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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.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Another couple of days on Pagham Spit.

On Friday morning there was a single Wheatear flitting from post to post as I approached the harbour mouth....
Keeping me under surveillance!

Apart from this overnight newcomer there was little else apart from two pairs of Skylarks singing and repeatedly dropping onto one of the posts...

With crest raised.

The Cuckoo has been 'cuckooing' for hours on end and continues to feed on the caterpillars of the Brown Tailed Moth which have become a real menace. Having stripped all the foliage off all the blackberry bushes they have  moved into the gardens and are now exploring anything and everything, even crawling up the walls, window panes and sometimes coming indoors!

We need a lot more Cuckoos to control these beasts!

This evening in quite a stiff breeze all three Tern species were patrolling the main inlet to the harbour...

Common Tern with fish.

The smallest and rarest...the Little Tern

The largest and most plentiful....the Sandwich Tern.

...and that's it for this week.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cuckoo chase!

For the past few days I have been trying to convince myself that there is a rufous or brown morph Cuckoo present in the bushes surrounding the western end of the Lagoon. There have certainly been two Cuckoos and at times I have been convinced there has been a third. 
This morning as I was on my early morning recce I was suddenly aware of two Cuckoos chasing each other. One was calling and flew along the spit towards the Little Lagoon and the other disappeared. However I  soon noticed a bird in a hawthorn and as I approached cautiously it was indeed a very rufous coloured Cuckoo. I approached cautiously and with a little stealth was able to get a decent view and some photographs....

Initially a bit distant.

...but with care, I nailed it!

For comparison the 'standard' male Cuckoo

This bird has been present for some time, no doubt attracted by an endless supply of Brown Tail Moth Caterpillars.

A pair of Whitethroats were very busy feeding nestlings in a patch of bramble/nettles where a couple of weeks ago, I noted nest building activities.

 The Coots nest had survived the heavy overnight rain

...whilst a Heron fished nearby.

Another good morning!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nightingale pilgrimage...a disappointment.

This is the time of year that Pulborough Brooks is THE place to go to listen AND see Nightingales at their best. Arriving at just before 8.00am I made my way down the zig zag to Fattengates and waited and listened. After a while of silence, suddenly a Nightingale struck up....for a very brief phrase or two. Then, there it was...a couple of shots ...

.....and then it disappeared never to be seen again during my visit!
I made my way to adder alley where I was pretty certain I would enjoy more success but on my way  met a couple of photographer acquaintances neither of whom had had much success.
However,  I waited a while and heard a few snatches of song and then a bird flew onto an exposed branch...snap,snap,snap... was a dunnock!

So that was more Nightingales today!

However I did record some other species and I was particularly pleased with a couple of Long Tailed Tits feeding near West Meads hide.

Pretty little birds.

Now for the 'not so pretty birds'!

A flyover Raven....with its diagnostic wedge shaped tail and long fingers.

Apart from that a Shelduck at West Meads
...and a lone Canada Goose
...and two bunnies
A bit desparate...yeah!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Juvenile Robin and a Scavenger incident.

The first juvenile Robin turned up in the garden yesterday and today I was ready with the camera. The light wasn't good and the double glazing was not crystal clear but nevertheless he/she posed nicely whilst I lay flat out on the floor trying to get some ground level shots!!

..and, as if not to be outdone, a cheeky House Sparrow hopped into view!

As I wandered around the Lagoon later, I noticed a Black Headed Gull tracking a Great Crested Grebe. As I watched the Grebe caught a small fish and immediately the Gull sprung into action and went into the attack. 
Just as the Grebe was swallowing its prey  

 ... the Gull plunged at it and the Grebe was forced to choke up the fish

 ...whereupon the Gull snatched the fish..

...gobbled it down

...  and then hung around, waiting for the Grebe to get another.
What a scavenger!!


A Whitethroat was singing on a nearby branch...why do twigs invariably spoil a photo!

So that's it for another day.