Tuesday, 27 December 2016


After missing out on a photo-op with the Selsey Serin earlier in the year I was keen to go for the one that had been at Tide Mills, Newhaven. Fortunately, I was lucky and saw it within 15 minutes of arriving on site, had to wait a bit longer for to get a picture though as it is quite flighty. Lovely male Serin, pleased I bothered to go into East Sussex again!

Serin video (short!), best in HD: Serin


Friday, 23 December 2016

Gallery of recent Birds

Scaup, Ivy Lake:

Black Swans, Ivy lake:

Long-tailed Duck, Ivy Lake:

1st winter drake Teal, Chalder Farm:

Rock Pipit, Medmerry beach:

Black Redstart, Coastguards:

Stonechat, Coastguards:

Scoter, west Selsey:

Cattle Egret, Warblington:

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Velvet Scoters, Knot, Scaup

Very pleased to catch up with at least six Velvet Scoters at Church Norton today, shame they were too distant for pictures, although I did put some on the selseybirder blog by Paul Evans if you want a look. Also 14 Red-throated Divers went west and there were 70+ Knot on the breakwater.

Yesterday the Scaup was on Ivy Lake again.


Common Gull:

Knot, Oystercatcher & Grey Plover at Church Norton:

Dunlin & Turnstone, ditto:

Rose-coloured Starling, WFG & Siberian Chiifchaff

Decided in the end to go for the Rose-coloured Starling in Crawley and it showed very well in the tree near no.10 Beachy Road. It's moulting fairly heavily and if it hangs around could turn into something pretty spectacular.

Rose-coloured Starling:

White-fronted Geese still at Amberley on the way back, couldn't find the Bean Goose though:

Grey Wagtail at Lidsey SF:

Siberian Chiffchaff, probable anyway, at Lidsey. All black bill, legs, very pale underneath, yellow/olive restricted to wing edge, prominent supercillium, brownish wash to cheek:

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Bewick's Swans

The Bewick's Swans were back at Offham Farm a few days ago, showing well by the banks of the River Arun.

Bewick's Swans:

Desert Wheatear

Just in case you thought I hadn't been! Went to Norman's Bay for the DW on the 1st of December, nice bird and no harassment of it whilst I was there I'm pleased to say.

Desert Wheatear:

Video here: Desert Wheatear

Friday, 2 December 2016

Snow Bunting & Common Scoters

The Snow Bunting that has been reported at East Head for the last few days was still there today. Not much offshore though a distant diver sp. was more than likely the Black-throated Diver that has frequented the Chichester Channel recently. Offshore at Coastguards, two rafts of 23 & 27 Common Scoters.

Snow Bunting:

Common Scoter:

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Bean Goose

Tundra Bean Goose as I predicted (see post below) with White-fronted Geese at Pulborough.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Smew & LTD

I managed to get a lot done on the farm on Sunday (3,000 garlic hand planted!) which gave me an excuse to get  away for a few hours this morning. Initially I was going to do the Medmerry beach trudge but a redhead Smew came up on twitter so decided to go for that. Found by Steve Chastell this morning an exchange of tweets confirmed that the north-east corner was the favoured spot...but after an hour of scanning with the scope no sign...

...so I decided to try from a spot I'd noticed on the west bank and on arrival found another birder checking the water. Still no Smew but I lucked on to the Long-tailed Duck by the sailing club and we viewed that for a while before Carey, for that was the birder's name, pointed out a cracking male Goosander further up the lake. A consultation later and we were checking out another spot along the bank when fortunately he spotted the Smew with a few Tufted Ducks on the far side by the reeds, nice one Mr. Lodge! It stayed distant all the time I was there so this shot was the best I could do.


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Swan Geese

Friday was a poor day for me, not able to find much of anything really. No Siberian Chiffchaff at Lidsey, no Bewick's Swans at Amberley or Burpham and no Swan Geese at Rackham viewpoint; just as well I was thwarted by failed railway gates at Lake Lane on my try as the Cattle Egret nearby wasn't seen that day either!

On Saturday I was a man with limited time so a very quick run up to Amberley to right yesterday's wrongs was about all I could manage. On arriving at Rackham viewpoint I was given the "look up & down and who are you" so beloved of some birders but was at least told that there was no sign of the White-fronted Geese or the Swan Geese & that a Marsh Harrier & Peregrine were out on the brooks. After a quick look through the Geese (a Bean Goose suspect in there I thought but distance was an issue-perhaps someone else can pick it up) I headed back up to the Hurst Cottages viewpoint at Amberley. Success here straight away as upon setting up the scope and looking into it the two Swan Geese were in view-yes I know they're feral/dodgy but still nice to see in a wild setting-with ten White-fronted Geese nearby along with the Greylag & Canada Geese. Honour being partially satisfied (still to find my Sibe...) I was done for the day.

Swan Geese x 2 nearly visible through the murk and at extreme distance for the camera in the centre left of picture, heads down...sorry best I could do!!:

It was very murky on Saturday morning, this was the view from by the cottages. A few White-fronted Geese are just visible on the right here:

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Scaup & Great Northern Diver

Another Scaup today this time the one on Ivy Lake at Chichester. It was nice and close to the bank with a Tufted Duck for comparison. Also there a Great Northern Diver so my hunch paid off that a storm-swept bird might be present!


Scaup & Tufted Duck:

Great Northern Diver:

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Scaup or not??

It's that time of year where alas the Scaup controversy must rear its (possibly tufted, possibly not) head. I had heard that there had been a Scaup on the big pool at Marsh Farm near Lake Lane at Barnham and went for a look today. Here is the bird, there are a few caveats but not many...basically, pays your money takes your choice...


Looks fairly good for male Scaup IMHO: no tuft, rounded head, black on bill restricted to nail and its immediate surrounds (cf. Advanced Bird ID Handbook P.23), bulkier than tufted with prominent chest,  vermiculation on flanks, highest point of head on front of crown, head wholly dark and tertials wholly dark, scapulars grey flecked. I suppose concern could be lack of "bulk".

Decent head shape head-on thought perhaps could be heavier jowled but just OK I think.

Picture showing possibly more black on bill than I would like (angle doesn't help here)
and faint banding but juveniles tend to show "smudgy triangular dark tip but less sharp band than Tufted Duck" cf British Birds P.51 for details.

White-fronted Geese

ARK had handily flagged up that the White-fronted Geese that had been around Pulborough were now viewable from Amberley by Hurst Cottages so I drove up today to find...they'd moved. However. a quick jaunt in the Saxo down the road found a footpath from where the Geese various could be viewed and they were indeed present. Difficult to say how many but looked good for nine-ten and included the very well barred one too; distance was an issue for pictures as you can see.

White-fronted Geese:

Birds, various

Some form the last few days at Pagham Harbour.

Red-breasted Merganser:

...and Grey Heron:

Short-eared Owl that came out of the reeds and was mobbed by a Kestrel & a Carrion Crow before diving back down:

Long-tailed Duck at Church Norton:

Slavonian Grebes, ten at Church Norton beach:

Ringed Plover at Selsey Bill in poor weather: