Trip reports

Visit to Pagham

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Although the forecast for cold winds and sunshine may have put some members off, the intrepid six who made the journey to Sussex were rewarded by a bright sunny day, and even some warmth in sheltered spots as the breeze dropped.

There is some development work nearing completion at Pagham with a new education area and a new hide overlooking the Ferry Pool. The area is not yet open to the public pending completion of pathways and ponds in this area, however thanks are due to the acting warden Barry for giving us a private visit to the splendid new hide and giving us background information.

From the hide as the ice was melting on Ferry Pool a large flock of wigeon were in the water and surrounding fields. A smaller group of shoveler were also nearby with mallard and tufted duck with teal and shelduck at the far end of the pool where a flock of lapwing were very active.

We then set out along the riverside path with curlew, redshank and grey plover on the mud banks and coot and moorhen on the river. At least three little egret were in the fields and surrounding grasslands.

As the river widened out into the harbour more redshank and curlew were seen with flocks of dunlin flying rapidly up and down stream. The paths which had been frozen overnight were softening up and becoming very muddy in places. Descending to the shoreline we headed towards the hide at Church Norton where the resident robin shared a biscuit with us.

From the hide more curlew and grey plover were seen with dunlin, cormorant and lapwing on the mud and islands.

At this point two of our group continued towards the sea, and I am grateful to Nigel Rutland for his report on their findings. Oystercatcher, bar-tailed godwit, knot, turnstone and black-headed gull were seen on the beach. There were unfortunately no sightings of the Slavonian grebe and divers which had been reported in the area in recent days.

Returning along the same route a flock of around 2000 brent geese were seen. Although a fellow watcher reported seeing one dark brant among them it had taken him an hour and a half to find, so the search was not repeated. A flock of around 1000 dunlin were doing their mad fly pasts.

At various points in the day great and lesser black-backed gulls, herring gulls, mallard, and tufted duck were seen along the river. A reed bunting flew over the path and a group of around eight black-tailed godwit, one in summer plumage, were found by a pond near the centre.

The feeders at the Centre hosted blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits and chaffinch while a group of pheasants foraged below.

The brightness of the sun made up for the low temperature and all those present enjoyed triumphing over the elements for a good day's bird-watching.
Legh Langstone