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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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day rewards.

Looking towards Church Norton 
An early walk around Pagham Spit in the sunshine before the clouds returned brought its rewards.

Firstly the privilege of meeting  Tony Marr  on what he told me was his traditional annual Boxing Day visit to Pagham. At the time he was admiring the Mediterranean Gulls assembled at the end of the off shore spit. As many will know Tony was a founder member of the Sussex Ornithological Society 50 years ago and held posts in the early years of the Society of both Secretary and President. He now has special interests in both Norfolk and Harris in the Hebrides.

Secondly the sight of huge flocks of waders, wheeling over the harbour....a magnificent spectacle.
Wheeling flocks over Tern island 

Flocks of Grey Plovers and Knot moving on as the tide rises. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

A final look....

Yes, a last look around Pagham Spit late afternoon and if anyone  had visited the harbour for the first time they would have been amazed at the sheer numbers and variety of birds visible from the Spit hide. Waders included Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Turnstone, Curlew, Grey Plover, Golden Plover (600+) ; Ducks   inluded Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shelduck, Pintail, Goldeneye ; Gulls included hundreds of Greater Black Backed, Herring, Common, Black Headed and on the off shore spit Mediterranean Gulls....some already assuming their black heads! All these birds spread out across the mudflats in considerable numbers together with hundreds and hundreds of Brent Geese making a din of a noise.
 ...and this is my local patch!  fantastic!

Friday, December 21, 2012


Having been alerted that Whooper Swans were on Breech Pool yesterday I made my way to the North Wall mid morning just in case they were still there. I arrived to find a couple of other birders overlooking the pool and sure enough one Whooper was being harassed by a pair of Mutes. 

It was pursued so that it came a little nearer to me

before meeting up with its mate on the bank...but they continued to be harassed

...but at last the Mutes pushed off and the Whoopers were left in peace.

Photographer, David Potter then joined us and the usual competitive spirit kicked in to try and get different shots to each other. Here's my effort....
Well...its different!

A Little Grebe passed in front of us whilst
 watching the Whoopers...they have wonderful fluffy rear ends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Non Pagham Spit news

Just arrived back from a couple of days in London. Found a load of noisy Rose-ringed  Parakeets outside our hotel near the Greenwich Maritime Museum....they were  VERY noisy and I'm not too sure I would want them in my Pagham garden on a permanent basis!

The Sussex Bird Report for  2011 was awaiting my return and what a fantastic record this is....congratulations are certainly due to all those involved in this mammoth production, a wealth of information....all 313 pages! I noticed there were only 13 records of Rose-ringed Parakeets in Sussex in 2011 but I recall seeing them many years ago in Church Norton on a fairly regular basis. Perhaps its just as well they didn't colonize our area in view of there squawking calls!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

High tide birding

A group of birdwatchers arrived on the spit mid morning just as the heavens opened....some of the more hardy souls battled on against the elements and I am sure were rewarded with  impressive wader flocks. As I watched from the comfort of my living room Knot, Grey Plover, Redshank, Dunlin, Turnstone and Oystercatchers put on an impressive display.
A good number of Mediterranean Gulls were also present at the eastern end of the spit which continues to grow.

Thankfully the wind has died down today and veered to the south west but yesterday was horrendous and we lost another 2 metres of shingle and properties a little to the east of us lost considerably more.

Here are couple of shot highlighting the problem.

This is yesterday as the sea was tearing away the shingle

This is this morning showing the extent of the lost shingle!

As this was happening outside our back door, the Church Norton Spit was breeched and I was certain we were going to be left with an island in front of us but it is still in one piece ...just!
Apologies for poor quality taken through double glazing with heavy rain beating down.

Surely The Environment Agency or Arun DC will DO something soon...rather than just tinkering with temporary shingle infils . We need ACTION now otherwise we are lost!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Higher tides this week!

Big flocks of Grey Plovers and Knot on the shingle spit  are an indication that big Spring Tides are on the way. There are a few more days before it peaks but just look at the beach today at high tide and there was very little wind could be interesting in a couple of days time  especially with a force 7 or even an 8  forecast before the weekend.

I hope representatives from Arun District council are here to see the work of a fortnight ago, disappear and to help residents in distress..

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Winter Walk at Pagham

What a morning....a hard frost, dead calm and sunny! 

The slither of the moon beckons at 7.30 a.m.

First priority today... get out with the camera.

So a stroll to the North Wall and Breech Pool via Slipe Field just to enjoy the variety of birdlife so close at is a sample of those seen in a couple of hours. The most unusual  was a Green Sandpiper that I flushed at the far end of the North Wall and unfortunately was too quick to be captured on camera.

Reed Bunting...Slipe Field
Lapwing....Whites Creek


Collared Dove

Golden Plover

Lethargic Brent Goose....possibly not a well bird.

Fieldfare...just a single

...feeding on a few Hawthorn berries

Grey Heron ...Breech Pool

Drake Pintail...

Mrs Pintail

Green Woodpecker...Slipe Field


...and that was just a sample!

Pagham Harbour takes a bit of  beating!!

On a final walkabout in late afternoon a single Barnacle Goose flew out of the harbour at a considerable height calling all the time but returning and flying north west.

The roof of the Spit Hide was re-felted last week and now has a covering of stones presumably to act as  protection  against the sun to prolong its useful life.
The new look hide