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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, July 23, 2012

A Pagham Harbour Gropper!

Thanks to  Richard Hatch reporting a singing Grasshopper Warbler on the SOS website I visited the field north of the wader pool last night but had no joy.
However at 7.30 this morning I made a successful return visit, located the song and even had a visual of this skulking bird! It made a brief appearance on a stunted hawthorn but within about 20 seconds flew into dense cover...not even time for a record shot! It called very spasmodically but with patience I am certain it would show again. On the pool nearby 4 Green Sandpipers still present and 4 Teal overflew Breech Pool.
A perfect summer morning, not a breath of wind, warm and absolutely ideal conditions for Gropper listening!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer is here!

Overnight mothing produced very little but this Ruby Tiger was a new one for me. It had a bright pink hind wing which unfortunately does not show in this image.

Ruby Tiger   
A walk up the spit revealed masses of Chamomile.
  A female Blackcap was flitting from bush to bush on the beach but didn't stop long enough for a photo!

 It was busy in the harbour with various activities taking place....


Paddle boarding
and fishing!

  I doubt very much if this couple was aware that a permit is needed to fish in the harbour!

Butterflies have been very thin on the ground this year so it was pleasing to see the sun had brought out some Meadow Browns...long may it last!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Is summer coming or going?

Plenty of Common and Sandwich Terns moving west this morning; a few Swifts during the day. A common Sandpiper in the harbour and more Curlews present but little else of note. Yesterday morning a Great Spotted Woodpecker was attacking a fence post near the spit hide and again this morning it flew from somewhere near the Little Lagoon over my head towards Church Farm.

Stumbled upon a Ringed Plovers nest with 3 eggs on the beach...with fine weather now predicted (at last) coinciding with the start of school holidays I am not hopeful that it will have much peace.

Ringed Plovers  'nest' !

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pagham Air Display!

What a fantastic show at Pagham harbour at 7.30 this morning! Three juvenile Peregrines initially making a din of a noise sitting on the saltmarsh; then soon they began their display with several flypasts and superb aerial displays. For several minutes they were flying up and down chasing each other, stooping and diving. Then the serious stuff started and their first taget was a line of a dozen or so Cormorants. The birds ducked several times but it wasn't long before the Peregrines decided they were somewhat large for starters so the next targets were Oystercatchers. They picked on one poor bird and chased it unmercifully, all three homing in on it time and again. The Oystercatcher would plunge legs first into the water as the Peregrines were attempting a snatch causing a huge splash but  as soon as it had recovered,  they were homing in on it again! Eventually they gave up on this individual and started on another...I never saw the end result as they tore off into the centre of the harbour and out of vision.

An amazing spectacle but I did feel a little sorry for the Oystercatcher who had a very narrow escape and whose nerves must have been shattered!

Moral: Always carry a camera!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pagham spit ...just another day.

This morning was the first time this 'autumn' that I'd seen Commn Sandpipers on the Lagoon....two in fact. A few Swifts were flying purposefully West along the beach and numbers of Curlews are increasing in the harbour; several parties arrived off the sea yesterday. A Lesser Whitethroat has been present in the gorse/bramble since last Friday.
This afternoon my attention was drawn to a Blackbird chasing a Newt across our stabbed at it several times and eventually grabbed it and after a few minutes managed to chop off its tail. This slowed the poor animals progress  but the Blackbird was able to kill it by violent shaking and by banging its head on the ground and eventually flying off with it to its nest. I just hope the youngsters appreciated it!

I found another patch of Childing Pinks today with several doubles amongst them.

Grasshopper  by the path...very small (about 2.5cms)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Early morning recce.... and an evening bonus!

Despite the fact we have not had any 'summer' this year there was a distinctive feeling of late summer on Pagham spit this morning. A Willow warbler was feeding up on the gorse and a few small tit flocks were on the move. Curlews were flying in off the sea and several Greenshanks were calling.

There were 10 Great Crested Grebes on the Lagoon and just 8 Little Terns on the Church Norton spit; unfortunately they seem to have all given up breeding. Bad news too for the Oystercatchers nest near the hide...eggs gone and no sign of parents .

A few pics from this morning...

The Childing Pinks are now showing well. As it happened one of the quiz questions (see below) revolved around rare species about which Pagham Harbour is renowned (and this was taken  in our beach garden today! )

The Friends of Pagham Harbour met at the Salthouse at 6.00pm this evening and enjoyed a quiz, an interesting talk and some excellent refreshments. The sun shone and it was a superb summers evening.

...and as an extra bonus a Glossy Ibis cirled above us, flying out high over the harbour and then returning and suddenly spiralling down into the reedbed just SE of Breech Pool. (sorry only a compact camera with me! )

....and just for the record this Arctic  Skua was harrassing the terns a couple of days ago just in front of our living room!