in with 65 Greylag Geese, and a Water Rail was squealing loudly under a bank, but unseen.
Also there were two or three Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs among a very large roaming flock of Blue and Long-tailed Tits. (AH)

Bar-headed and Greylag Geese (above), Gadwall & Long-tailed Tit around Ivy Lake (AH)

East Head/Chichester Hbr: There were 2 Sandwich Terns in the channel on the south side of the Head this morning. (PH)

Friday, 25 November 2016

25th - 27th November 2016

Sunday, 27th November: A grey and cloudy sort of day, though fortunately dry, but still chilly with a moderate north-easterly wind force 4-5....

We start with an update from yesterday concerning the three Great White Egrets which flew in with a Little Egret and gave good views at the Bill, having being observed arriving from way out. The sole and fortunate observer (JA) was without camera, but managed to take a couple of shots on his mobile phone, which are included below. A bit of cropping has been applied, and with a bit of imagination the images at least give the impression of size. Interestingly, what were presumably the same GWE's were seen soon after at Chichester Harbour (see yesterday's blog) and latter passing Hayling Island, Hants....though the Little Egret escort seems to have increased to three!

Three Great White Egrets and a Little Egret arriving from the sea at Selsey Bill.... the smaller size of the latter can clearly be made out (JA).

Selsey Bill: There were a few divers on the move this morning, and a few other bits, too. Full log below. (JA/SH/AH/MJ/JD/DS)
(0715-1000hrs) NE4 cloudy
Red-throated Diver - 29E, 8W, 1os
Black-throated Diver - 1E
Great Northern Diver - 6os
Slavonian Grebe - 1W, 1os
Great Crested Grebe - 2E, 3W, 2os
Gannet - 9E, 9W
Little Egret - 1W
Brent Goose - 2E, 5W
Wigeon - 2E
Pintail - 1E
Common Scoter - 12E, 51W, 7os
Red-breasted Merganser - 7E, 9W, 10os
Turnstone - 12p
Sanderling - 1p
Mediterranean Gull - 3E, 2os
Common Gull - 1W
Razorbill - 1E, 1W
Guillemot - 1E
auk sp - 8E, 32W
Wood Pigeon - 123W
Grey Wagtail - 1E

Also - 1500-1600hrs: (SH)
Red-throated Diver - 4E, 1W
Great Crested Grebe - 1W
Gannet - 8E, 7W and 25os mixed in with large distant gull flock
Brent Goose - 5E
Common Scoter - 8E
Teal - 25W
Red-breasted Merganser - 2E, 4W
auk sp - 1W
Sandwich Tern - 1os (mobbed by gulls)
Little Gull - 1E (adult)
Common Gull - 5E

Red-throated Divers (above), Great Northern Diver, Red-breasted Mergansers & Sanderling and Turnstone at the Bill (AH)

Ferry Pool: Just a Black-tailed Godwit and a Redshank on the pool and c40 Wigeon on the field this morning. (AH)

Church Norton: The Long-tailed Duck was in the harbour again, along with three Red-breasted Mergansers, three Little Grebes and at least six Great Crested Grebes, but there was nothing offshore save a few Mediterranean Gulls. 
There were many hundreds of Brent Geese around the harbour, and at least half a dozen Bar-tailed Godwits and 50+ Knot among the large numbers of waders present, and the small male Peregrine was on the island.
There were also couple of Chiffchaffs, a couple of Stonechats and a few Goldcrests about, plus a few Skylarks and a couple of Meadow Pipits along the spit. (S&SaH/AH)

Knot, Grey Plover, Dunlin and Turnstone (SH) (above), Knot, Knot, Dunlin and Grey Plover & Brent Geese at Church Norton (AH)

Chichester GPs: On Drayton from the A259 were c.25 Pochards, 12 Shoveler, six Great Crested Grebes, a Little Grebe, 20 Tufted Ducks and, as always, lots of Coots. On Ivy Lake, the Scaup was again present trying with a few Tufted Ducks to get some shelter from the biting wind on the far side, 18 Great Crested Grebes, a few Herring Gulls & Mallards and five Little Egrets in the trees. Copse Lake only held a single Great Crested Grebe, East & West Trout Lakes had Coots, more Great Crested Grebes and Black-headed & Herring Gulls whilst on Nunnery were four Gadwall. (BI)

 Gadwall, above, on Nunnery lake and Little Egret, below, at Ivy Lake. (BI)

Medmerry: Four Velvet Scoter & a male Common Pochard flew past eastwards at 1415hrs. (PJ)

Saturday, 26th November: A better day than forecast, with a modest - if chilly -  easterly breeze and quite a bit of sunshine....

