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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, October 20, 2015

Another visit to Cissbury.

Time is getting short to see the Ring Ouzels passing through to warmer climes and as today was forecast to be the last decent day for a few days I felt it was now or never for a better photo of an Ouzel.
Arrived at the 'Ouzel'   yew at about 8.00 and a few other birders were there, but no sightings to date. I wandered around the flint mines and then up to the trig point and round about but apart from a few Mistle Thrushes, a couple of Fieldfares, an overflying Nuthatch (!),Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Linnet, Skylarks,Yellowhammers, Great and Blue Tits, a Raven I did not connect with my sought after bird!
I met up with a lady birder from Clymping whose name went straight out of my memory when I fell down a rabbit hole and lay spread eagled on the wet grass with tripod, camera, complete with Big Bertha(500mm Canon) smashing on top of me. Collecting my thoughts and my optical equipment we made our way back to the yew tree, meeting a couple on the way who said they had just had good views of 5 Ouzels!!

Having looked for a little while for any movement in the Yew tree the lady birder (SOS member, I believe)  went in search around the flint mines, saying it would be 'just her luck' if the bird now turned up!! Three minutes later a Ring Ouzel suddenly appeared on an upper a bird...a few shutter clicks later and it disappeared never to be seen again...and neither was the lady from Clymping! Here's what you missed.....what a shame!

At long last I had got a photo a bit better than a 'record'...and here's a sample of the other birds on the 'ring'.

A memorable morning, in more ways than one. ( I must now clean the grass and mud  off my lens!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Early on the North Wall and Paghham Spit

As I pulled back the curtains and looked out across the bay towards the Mulberry the sun had just emerged from a cloud was beckoning me to get out and enjoy the early morning sounds and smells of another Autumn day.It was cold along the North Wall and two  Lapwings were having a seemed almost to be defending a territory whilst being dive bombed by the other.

The Aggressor
The Defender
Looking harassed

..and perplexed 
...and very 'put out'

A nearby Curlew was not in the least concerned! the early morning sunlight.

  Meanwhile on the Breech Pool all was quiet with Teal and Mallard feeding happily

A happy Teal!

and several Black Tailed Godwits feeding close to the pathway...

...all in winter plumage now.

A Mute Swan skimmed over my head...

..too close to get the whole bird in the picture.

Whilst a Water Rail ...
..scuttled along the reed bed almost out of sight.
A pair of Wood Pigeons watched me as I departed.
Back along Pagham Spit an hour or so later the Stonechat was still present 
just outside the hide..
..perched as ever at the top of a bush, a very attractive bush!
My biggest surprise of the morning was the presence of a Jay with an acorn...just along the path to all the current workings designed to prevent the sea from the harbour over topping, at high tide.

Sometimes these birds fly overhead but I can't remember ever seeing one at this spot ...and where did the acorn come from?

Monday, October 12, 2015

The annual pilgrimage to Cissbury Ring....

I've tried for several years to capture a Ring Ouzel...on camera! For the past 2 years I have made several visits at this peak migration time for them and have not even seen an Ouzel! During the past few days several have been seen by many observers with some good photos of the birds posing for their photos, so today was going to be my turn!
Alas, a visit to 'the' yew tree produced nothing and after a wander round the 'ring' met up with some fellow photographers and then began to circumnavigate the ring again when, all of a sudden, two Ring Ouzels appeared in the top of a tall ivy clump at the back of the flint mines....only for about five seconds mind you! By the time the camera was raised they were off but  I managed to capture a few record shots...sufficient to make a positive I.D. as there were a number of Blackbirds about which was confusing and raised our hopes on several occasions! Not good, but as I only had a nano second glimpse of another in the Yew Tree I was pleased to get even these shots!

  However, it was a beautiful Autumn morning although a tad cold but nevertheless enjoyable. There were a few migrants about with Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a small flock of House Martins flying south. Mixed flocks of finches were present and a couple of Goldcrests were feeding in 'the' Yew tree.
One of the finches...a rather poorly presented Goldfinch
Britains smallest bird...the Goldcrest
There are plenty of berries for the Ring Ouzels!

Constantly on the move

Enjoying the insects on 'the' yew tree.

 A good but slightly frustrating morning....another try perhaps before the Ouzel season is over...
perhaps they will pose for me next time!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Another wonderful Autumn morning!

The crescent moon at 6.43 this morning.
An early start was essential this morning as work continues on strengthening the walkway around the north west corner of the Lagoon. The noise starts at 8.00am when the pile drivers start their constant bang,bang bang for hours on end....more later.

 A beautiful clear morning which enabled the very distant Spinnaker tower in Portsmouth to be seen although distorted through the atmospherics and the telesocpic lens.
Chichester Cathedral looking north

The Peregrine on New Island  between the spit and Church Norton....

The Stonechats are still much in evidence in the gorse along the path to the hide

...and a few Chiffchaffs are feeding in the fact six or seven of them.

Mixed flocks of Greenfinches and Linnets are feeding on seed heads...this one posing briefly on a gorse in the early morning sunshine.

Redshanks and Turnstones were present in the Little Lagoon

and this Little Egret was feeding in the main Lagoon...

Just look at that yellow foot.
Soon it was 8.00am and the equipment was moved into place for another day....and the peace was soon shattered!

I returned later in the day to see the progress...

There are a few piles which have refused to be inserted...they've hit a rock (or a hard place) and a heavier hammer is being brought along on Monday!

...and so the work (and the noise) goes on for a few weeks yet.