Saturday, 30 January 2016

Like Yeast She Rises...

A Prologue to the Unborn, Like Yeast We Rise, The Oroonies

oh go on then:

 The Woods are Alive with the Smell of his Coming, The Oroonies

Cloven Foot, The Oroonies

Just a few last thoughts on the "Scaup".

1. A Lesser Scaup hybrid can't be ruled out and there are some interesting, although brief, thoughts on this in the recent Birds of Sussex compendium P.123 by J & D Cooper.

2. This happened in 1961, courtesy British Birds, but no shooting please!

 "British ornithologists became divided on the matter, many still believing that it was a Lesser Scaup, but some considering it to be probably a hybrid. As opinions differed so widely, it was eventually decided to obtain a permit to collect it. It was shot on 3rd March 1960, under a licence issued to Dr. I. C. T . Nisbet by the Nature Conservancy. Comparison with live specimens at Slimbridge and with museum material at Oxford then confirmed the belief that it was not a Lesser Scaup." 

"Scaup", the original version:

Friday, 29 January 2016

Long-eared Owl

I went to have a look for yesterday's Glaucous Gull along Church Norton spit and bumped into AH doing the same thing; no luck with the Gull but we flushed a Long-eared Owl from Church Norton spit! Initially, we both thought Short-eared Owl but we quickly realised from the bird's colour and rounded wings that it was its scarcer cousin.

Long-eared Owl, photo by Andrew House:

Mediterranean Gull off Church Norton:

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Just when you thought it was safe to go back on the water....

The possible Scaup today, I see the "two-bird" theory has raised its head, something I believe I mentioned a while ago regarding ARK's post on the SOS website. A good debate anyway with Lesser Scaup mentioned today so some way to go I guess. Picture from the Selseybirder blog: Selseybirder is this the original bird though?


Monday, 25 January 2016


On arival at Selsey Bill mid-morning I picked up an Auk sp. on the sea which I was 95% sure was a Little Auk but the chop made it difficult to nail it conclusively :-(   Goes down as a near miss I'm afraid!

The rest:

Razorbill w 1143
Auk sp. on sea (probably Little Auk, I immediately thought "Little Auk" when I saw it but lost it in the swell as I tried for a better look...)
Red-throated Diver 2 e 1150
Red-breasted Merganser 2 e 1155
Red-breasted Merganser e 1157
Slavonian Grebe on sea
Eider 1 winter on sea
Gannet 3 w 1201
Auk sp. w 1208
Red-throated Diver 4 e 1212
Diver sp. e 1218 (probably Black-throated Diver)
Red-throated Diver  e 1220
Red-breasted Merganser 2 e 1224
Red-throated Diver e 1229

Sunday, 24 January 2016


A look at Fishbourne Creek and then the Long Pool today. The usual suspects at the Creek and three Snipe alive and one dead at the Long Pool.


Reed Bunting:



Pipit, a Rock by a Meadow in a Tree:


Snipe RIP;

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Scooby Dooby Smew where are you?

A look at Pagham Lagoon and Spit this morning in the mist and there were four Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls and Goldeneyes on show-c'mon Smew where are you?!? From the Spit, a Spoonbill with the Great Black-backed Gulls, a large flock of Greenfinches and two Skylarks. At Medmerry east side, the Black Redstart was about the rocks & caravans.

Red-breasted Mergansers, out to impress (the missus doesn't look too bothered!):

Great Black-backed Gull & Spoonbill:


Mediterranean Gull:

Grey Plover:

The breach in Norton Spit:

Black Redstart:

Monday, 18 January 2016

Solo seawatch

Selsey Bill from noon until 1330:

Pintail 4 1200 w
Black-throated Diver 1241 e
Great Northern Diver on sea 
Dunlin 2 1245 e
Razorbill 1250 w
Great Skua 1305 e
Common Scoter 1308 w
Auk sp 1311 w
Velvet Scoter 2 1321 w
Mediterranean Gull 1328 e

Not bad I thought!

Medmerry East Side:

A Red-breasted Merganser in one of the channels was a first for me here.

Kipson Bank Farm: Forty Golden Plovers and single Lapwing with the masses of Gulls.