Selsey Bill: Three Great White Egrets flew in with a Little Egret from far offshore and disappeared over the houses inland. Also a Merlin and a Peregrine were both hunting offshore. Full log below:
(0715-0915hrs) (JA)
Red-throated Diver - 1E, 10W
Black-throated Diver - 1W
Great Northern Diver - 5os
Slavonian Grebe - 2os
Great Crested Grebe - 1E, 6W, 1os
Gannet - 4E
Great White Egret - 3N (at 8.06am)
Little Egret - 1N
Brent Goose - 2E, 1W
Wigeon - 7E
Eider - 11W
Common Scoter - 2E, 5W
Red-breasted Merganser - 5E, 8W, 8os
Sparrowhawk - 1p
Peregrine - 1os
Merlin - 1os
Mediterranean Gull - 1W
auk sp - 11E
Wood Pigeon - 63W
Pied Wagtail - 1p
(0915-1030hrs) (SR)
Red-throated Diver - 12E, 1W
Great Northern Diver - 1os drifting W
Slavonian Grebe - 2os drifting W
Great Crested Grebe - 3E, 8W, 1os
Gannet - 4E
Brent Goose - 4E, 1W
Common Scoter - 3E, 1W
Red-breasted Merganser - 12E, 1W, 1os drifting W
auk sp - 2W
Meadow Pipit - 1N

Snowhill Creek: It looks like the three Great White Egrets went west and over Chichester Harbour this morning, in the company of three Little Egrets, after passing the Bill. (MR)

Great White and Little Egrets over Snowhill Creek (MR)

A Kingfisher was also showing well there this morning. (MR)

Kingfisher at Snowhill Creek (MR)

Ferry Pool: A Green Sand[piper and a Black-tailed Godwit were on the pool this morning, along with eight Shoveler and 15 Teal, and also a Grey Wagtail went over. (AH)

Long Pool: A Water Rail and half a dozen Reed Buntings were on the pool this morning, a Mistle Thrush was on the conifers by the houses, and in Ferry Channel there were a Kingfisher, a Spotted Redshank, ten Grey Plover, five Black-tailed Godwits and 200 Wigeon, and there were at least 30 Avocets at the far end. (AH)

Water Rail (above), Spotted Redshank and Grey Plover, Kingfisher, Avocets and Brent Geese & Mistle Thrush around Long Pool (AH)

Church Norton: A Long-tailed Duck was offshore first thing (D&MB), with another in the harbour, along with nine Red-breasted Mergansers, half a dozen Little Grebes and a dozen Great Crested Grebes. 
There were a pair of Stonechats in the horse field and a dozen Skylarks and a couple of Greenfinches along the spit, and at the far end of it there were up to 200 Mediterranean Gulls, plus a few Common Gulls. Plenty of the regular wintering waders and wildfowl were about, including a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits, a Black-tailed Godwit, 20+ Knot and 40+ Ringed Plover, whilst a Buzzard was on Peregrine Island, and a Peregrine was sat nearby. (AH)

Long-tailed Duck (above), Turnstones, Grey Plovers, Knot, Turnstones, Grey Plovers and Dunlin & the new shape of the harbour mouth at Church Norton (AH)

Medmerry: Easton Lane - Very quiet this afternoon, with just a couple of Reed Buntings, four Stonechats, a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard and four Kestrels about. (S&SaH)

Friday, 25th November: Another bright and very breezy day, with a bracing north-north-easterly keeping the temperature well down, despite the sun......
Selsey Bill: A surprising amount of movement compared to recent days, though nothing unusual. Three Great Northern Divers were present offshore, whilst very distantly a flock of 3000+ gulls could be made out on the horizon, but too far out to offer any chance of an ID....
Full log below......
0815-1030hrs:   NNE5-6, easing later  (JA/SR/A&YF et al)
Red-throated Diver - 20W
Great Northern Diver - 3os
diver sp - 36W
Slavonian Grebe - 1E
Great Crested Grebe - 2W, 1os
Gannet - 2E, 9W
Brent Goose - 2E, 4W
Common Scoter - 6E, 34W, 4os
Red-breasted Merganser - 1E, 5W, 11os
Sanderling - 1E
Peregrine - 1os hunting
Razorbill - 5E
Guillemot - 1W
Auk sp - 109W
Stock Dove - 1N
Kittiwake - 8E
Rock Pipit - 1ob
Meadow Pipit - 5N
Skylark - 10N
Starling - 37N

Ferry Pool: Just 22 Teal on the pool this morning. (AH)

Pagham Lagoon: There were three Goldeneye present this morning - a drake and two redheads, along with a fly-by Kingfisher and the usual 20+ Little Grebes and Tufted Duck. There were also 80 Mediterranean Gulls and ten Common Gulls on the water and 50 Brent Geese dropped in. (AH)

Goldeneye (above)< Mediterranean Gulls & Brent Geese at Pagham Lagoon (AH)

North Wall/East Side: There was very little besides 50+ Teal and similar of Mallard on the Breech Pool, though a Kingfisher was around the sluice, and there were 40 Black-tailed Godwits and 500+ Brent Geese in White's Creek.
Out in the harbour there were six Red-breasted Mergansers and a couple of Great Crested and Little Grebes, plus plenty of Wigeon, Pintail and Shelduck, and at least 100 Golden Plover and 500 Lapwing went up a couple of times. As the tide dropped there were large numbers of Dunlin, Grey Plover and Ringed Plover on the mud, along with 40 Knot and a handful of Bar-tailed Godwits, and in the hedge along the Slipe Field there were 30+ Reed Buntings and Goldfinches. (AH)

Kingfisher (above), Golden Plovers, Black-tailed Godwits, Reed Bunting, Curlew, Knot, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Grey Plover & Dunlin and Knot along east side of harbour (AH)

Church Norton: The wintering Whimbrel was showing well this afternoon. (IL)

Whimbrel at Church Norton (IL)