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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.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Having been tied up with commitments today it wasn't until 3.30p.m. I was able to connect with the well watched and much reported rarity on Worthing beach. By the time I arrived at Splash Point the light was poor and it was drizzling..
However, there it was posing magnificently! A fabulous Desert Wheatear... well out of its normal breeding range of Eastern Europe and North Africa. A great life tick for me!

Desert Wheatear

...on Worthing beach (of all places! )

I managed to get some close ups as it was an amazingly confiding bird but slightly disappointed that it lacked a certain sparkle in the eyes!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Good Autumn Morning.

It was one of those grey autumn, very still, mornings....but birds everywhere!
Before I had even got out of the front garden I noticed a female Blackcap in our birch tree along with a charm of 30+ Goldfinches
Hirundines over the Lagoon, Chiffchaffs in the ivy clumps; Blackbirds,  Song Thrushes and Robins in the hawthorns; Reed Buntings,Greenfinches and Linnets around the Little Lagoon.
 A couple of Stonechats and a few  Meadow Pipits were on the wire fence leading to the hide; Rock Pipits on the harbour wall and flyover Pied Wagtails going east. Nothing spine tingling but a really good autumn morning for variety and sheer numbers!



Reed Bunting


...and a Little Egret fishing in the shallows

Back home the Black Redstart  showed up and although it was dull and taken through double glazing I was quite pleased!
Later in the afternoon and having tempted it with mealworms I managed, with patience, to obtain some really pleasing shots...have a look at two of the best on my flickr site.

...and last but not least a shot of a couple of well known least to the local birding fraternity...inspecting the extended Church Norton spit which now comes past our bungalow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


On looking out of the living room window  this morning a superb male Black Redstart appeared on the patio.   As soon as I had grabbed the camera, it was gone!  However later in the morning I tracked it down on a neighbours roof but again it only remained within sight for about 10 seconds and disappeared. I managed to get a couple of poor shots but hopefully it will stay for a few days to give me another chance.

A wander up to the hide and in the distance an egret which I believe to be a Great White...this is a very heavy crop.

Other visitors included a Coastal Survey team taking measurements with a GPS and a remote controlled  flying machine.

...the flying machine
One of several markers to enable the flying camera to locate  lat/long.

Although this blog is dedicated to the birds of Pagham Spit I think there is sufficient interest in the beach
erosion to include a few  photos and info which may occur during the next few weeks. I am informed that shingle will be replaced before the next high tides in November. Watch this space for developments.

Monday, October 22, 2012

An unfortunate Ouzel hunt.

Having just returned from a non birding week in France I noticed on the SOS web site that Ring Ouzels have been showing well at Cissbury and I have been missing them.( I have not even got one photo of this species to date!) It dawned clear in Pagham so an early start saw me on the hill at thick fog! Wandered about looking for the Yew tree and eventually found it...Song Thrushes, Blackbirds and  a Bullfinch and then the unmistakable 'chack chack' of several Ring Ouzels. The fog was pretty thick so I had to get close to even see them and then  they seemed very 'skittish'. Alas, just 3 distant silhouettes of  'probable Ouzels ...I wont even show them here! I then got totally disorientated in the fog and headed back to where I thought the car was parked and thanks to a very helpful walker discovered I had gone in  totally the wrong direction and I was way off course!

Returned to Pagham and found a Wheatear on the foreshore together with 3 Meadow Pipits and 3 Chiifs in the bushes.

There had obviously been a change of wind direction whilst I'd been away as further very serious erosion has scoured the beach and several properties came very close to being flooded. Apparently, an emergency meeting with councilors and the local MP had been convened at short notice and was held  on the beach.....lets hope we see some action VERY soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

High Tide Problems

One of the highest tides of the year has passed off without major problems but beach erosion continues. A considerable amount of shingle has been lost during the past 24 hours and these photos show that  a 'cliff edge' has resulted and more vegetation has been lost. Fortunately the wind was a north westerly and we are hoping that it does not swing round to the south in the next 24 hours.

Getting ever closer.

Brent Geese continue to arrive, a Rock Pipit was present on the sea wall and a few more Jays flew West.

Monday, October 15, 2012

You can't beat Pagham....for birds of all sorts.

Initially the weather didn't look promising but by 8.45 the light improved and I decided on a wander to the North Wall to check on Spoonbills! Regretfully no sign and several other birders confirmed they were not about. A small flock of Golden Plovers were on a mud bank far out in the harbour, a Greenshank flew over and as I made my way alongside the reed bed of Breech Pool suddenly I heard 'ping ping' ! My luck was in, so I thought. I waited and waited and waited and suddenly there they were, a pair of them in the sun . No sooner had I seen them, they disappeared into the reeds. I continued to wait and by now they were along way away in flight ....not a chance of a photo! No prizes for guesssing what 'they' were!

 So I made 'do' with a few of the more common local avifauna on which to practice my photography...

Grey Heron
Green Woodpecker


...and there is nothing wrong with the the local 'common' birds!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Great White Egret v Spoonbill

 Having received  a report of a Great White Egret in the harbour yesterday I got out at 7.30am but alas, no joy. Plenty of Hirundines still about and Greenshanks calling plus a wheeling flock of Golden Plover and the usual Peregrine on New Island.  However having had to go out most of the morning I returned early afternoon to find an email re. 3 (sleeping) Spoonbills in the harbour (thanks Peter C.)  Sure enough I located a Spoonbill but only one and it was feeding way out in the middle of the harbour....unfortunately unphotographable (is there such a word! ).

A pair of Stonechats has taken up residence by the spit hide and they were quite obliging!

The number of Red Admirals in the flowering Ivy bushes is amazing with one bush alone supporting 20+

Here is just one....................

...fantastic creatures.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Back to base

After a week or so in the West Country its back to base on Pagham Spit. A lot has changed since I've been away with the harbour full of Wigeon and waders and Brent Geese arriving in droves (perhaps small flocks would be more appropriate). There is a definite feel of Autumn and there were hundreds of hirundines over the Lagoon this morning with Chiffchaffs in the bushes and Stonechats on the gorse.

 I took a stroll along the North Wall and a flock of 60 Golden Plover were wheeling over the harbour and  Bar Tailed and Black Tailed Godwits  were present in Whites channel accompanying the Redshanks and Curlew. Breech Pool was  very full with no muddy edges as it was before I went on hols and the only birds were Teal, Mallards and a Snipe.

....all very different to Cornwall where I was able to catch up with a Buff Breasted Sandpiper

 and happened to be at Marazion when 7 Red Rumped Swallows were passing through...not the easiest birds to photograph but a record shot....

Nevertheless Pagham has SO much to offer and I always appreciate returning to my home patch!
On my final walk around the spit at 5.45 this afternoon I was surprised to see so many Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies  about on the ivy florets.