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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.

Monday, October 31, 2022


 October has been a strange month with temperatures well above average with sunny days mixed with heavy showers and several nights of very heavy rain. Cloud formations have been interesting too...

The Lagoon has had a fair number of Little Grebes arrive (up to 15 some days) with some in partial summer plumage but most have now adopted their winter 'look'.

Meadow Pipits have been overflying on several morning whilst several have remained on the spit and seem to be feeding well on grubs.

At present, three pairs of Stonechats have taken up residence and although disturbed by a constant stream of passers by don't seem to be particularly concerned.

Brent Geese have been arriving in dribs and drabs with many flying west past the harbour mouth without stopping. However the harbour is now getting its quota and several pairs seem to have at least two to three  juveniles with them. 

A Kingfisher has been present on most days but tends to be a bit skittish.  I was lucky to get a distant shot of this one hovering before diving for a fish in the Lagoon.

Cormorants are ever present besides Redshanks and Turnstones

Starlings are always a delight chattering on the 'phone lines.

Magpies are usually an overlooked species  but this one caught my eye in the 'old' carpark.

A visit to the north Wall was interesting this morning as I wanted to find the reported Fieldfares in Halsey farm area but I only located one (because of its 'chacking' call) and this was at a vast distance and I could only just make it out even with bins. Here's a very poor back view but sufficient proof.

Returning along the North Wall I was pleasantly surprised to find three pairs of Yellowhammer...very unapproachable and constantly on the move and chasing each other 

Just as I was walking past the Salthouse I received a Whatsapp from Les who had seen a Dartford Warbler behind the stables. Sure enough, there it was, a bit elusive but nonetheless hopping from a hawthorn bush to the fence to the ground. It eluded my attempts to catch it on camera! 


Lets see what November brings!

Thursday, October 6, 2022

THE Shrike!

  We have just returned from a 10 day break in North Cornwall which was basically a non birding holiday. Usually we do have a couple of visits to the  hotspots of Porthgwarra or Hayle but the weather conditions were certainly not conducive for any serious birding...with predominantly  high winds and  wet weather.

 I was disappointed to miss the Wrynecks at Church Norton and even more so, the confiding Red Backed Shrike!

So today I was delighted to see the report that the RBS was still showing well!

An early afternoon visit was rewarded!!!!

Apart from a few Choughs and a splendid Kestrel, photography was a bit thin on the ground in Cornwall.

The Choughs were becoming much less unusual in the area we often frequent at this time of year in Porthcothan, near Padstow...a good sign that they are becoming more established.

Kestrel, Park Head, North Cornwall.

Pied Wagtail on the beach at Porthcothan, North Cornwall.

Rock Pipits were numerous on the beach and the rocks!

Skylark  between Portcothan and Bedruthan Steps.

So now its back to Pagham where birding rarely disappoints!

Friday, September 23, 2022

An evening stroll with a surprise!

 Yesterday morning  I had a male and female Blackcap  in the garden and that usually indicates that migrants have arrived overnight and that the North Wall in Pagham Harbour would be alive with birds!

Alas, only a few Chifchaffs and a Blackcap were amongst the 'usuals' along the wall but I did meet Les who remarked that a Barn Owl was seen the previous evening. So, at about 5.30 I set out for the North Wall and was pleased to find two Curlew Sandpipers by the sluice gate.

As I was taking a few photos I looked up and saw Les beckoning me to come quickly. I thought he had seen the Barn Owl so hurried along and there on the Breech Pool....A Glossy Ibis! 

What a surprise....the light wasn't particularly good for photos but having taken almost 200 shots I show below a couple of the ones that show the amazing beak and the iridescence of the wings 

What a bird (but no sign of the Barn Owl)!

Monday, September 12, 2022

Its good to be back to the home patch!

 A quick visit to the North Wall this morning.

I was greeted by Stumpy, the now regular Greenshank.  Just as I arrived a dog (off lead ) literally galloped onto the sluice area disturbing a Kingfisher! However the Greenshank remained and on close inspection of the beak it does not show any obvious signs of damage and certainly doesn't affect its feeding

Curlew in Whites Creek

Black Tailed Godwit...with jewellery.

Must have been at least a dozen Blackcaps in the bushes alongside the wall. Here's a female.

A flock of LongTailed Tits were literally bouncing in and and out of the shrubbery.

Several Greenfinches chose the high viewpoints

...but my highlight this morning was this Redstart.
Superb bird.

The Breech Pool is amazingly, full again!
Must have rained a lot...we had none in Suffolk!

Hope to get back to some serious birding soon but it was just a taster this morning.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Suffolk in September

 We always look forward to a week in Suffolk in September and have made scores of visits throughout the past 50 years after we first discovered Thorpeness in1970! 

Minsmere is only a short drive away and although we've seen many changes over the years we have never seen so little water in the reserve. The hide overlooking the East Scrape never disappoints but this time it was cracked and dry and 'desertlike'.

View from East Scrape hide...usually perfect for waders but without water of very little interest.

Waders were very few and far between and even those that we could see from West Hide and North Hide were very distant.  3 Green Sandpipers, 5 Curlew Sandpipers and a few Dunlin. the  occasional Black Tailed Godwit and on one occasion, 15 Avocets. 

Ducks were starting to move in where patches of water were available... mainly Teal, with a few Wigeon and Gadwall.

Photography was at an all time low but below are a few random  'highlights'. 

Stone Curlew on the outskirts of the reserve.
Barnacle Goose...part of a local 'feral' flock maybe.
Cormorant...on Island Mere
Closeup of a Muntjac.
Distant view of a Marsh Harrier
Greylag Goose
Black Tailed Godwits  ...just the two.
Resident Canada Geese
Leucistic Canada goose ?
Greylag Goose
Spotted Flycatcher
Initially took this to be a Chiffchaff but on looking at the photo noticed a touch of orange in some breast feathers and a rather grey crown. Suggestions please. 
Distant Marsh Harrier
Great White Harrier from Bittern hide (but no Bittern seen)
Juvenile Cuckoo by the slice gate on the beach.

Whilst back at home around Pagham Harbour Wrynecks (plural!). Redstarts, Whinchats, Little Stint, Glossy Ibis, Ospreys were all being seen!

The weather was a plus factor for a holiday with undiluted sunshine which seemed somewhat different to what was happening on the south coast.  

 Heyho, can't win them all!