Sunday, 31 December 2017

End of year results

So I ended up 2017 as follows:

Selsey Peninsula year list: 187

Sussex year list: 224 (or 226 if you want to split the Bean Geese, as I saw both Tundra & Taiga, & add Pale-bellied Brent Goose).

England year list: 237 ( didn't go outside England!)

To finish off the 59 butterflies I need Scotch Argus & Chequered Skipper, so hopefully will get those in 2018...a twitchable Large Tortoiseshell would be nice in 2018 as I dipped the ones at South Stoke, 'nuff said there...

Didn't add any new UK saltwater fish species so I remain on 60 for those which is still pretty good I think!

Sunday, 17 December 2017


A decent few days for gulls with a Caspian Gull at the Cuckmere on Friday and an Iceland Gull as well as a leucistic Herring Gull at Warnham on Sunday.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Temminck's Stint

A Temminck's Stint at Pulborough has been very tricky to track down and confirm over the last few days but finally gave itself up from the Hanger viewpoint on Sunday.

The bird showed all the correct behavioural traits and plumage details (pale legs, white to the tail feathers etc.,) through the gathered 'scopes but was too distant for any sort of photograph- I may go back if it remains to try for some. A great Sussex tick for me and I was very pleased!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Barred Warbler

Somewhere in that bush is a Barred Warbler, only six feet away if that but surprisingly difficult to see! A nice Hampshire tick at Titchfield Haven today & nice to see  a couple of familiar faces too.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Black Guillemot number two!

After a morning watching Hawfinches and unsuccessfully trying to find a Sussex Parrot Crossbill I was on my way home when OM rang to tell me he'd found a Black Guillemot at Elmer rocks! I arrived to find just OM there watching the bird which had unfortunately been mobbed and had now drifted west but at least was still there and decent scope views were had of what I think is a 1st winter bird, the same as the Eastbourne one; C&ME, AH, BFF and BA all joined us and further views were had as it continued its drift. A good find for West Sussex!

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Black Guillemot & Glaucous Gull

The Black Guillemot was still in Sovereign Harbour at Eastbourne today though it did take Matt Eade to point it out, much nearer the gates than I was expecting! There was also a Glaucous Gull on the sea that flew in for a while before going back out of the harbour.

Monday, 27 November 2017

American Horned Lark

Poor weather along the coast persuaded me to go inland to Staines reservoir for the American Horned Lark as I believe it is now confirmed as being. Never the most scenic of venues the whole experience was a bit underwhelming but half-decent scope views were had of the bird on the west bank of the northern basin. A Black-necked Grebe was on the southern basin.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Black-necked Grebe

The Black-necked Grebe finally showed on Ternery Pool at Rye on Friday; initially not present it flew in and settled in front, well, in front but far away (!), of the eastern hide.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Purple Sandpiper

A Purple Sandpiper at Selsey Bill was a Bill, Peninsula and Sussex year tick all in one:

Friday, 27 October 2017

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup at Longham Lakes in Dorset, always a bit distant for pics but lovely scope views and a great bird (no really, I love a duck me!).

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Rosy Starling

A couple of pics of the Rose-coloured Starling from the other day:

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Hawfinch, Crossbill, Ring Ouzel, Dartford Warbler & Rose-coloured Starling

Plenty of Hawfinches at Rewell Wood over the last few days, and a Crossbill too, a Rosy Starling in Selsey, the briefest of Ring Ouzels in Church Norton churchyard and a Dartford Warbler on the west side at Pagham, not too bad really, it's perked up a bit.

Monday, 9 October 2017


Three Curlew Sandpipers on the east side at Pagham yesterday means I have seen quite a few this autumn but sadly I haven't been able to find anything more interesting on the wader front. No Wrynecks or Shrikes for me either this autumn and just the one Yellow-browed Warbler..Melodious/Icterine/Barred Warblers on the Selsey Peninsula, and West Sussex in general, also appear to be a thing of the past. When was the last good warbler in West Sussex? Pallas's at Church Norton? Bonelli's? No doubt I am overlooking something somewhere though. Still, the 9th of October and just maybe....