Mediterranean Gull, Selsey Bill:

Red-breasted Merganser, the breach:

At Drayton in the cold, a Pochard:

Shovellers & Mallard:

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Pagham Lagoon

At Pagham Lagoon this afternoon, three male Goldeneye and a female, fifty Tufted Ducks and Gulls various but nothing of great interest. In the Harbour, lots of birds: Wigeon, Great Black Backed Gulls, Little Grebes, Knot, Dunlin, stacks of Teal (there must be a Green-winged Teal out there somewhere, last one at Pagham in 1995 astonishingly), Great-crested Grebes, Linnets, Greenfinches, all the usual commoner waders and best of all a Dartford Warbler along the Spit opposite Little Lagoon which didn't hang around for snaps unfortunately and nor can I blame it in the easterly wind; perhaps one of the Church Norton birds seen across the water a few days ago?

Goldeneye, duck:

Goldeneyes, drakes:

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Zebra Fish

A Kingfisher under Littlehampton East Pier this morning catching fry from the pool and, of all things, a White Zebra Finch along the new promenade. No interesting Gulls though in the harbour itself though a Little Gull was over one of the fields near Rookery Farm on the way home.

White Zebra Finch:

Friday, 15 January 2016

Fudge Tunnel

Here we go: Fudge Tunnel- Cat Scratch Fever

Went back to Kingfisher Lake near Ringwood to get some pictures through the tunnel of fence & hedge of the awesome Ferruginous Duck that seems to over-winter there most years; also year ticked Egyptian Goose whilst I was there. On the way back called into Farlington Marshes to "see" the Velvet Scoter or "black-dot-on-the- horizon"as it prefers to be called; pointless in short. It'll need to come a lot closer than that for a picture!

Then up to Goring Gap, actually off Sea Lane, Ferring, for the Glaucous Gull to come into roost...only it didn't. Nice views of swirling Dunlin and Ringed Plover though.

Ferruginous Duck:

Dunlin & Ringed Plover:

Ringed Plover:

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Scaupgate-How I Learned to Love the Bomb....

What may or may not be a "Scaup" is in the news again. So re:ARK's picture on SOS: I'm not 100% convinced this is the bird in question; it appears to be the bird that was on Nunnery the other day which is a Tufted Duck, especially as I've never seen the "Scaup" consorting with Tufted Ducks like this one is; indeed, the Tufted Ducks were driving the "Scaup" off the other day. (The bit about the duck having black on the bill is rubbish as you can quickly see if you do a photo enhancement incidentally.) The "Scaup" may well be a hybrid as I believe I said originally but not IMHO as has been proclaimed a  pure Tufted Duck. Pretty poor as I shall point out in due time.

 Tufted Duck:

Monday, 11 January 2016

A Chichester Harbour Fisherman

A Common Seal in Chichester Harbour the other day munching on a Bass of approximately 5lbs in weight. The Bass hot-spot used to be opposite the yellow buoy at Copperas Point, popularly known as Coppice Point and old Jock used to bag a few from here when he was still about. Also saw the largest Flounder that I know of caught there, the "bin-lid" weighing in at 4lbs 1oz.; sadly most of the Flounder have gone the way of the Bass pictured now!  

Common Seal & Bass:

Sunday, 10 January 2016

A Tale of Three Creekies (!)

Whimbrel, Fishbourne Creek:

Redshank, Snowhill Creek:

Red-breasted Mergansers, Ellanore Creek:

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Pink Goosander

I've had no luck at Petworth Park for Goosanders recently although four, 3 m & 1 f, were there on the sixth of January but the news wasn't put out by someone who should have known better...Also no definitive sighting at Church Norton for me (see previous post) so I was pleased when Paul James tweeted that the drake Goosander was back at Widewater this morning. An absolute cracker of a bird it was too, superbly pink of hue.


Better pics of today's bird here:

Red-breasted Merganser, also present at Widewater:

Windy Days & Birthdays

A few from the last few days. Spoonbills taken in gale force winds at Church Norton. I was told & shown the Goosander redhead that has been present but for me poor weather made IDing it and photos too difficult to be 100%-a calmer day required for that one. A Little Gull was along the beach.


At Ivy Lake, an Egyptian Goose hiding in the island bushes and at least 79 Pochards, a great sight.


At Church Norton the next day the Whimbrel was by the bench as usual.


The missus came out with me on my birthday, I think she enjoyed it!!!