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Pagham Birder: The Blog

A regular account of the birds seen mainly on and around Pagham Spit, the Lagoon and the North Wall plus other birding exploits from time to time.
Any news of interest regarding the ongoing erosion problems on Pagham Beach will, from now on, be shown on my other blog together with general beach photos.. Click on the link... Pagham Beach Blog on this page.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Birding on the beach has been quiet recently but last week saw a large movement of Swifts moving east...the end of their summer and always the earliest to depart for winter quarters.  There was a Chiffchaff on the beach this morning flitting amongst the bushes and obviously 'feeding up' in preparation for a southward journey.
Juvenile Starlings have been teaming up and forming quite large roaming flocks...here's just one bird...


Sandwich Terns are still very much in evidence, some with sizeable sand eels...


From the Spit hide I watched an agitated Ringed Plover watching me...


She plumped up....
and then moved a little closer, sat down on a nest and started brooding...

Seems quite late in the season to start again!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Another beautiful morning!

 The Stock Doves are  still present and constantly on the move...they seem quite skittish birds.

Stock doves in flight over Pagham Spit
Ringed Plover watching me very cautiously...obviously a nest or youngsters nearby.
 The Terns were very active and these Sandwich Terns had been on a successful fishing trip and were flying back over the harbour.

Sandwich Terns...returning from a successful mission





A Mute Swan in reflective mood on the Little Lagoon.

Dozens of Gatekeepers present in the gorse.
What a great morning!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A 'welcome home' pigeon.

Having just returned from a few days in Holland where the daytime heat was almost unbearable reaching 36C on one day in Maastricht,  I was greeted by this very friendly homing pigeon...

This is an amazing bird with a wonderful mauve rump and scapulars and after being fed and watered now seems  reluctant to go 'home'!
 Little on the spit today but a pair of Stock Doves which had been frequenting the patch for a little while  are still here feeding on weed seeds. The Cuckoo appears to have departed. A couple of  stunning summer plumaged Black Tailed Godwits were feeding close to the Lagoon pathway. A Whimbrel flew from the Little Lagoon. Skylarks were evident and appeared to have youngsters...but this pigeon is my 'highlight of the day'!
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Another glorious morning on Pagham Spit!




Not too many birds about but plenty of wild flowers...here's a taster!





As for birds, the Little Terns were busy feeding young on the opposite spit...at least 20 or so birds in the air.



   A Cuckoo was still present but proved elusive to photograph...a distant heavily cropped shot!
Linnets were few and far between and I only noted four  birds this morning.


 ...but the the Skylarks were in good voice..


Always good to hear...and see!
I guess the Hudsonian Curlew is still present as there were a group of twitchers on the Church Norton side...
The forecast is for a very hot few days! Summer is here!

During my evening walk  the Great Crested Grebe was sitting on its nest on the Lagoon...hopefully it will be successful. A Carrion Crow was watching close by.

Evening sunlight makes a real difference...just look at this Greenfinch on a telephonr wire....
Gold more than Green!
The Cuckoo is still lurking but I am still waiting to get a decent photo...it usually spots me before I spot it!
The very wary Cuckoo..it called three times.
Along the shore line the Ringed Plovers and their youngsters were feeding..another great subject in these lighting conditions.
Juvenile Ringed Plover

Ringed Plover (adult)

...another juvenile.
Another hot day tomorrow!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Life on Pagham Spit

It was one of those rare 'perfect' mornings when the sun was warm and the air was still and not a soul was about. Curlews called,  a Skylark was singing aloft and a few Swifts were flycatching over the beach...magic!


 Ringed Plovers seem to be doing well this year with three pairs nesting and two of the pairs with at least two youngsters each. This morning the parents were very anxious as I walked along the beach...
I was not welcome and soon I could see why as two, almost fully grown youngsters were preening and running around on the beach.
Preening
Young Ringed Plover
A pair of Oystercatchers were eyeing me and showed all the signs of having a nest nearby....I will have to observe from afar as they are very nervous birds  when breeding.

Time was short and I had a busy 'domestic' day ahead. Hey ho!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Holiday to Scotland (Pt 4)

After a rough crossing from Islay to the mainland we headed  to Tayinloan for the 20 minute, very rough crossing to Gigha, on a small car ferry.
The Isle of Gigha is a small island (7 miles long by 1.5 miles wide) off the west coast of Kintyre and was subject  to a community buyout in 2004. There is one small but very comfortable hotel.

This was our third visit and whilst there are no particularly notable species present it is very quiet and unspoilt with just one road....ideal!

House Sparrows abound


A movement caught our eye in an old vent pipe in the local church
...and it wasn't long before the owner of the legs appeared...a Great Tit
...only to dive in again a few moments later 
I'm not sure how the youngsters will get out or how far down the pipe the nest was!
Plenty of Swallows nesting in old buildings

Collared Doves...too

Song Thrushes are far more abundant on all three islands that we visited than we usually see down south.
I suppose the star of the island for us was the Hen Harrier altough we only saw two ringtails and both were distant.




Well that's it for another year...apart from the weather, an enjoyable experience.

Back to Pagham now, where the sun always shines!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Holiday to Scotland (Pt 3)

We arrived at Kennacraig Ferry Terminal in good time for the crossing to Islay on the M.V. Finlaggan. I had hoped to photograph Black Guillemots as I had missed them in Oban but there were only  a couple perched way out  in the distance..
 and a single bird flying the wrong way!
An Osprey circled the terminal whilst we were waiting and hovered several times but without success.


We have been to Islay twelve times previously during the past 30 years or so had always chosen the same time of year as it has  proved to be best for weather and for lack of mossies! This year was different in one respect.....rain every day! There were a few bright patches on some days and then we seized the opportunity to get out and about.

The RSPB Reserve at Loch Gruinart has a good hide and was a useful retreat in the wet!
A Sedge Warbler was building a nest close by and afforded some close up photography. 
A young Lapwing was feeding in the grass
...and a Hare almost came into the hide!

Numerous Redshanks were breeding and one particular stump in front of the hide proved popular, so when the sun emerged briefly, it provided a good photo opportunity. 

Other birds around the island were duly photographed...
Common Sandpiper


Stonechat
Common Gull


Rock Pipit
Ringed Plover



Scoter (m)

Wheatear

Hooded Crow
The highlight on the island is the Chough and on our last afternoon the sun shone and we were able to obtain a few flight photos of this  beautiful corvid...
Chough


...and a single perching bird (as the clouds loomed up again)
...but a sunny evening on the very last day

Eider family on Loch Indaal

This is what it should have been like all the time but at least we could enjoy the last few hours in Islay!




To be concluded.