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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, August 16, 2019

A day to remember....

August 16 2016...a fantastic minute (08.37 to be precise), in fact less than a minute when an Aquatic Warbler showed itself just a few metres away on the top of a hawthorn near Owl Point Pagham Harbour!
Here are two of the uncropped shots of that memorable morning...

....and these are two cropped shots

...for a split second it fanned its tail.

So this morning I thought a return visit to the very spot would be appropriate. Going via the Halsey Farm entrance to check on the Squacco Heron I was disappointed on a 'no show'. However there were 3 Cattle Egrets in the trees bounding the 'favoured field' but little else.
A distant shot of one of the three Cattle Egrets 
But at Owl Point, not even a warbler of any no repeat of the excitement of 3 years ago.
Here are a few shots of a visit to the harbour on August 6...
Coming down the rife.

An odd looking leucistic Starling...
when at first seen I thought it was going to be a Yellow Wagtail considering the company it was keeping.

Wheatear on North Wall

Oystercatcher involved in dirty work.

Grey Plover close to the North wall stunning summer plumage...great!

Little Egret with small fry.

Here's hoping for a good Autumn migration...I've already dipped out on the Osprey that's been around for a few days!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Squacco Heron...success at last!

7.00am at the North Wall and there it was circling the field just south of Halsey Farm. Managed to secrete myself behind the bushes and slowly it emerged from a dry ditch through the tall grass....stalking grasshoppers. Not an easy subject to photograph due to distance and the long grass but here are a few shots of the many taken.

At least a record of a UK tick for me and a first for the Selsey Peninsular records book.
A bonus came when two Cattle Egrets decided to join the Squacco...

An unusual sight for Pagham ...from left to right...Squacco Heron(typical view in long grass), Little Egret and two Cattle Egrets.
Just to add to the excitement a Kingfisher was flying up and down the rife to the left of me.

A good morning.

 Later in the morning back at base a Green Woodpecker visited the bird bath and after drinking decided on a bath.

Clean but a little bedraggled.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Today has been one of those days of not being at the right place at the right time having spent 2 hours this morning and another 2 hours this afternoon waiting to catch a glimpse of the Squacco Heron. On both occasions I was told I "should have been here 10 minutes ago!" Tomorrow is another day but I only have a short window of opportunity early in the day.
During the week I have been keeping an eye out for early migrants and on Friday did find my first 2 returning Wheatears on Pagham Spit. We also had 5 Willow Warblers  and a Blackcap in a birch tree in the garden on Thursday so I thought the North Wall would be good but I could only find a single Whitethroat!

 A Magpie was deciding which way to go
 ...and the 2 Cattle Egrets were on the high tide roost site.

Wader numbers are increasing and a few small mixed flocks (Dunlin and Turnstone) were  wheeling around at high tide.

Today the Egret roost held good numbers of Little Egrets plus the now usual Cattle Egrets...but no Squacco!
 Butterflies were the highlight on the beach with scores of Painted Ladies visiting the buddleia.

Hopefully the Squacco will remain until I can 'tick' it!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A short but rewarding visit to the North Wall.

As I arrived at the reserve this morning I was greeted with a chap who said there was a Marsh Harrier in a hawthorn bush. Sure enough on looking over the Breech pool I had  distant view of a very dark plumaged,creamy headed individual....apparently a juvenile (confirmed by Owen who arrived shortly afterwards)
Distant Marsh Harrier

On turning around and looking along Whites Creek from the sluice gate I got a good view of a splendid summer plumage Spotted Redshank...

On the opposite bank and a little further away a Greenshank....

In the far distance a pair of Yellow Legged Gulls (possibly three) but too far away even for a record shot.

...but then, another couple of birds almost too far away but irresistible to photograph were two Cattle Egrets in bushes on the usual high water egret roost site towards owl copse.

Apart from these good birds a  couple of Whimbrel were present out on the mudflats and a lonely Curlew was feeding by the wall ........ a small flock of Curlews flying from Honer fields to the harbour.

Short and sweet but a pleasant 45 minutes!

A few photos from earlier...

Pyramidal Orchid along the North Wall July 2

Partial eclipse of the moon 
July 16
...and finally an Emperor dragonfly on the garden pond.

 ....and that's it for now