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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, September 21, 2021

Autumn has arrived.

 Shorter days, cool mornings and  bright moonlit nights have given a real feeling of Autumn. A few small flocks of Brent Geese have been noted flying west with a few circling the harbour and then flying on to perhaps Chichester Harbour. A single bird flew into the harbour yesterday and appeared to land but I was unable to locate it later. An Osprey was present over the weekend and was seen perched in the middle of the harbour on Monday albeit very distantly.

Wheatears have been present each day and seem to favour the fencing around the old Spit carpark.

Juvenile Linnets have been seen with flocks of up to 20 birds...

A pair of Stonechats have now arrived and are currently occupying a favourite gorse area on the spit.

The North Wall has been interesting especially when the cattle are in the Halsey fields. At least 24 Cattle Egrets have been present and 50 plus Yellow Wagtails very often accompany them.

In the Honer fields, Curlews and Black Tailed Godwits have been accompanied by  a Bar Tailed Godwit

...and  several Ruff

It was good to note a whisp of Snipe fly over Breech Pool earlier in the week...not an every day sight.

Yesterday, a Grey Wagtail turned up at the sluice and was seen again today. 

...and here's the regular 'stunted billed'  Greenshank which often gives visiting birders a bit of head scratching!

This morning was a Swallow morning. Hundreds of birds were resting on telephone wires in West Front annual event at this time! there we have it; Autumn has arrived. 

...and the 'regulars' watch on as the seasons progress!

Friday, September 17, 2021

The past couple of days....trouble along Whites Creek.

 Yesterday morning dawned bright, sunny and clear. A wander along Whites Creek was rewarding for the number and varieties of  ducks and waders which had arrived in the past few days. Grey Plovers and a single Golden Plover accompanied Dunlin, Knot and Black Tailed Godwits. Wigeon and Teal numbers had increased and a few Pintail were present. Great Crested Grebes were swimming happily in the main channel.

I was just photographing a couple of Turnstones perched on a rock and enjoying  the peace and quiet of the place when suddenly every bird took off . To my utter dismay a couple of unleashed dogs raced out across the salt marsh and that was the end of my peaceful photographic session.

A Sparrow Hawk was near the sluice gate with Cettis Warblers singing together with Whitethroats and Willow/Chiffs.



Today was a little less sunny but nevertheless very pleasant. Again I was along Whites Creek at about 10 past 9 admiring the ducks and waders when again they all suddenly took off. My immediate thought  was dog disturbance again. How wrong I was! An Osprey was being escorted along the Creek towards the harbour entrance by Corvids! I wasn't quite quick enough with the camera but managed a few rear view shots. 

Time was short again today so I had to return but not before photographing this Reed Bunting near the sluice gate bushes.

...and the Turnstones were now  feeding (and turning stones!) just below the salthouse....but undisturbed today, thankfully.

Back home a Stock Dove was ambling through the flower bed and onto the lawn. It has been a regular visitor of late.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

A new garden 'tick'!

3.20 p.m.

Having just mown the lawn it was time to relax with a cup of tea. As I looked skywards from my reclined position a very distant bird was just about seen with the naked eye. It looked large and different from the usual flyovers!

Rushed indoors for bins and camera and this is the result with a 400mm with 1.4 extender!

Heavily cropped result...............................

A White Stork!!

I watched for about 6 minutes as it circled  several times gaining height and at the same time drifting south over the coast out of sight.'s that for a garden bird!

Was it a Knepp bird or a migrant from France...?

Monday, September 13, 2021

Stone Curlews !!

 We have just returned from a week in Suffolk and having looked through my photographs there is only one species which really stands out! 

We learned from a local that there were a few 'Heath Chickens' still around the Minsmere RSPB reserve and so we decided to look in the evening at the specified site. Sure enough there were a few fairly distant birds but they were against the low evening light and photography was very difficult / well nigh impossible. A decision was made to return next morning and we were able to see them a lot better and actually heard their strange calls. Having taken many photos with the 500mm  lens with 1.4 extender results were not acceptable but ok as record shots.

Another attempt was made the following morning but although 11 birds were noted they were still a fair distance away. However just as we were about to leave we saw one bird a little closer as it 'emerged' from behind a bush and in just a few minutes we were able to capture these photos....

I saw these birds at Wicken Fen in Norfolk some years ago but never got any photographs due to the distance involved. The only other records for me are nesting birds in S'albufertta in Mallorca but heat shimmer was then a bit of a problem.
Other birds in Suffolk paled into insignificance but the 18 Spoonbills on Hazelwood Marshes were good to see but only a distant shot are a few at the high tide roost.

Egyptian Goose on The Mere, Thorpeness

Barnacle Goose,  East Scrape, Minsmere

Little Stint....South Scrape just as sun was setting.

Great White Egret on Island Mere, Minsmere; again late evening and distant.

Barn Owl...seen when leaving Minsmere, just before the Eels Foot. (ISO 10,000)

Hobby...North Warren reserve.

Kestrel...North Warren

Wheatear...on the beach at Thorpeness.

...and a final distant deer ....from North Wall Minsmere (early evening)