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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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pagham Lagoon

I have been been keeping an eye on a Blue Tits nest in the SW corner of the Lagoon built in the old retaining wall. I have never known Blue Tits to nest here before but this afternoon it was time to fledge. ..


time to go!
...what have I done!

The Swans showed off their cygnets at the same time so a pleasant way to spend a summers afternoon.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pulborough Brooks

First job...check moth trap!

Buff tip

Buff tip... close up

Competition time!

A quick visit to see and hear Nightingales before they 'go quiet' proved rewarding. A quiet morning with few others enjoying the Reserve.

checking me out...

before a short burst...

 ...and then....full blast!!

Chiffchaff...busy building.

Whitethroat...busy feeding

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I am a birder and certainly don't know my Dragonflies so when I bumped into Trevor (the other Trevor) at the Pagham Harbour Friends Open Day I was extremely grateful for his help in identifying these wonderful flying machines on the reserve ponds. 

First up was a pair of Common Blue Damselflies
Common BlueDamselfly

Broad-bodied Chaser

...and finally
Black-tailed Skimmer

Black-tailed Skimmer

Amazing creatures! Thanks, Trevor!

Whilst at the entrance to the reserve 4 Buzzards were circling in a thermal above us along with a few gulls. A real treat on a very hot afternoon!

Friday, May 25, 2012

A 2 Day Dorset break.

Have just returned from a very quick visit to Dorset. A visit to RSPB Arne did not prove very productive and although Tree Pipit was seen it was not photographable! Dartford Warblers did not even show themselves1

However, day 2 to Brownsea Island was altogether difeerent and whilst I decided not to hump 8lbs of glass around with me the 100/400mm just about sufficed. It was VERY hot so I had mixed feelings when I chanced upon a Nightjar.

 Here is a taster but dappled light and heat haze did nothing to enhance my record shots!

Big yawn!! It just shows the catching ability of this crepuscular  species
The terns were nesting on the island in very close proximity and this was causing constant border disputes.

...but there were times of serenity

Sandwich Tern...not at war!

...and then there were other residents or should I say 'the staff'.

...a pleasant couple of days in a different county.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pagham Spit first thing this morning produced a Spotted Flycatcher....I can't recall having seen one of these before on the spit! A Willow Warbler was feeding avidly after the channel crossing and a single male Wheatear was on the Saltmarsh. Little else showed up but the Red Legged Partridges were being very noisy and could be heard the other side of the Little Lagoon on the beach. The Swan is still sitting on her nest on New Island.

I emptied the moth trap and although common I think these two are really magnificent...
Cream-spot Tiger

Angle shades
Who said moths are boring!

Later in the day I made my way to Marlpit Lane just over the border in Hampshire and was amazed at the variety of species in a very small area....Nightingales, Lesser Whitethroat, Turtle Doves seen and heard 'purring' ; but I didn't find the Nightjar photographed a few weeks ago by Dave Potter (he was just jammy! ).
Well worth another visit sometime.

Monday, May 21, 2012

North Wall treats!

A mid- morning visit to check to see if the Glossy Ibis was still on the Breach Pool proved unexpectedly productive. Initially it was a Tufted Duck on the water, a fine male Reed Bunting in the reeds and a couple of Common Terns fishing and displaying.

...but then I met up with Dave Potter who had been looking for the ibis since the early hours with no joy.
We were scanning the sky when three Buzzards came in from the harbour....but were they? Eagle eyed Dave queried my call and sure enough one was an Osprey! As we both panicked to get the cameras trained on the bird, it virtually flew in front of the sun and almost over the top of our tripods so photography was not easy and by the time we were 'set up' the Osprey was heading over Honer Farm and out of range. A few grab shots and a little bit of tickling up in photshop and these are the results.

Osprey with decent size Mullet

. As we wandered back towards the Salthouse we saw a Roe Deer with a very young fawn the other side of Breach Pool. It seemed to be a very recent arrival and mother was licking it from time to time...

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A bit of a mixture.

As I looked up the road yesterday morning I noticed a tent erected in front of the Spit hide. A call to Ivan and he was soon on his way....tent dismantled and all was well!

 A pair of Swans flew overhead....

...always a great sight and sound!  

 ..and then a little later in the morning another flypast...

...a VC10 with tornadoes
 on their way to Windsor for the Queens Jubilee celebrations...a lot noisier than the swans!

A wander around the spit in the evening and more fishermen with dog on the Church Norton spit within the fenced nesting area!
 ...not so good for the Little Terns which have now arrived and in good numbers.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A big surprise!

 A pair of Mallards have been visiting our garden during the past week and as I went out of our front door early this morning imagine my surprise at finding the female sitting in our sink garden and  on closer inspection sitting on an egg! She was shuffling about rather nervously as I believe she had only just 'produced'...the male was looking on excitedly!

The Mallards (hardly pedigree! )   

The morning inspection  revealed a pair of Red Legged Partidges calling from the gorse area adjacent to the Little Lagoon. They flew off as I walked along the footpath but seem to have taken up residence on the beach now; Partridges on the beach seem incongrous to me!
 A Ringed Plover objected to my presence and stalked off on my aproach.
  1. She soon settled down on her nest as soon as  I  was out the way 

A Mute Swan seems to have been sitting on a shallow nest on New Island in the middle of the harbour during the past week. She has been quite difficult to see but this morning she half stood up briefly, before settling down again. She was there last year at about the same time but was not succesful in raising a family. Lets hope for better things this time....older and wiser perhaps!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Will the Terns be left in peace this year?

I am always excited to watch the Little Terns return to their breeding ground on the Church Norton spit but am always nervous for them knowing how easily disturbed they can be. These birds can desert en masse if  upset and although fencing and notices have been placed by the RSPB it still does not deter some people. Last night I took this photo at 6.00pm

This morning I looked out and even at 9.00 a.m . people were walking the spit, probably unaware of the precarious state of LittleTerns in West Sussex or indeed the UK.
....and then at about 6.30 pm tonight

what chance for the terns?
However, on the Pagham Spit  the Linnets are building nests, 2 pairs of Ringed Plovers are holding territories and 2 pairs of Greenfinches are 'looking' .

A few summer plumage Dunlins were on the shoreline

 and a Whitethroat showed its face in the gorse.

A Cuckoo was calling from 'the other side' and it was a pretty idyllic morning!