Saturday, 30 September 2017


Re-found the Yellow-browed Warbler at Chidham on Friday, it showed on & off in the trees by the footpath near the green metal gates at St.Mary's Church.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Pectoral Sandpiper

After checking the Hanger & Jupp's View at RSPB Pulborough Brooks I finally found the Pectoral Sandpiper at Netley's Hide on the far left of the water. It didn't stay on view for long & I had to go to work but fairly decent scope views for a couple of minutes; now a close one at Pagham please!

Friday, 15 September 2017

USA Sandpipers

Least Sandpiper, Stilt Sandpiper (having a kip!) & Buff-breasted Sandpiper in Dorset on Thursday, a good day.

Monday, 11 September 2017

The demise of Pagham?

This is a really interesting post from Brett Spencer's blog about the demise of Radipole RSPB:

This struck a chord with me because I just can't fathom what is going on around the Pagham Harbour Medmerry area at the moment:

Sidlesham Ferry Pool is a shadow of its former self, think of the great birds of the past eg: Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baird's Sand, Lesser Yellowlegs, Black-winged Pratincole, not to mention Phalaropes, Pec Sands...little chance of much now as it still has not been repaired. New hide? Why? Fix the bloody pool!

The Breech Pool is a duck pond most of the year as the run offs from the fields have become clogged with pennywort and the like and and are holding the water back when it should be running through fast and out of the sluices. The sluice gates are wide open but the water level won't drop because of this and the mismanagement of the harbour mouth. Solution? Well the spit may be cut so perhaps the harbour outflow can be improved but there surely must be talks with the landowners to rectify the situation? Spend some money if necessary RSPB!

The Stilt Pool is quite remarkable as a venue that has gone backwards incredibly rapidly, remember the breeding BW Stilts from where it gets its nomenclature? Now? Literally 100s of Canada Geese present and would you believe it, grazing cattle. The other day there was just a Common Sand here lurking at the  very back and even the Gulls had been pushed right to side of the pool by the geese and cattle! And all the nitrogen being deposited into the water will cause an algal bloom and de-oxygenate the water so zero will live there. Guess what? No food no birds....Get a digger and make a few more scrapes behind the shingle bank-this will take the pressure of the pool and could make a really great site-will it happen? Doubtful. Opening the centre of the reserve up would also be a bonus as would fencing off the outlying pools to keep dogs out-signs do not work, dogs constantly in the water at breeding season...

The now sadly deceased "Puddle" at Lidsey showed what could happen if the habitat is right: Pec Sand, Wood Sand and all manner of waders...we live in hope but not expectation....

Monday, 4 September 2017

Baird's Sandpiper

An uneventful weekend in East Sussex was considerably brightened by the appearance of a Baird's Sandpiper at the Cuckmere, showed very well, pics/video to follow. Earlier zero at Beachy Head and on Saturday just 24 Golden Plover of note at Rye ( no birders except me at Rye early morning, what's that about?? Isn't it birded anymore???!))

Video here: Baird's

Monday, 28 August 2017

Queen of Spain Fritillary

I arrived early at the site in Piddinghoe (at the same time as James from Seaford) and it didn't take too long for a "Comma" to become a rare Queen of Spain Fritillary as it popped out of the hedgerow in front of us! Nice! It was an active male and we chased it around for  a while before the threat of heavy traffic made me take an early exit but not before posting a BOC pic on my twitter to much interest...the rest is history as most of Sussex have now seen it and its two companions. Grateful thanks to the farmer & finder for access & details. Number 61 of butterflies seen in the UK for me.

pics & vid to follow

Friday, 25 August 2017

Melodious Warbler & Hoopoe

Both the Melodious Warbler & Hoopoe showed well today in East Sussex, videos on my YouTube here:

Organicbirder YouTube

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Southern Migrant Hawker

I don't really do dragonflies but a Southern Migrant Hawker was found by AB yesterday on the small pool at the Ferry at Sidlesham & by luck was still there this morning.

