Saturday, 16 February 2013

A Day of Two Halves

First light found  me at the sluice on the North Wall at Pagham, Dave Shepherd had phoned me last night to say that he had found an "odd" diving duck in the creek and was seeking help in trying to identify it. Given Dave's track record I had no hesitation in going to have a look.  In the grey light I managed to locate two small diving birds in the channel, the first proved to be a Little Grebe, the other much more distant bird, was a small dark duck with the appearance of being "half submerged". However it beat a hasty retreat and I couldn't get any more identifying features, very frustrating. I hung around for four hours hoping for a return but unfortunately no more sightings, not helped by two inconsiderate "birders" walking out to the edge of the creek.

 I relieved the tedium of waiting by trying to get a shot of the very active Kingfisher which gave several flybys. In the rife there was a reclusive Water Rail which I tracked back into Breech Pool, quite a dark plumaged bird. On the pool itself there were the usual suspects plus two pairs of Shovelers and a single Snipe. The Wigeon that had relocated from the harbour went walkabout as if on cue.

One day I will get perfect light, distance and composition all at the same time!

Walkabout Wigeon

If you recognise yourself - thanks you inconsiderate *******

The second half of the day found me sat in the garden in pleasantly mild conditions with hazy sunshine. Just a few days of warmer weather has got the birds active. The Blue Tits are sparking and our nest box has been claimed but I am not sure of the tenants as there appear to be three at the moment - one will have to go. We have had a visiting pair of Coal Tits throughout the winter and as I sat on the patio they came to the feeders less than ten feet away. I have no idea of which is male or female but there appeared to be a pecking order, what I assumed to be the male visits the feeder first whilst the other bird perches a few feet away, moving in to feed when the other leaves.

The Goldcrests have reverted to their normal feeding behaviour, foraging for insects in the Christmas tree. The suet feeders definitely being a second preference, at least they have been sustained for almost four weeks since the snow came.

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