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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, April 29, 2014

An early morning visit around the Spit only produced a Lesser Whitethroat, a Wheatear and a few Willow/Chiffs and the usual Linnets.
One of the "usual" Linnets.
 During the morning local birder, Andrew House wandered past and mentioned a Whinchat by the hide and 20 or so Little Terns; on the Lagoon  the  Iceland Gull was still present and looking a lot whiter than previously! So, time for me to revisit!
The Whinchat was present but very skittish and disappeared even before the camera was focused. There was however an obliging Whitethroat in a bush next to the hide.

Little Terns were distant but there were at least 20 nearer the Church Norton side.

An Oystercatcher appeared to be 'sitting'

Later in the day a visit to the western end of the Lagoon to check out the gull....

 Iceland Gull...taking off.
Iceland Gull at rest.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wheatears, Whitethroats and Whinchats!

A still slightly misty morning on Pagham Spit was rewarding.
Highlight was two stonking male Whinchats and a female.

 Irresistible birds to photograph!

Several Wheatear were on the Spit and near the hide...
Two Whitethroats were feeding in the gorse by the Lagoon and whilst photographing the Whinchats  I heard the song of a Reed Warbler from deep inside the thick cover of ivy and a more distant Lesser Whitethroat by the Little Lagoon. Several Willow/Chiffs were present.
Med Gulls  and a pair of Little Tern flew over the interesting Spring morning.

Monday, April 21, 2014

An S.E.O. on the spit.

As  I went for my regular wander on the spit this morning at 9.15  I was surprised to flush a Short Eared Owl from virtually under my feet. It circled and then eventually landed on the south side of the Little camera, of course!

A few Swallows came in off the sea.

At about mid-day my neighbour came and told me a bird was nesting in her car....what should she do! I went to investigate and a Blackbird had started to make a nest on the top of the rear wheel of her car ....under the wheel arch! It had obviously started in the early morning ans was about a third of the way through the construction. We had no alternative but to remove the nest as the vehicle was needed!
The partly built Blackbirds nest on the rear wheel...under the wheel arch!
Several parties of Whimbrel flying in off the sea during the day, besides Curlew.

Lots of Bank Holiday visitors on the beach ....with dogs!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cuckoo calling!

The first baby Mallards I have seen on the Lagoon this year.

The last three of our own 'kitcen sink' Mallard eggs disappeared yesterday morning between 5.00.a.m and suspicions for the robbery lie with Carrion Crows but I still am curious that the raid on 8 eggs in 20 minutes took place so quickly.

I heard my first Cuckoo this morning....distantly but somewhere from the Siddlesham side of the harbour.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Disaster has stuck on the home front!

As those of you who follow this blog will be aware we have a Mallard Duck which is nesting in a sink garden less than a metre from our front door. She is totally unconcerned by our comings and goings. She has laid eleven eggs. This morning I looked out at 6.00am  and she was sitting in the sink as normal and at 7.00am I went for a short stroll along the beach. On returning at 7.20 am the Mallard was missing and so were eight eggs! Just three remained in the nest. There was no sign of broken egg shells and no sign of any disturbance. I haven't seen the duck since! It is very sad but does anyone have any clues how this could happen in such a short space of time and with no obvious reason.
Just three remaining.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Number eleven!

An early morning visit to the Spit Hide produced nothing new. The Spoonbills were very distant and even with a 400mm lens they look a long way away! A little better when drastically cropped but only a record.
A few Linnets, a couple of Willow Warblers, a single Wheatear and that was about it..

Skylark. .gaining height.
So it was time to explore the North Wall....Cettis were singing in the reedbed and a Robin greeted me by the horses field.

...almost 200 Black Tailed Godwits were feeding/sleeping on the muddy Breech Pool.
I met Peter Callis who asked if I'd heard a Sedge Warbler but on returning to  the sluice gate  it was not performing but patience was rewarded as, after a few minutes,  it suddenly burst into song...unfortunately  neither of us saw it as it remained well hidden! A couple of Swallows flew by and a pair of Buzzards were performing way above us. Slightly unusual was the number of Mute Swans hanging about in Whites Creek.

