Ending the Year on A Few More Lifers!

Here is a write-up on a great visit to Pagham Harbour last Thursday, hope you enjoy reading!

On Thursday my mum and I decided to make the hour journey down to Pagham Harbour. The sightings there had been quite promising over the last week so I was hoping to the end the year on a few more lifers!

As we drove down there the sun was blinding, the countryside was covered in a thick frost and a blanket of fog lingered in the fields. We arrived at Church Norton, the far side of Pagham Harbour. Setting my scope up in front of the large expanse of water, a group of over 1000 Brent Geese soared over my head, looking like tiny black dots from a distance. Communicating with each with a range of different honks, they landed, now looking slightly more elegant on the water.

Incoming Brent Geese
We then made our way to the beach, where we had a quick walk before sitting down so I could scan the sea. Before I had a chance to sit down I saw relatively big bird, gliding along the surface of the sea, so I grabbed my camera and tried to photograph it. Now being able to see the bird close up, I could see it was a Red-Throated Diver, my first in fact!

Red-Throated Diver
Along with the diver there were quite a number of Slavonian Grebes. Way out to sea, through my scope, I could just about make out a small group of around 3 Red-Breasted Mergansers, the first time I had seen them! They were quite tricky to make out so far away, but I could just about see their punk-like hair and long, pointy bill. Close to the group of Mergansers where a group of black ducks, bobbing up and down on the rough waves, I later identified them as Common Scoters, another lifer!

Whilst sitting on the beach I noticed a group of Turnstones, scurrying along the seaweed, close to the sea. Walking up to them, they were surprisingly not bothered about me, so I took advantage of this and took a few photos. I tried to experiment with one, hoping to show a bit more of the habitat and featuring the sea in the background. The results I was relatively happy with:


We then headed back to the harbour, whilst another flock of over 1000 Brent Geese flew over the trees. You could almost hear the sound of their wings beating as they flew over our heads. 

Sitting down on a bench overlooking the harbour, I took a minute to appreciate the amount of birds that were here, the many calls of a variety of waders, geese and ducks. There were Oystercatcher, Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Pintail, Shelduck, Wigeon, Curlew, Little Grebe, Brent Geese all sharing this vital habitat, feeding on the mudflats and gliding along on the dark blue water.

Overall it was a great way to end the year!


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