Sunday, 11 March 2007

Pagham Harbour, West Sussex. 11th March 2007.

Dark Bellied Brent Goose.



Ferry pool hosted the usual ducks, a couple of Shelduck a single Curlew and a few black-headed gulls.
Walking towards Church Norton soon Produced good numbers of Redshank and Oystercatcher as they probed the mud flats by the water sluice. Further along the path towards Church Norton a male Little Egret was stalking the ditch, it’s breeding plumes were clearly visible as it hunted the shallows searching for fish. It got closer and closer until it flew off to join another Little Egret which was feeding in the harbour. Plenty of Curlew, Oystercatcher and Redshank scattered around the harbour and a small flock of Dark-bellied Brent Geese were grouping on the waters edge near to the hide at Church Norton, small skeins passed over on route to Church Norton and were later found feeding on cereal crops in the fields near to the hide. No sign of any Pale-breasted Brents nor the reported Black Brant.
At the harbour Turnstone, Knot, Dunlin and a single Ringed Plover busily searched the islands and mud flats for food. On a nearby island in the centre of the harbour a rather tired and forlorn looking Red -breasted Merganser sat quietly while a number of Shelducks slept amongst a melee of Gulls including 2 Mediterranean Gulls.
The sea at Church Norton was quiet, the odd Cormorant fishing far out at sea, a possible sighting of Red-necked Grebe heading towards Selsey but little else, despite the sunny conditions the sea was quite choppy. My first year sighting of a Chiffchaff was a timely reminder that spring was on it’s way as it fed along the bushes between the severals and Church Norton, stopping every now and then to belt out its unmistakable “Chiff-chaff” call .
On the walk back towards the reserve centre a quick scan of the harbour again was well worth it as while scanning the Curlews feeding along the mud flats a single Whimbrel flew in and joined them. A selection of waders including Redshank, Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Grey Plover scoured the flats for food. The Ringed Plover still looked out of place amongst the greyer waders that surrounded it but wasn’t put of by numbers as it bustled it’s way around the mud. The Red-breasted Merganser was still looking rather ill and I didn’t rate it’s chances of survival, it’s always sad to see a sick bird but a Merganser which is majestic in it’s own right is especially sad, I guess that’s mother nature for you.

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