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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, December 31, 2010

Scaup or Tufted?

It is a Scaup and there is a Tufted duck with a lot of white to base of bill!
Yes, following on from comments in yesterdays blog I found the female Scaup in the harbour and the'scaup like' tufted on the Lagoon.
Over 250 Shelduck noted in the harbour with good numbers of Pintail but all outnumbered by Wigeon. The Peregrine was on his favourite spot on New Island  and the Kingfisher was fishing in the Lagoon. All the usual waders present and an earlier visit to North Wall produced a single Fieldfare, a Kestrel tucking into  quite a sizeable (but unidentifiable) bird but alas no sign of yesterdays reported Bittern.

So ends 2010.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another murky day

The past few days have been truly uninviting and my outings have been short lived . Yesterday was particularly awful with a thick mist redcucing visibility so that I could not see the sea or even the other side of Pagham lagoon. However as a possible Scaup had been reported on the Lagoon and in the harbour I did venture out and saw the bird which may have been the suspect. My thoughts however were  that it was a female Tufted Duck showing a considerable amount of white at the base of the bill...I will look again when the light improves!

The other highlight was 2 Water Rails showing very well from the board walk at the eastern end of the even walking slowly in front of me along the board walk.

This morning, despite the continuing gloom Goldeneye,Pochard, Tufted Duck, Kingfisher, Mediterranean Gulls and a Green Woodpecker  were all present in or around the lake. A flock of about 300 Knot were circling the mudflats accompanied by the usual selection of waders and ducks.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A busy week

Christmas week has been busy with little time for birding ...a brief walk to the harbour on a very cold morning a couple of days ago  gave views of the usual waders and duck species plus good views of 5 Avocet, a seal in the harbour entrance and a dead fox on the shore line.
A quick sortie at high tide this afternoon produced nothing unusual but the light was superb and gave an opportunity to get a couple of good images of Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Grey Plover along the high tide mark... a small Knot flock was roosting on the Church Norton extended shingle spit.

The Knot flock

Ringed Plover

Grey Plover
...and  a Very Happy Christmas to all of you!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A dramatic cloud effect as the sun arose this morning...but it was VERY cold again. The walk over the shingle was eerily silent as all the pebbles were stuck together following the rain of yesterday which had frozen  and created  a solid mass of shingle..

This Little Egret stood motionless by the side of the Lagoon, oblivious of my presence... note the frozen edge to the water

I couldn't resist adding this at the end of the equally dramatic sun set!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Local Owl.

It is always a challenge to get a photograph of a bird in poor light and hidden within a bush! Having raised the ASA to 3600 I managed to get a record shot of this Long Eared Owl somewhere near Pagham Spit! Thank you for the tip off and guidance from fellow birders

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Suffolk few days!

Four short days in Suffolk turned out to be quite productive even though it was not a birding holiday. The North Warren marshes held good numbers of Geese and Duck and most surprising was the presence of 4 Red Breasted Geese (of dubious origin...maybe) and Barnacles but some 'genuine' WhiteFronted geese and 4 Pink Footed Geese...not seen so often in Suffolk. A visit to Minsmere did produce a few Waxwings which were quite elusive and very mobile but nevertheless did show for a short time for a few photos.
More of a surprise was a confiding Water  Rail that was unphased by a number of admirers on the North wall. In addition we were treated to a ringtail Hen harrier, Bittern, Marsh Harriers and the usual duck species and 2 Bewick Swans on Island Mere.

The four Red Breasted Geese

Barnacle Geese on the alert.

A Waxwing in the North bushes


Water Rail in a ditch.

On returning home we put a couple of fat balls out and within a minute a male Blackcap turned up and started feeding on them. It is common knowledge that some Blackcaps winter in the UK and it is not unusual to see them at feeding stations but in 26 years on Pagham Beach this was a first for us!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Another VERY cold start.

A very sharp frost this morning and the pebble beach was frozen solid making it like walking on concrete. The Lagoon was 95% frozen and all but a few Tufteds, 2 Pochard and a few Mallards and Coot remained.  3 Redwing flew from a tree next to the yacht club but later when walking to the North Wall there were reasonable numbers of both Redwings and Fieldfares.
Common and Black Headed Gull on frozen Lagoon

Rear end of a Lapwing...brilliant!

Brent to see full size

Wigeon in flight

Saturday, December 4, 2010

What a diiference a day makes...or rather a night!

Awoke this morning to find all snow gone!

Unbelievable....10c increase in temperature.

Friday, December 3, 2010

An exceptionally cold night and day!

A fantastic morning...bright sun and -6c...a real arctic scene. Skyarks along the harbour tideline included a single Woodlark. A Short Eared Owl was scanning the beach and then flew over the harbour but later returned and made its way to the Church Norton shingle spit. The ducks on the Lagoon contained 3 pairs of Gadwall (unusually) and a Water Rail flew from the reedbed at the eastern end. Brent geese were very restless during the day constantly moving from Lagoon to harbour and then out to sea and returning.
The temperature remained well below freezing all day and I am becoming really concerned for the welfare of the birds as a thick blanket of snow makes it well nigh impossible for them to find food except along the shoreline whilst the tide is out.

Mute Swans ...over the beach

Short Eared Owl..quartering Pagham Spit 

Short Eared Owl

Grey Plover on the high tide mark

One of several local foxes....hunting

A Christmas card bird!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Very Cold Day!!

We awoke this morning to a  7" blanket of snow...the heaviest fall we  have experinced in the 26 years since we have had the bungalow on Pagham Beach. A quick walk to the Lagoon and the Spit hide soon showed that many birds were disorientated with  4 Turnstones sitting on the ice of the partly frozen Lagoon, Lapwings all along the harbour shoreline and even a Golden Plover on the beach.
The only bird to find an easy meal  was a Sparrow Hawk!
The images below show the extent of the snow cover.

The Lagoon from the car park.

Wigeon on the move

The frozen waste!

In the hide...not very hot even in the shelter from the biting wind!

Near the harbour entrance

North Wall ...later in the day

The Salt House....near the North Wall

A cold Dunnock! of many in Slipe Field

A Reed Bunting ...again one of many adjoining hedge to Slipe Field
The resident Heron outside the Salthouse
...and then just as I was leaving a Woodcock flew up from the 'horses field' and landed only 20' from me and then completely disappeared into a ditch.

The forecast is for a VERY cold tonight...please feed the birds.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not a good birding day!

I ventured out early afternoon and was disappointed by the lack of activity. A few Ringed Plovers and Oystercatchers along the shoreline and a couple of Skylarks foraging along the high tide mark. Plenty of ducks but mainly the usual Wigeon and Teal. The highlight was a Kingfisher dashing along the shore and into the harbour.
There weren't too many other people about and I didn't stay out long!!

Bleak scenes...Pagham in winter
Back in the garden I was encouraged to count 36 House Sparrows on the feeders!