Saturday, 20 October 2007

Wishmoor Bottom,Berks & Pagham Harbour,West Sussex. 20th October 2007.

Great Grey Shrike.
Mediterranean Gull.
Pomarine Skua.
Little Egret.
Little Stint.
Curlew Sandpiper.

A late planned visit to Pagham Harbour was quickly aranged on Friday evening with one of my bird race team members Roy Rose, we discussed the local sightings and he informed me that he'd already dropped in to Wishmoor Bottom near Camberley to see the Great Grey Shrike that had been showing well since the 14th of October.I made a quick decision that we could probably drop in at Wishmoor on our way to Pagham and with Roy knowing the birds location hopefully we could get good views and be on our way.

On arrival at Wishmoor Roy led the way to where he had seen the Shrike on a previous visit, the sun was shining and with clear blue skies it felt more like spring than Autumn. We made our way from the car and within a few minutes we heard a Goldcrest calling from the conifers alongside the path, then came Coal Tit shortly followed by Stonechat. We arrived at the spot and after a couple of minutes searching we spotted the Great Grey Shrike perched on a small branch, we managed to get a bit closer and had very good views of the bird in fantastic light, a number of other birders where visible dotted around the landscape all looking for the Shrike. It then flew around us and we turned to walk towards where it had headed, Roy's famous last words~Watch out for that ditch!, to which I didn't disappoint~What ditch! Oh that ditch!, down I went disappearing in to the ditch below. After I hauled myself out of the ditch we caught up with the Shrike again which then began to chase a Stonechat across the heath, they both made haste across the heathland with the Shrike trying in vain to catch it's quarry, darting this way and that the Stonechat finally shook the Shrike of it's tail and headed off across in to the gorse. A Meadow Pipit showed well in a bush in front of us as did another gorse specialist!.

Next stop was Selsey Bill, West Sussex, along the seafront a party of a dozen Turnstones scurried along the waters edge, a couple of Pied Wagtails flew over, 2 Linnets were perched on a house roof with a Lesser Black-backed Gull and a single Med Gull was amongst a group of Black-headed and Herring Gulls on the water close to the beach. We made our way to the Lifeboat house and soon spotted a number of Gannets fishing offshore, Greater Black-backed, Lesser Black-backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls all present. Back in the car and off to Church Norton.

At Church Norton 12 Curlew were feeding in the fields before the Church and on arrival at the church car park we were alerted that a Pomarine Skua was present in the harbour. We arrived to find the Skua still sat on the ground and although it was fairly distant we still had good views. Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Little Egret, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail all present around the harbour and after watching the Pomarine Skua fly off towards Selsey we headed towards the beach. At the beach the usual Turnstones were busy searching the along the incoming tide and out at sea 2 Red-breasted Mergansers drifted past towards Selsey followed by a small group of 7/8 Common Scoter.

We drove back to the Pagham Nuture Reserve and met up with the warden who we'd earlier met watching the Skua, he told us that a Little Stint was on the Ferry Pool so we headed off in search of it. It was still present and fed along the edge of the pool with 2 Avocet nearby. A quick look by the sluice before we headed home proved successful with a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper feeding in the mud.

Added To My Year List.

205. Great Grey Shrike (Wishmoor Bottom, Berks)
206. Gannet
207. Pomarine Skua (Church Norton, West Sussex)*
208. Common Scoter

Added To My Life List.

296. Pomarine Skua

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