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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.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wheatears and a Whinchat.

A steady stream of Hirundines has been moving along the beach all day, mainly composed of Swallows and Sand Martins but with the occasional House Martin.
An evening walk revealed two Wheatears and my first Whinchat on the spit this autumn...

However did meet an interesting character making his way to Selsey as part of his 6000 mile walk around the Coastline in aid of the RNLI.
He can be followed on Facebook....Alexander Ellis-Rosswell.
Is this the way to Selsey?

All the best Alex!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Agressive Swans

The pair of resident Mute Swans on the Pagham Lagoon have been busy throughout the summer bringing up their seven cygnets and seeing off any visiting swans who might wander into their territory.
This morning after my regular inspection of the spit and having only seeing a single Wheatear and a juvenile Whitethroat my attention was drawn to a swan in an unusual position near the fencing running alongside the footpath leading to Church Farm. As I approached I could see that the swan was in fact  pining down another swan who had its head and neck through the fencing. The aggressor was pecking viciously  at the neck and back of the helpless 'intruder' and once I had managed to separate them the trapped swan stood up and looked around, beak open, terrified. The resident bird waited in the Lagoon ready to have another 'go'. I decided I had to rescue the poor bird so went home and collected a blanket and, to cut a long story short, eventually caught the bird and lifted it over the fence out of harms way.  There was some some blood showing around the head and on the back but I did not think  it required attention so put it on the harbour side of the fence. It looked at me as if to say 'thank you, you saved my life! '

Looking down at the family of 9 swans I then noticed the remains of another swan.....
The gruesome remains of a previous victim

...but they can look very placid. The other parent (out of the picture) was hammering away at the intruder further up the bank.This is the only photo I took as it was more important that action was be taken. Catching the swan with a blanket and struggling over the fence with it would have made an interesting video. Fortunately nobody else was around!
The rescued bird back in the harbour.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

An early morning visit to the North Wall in the hope of finding Yellow Wagtails and the Cattle Egret.

Whites Creek was full of life but mainly Black Headed Gulls and Redshanks...
Black Headed Gulls
Redshanks and an Oystercatcher.... I heard a Spotted Redshank but failed to see it!
The bushes held a number of warblers, mainly juvenile Whitethroats and Willow Warblers; a Cettis was singing and a few Reed and Sedge Warblers were present.


Willow Warbler in the reed bed.
A Curlew was feeding close to the wall and a Cormorant flew over.

Cormorant in flight
...and then I noticed the cows were entering the field in front of the farm. One of my target birds soon appeared and although distant here is a record shot!
Very distant but no doubting it is a Yellow Wag!
I'm still waiting to see the Cattle Egret!

A Kingfisher flew along in front of me...too quick to capture but a Grey Heron sat stationary at the edge of the reedbed ....
Grey Heron
 ..before flying up to a hawthorn bush


and enjoying the morning sunshine.....

Meanwhile on the pool a couple of Black Tailed Godwits were having a real 'go' at each other!

Later, I wandered up the Pagham Spit and saw little except a single Wheatear, a few Linnets and some Turnstones in the Little Lagoon. Yesterday there was, unusually, a Greenshank there and of note perhaps, a Blue Budgerigar visited the garden.
One of several Linnets

Turnstone on the Little Lagoon

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A few migrants in the bushes

This morning had a distinctly Autumnal feel to it. The morning walk along the spit confirmed that Autumn was well on its way with five Wheatear, a few Willow Warblers and juvenile Whitethroats present in the gorse and the apple tree....always a magnet for migrants.
Willow Warbler the apple tree.


A rather tatty looking Blue Tit accompanied them.

Blue Tit
 The tide was out and a Greenshank was calling in the distance whilst a Little Egret was feeding in front of the Spit Hide and a Curlew was enjoying a bath!

Preparing for the kill!
Curlew enjoying a splash

Job done and he was away!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

After a very wet night, the morning dawned bright and sunny. I was hopeful that the bushes would would be alive with migrants and that yesterdays Long Tailed Skua would be in the harbour harassing the terns. It was not to be!
Two Wheatear in the 'old' car park were the only migrants and a Blackbird was enjoying the puddles.
One of the Wheatears on a 'dog bin'

Preparing for a bathe.

A big splash!
Apart from that a few Turnstones were preening along the shoreline....

Turnstones preening.

A handsome individual still retaining most of his summer plumage.
Nevertheless, although quiet on the bird front it was a perfect morning to be out and about early...not a breath of wind, warm sun...perfection! 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Long Tailed Skua!!

A shout went up from my wife at 6.00pm from our living room....what's  that bird being chased by the Terns?

 I grabbed the bins and there heading east towards the 'Mulbery' in the bay was the much reported Long Tailed Skua being mobbed by several terns. It headed towards Butlins and then did a 180 degree turn and landed on the sea affording reasonable 'scope views. By the time I had got the camera set up (just in case it came within range) it headed back towards Church Norton and was reported on Bird Guides shortly afterwards.
Hopefully it will be back but not a bad tick from our bungalow!