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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, September 22, 2019

Suffolk break

A week in Suffolk seems a long way away now but it's only just over a week ago that we returned. It wasn't all birding but Minsmere was visited most days either in the mornings or in the evening( when most of the visitors had gone home). In fact on two occasions at about 7.15pm we were rewarded by badgers feeding in the rhododendron tunnel whilst watching from the car...

Badgers from the 'car hide'

During our visits most of the usual suspects were seen but one of the highlights was a Pectoral Sandpiper that put in an appearance on the East Scrape.

Pectoral Sandpiper

Snipe and Avocet  gave some good views from just in front of the East Scrape Hide



 Others were more distant but this Ruff in dramatic plumage raised a few eyebrows from the others in the hide but this was probably the same bird we had seen in previous years.

Whilst there we met a team from the Waveney Ringing Group who had erected mist nets and had caught a pair of Bearded Tits....really great to see these fabulous birds in the hand!


...and a Reed Warbler

 ...and a Coal Tit

From Island Mere, 3 distant Hobbys were mopping up the dragonflies

...and eventually a Bittern flew briefly between the reedbeds

In the bushes...Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat

...and on the feeders, numerous Great Tits

At Thorpeness, where we were staying, I was surprised to find a Tree Sparrow (juv) mixing with a large group of resident House Sparrows. I cannot ever remember seeing this species here during the past 49 years of our visits!

Along the fenceline by the beach bungalows this single Whinchat.

So that's it for another year.
A bit on the quiet side birdwise but suffolk is always pleasant,
.....if only to watch the resident Greylags.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A new garden bird!!

Well hardly a garden bird but certainly a 'from the window' tick!!
At 10 past 8 this morning  I casually looked out the window and noticed a few gulls over the sea  battling against a strong east wind. As I looked out I thought it looked like a morning for off shore gannets which very often appear in these conditions. My attention was drawn however, to a particular bird that was not battling against the wind but was circling in large arcs just off the Church Norton spit a good half mile away. I grabbed my bins and called to my wife  'I think I've got an Osprey...come and look while I get the 'scope on it". As I was setting up the scope she said, 'thats an Osprey alright'. Once I had it in the 'scope  there was no doubt about it, so next, I had to get a photo. It was not much more than a dot to the naked eye but  I did manage to get a few record shots. It was still there an hour later having watched it plunge and catch what appeared to be a decent sized Mullet I wandered along the Pagham Spit in an attempt to get a better shot but when a kite surfer disturbed it I managed a very long distance flight shot as it headed towards Sidlesham. So here a few shots of my newest 'garden' bird!!
First sighting!

With the fish....first shot

Moving fish to safer ground

Top left is offending kite surfer.

Heading off to the west side of harbour.

I know they are rotten photos but to me it was a memorable moment from inside the bungalow. 

Earlier in the week a record of a Wheatear on the spit....several are presently passing through each day on their way to the African continent.

Great birds to photograph!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Wryneck at last.

Just back from a week in Suffolk and news that a Wryneck had been reported at the Severals for a few days. This was a bird that I had hoped to see whilst on the east coast but the only one reported was a bird caught in a mist net on Havergate Island.
At just before 8.00 am I caught up with a small group of birders on the beach between Church Norton and Selsey to be told it had been showing really well on top of a bramble only about about 10 to 12 metres away. I waited and waited and waited as the group was convinced it had dropped down within the bush and had not moved away. There was a cool east breeze blowing and as I had no top coat (as the others) it was getting unpleasant! Eventually I moved away and noted some Whitethroats and Blackcaps and a Redstart. About an hour and a half later I widened my search convinced the bird was NOT still in the bush . I was back on the main path and about to give up when this elusive bird flew up from the ground from under a ground hugging bramble and disappeared between two other bramble clumps. It soon appeared but a photograph was virtually impossible. However it did at last show well on the top of the bramble but even so there was always a  branch spoiling the photo.
Here are a few photos of this elusive bird....
First glimpse!

Starting to show.

Getting better

...and better!

 ...but still that wretched twig spoilt an otherwise acceptable photo! 

Well at least I didn't 'dip out' but it was a close run thing.

Minsmere highlights to follow in a separate blog later. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019


A chill north west breeze greeted me this morning and although sheltered along the dog walk beside Slipe Field I felt I was severely under dressed along the North Wall! It wasn't until I was almost at Halsey Farm that the warmth of the morning sun was noticeable. The bushes surrounding the fields  held some interesting birds, mostly Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats and Blackcaps but pride of place for me were a pair of Spotted Flycatchers...

Lesser Whitethroats were quite well hidden and less approachable!
Conversely a  Reed Bunting was very approachable

A rather dull looking male Mallard in eclipse plumage

Turnstone by the sluice gate

Greenshank viewable from the salthouse.

A Little Egret about to plunge for a fish

...and about to take flight.

Black Tailed Godwit

...and finally an approachable Curlew

Today it really felt that Autumn had arrived.