Monday 25 September 2023

RSPB Pagham Harbour

Saturday 23 September

A beautiful warm and sunny start to the day for my first visit to RSPB Pagham Harbour, accompanied by Richard Osman, to meet up with the programmed walk around the reserve in a party of a dozen led by our leader for the day, local birder Julian Moseley.  The local feeders produced Blue and Great Tit plus many House Sparrows before we set off to the first hide, whilst above we had both a pair of Buzzards and a male Kestrel.

RSPB Pagham seen from the Ferry Hide

Arriving at the Ferry Hide we  were presented with a glorious range of birds both on the water in front and the feeders behind. Whilst the feeders in the trees behind us produced Blue and Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, many House sparrows, female Blackcap and Chiffchaff there was no shortage of variety on the pool in front of us. Scores of resting Lapwing plus Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal and Mallard before we started a closer check with scope.  A Spotted Redshank was found a the rear along with a couple of Bar-tailed Godwit.  

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus

A single, juvenile, Shelduck proceeded to wander across the water and then the first of three Little Egrets.

Record shot of female Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

On the fields at the back of the water we first found a Woodpigeon followed by a resting Buzzard on a distant fence post.  To their right a number of Carrion Crows and Rooks were feeding and then the Heron crossed the field so putting up the hidden Cattle Egret.  Above there a large flock of moving Starlings and a couple of feeding Barn Swallows.  Lovely to see the hunting Sparrowhawk and then another look at the far end of the water produced a female Pintail in eclipse plumage and to its far right a handful of recently-arrived Wigeon.

Very distant Buzzard Buteo buteo

Having taken a long look at the very close Dunnock near the feeders we moved on to the nearby, now almost empty of water, creek.  A single Great Crested Grebe was accompanied by a few Black-headed Gulls and both Moorhen and Common Sandpiper were seen on the adjacent, muddy banks. A Great Black-backed Gull flew downstream and over our heads.  Both Robin and Rock Doves were close by as we made our way up to the bank to take the walk towards the shore where we quickly found the occasional Mallard and more Black-headed Gulls and Little Egrets. And whilst the rest of the group far ahead of me recorded a departing female Reed Bunting, I had the pleasure of finding a female Yellowhammer.  Meanwhile, a couple of Cetti's Warblers were heard calling.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Stopping at a viewing point to check out the distant mud flats we seen found many more Little Egrets along with Mallard, Redshank and Curlew. Our final stop, before Richard and I bade farewell to the group to return to the car in order that Richard could attend his Covid appointment at 2.30, gave a distant sighting of Oystercatcher and more Curlews.  The return walk too the Ferry Hide was not without incident as we found a quintet of Stonechat and two more Yellowhammers including a most handsome male.  A Whitethroat was a bonus and then, at the back of a filed to our left, what looked like a game pen for raising partridges, also produced a foraging male Pheasant to its right and on the opposite a couple of Red-legged Partridges.

Juvenile Stonechat Saxicola torquatus

Once back at the hide a closer look at the Spotted Redshanks and Little Egrets plus a resting Herring Gull. As we started back to the car park a Jay flew across the path and once in the car park a Blackbird put in a brief appearance.  Finally, a single Collared Dove as we drove out of the reserve.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus with Black-headed Gulls

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Pintail, Great Crested Grebe, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Yellowhammer.

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