Thursday 16 May 2013

Selsey Bill (II)

Another unproductive sea watch at the Bill, starting at 0600 and finishing at 1000, there was little of note. A flat calm sea and sunny conditions were just right for a sea watch, however, the birds did not agree.Highlights were 5 Eider ducks going east and a solitary Hobby making his way up the channel.

On the beach a dozen Sanderling, just getting their summer plumage, foraged among the large piles of kelp thrown up by the recent high winds.

Entertainment was provided by several gulls squabbling over some discarded by-catch. A dominant 3 Winter Great Black-backed Gull was making sure it got the major share. When I processed the photographs I noticed that one bird was ringed "L60"

I subsequently sent a sighting report to Fabrice Gallien of the Groupe Ornithologie Normand (GONm) and received a prompt reply stating that the bird was ringed by himself at Chausey, Manche, Normandie on the 28th June 2012 and that today's report was the first sighting since then.

On the way back to the car I noticed a small flock of Greenfinches, close and in good light. One male in particular was very actively displaying to some rather distracted females.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Lancing Ring

On my way home from Anchor Bottom I called in at Lancing Ring to record the Early Purple Orchid, Orchis mascula. I suspect that I should have been here at least a week earlier as pristine specimens were few and far between. Also, light was not that good and I had to resort to ring flash which makes some of the shots harsh. Given the amount of attention this site gets from dog walkers it is surprising how well the orchids thrive.

I also noted the "invasion" of Bluebells; all, I suspect, having Spanish genes from Hyacinthoides hispanica . Ah well, short of digging them all up we will have to put up with them - much the same as Canada Geese, Grey Squirrels and that damned New Zealand Pigmyweed, Crassula helmsii!! Truly global flora and fauna.

Anchor Bottom

Unfortunately I could not make the SDOS outing to Anchor Bottom on Saturday, a shame as I really wanted to have a guided tour. Anyway, today I made the trip on my own, specifically to record the Green-winged Orchid, Anacamptis morio. I started at the Beeding Hill car park and worked my way west along the south facing slope of the valley. I knew the orchids could be found on the north facing slope, but I just wanted to investigate the whole area. On the south slope I managed one specimen  which was considerably smaller than those occupying the opposite side of the valley. From the back of Dacre Gardens to the start of the gorse, I found hundreds if not thousands of specimens, some of which I recorded. I also found two plants of the white form and several pink specimens.

South facing specimen


The small herd of cows occupying the valley have provided a large supply of fresh cow pats, ideal for butterflies but none were present due to the strong south westerly wind. However the Dung Flies were happy to pose for the camera.

Dung Fly - Scathophaga stercoraria

It was hard to find a violet that wasn't full of holes!

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Selsey Bill

I  arrived at Selsey Bill car park a tad after 0600, surprised by two things, the number of cars already parked and the fact the weather was not quite as forecast, the promised south easterly was still stuck firmly in the north east. Having set up my scope and chair amongst a host of birders I sat and waited for the action to commence, and I waited and waited, after four hours I cut my losses and departed for a walk round Church Norton. However, I wasn't totally unrewarded as Little Tern, Yellow Wagtail and, oddly enough, Whimbrel gave me year ticks. The Whimbrel were "lolloping"  along the beach when Owen Mitchell worked his magic and called them into range for a camera shot. Thanks Owen, with a bit more effort we could have had them down sun and a bit less altitude.

 Several Great Northern Divers were offshore and gave splendid views in the clear early morning light. Additionally, sightings of a dolphin and seal made up for the lack of Skuas. Commic and Sandwich Terns were feeding close to the shore line, and an incoming Hobby rounded off the watch.

At Church Norton things were pretty quiet, still plenty of  Whitethroats about but precious little else. I ambled round to the hide but found nothing so carried on up the path along the west side disturbing a pair of Shelducks  which were getting very friendly.
Plenty of butterflies about and I noted Peacock, Orange Tip and Speckled Wood. The gorse bushes are in full bloom, in the heat of the morning sun the scent was an overpowering smell of coconut. As always, amongst the sea of yellow, a male Linnet posed perfectly. The extensive reedbed was alive with Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers and vociferous Cetti's
The Broom doesn't look too bad either.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the local Crows were desperately trying to find the Dunnock's nest in the garden. However, just minutes later, the Crow was performing aerobatics to drive away a Herring Gull from its own nest. A case of the biter bit!