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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, January 27, 2014

The Slavonian Grebe is still present on the Lagoon together with large numbers of Little Grebes and Coots.
Slavonian Grebe in usual place at western end of Pagham Lagoon

Coot in morning sunshine.
It is getting colder!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waterbirds galore.

A bright, sunny morning tempted me out with the camera.
First up was a displaying Goldeneye on the Lagoon.
Head well back!
The Slavonian Grebe was showing well but not quite as well as yesterday.... nevertheless  it was 'asking' for a few more images!

 Firstly wing flapping....

It can look sleek

..or dumpy

..or streamlined!

Whatever, a superb bird!
The Coots have started there threatening displays and fights are getting into gear!

Out in the middle of the harbour the Ruddy Shelducks continue to show well....although quite distant and fairly 'jumpy' which makes me believe they could be 'genuine'!

The long stay Ruddy Shelducks

Their colour certainly draws attention!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Slavonian Grebe

Slavonian Grebes are usually seen off shore from the Pagham and Church Norton Spits where they spend several months each winter. They are difficult to see  and are usually  just a spec on the sea without binoculars or a telescope. Occasionally they venture into the harbour and very occasionally I have seen them on the Lagoon. Yesterday and today has been one of those 'very occasionally' feast your eyes while you may!
This bird tends to keep up the western end but drifts from one side of the Lagoon to the other but, with patience and a little bit of fieldwork it comes up to the inlet adjacent to the old car park and affords excellent views...that is where I concealed myself this morning behind a prickly gorse bush and secured a few images. The light was not perfect but good enough!

Initially a fair way out

...jump diving for fish

...and quickly out of sight

leaving just a splash!

...coming closer
..until even the droplets of water on its back can be seen

...catching fish
This final image shows a pair in summer plumage I photographed at one the few breeding sites in Scotland (Loch Ruthven) a few years ago...superb birds!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Glaucous Gull on Church Norton Spit.

I set off early  this morning to get some low tide photographs of the erosion problems on Pagham Beach taken from the  growing off shore spit which is causing all the problems. Having obtained the images I wanted I returned along the spit on the sea side when my attention was drawn to a lone gull on the shoreline. Initially I thought it was a pale looking Herring Gull but as I got closer I realised this was no ordinary Herring but possibly an adult Glaucous. It allowed a reasonable approach and I was able to secure a few reasonable shots before it took flight and it was then that I noted it had no black tips on the primaries or tail and the flight was more laboured . My previous (limited)  experience with Glaucous Gulls  has been with younger, more mottled birds so it is assumed that this is a bird moving into full adult plumage. (Thanks to help from  Rob and Trevor at the RSPB Centre) Further comments would be appreciated. Anyway here are the pics............

Running take off...

Lift off

Back on the Pagham side of the harbour the Lapwings were still much in evidence, constantly being disturbed and taking flight....cause unknown..
Then a surprise on the Lagoon....a Slavonian Grebe

 Feeding at the western end of the Lagoon alongside the Tufted Ducks...a nice bird.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Another wet and blustery day but during the afternoon the sun did put in an and on.
A quick walk up to the hide where a curlew was feeding in the saltmarsh...
The main feature were the flocks of Lapwings..

..and a few Black Tailed Godwits
..and on mud bank in the harbour a mixed wader flock but mostly Knot..

Ducks too, in the harbour and on the Lagoon.... Teal, Red Breasted Mergansers, Goldeneye but mostly Wigeon

..and as always Tufted Ducks and this one was keeping half an eye on me!
...and a Wood Pigeon maintains a look out.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A bright cold sunny morning made a pleasant change  and from  the Spit hide two Goldeneye drakes were displaying to each other.

typical head jerking display...the females were some little way away!  

Curlew on the shoreline

Brent Geese in front of the hide
On the Lagoon another Drake Goldeneye with two females plus all the usual, Coots, Little Grebe and Tufted ducks.,

...a proper winters morning!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


As it appears the erosion problems on Pagham Beach have not yet been overcome I have decided to keep this blog for its original purpose and today have set up a new blog especially to feature any news of general interest about the beach. At present there is a long way to go before we can relax from the continual fear of the encroaching sea and therefore the new blog will carry beach news  but this one will be maintained exclusively for news and interesting information relating to the birds of Pagham etc..  It comes with a new look and some useful links to other useful sites of interest.

Note the new site is entitled

Click on 'Pagham Beach Blog' in Pagham Birder links.

I am still looking through my photos of the Grey Phalarope  at Hove Lagoon yesterday and found this rather unusual pose....strange little bird!
...nice reflection though!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wow.....what a bird!

A Grey Phalarope has been reported present in Hove for the past few days and as this has been photographed by most of the birders in Sussex and beyond, today was my day! Having arrived in Hove at 8.30 this morning in the rain I had certain misgivings about my success. A quick search soon located a few birders returning to their cars assuring me the bird was still present but asleep (head under wing) and the  light was poor in the rain! Not a good start.

All was well however and as  I made my way to the Kiddies paddling pool several birders were watching this small wader  feeding on the surface and approaching to within a few feet of them. It is not often that a bird will approach too close to focus a telephoto lens!

Having taken 400 photos here are just a few.....despite it being so confiding it was quite a challenge as it was fast moving,  constantly changing direction with a non stop bobbing head.

A fabulous bird!