Sunny weather with a slight breeze greeted the eleven members assembled in the car park at the visitors centre of RSBP Pagham Harbour. The feeders there were well populated with their usual customers, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinches, a Greenfinch and numerous House Sparrows. A flock of some thirty Goldfinches also flew by. The path to the Ferry Pool was populated by Chiffchaffs and Robins though they were more heard than seen while the sight of a Sparrowhawk passing overhead was a treat. The Pool itself held good numbers of Teal, Shovelers, Lapwings and Black-tailed Godwits but no surprises. Scanning of the fields beyond disclosed a handful of Rooks and a perched Buzzard. The muddy banks at the head of the Long Pool produced an early highlight; on the left bank a Whimbrel was wandering out of the water while perched on the right was a Kingfisher that dived into the stream several times. The walk down the Long Pool was quiet. Two pairs of Stonechats were encountered, a small small flock of Linnets appeared over the ploughed meadow while a couple of Yellowhammers came up the channel and perched for viewing. A group of Red-legged Partridges caused some initial excitement until later sight of the large number of birds around a release pen made clear that their presence was not natural. At the end of the Long Pool the sole Wigeon of the day flew inland while a few new waders could be viewed, some distantly. They included Oystercatchers, Grey Plovers, Curlews and the first of many Redshanks to be seen. Around the bend a noisy Raven appeared while three more Buzzards circled and a Kestrel was glimpsed. Toward Church Norton further scanning disclosed a Shelduck and three Pintails while in close attendance were some Dunlin, a flock of over 150 Golden Plovers and seven Curlew Sandpipers identified after considerable thought and debate. The meadow behind the Church Norton hide produced a few warblers, Chiffchaffs and a beautifully yellow Willow Warbler that considerately perched on the fence wire. A few Long-tailed Tits also passed by. The harbour mud at low tide hosted a smallish number but a broad variety of waders. Besides species already seen there were a couple of Ringed Plovers, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank. Distantly seen were also a Great-crested Grebe and a Great Black-backed Gull. Following unproductive visits to the sea and the churchyard the return journey was consistently quiet with new sightings limited to a Little Grebe and two Grey Herons in flight. An excellent day’s birding concluded with a sightings list of an impressive 67.
The weather for our walk from the visitor centre at RSPB Pagham Harbour to Church Norton and back was superb.
Ten attended and saw at least 44 species.
Top sightings were:
- · Spotted Redshanks in the channel opposite the Ferry Pool (with common redshanks for comparison)
- · Cattle Egrets (x2)
- · Clouds of Swallows and House Martins swooping low over the reeds
- · Stonechats, Wheatears and a Whinchat atop scrub
- · Roosting young Sandwich Terns among the loafing BH Gulls
- · Kestrels, Buzzards and a hunting Peregrine (that gave a great fly-past)
- a hungry Osprey over the harbour allowing excellent, lengthy views.
Interestingly, we also saw quite a range of butterfly species today: Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Holly Blue, Small Copper, Speckled Wood and three Painted Ladies.
After a splendid walk some had sufficient energy to head off to the North Wall to look for the the Red-backed Shrike that had been residing there for the past week. Their quest was rewarded by splendid views evidenced by some superb photographs circulated subsequently on Chat.