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Friday, 10 September 2010

Pagham Harbour walk; Section 3:The Northern Harbour and farmland.

For continuity, please read sections 1 and 2 below in sequence, before this entry.  In those sections you can see how much we enjoyed wading through the sea - thanks to catching a Spring tide at its highest point.
We reached the Ferry pool of this nature reserve, where I was thrilled to see an Avocet, center picture above, with Lapwings and different ducks.  According to the RSPB, c.800 pairs of Avocets breed in the UK and over 3,000 birds can be present in winter.
Click on any picture to enlarge it.  By this stage, Richard also was getting quite enthused, or was that Irish humour and charm?
Above and below are juvenile Shelducks.  They were perhaps 300m away, shot with an optical and digital zoom - hence the graininess of the pictures.
Above, a young shelduck pretending to be a goose.
We then went north, along the harbour to Sidlesham Quay and beyond.
Above could be a Widgeon.  An estimated 416,000 overwinter in Britain.
Oh look!  A whinchat, about to move on to Iberia perhaps, before crossing both the Mediterranean sea and the Sahara desert.

Finally, we spotted Oyster catchers, just after a flock of Curlews had flown overhead from a meadow, disturbed by our presence on the harbour side of the hedge.
Having squelched and slid our way along the harbour's edge, it was a little daunting to encounter this weir-like section.
Richard, whose boots were already full of (now warmed) seawater, stalwartly offered to find a path through this mini-raging-torrent.
What a player!  Fearlessly splashing forth.
Richard now offered assistance to Liz, who was comfortably sporting Richard's dry socks... but not for long!
Having got through the tidal stream without mishap, the sun came out.  You can see just how dry this path was becoming.  Richard started to overheat with all the excitement and the sun and all that and had to strip off.
We got onto a dryish grassy path, where Richard amazed us all by engaging in conversation with a twitcher.....just as if he was an experienced twitcher himself!  Most impressive!
He established that just along the path, where our planned route was to go, a Wryneck had been seen.  There are only 5 pairs breeding in the UK, plus an average of 280 sightings a year of migrants over the last 10 years.
It was a tough decision, but having been delayed by spring tides, bird watching, mud and torrents, we took a shortcut on field paths back to the RSPB center.  On the way we saw a kestrel, buzzard and sparrow hawk.  Not bad for a Ramblers' walk.
See also for more birds from 2014

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