Saturday, 3 January 2009

Pagham - A 1st on the 1st.

My birding year started with our annual pilgrimage to Pagham with four friends on 1st Jan.
As usual Anita & I arrived before the others and we immediately headed to the Little Lagoon and just after 3 Snipe flew overhead I very joyfully located the Purple Sandpiper feeding around the margins with Redshank and Grey Plover - A lifer to start the year .... great. We were unexpectedly joined by the 'Pagham Birder' and while reminiscing about our various exploits over many years he gave me a brief update on the other specialties that we may see including Peregrine & Red-throated Diver.
After joining up with our friends and happily showing them the Purple Sandpiper we headed off on a leisurely walk around the main Lagoon, through the caravan park and up onto the North Wall. Very close views of all the usual waders; Dunlin, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Bar-tailed & Black-tailed Godwit, Turstone, Oystercatcher & Curlew. During our stroll we were joined by a flock of 40+ Linnets plus a single Reed Bunting. From the North Wall I located a single Spotted Redshank and 2 Knot which Tony & Trevor eagerly scoped whilst small skeins of Brent Geese flew in from the fields onto the harbour. Other notable sighting included a Seal eating a flat fish, Slavonian Grebes, 5 female Goldeneye, Pintail (one of my favourites) and Little Egrets.
After a packed lunch and much needed warm drinks back at the cars we scanned the harbour entrance and added the Red-throated Diver, Common Scoters, a single male Goldeneye, Great Crested Grebes, at least 10 Red-breasted Mergansers plus an adult & immature Gannet feeding close to shore. For Tony's delight I also located a few Mediterranean Gulls. Regretfully we never got to find the resident Peregrine but my total for the day was 63 and we parted company to make the drive home with promises to meet up again soon.

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