It took a while to find (and ID!) but eventually showed quite well really for at least five minutes. Very difficult to photograph in the heat of the day but I might be able to pots a video grab later, fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Tree Sparrow

A Tree Sparrow was at Climping yesterday and after a terrible battle through the traffic from Thorney (where I dipped Osprey) I eventually got it for at least whole 30 seconds before it flew and was kept down by the onset of rain (presumably). I waited in vain for a while in the hope of a pic but no re-show...:-(

Saturday, 19 August 2017

White-winged Black Tern

Went to search for the White-winged Black Tern viewing from East Head on Wednesday, quite surprised no one else bothered really. Found it with two Black Terns (in Sussex I might add) after 30 mins or so. It turned up later at the Stilt Pool at Medmerry where much better views were obtained!

The North Wall

Spoonbill, Wheatears & Common Sandpiper from the North Wall.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Marsh Sandpiper

A quick run down from a few days in Southwold to Cliffe in Kent for the Marsh Sandpiper produced with the bird showing well after a wait. A few Black-winged Stilts and a couple of Ruff were still on a neighbouring pool.

Marsh sandpiper video here.

Monday, 26 June 2017


JA from Selsey brought his mothtrap to our place in Oving and we had 336 moths of 80 species overnight including Poplar, Elephant & Privet Hawkmoths:

Today we had this female Broad-bodied Chaser, thanks twitter for the ID, and a few Comma hutchinsoni.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Common Clubtail

An email from MP came through to advise me that if I wanted to add a Common Clubtail dragonfly to my Sussex list now would be a good time so off to Fittleworth I went. After a bit of getting in a muddle I eventually found the spot and saw one straight away, then with the help of the Bookers managed to find one settled, albeit on the other side of the Rother. I don't really do dragonflies so this was a nice change for me.

Butterflies of the North of England

And so needing only a few more butterflies for the "59" I ventured to the north to have ago for three species I still had to get, Large Heath, Northern Brown Argus & Mountain Ringlet. On day one the weather was atrocious but at least I managed to have a look at the sites and get my bearings and as it was so wet decided to try for the bog-loving Large Heath at Meathop Moss. Fortunately,  after a bit of tramping around in the bog,  I managed to flush one up and it flew around for a while before settling again; not great pics due to the weather but I was happy to get it.

Large Heath:

I had a feeling that Northern Brown Argus was going to be tricky and I was proved right, in fact it turned out to be the most difficult to get with me only succeeding on the third visit to Latterbarrow, a little reserve off the A590. Latterbarrow is a small reserve but then NBA are small butterflies! Eventually tracked one down though.

Northern Brown Argus:

I'd recced  Irton Fell for Mountain Ringlet in poor weather on the first day so at least I knew where to try on the Saturday. I bumped into another butterflier who had seen some and told me they were right at the top near the wall so off I trudged. "None lower down" he wrong he was for as I stood watching a Small Heath fly past no more than 10 yards on a chocolate-brown butterfly rose up after it-bingo! Then another one..and as the sun came up 10 or maybe 20. (I tried to engage the chap in convo and it emerged he had seen Black Hairstreak in Oxfordshire.."where was that?" I asked cheerfully, as you do. and...he refused to tell me! Bizarre, just as well  I don't need BH! How odd was that, but there you go!).

Anyway, had a lovely afternoon in the sun watching the Mountain Ringlets fluttering around, very pleased to show them my face.

Mountain Ringlet:

I am indebted to Martin Peacock, Dave Potter & Mark Jones for their help and advice, much appreciated!

Cumbria Wildlife Trust on the other hand were hopeless both via the internet and in the field-they could not have been less helpful (& apparently less knowledgeable) if they tried, disappointing.

So two left, Chequered Skipper and Scotch Argus!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Elegant Tern & Roseate Tern

The Elegant Tern  from Hayling Island via France re-found by ARK at Church Norton is still delighting all comers, haven't been able to get a decent picture myself but this will do. Keeping us on our toes at @selseybirder and the selseybirder blog with requests for info and details on access that's for sure! Kudos to the RSPB team for doing a great job in the area too.

I went back a few times for the Elegant Tern and the best of the rest along with a couple of terrible pics of the Roseate Tern are below.

Roseate Tern, second from left showing hint of pink and nice long streamers.

Elegant Tern on the deck, shame about the heat haze!