Spring birding

On Saturday I was finally able to get out and do some birding! The weather didn't look very promising but I decided to go down to Pagham Harbour anyway. We started off by walking down to the left side of the habour, stopping to have a look at the feeders that were just outside the vistor centre. A brightly coloured chaffinch, house sparrows and a female blackcap were making the most of the seed that had been put out. 

Male chaffinch
Walking down the path I spotted a chiffchaff skulking around the vegetation and a dunnock singing very loudly. We then were at the start of the mudflats, which the majority of had been covered by the high tide. All of the waders were crammed on to the remaining land, which included redshanks, curlew and lots of snipe which were hiding in among the grasses. There were also lots of black-headed gulls which were flying around and being extremely noisy! We then drove down to Church Norton and walked to the beach. Looking out to sea with my scope I could just about see a great creasted grebe and a cormorant. 

Pagham Harbour at high tide
Whilst eating lunch I was joined on the beach by a flock of 5 turnstone, so I lied down on the pebbles and managed to get a few shots despite the poor light. I was surprised at how brave they were, with one coming only a couple of metres away from me. 




Walking back towards the harbour I stopped to have a scan around. The sandwich terns had returned and were making themselves known with their screeching calls, flying elegantly out to sea and returning with a fish. There was a group of 11 red-breasted merganser and quite a few shelduck bobbing along on the choppy water. I was also surprised to see a peregrine falcon hunkered down on one of the islands in the harbour.

Sandwich tern

Peregrine through my scope
After a while at Church Norton, we drove back to Pagham where I stopped off at Ferry Pool. There were a couple of pairs of gadwall and a pair of shoveler, my first of the year. Also there were a few very territorial coots and a flock of lapwing.

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