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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.

Friday, July 21, 2017

We have recently returned from our annual pilgrimage to the amazing Andre Rieu open air concerts in the Vrijthof Square in Maastricht, Holland and managed a couple of birding days in Le Parc du Marquenterre on the way home which is probably less than 100 miles from Pagham Harbour as the Egret flies! Although this reserve is relatively close to my local patch it is quite surprising to find species breeding which are only rare visitors to us!
Unfortunately the weather turned from being the very hot and sunny days we enjoyed in Maastricht, to typically British damp and cloudy conditions. Lighting for photography was certainly not at its best and hence results were generally disappointing. However, here are a random selection of the birds present at the time of our visit and some which were not, but were on our 'wanted' list. We did have a fleeting glimpse of a Crested Tit but the Black Woodpecker eluded us and  the only sign was a tree with a notice indicating that it had been here!!

Black Woodpecker evidence.

The main interest is the number of Egrets of all three species, Spoonbills and the 'stars' of the reserve..... the White Storks.
Cattle Egret and Little Egret

Cattle Egret (Juv)
Juvenile Cattle Egret

Great White, Cattle and Little Egret.

Grey Heron

Part of the Spoonbill colony.

Feeding Spoonbills

Preening and sleeping Spoonbills

Yawning Spoonbill

Showing off his amazing spoon bill!

White Stork on nest at top of pine.

Nest with youngster.

Youngster begging.

The nests are HUGE!

A couple of Cranes were present.

A few Grey Lag Geese

Cormorant on log 

A large breeding population of Black Headed Gulls producing hundreds of juveniles.

Common Sandpiper...a probable non breeder on return migration

Good numbers of Black Tailed Godwits and Avocets present.

A couple of Spotted Redshank in summer plumage.

Numerous Oystercatchers.

One of five breeding pairs of Black necked Grebes.

Really good to hear and see a Turtle Dove...distantly.

White Wagtail.

Black Winged Stilts...such elegant waders!

Other Wildlife included...
Rabbits...this one enjoying a dandelion.

Humming Bird Hawk Moth 

I was surprised to find this Coypu on the reserve!

If you are in Northern France anytime this reserve is well worth a visit and RSPB members get a discount!

Those Spoonbills just have to be my 'favourites'!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

This is the time of year when it is quiet for birds but, as it happens, a busy time for me (with non  birding things! )...hence the absence of blogs.
A walk to the North Wall during the past week was fairly unproductive but just to prove I am still about here are few of the 'regulars' present.

Coots have had a successful brood on the eastern end of the Lagoon.

Not the prettiest of youngsters!

Grey Heron stalking in the sea purslane.

Still eleven young Shelducks in Whites Creek.

Reed Bunting in the Breech Pool reedbed

A Common Tern on one of its favourite resting posts...Breech Pool.

Goldfinch...always a great photographic subject!
It is a sad fact that the summer is almost over for some birds as during the past two days there has been a marked passage of Swifts moving west....and a few waders are turning up in the harbour (presumably failed breeders from climes further north). Oh dear!

The wild flowers along  the 'dog walk' next to Slipe Field were well worth seeing and appreciating!

Well that's it until next time...whenever!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A week of two 'firsts'!

The first 'first'

This is only part of the twitching party!

Most birders will have heard by now of the mega twitch at Pagham Harbour which started last Saturday with the sighting of an Elegant Tern. Hundreds if not thousands of visitors have come to see this extreme rarity from all over the UK.  From early morning until dusk each day since, birders have been lined up along the harbour watching out for this tern. Plenty has already been written about the origins of this bird whose home is on the Pacific coast of the USA but suffice it to say that although I live right next to the reserve I have yet to get a decent view. The other evening I was watching along with several others when one birder who had been there most of the day turned to me and said he had better be going back home...which he said was a five hour journey to Shrewsbury! 

The second 'first'.
The Peregrines that have been present throughout most of the winter and spring period have bred on New Island....remarkable as this is only the second time that Peregrines have nested on the ground in the UK (so I am told). In the arctic they will be ground nesters but then there are no trees or cathedrals! The news has only just been released by the RSPB as a precautionary measure.
Photography is impossible (for me anyway) but here are three heavily cropped shots.
Taken from the East side

Adults and the two partially hidden youngsters.

Male on left of photo(I think) with female bringing in prey to the two youngsters.

I understand that youths have actually visited the Tern Island during the week  and have  trampled some nests and this afternoon another group of youths created havoc when they got stranded as the tide was coming in and one had to be rescued by the  Selsey in shore life boat.
The rescue.