Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Birding Pagham Harbour

Birding Pagham Harbour, 28th September 2014

Our birding day at Pagham Harbour started at Sidlesham Ferry and looking over Ferry Pool.  A good start with Avocet, Little Stint, Green Sandpipers and Lapwings, a single Mediterranean Gull and lots of Teal.  A Buzzard and Kestrel were over the fields, whilst overhead a stream of Swallows, House Martins and Meadow Pipits.

In the creek a Spotted Redshank disappeared down the bank leaving just Common Redshank, as we approached the bushes we surprised a male Sparrowhawk which took off very quickly.  It was quiet for passerines though we did have Linnets and the usual small birds you’d expect.

Our next stop was Church Norton, we had a circular walk round through farm fields to The Severals, along the way we had Stonechat, Red-legged Partridge, Willow Warbler as well as Chiffchaff and heard Cetti’s Warbler.  Also enjoying the beautiful early autumn sunshine were Hornets, butterflies - Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and Comma.

On arriving at the harbour a Peregrine flew across, and soared to a very great height moments later two Sparrowhawks moved along the wood edge and then found a another Peregrine sat on a post out on the beach.  The tide was only just starting to come in but we could see Curlew, several Knot were scattered along the main channel as were Oystercatchers and Turnstone. There was good numbers of Wigeon which were very restless flying around.

After lunch we drove round to the North Wall, our first birds were a ‘flock’ of Moorhens, a family party and others in the field with ponies.  A Kingfisher called and flashed past and a Cetti’s Warbler sang.

On the pools we counted five Spotted Redshank amongst the Black-tailed Godwits, a Water Rail crept through the edge of the reeds before stopping to have a lengthy preening session.  Looking into the harbour, now at high tide, we had Grey Plover, Greenshank calling as they flew across, Wigeon, Pintail and Teal.  On the rocks a couple of Wheatears were searching for insects to feed on.

However our real highlight was a little further on I looked down a creek where several Little Egrets were stood on the bank. I put my binoculars up and saw a Cattle Egret, it's yellow bill stood out like a sore thumb. I called the group over and Liz just got on to the bird when it flew up and went into the next field with the cattle.  We then all got good views, but the cattle were not happy with this intruder and they nudged it and pushed it off! It flew off in a north/north westerly direction but was not seen to land again.
Spotted Redshank at North Wall Pagham Harbour  Nick Hull

Monday, 15 September 2014

Studland and at Home

Our Sunday monthly group yesterday met at Greenlands Farm and walked towards Brands Bay.  During our 3 hour walk we had Meadow Pipits calling and flying over us in in small groups.  Swallows were with just a few House Martins amongst them.   

We hadn't walked far, though we could see the Bay, when a Great White Egret flew up from the bay and across to Little Sea, then Liz spotted the juvenile Marsh Harrier behind us heading towards Ballard Down, then she found a distant bird of prey over Goathorn, which through the scope was confirmed by Nick as a Peregrine.  What a start to our walk!

Walking to the hide a male Stonechat perched up for us to admire, soon we were sat looking through the waders pushed in by the rising tide.  There were good numbers of Black-tailed Godwit interspersed with Redshanks.  Four Knot flew in, and a Ringed Plover flew out, Nick found four more Knot and we had a brief view of a juvenile Sanderling.  Other waders included  Curlew, Dunlin, Lapwing and Oystercatchers plus a single Bar-tailed Godwit.  Our first Wigeon of the Autumn were busy feeding alongside Teal.

Moving towards Little Sea a Green Woodpecker flew across the heath and a Common Lizard moved too quickly into cover for most of the group to see.  Common Darters were now really warmed up and were "common", later we found a few Migrant Hawkers, but not many butterflies despite the warmth.  Looking through the high tide Egret roost we counted 74 Little Egrets and one Great White Egret, also a few Grey Herons and Cormorants.   Below is a digiscoped shot of the Great White in the roost.

We found a sheltered warm spot in the wooded area and had at least three Spotted Flycatchers, Goldcrests and a Firecrest, Coal, Blue and Great Tits and lots of Chiffchaffs, just a few Willow Warblers.  We spent a while here hoping for a glimpse of another bird we saw all too briefly but struck us that it could've been a Red-breasted Flycatcher, but despite our looking we never saw this bird again.

This afternoon we were gardening when we found an amazing spider, a splendid female Wasp Spider.  We were so pleased to find one in our garden.  On the left hand side is the underside and on the right hand side is the top of the spider.

All photographs are copyright of Nick Hull

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Middlebere - Osprey and migrants

Our monthly Wednesday group met at Middlebere this morning, starting our walk we could see that Swallows were steadily streaming over with a few House Martins with them.  A number of Stonechats, adults with juveniles were on the heathland along with a few Meadow Pipits.

Down the track we had a Chiffchaff singing but we had several along our way,  a Jay called and then we spotted it flying across the track.  Reaching the Rowan trees we found Goldfinch but Chris was the only one to see the male Redstart, it disappeared and not seen again.  A couple of Whitethroats sat on top of a bush, a further one was on the wire fencing at the farm, along with a female Blackcap, Spotted Flycatcher and Chiffchaff.   There were a good number of Mistle Thrushes enjoying the rowan berries, with at least twenty enjoying this feast.  Our first raptor was seen here with a Peregrine flying over us.

Arriving at the hide before we had settled down I noticed the Shelduck flying, then the Teal sprung up and I soon spied the Osprey that had spooked them.  It flew down channel, which was at low tide and out into the harbour.  The duck soon came back together with a couple of Grey Heron, Little Egret and a single Curlew.   It wasn't long before a raptor was brought to my attention at the far end of the channel surrounded by gulls.  Looking through a telescope my suspicions were confirmed that it was an Osprey.

Out of the hide Joe saw another more distant bird of prey, thankfully it was coming towards us and we were able to see it was possibly another Osprey, this time with a fish in its talons.  It flew for what seemed ages and descending all the time but we eventually lost it to view as it went past the

Overlooking the Wytch channel we added Greenshank and a beautiful male Kestrel, our fourth raptor of the day, a Buzzard appeared over towards Corfe Castle.  A pair of Coal Tits were in the conifers and a Green Woodpecker gave its lovely 'yaffle' call.

The sunshine brought out the butterflies and we had plenty of Red Admirals, Small Heath, a couple of Grayling and even a lovely male Common Blue.

Small Heath