Thursday, 18 March 2010

Coastal Reconnaissance.

As the weather forecast suggests that the weekend could be unsettled with more rain expected I headed to Pagham Harbour for a reconnoitre in advance of a planned walk this coming Saturday. Throughout my wanderings I logged a total of 54 species including 3 new sightings for this year. Starting at the Ferry Pool there were at least a dozen Common Snipe clearly visible on the grassy margins plus one sleeping Avocet and plenty of Shelduck.  A short walk at the head of the harbour produced  a Kestrel and the first of a number of Cetti's Warblers calling loudly from its hideaway in thick undergrowth.
A Little Egret carefully watching for any movement in the muddy water below.

I then drove to Church Norton and scoped the usual waders collecting on the exposed ridges in the harbour on the fast rising tide; Dunlin, Knot, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Curlew and Redshanks. I then managed a few shots of a pair of Common Ringed Plover who were investigating a possible nesting site on the shingle close to my location.
Common Ringed Plover
Black-headed Gulls taking a rest.
Heading east towards The Severals a Stonechat appeared very briefly and 3 Mute Swans flew past with the upper pair trying hard not to bump into each other!
Another new tick for 2010 was a single Spotted Redshank busily feeding on one of the small pools. With the sky looking a bit dark I headed into a small patch of woodland after watching two Common Buzzards soaring overhead and found a likely spot to consume my packed lunch. I had just got settled when I spotted the flitting movement high in the leafless canopy that suggested Goldcrest but when I honed in with the bins I was amazed to locate, not one, but two Firecrests frantically feeding. My efforts to capture them with the camera were thwarted by their failure to keep still for more than a second but nevertheless I enjoyed their 'out of reach' company for over 10 minutes before they moved off to a denser thickett.  
On my return walk back towards Church Norton this Linnet posed and sang from an open perch. Back at the churchyard I located a Chiffchaff (possibly newly arrived) and would you believe it another Firecrest! So all in all a good omen for the weekend providing it doesn't rain continually and the chance that some other migrants may arrive in the next few days.   FAB.

22 comments:

  1. n1 Frank - 54 species is excellent.
    I've been looking for Firecrests with no joy - plenty of Goldcrests though.

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  2. As usual, I enjoyed your post and photos, especially the one of the mute swans. What a nice walk!

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  3. Such a variety again! Your photos are just terrific.

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  4. Sounds like a good day Frank - 3 firecrests and a spot shank make for some decent birding!

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  5. Wonderful birdie day. Love the photos. The Chiffchaff looks pretty.

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  6. Hi Frank,
    Congrats on the new ticks, it is all the time a pleasure to see new species for the year and to have new ticks... I guess we are getting the same weather, it is still raining, even if they forecast sun today! Your ringed plover picture is wonderful and my favorite in this post!

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  7. Love the photo of the Linnet. Don't think I have ever seen one.

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  8. That is quite a collection already Frank. Great to even see the little Firecrests let alone photograph them.

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  9. I'll say you had a good bird day! I don't even know what a firecrest is...I just looked it up on google and I can see why you weren't able to get a shot ;-) It's a cute little bugger and I bet it never stops moving. Nice post with lots of hope for those of us who aren't seeing much.

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  10. There's something about the water, the slight ripple, and the swan that brings true peace to me. Lovely photos.

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  11. Great number of birds Frank and glad it was a successful day. Just to think - Firecrests are still on my much wanted list and I missed them!!!

    Hope the weather's kind to you on Saturday....

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  12. That is really wonderful, you certainly have the nack.

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  13. Great day out Frank with some quality birds. Any day with Spot-shank and Firecrest in it would do for me, let alone three of the latter! I'm insanely jealous! (-:

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  14. Such a productive walk you had! Love those plovers - they seem so comical to me - but very handsome!

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  15. LOVELY! The swans in flight take my breath away....I've never seen swans in flight (in person) before.

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  16. At last a small window to catch up on a bit of blogging... you lucky thing seeing a Firecrest - never seen one although we do get Goldcrests in the garden and woodland which is lovely but they're not easy to see - you tend to hear them first! Enjoy your week - Miranda

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  17. Thats a good number of species for one walk Frank besides the new species.

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  18. A good omen for the weekend Frank.
    Some good birds there. Hope Saturday is even better for you mate.

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  19. Hi "Early Birders". Thanks for all the lovely comments. Finding a few new species for the year, especially the flighty Firecrests, is always a joy. The weather forecast for tomorrow is not great so photos may be thin on the ground but I'll let you all know what I find on after the event.
    Have a good weekend everyone. FAB.

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  20. Frank, what I would give for a dozen species in one day, fifty-four, oh that is certainly quite a grande day. I especially like the Swans flying and the Ring-necked Plovers. Be well~

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  21. Hi Mary. With a few more pairs of eyes it could have been more!

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