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.
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.