Back at home Mrs Mallard left the nest in the garden sink last night at 9.00pm and did not return until 10 past 6 this morning. She remained on the 'nest' until 2.50pm when I noted there were 11 eggs and returned at about 5.00 pm.
Room for one more, perhaps!
I am concerned at the erratic brooding times and don't understand why she leaves them all night...getting cold.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spoonbills in the harbour.

There had been a report of a flyover Spoonbill during the past week from the North wall and later two had been seen from Church Norton. Today was the first time I located them, right in the distance from the Spit Hide. I only had my 400mm lens and at the considerable  distance involved  they were only just recognisable with bins...hence a very poor record shot!
The Mallard in the garden sink failed to brood overnight not returning until about 6.00am this morning and then sitting until 2.00 pm when she revealed a tenth egg!

 These were well covered with dead grass and down but were left unattended until 6.00pm when she returned.
There is not much room for many more eggs and I had thought the clutch was complete 2 days ago but I was obviously wrong!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The continuing story of Mrs Mallard.

The Mallard was disturbed last evening at about 9.00pm probably by a fox who makes regular visits to the garden at about this time. She didn't return until 6.00a.m. this morning, promptly laid yet another egg (No. 9) and departed for the rest of the day until returning at 5.00p.m. Surely this on/off brooding behaviour will create a problem!

Nine eggs....but she is now partially covering them when not brooding.

Seven Mute Swans on the Lagoon this morning with one bird being chased off repeatedly

Little else apart from a single Swallow arriving off the sea at first on the beach this year.

Friday, April 11, 2014

That's another 28 days of brooding!

No. 8 arrived at 7.10 this morning.

 The Mallard has been brooding all day today and only departed for two half hours to presumably get 'fed and watered'.

I was somewhat alarmed to note the sediment/oil/ algae on the Lagoon this morning at the western end.
Heard a Blackcap in the Lagoon bushes and noted a pair of Meadow Pipits along the harbour fringe. Plenty of Linnets and Greenfinches in the gorse but little else of interest.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Almost not newsworthy any more!

Yes...No. 7 arrived at  7.03 this morning...Mrs Mallard was sitting in the sink from at least 6.00am and disappeared immediately after the egg was laid.

Mr Mallard was keeping well out the way on the Lagoon....
Mallards don't incubate until completion of clutch but in past years she never has incubated but we have never seen so many eggs...three being the previous maximum.

Plenty of Willow Warblers around the Lagoon and in the bushes leading to the Spit least ten. Still feeding and still difficult to photograph!
Constantly on the move!
One of only two Brent Geese I noted.
A few Blue Tits  by the Lagoon

...and Linnets looking for suitable nest sites.

Little else of interest but later in the day a female Wheatear on the beach and a couple of Sandwich Terns exploring the 'new' harbour entrance in front of our bungalow.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Come in....No. 6!

 Caught Mrs Mallard on the 'nest' this morning in the sink showing no concern as I went in and out of our front door only a couple of feet away.

 At 10 past 7 she pushed off and there it was..................number six!
Mallards can have double this number so it could be interesting.
 Following yesterdays early morning  arrival she did not show up all day.

(I apologise to my blog followers for what may seem a rather boring daily bulletin but I think this bird  is in a sufficiently unusual location to warrant  continuing until a conclusion)

There had been a 'fall' of Willow Warblers overnight and several were singing around the Lagoon and
in the bushes leading to to the Spit Hide.
 All feeding frantically and difficult to capture!

The numbers of waders and ducks have dropped dramatically on the mudflats with just a few Oystercatchers and Curlew within camera distance...just!
Curlew feeding


Plenty of young bunnies though!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Can you believe it!

As I stepped outside the front door at 8.10 this morning, guess what!!

No sign of Mrs Mallard...just egg No. 5 in the sink!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Yet another one!

Checked the sink garden this change.

 On returning home late this afternoon no sign of Mrs Mallard but a fourth egg in the sink!

There's room for more!

Keep watching this space!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A new day....another new egg!

At 8.00am this morning Mrs Mallard was sitting in the sink garden and within a few minutes, hey presto, another egg. After rearranging the (now) clutch of three, spacing them well apart, she departed. We await tomorrow morning with interest!

The well spaced eggs in the sink garden.