Sunday 22 November 2020

Sunday 22nd November

Another productive day, despite long spells of dank mizzle. The first couple of hours were spent sea-watching when the light was excellent and the sea flat calm,  allowing some passing seabirds to be identified as they crossed behind 'Pacific Egret', a cargo ship anchored 6⅓ miles (5½ nm) away (!) SSW off the seawall. Birds that flew south included 205 mixed auks, 75 Kittiwake, 67 Gannet, 34 Common Scoter and a Fulmar. Bobbing about on the water was a large influx of 36 Great Crested Grebe, including seven on estuarine waters, the largest ever November count here but not a surprise since this species has continued to increase dramatically each decade here since the 1960s and it tends to arrive in large numbers to over-winter from about this time. Another record, 28 Great Northern Diver was the largest count in November here and equal sixth highest ever; all higher counts have been in December.

data capture, analysis and presentation - Ivan Lakin

An unexpected bonus was a Great White Egret that slowly flew by and headed up the estuary mouth at 09:23; the third record of the year. 

The 3.1 metre late-morning neap tide was just high enough to push in the waders with large numbers of Dunlin and Oystercatcher present, and on the dropping tide counts of waterbirds were 285 Wigeon, 225 Canada Goose that inexplicably dropped in, such high numbers are usually seen here attending overnight roosts; 182 Black-tailed Godwit, 174 Redshank, 140 Grey Plover, 137 Teal, 125 Knot, 107 Dark-bellied Brent Goose plus two Pale-bellied Brent Goose with them in The Bight; 81 Black-headed Gull, 74 Shelduck, 68 Turnstone, 24 Ringed Plover, 16 Common Gull, 14 Common Snipe, nine Red-breasted Merganser, another seven Great Crested Grebe, seven Greenshank, only about six Curlew, only three Great Black-backed Gull, a Mediterranean Gull and the Slavonian Grebe.

On Main Pond, four Water Rail, plus another probing around Entrance Pond, four Shoveler (♂♂, imm ♂,♀), four Moorhen, two Mallard, the drake duck thing, a single Mute Swan again, another Common Snipe, a trilling Little Grebe and a Kingfisher.

Ten migrant Lesser Black-backed Gull flew south; four Rook, two Jackdaw, a Golden Plover flew south and the odd single Skylark and Chaffinch also passed overhead.

Particularly favouring the Alders and Silver Birch, up to 15 Siskin, a Lesser Redpoll and various other common finches. Three Coal Tit included a bird that flew over to Langstone Rock briefly and two others were at the bird-feeders; otherwise in the woods and bushes, single-figures of mixed tits, 7+ Goldcrest, possibly the Firecrest but too elusive to confirm, 7+ regular colybita Chiffchaff and the highlights, one, possibly two Siberian Chiffchaff. The first sighting was indicative of a new arrival as it appeared with two Chiffchaff in the dune ridge tamarisk then soon moved into sallows and presumably the same bird, along with Chiffchaffs made their way to sallows around Main Pond where it was watched at close range with another bird of characteristics that more placed it into the 'fulvescens' trait camp, or to imply that its perhaps from the Urals hybrid zone, a 'riphaeus'-type, in that it showed a little bit of green around the bend of the wing, too much of a contrasting 'Bonelli's-like' folded wing panel and yellowy, less buffy hints on parts of the face. The monotoned loveliness of light greyey brown and tan hues of the Siberian Chiffchaff, together with its plantive '(b)eeep' call (heard when in the tamarisk) led to its being described as a 'classic'.

Both the yellow-ringed '632' (seawall), that first returned on 6th November and the green-ringed 
'AVP' (in The Bight), first seen here 28th October were seen today, plus another Scandinavian Rock Pipit, accompanied by a regular petrosus Rock Pipit.  

Also notable today, six Cirl Bunting, five Stonechat, two Song Thrush, a ♂ Green Woodpecker fed along the deserted fairways; an imm ♂ Kestrel, a Reed Bunting and a Grey Wagtail. Less the sub-species and excluding Siberian Chiffchaff, the site day-list was an impressive 84 species.

Wildlife news: a Water Vole 'plop' was heard at Gold Course Pond. Three Harbour Porpoise breached a long way out.

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