Sunday, 16 January 2011

Windy Coastal Walk.

On Saturday morning we met up with our friends Tony and Jean on the south coast at Pagham Lagoon Spit for a walk around the harbour to the North Wall. The Lagoon held a few Tufted Ducks, 5 Goldeneye, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and the usual Little Grebes. Unfortunately the tide was falling so our intial views across the harbour were the very large numbers of Dark-bellied Brent Geese moving between the water and distant fields to feed.
Dark-bellied Brent Geese.
The view on arriving at the North Wall was one of water, water everywhere ... totally flooded fields and very little to be seen close by. However once we ventured along the embankment we picked out Wigeon, Pochard, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Canada Geese and finally large numbers of waders much further away. 
With many of the species somewhat distant I hunkered down to reduce the effect of the strong wind and attempted some digiscoping while watching the thousands of Lapwing lift off, circle around and then resettle on the very wet meadows.

Apart from the Lapwing there were also good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits, Knot, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, a few Grey Plover, Oystercatchers plus Ruff and Common Snipe.
I would have preferred to get some closer (and sharper) views but keeping the gear steady while attemting to focus on the continually moving waders in such poor light tested my patience somewhat! Anyway watching large numbers of species, especially waders, is always a delight.
 A line of Golden Plovers resting face on into the wind.
A few Redshank taking shelter.

Other sightings included a Kestrel and a very distant Sparrowhawk, 5 species of gulls including Mediterranean, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Skylark and Linnet plus I also heard a Bearded Tit calling from the reeds. By the end of the day I had added 14 species to my year list so together with an unexpected sighting of 2 Hawfinch during a local patch walk (Horton C.P.) my January total now stands at 90.  All I need now is some decent weather and light to add some species to the photo album.    FAB.

18 comments:

  1. Frank, sounds as though you had a great birding day. I sorry that the light was not cooperating. You did see some great birds. I enjoyed your post.

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  2. Thanks Eileen. Typical winter coastal weather but despite the conditions it was worth the effort.

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  3. Great serie, this seam like a really nice place for birdwatching!

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  4. I love these bird-filled shots, even if you had hoped for some closer-up shots. And wow, 90 already! Good job! I'm at 75 myself which seems like a bit of a miracle. Thanks for sharing this trip!

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  5. Fantastic to see such large numbers of wintering birds.

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  6. What a day! You always see such a nice variety. Good photos, Frank.

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  7. Great birds there Frank, and a very healthy year start in numbers too.
    Always good watching the swirling flocks of Lapwings; even better in sunlight though, when it catches the white underneath.

    I wonder how far Pagham harbour is from me.......

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  8. Hi Frank, The weathers certainly not playing ball at the moment, but great walk with some great species seen and 14 on the year list is a good addition.
    Still have just looked at the five day forcast and here today is cloudy and the rest of the week wall to wall Sunshine though colder.
    Roll On.

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  9. Looks as if there was plenty to see through the scope Frank and thats a great shot of the "Intrepid Birder".

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  10. Wow you saw a very impressive number of birds. Quite different from what we have over here.. It is kind of tricky to find birds over here now... And it is now snowing so I guess it is gonna be even harder ;-) Keep them safe my friend, so that they will be able to come back over here.

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  11. '' all I need now is some decent weather'' dont we all frank :-)

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  12. A nice amount of birds, waders and geese. What a nice place you live in.

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  13. Frank, I would switch places with you! What a bounty of birds! Here the world frozen and blanketed with snow and nice. Few birds around except for those at the feeder. I like the photo the Brant Geese, I think that's what they are.

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  14. You had a great day and found a lot of flocks of birds. Don't you love that. Hope you're staying warm up north. Carol

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  15. Sounds like you had a wonderful day observing a wide variety of birds ... and in such great numbers! What an experience that must have been. I enjoyed viewing your photos and reading your post, as always.

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  16. Dominic. Yes, it is an excellent coastal birding location.

    Jen. Always fun to see large flocks of anything. I expect the new sightings will slow down for a while so you have a chance of catching up.

    Red. Yes, I agree.

    Mona. If only every day was like that!

    Keith. Yeah, sunshine would be good! Pagham is about a 90 minute drive south west for me .. just south of Chichester.

    Monty. Yes, I can't wait for some sunnier, warmer days to.

    Roy. Cheers. First image captured by AB on her new compact!

    Chris. You'll get them back all in good time my friend.

    Warren. Some slight improvement recently but the local birds are still in hiding!

    Bob. Not that close to home .. have to drive 90 mins plus, but worth the effort.

    Hilke. I don't envy you with the snow. Yes they are Brants.

    Carol. Yes, it was a good birding trip. Temps have lifted slightly but lots of areas now under water!

    Julie. Thanks, I'm delighted you enjoyed the experience.

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  17. Great post Frank. Perfectly captured the essence of winter birding. Funnily enough, I'm more than a little jealous sitting here in 29C

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  18. Thanks Tony. I can understand you may be missing the british birds but not the temperature .. just above freezing!

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