Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pagham Harbour (19/02/12)

Back to the harbour for the NE Hants RSPB trip but dropped in before sun-up to the North Wall where I waited for the Paddyfield Warbler to appear in the tyre bush in the freezing cold.  After waiting another 2 birders turned up and we waited together.  Suddenly 7 geese flew in which looked like White-fronted Geese.  I needed to have a look because I couldn't see them over the reeds so started walking to the west side of the pools.  As I did so a bird popped up brieflly in a bush straight in front of me.  My immediate thought was Reed Warbler and then it dawned on me - unless there was a wintering Reed Warbler, I had the Paddyfield Warbler.  I signalled to the 2 other birds and we quietly walked along the path and flushed the bird a couple of times before it, unseen, flew into the reed bed.  One of the other birders then said he had it in the reed bed and after finding the best position looking into the reeds it could be seen perched about 2ft above the water line - it appeared to be warming itself in the sunshine.  After 10-15 mins in the open it then flew across the water and disappeared into another reed bed.  Thank you White-fronted Geese!  I noted the basic Reed Warbler type appearance with darker tail and wings and obvious head pattern with white throat and what appeared to be a robust pink-based bill.

I then met up with the RSPB group at Sidlesham Ferry where we had a brief look at the Ferry Pond and then onto Church Norton where there were a few Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Slavonian Grebes on the see but no Firecrests at the Severals.  However, on the way back to the car park we found a Firecrest by the entrance track which showed beautifully albeit restlessly.  While the rest of the group had lunch I went to the Selsey Bill where I was rewarded with 7 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach and a Chiffchaff and female Black Redtstart bu the houses on the sea front.  Also 2 Sanderlings on the beach.

We were then going to Pagham Lagoon but the entrance track was still closed so we went back to the Breach Pool.  There was no sign of the Paddyfield Warbler but the 7 White-fronts were still present.  There were quite a few Linnets flying over.

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