Saturday, 7 September 2013

Out and About

Birding on a Saturday is unusual for me, I much prefer to be out and about on weekdays when there are fewer people around. But! today there was a choice of two twitches, Farlington Marshes offering 95% chance of Ospreys and Saltdean offering a 5% possibility of Dotterel. Our strategy was to venture west to Farlington and to keep a weather eye on Rare Bird Alert just in case someone discovered the proverbial needle in the haystack.

Farlington was fairly quiet, a few cars in the car park, perhaps the dark grey clouds on the horizon, which promised squally heavy rain, were keeping people at home. Additionally, the temperature was noticeably cooler than of late. We made our way past the "shed" to the east side, few birds were about on the marsh and fewer flying. Arriving at  the harbour we scanned all the islands, particularly North Binness but no Osprey, we continued and completed a circuit of the marsh, noting Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit and a "charm" of Goldfinches. Luck was on our side as we caught the tail end of a shower leaving us only slightly damp. It must have been quiet as neither of us took our cameras from the case.

Next up was a visit to Budd's Farm sewage works, a place I have been intending to visit since last year. Scanning the lagoons gave all the usual suspects - Gadwall, Tufted, Mallard and sharp-eyed Martin picked out a single Shoveler.  One last scan of the harbour, all the islands from a different viewpoint returned nothing. A scan of port hand spars in the channel revealed a Cormorant and a rather dark bird eating something, just the jizz of the bird had me back to the car for the scope - success - an Osprey fairly distant, dining on a fish. No problems with the ID but a passing boat spooked the bird and it relocated to the grass of Long Island. Tick in the box but no photographs.

A visit to Hayling Ferry Point gave nothing of note so we relocated to Chichester Harbour just down from Northney Marina. Not a lot of activity except for some Black-tailed Godwits relocating on the high tide, as we walked back to the car park around fifty birds were jostling for ever decreasing real estate.

This was followed by a visit to Pagham North Wall just as the tide was peaking. On Breech Pool all the usual suspects, Common Snipe, Teal, Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Spotted Redshanks and a sprinkling of Lapwings. On the stones were Wheatears and several Yellow Wagtails occupied the path. A raptor flyby caused a quickening of the pulse but after a small chase it proved to be a Common Buzzard rather than anything exotic.

Plenty of Swallows over the pool, all looking well fed and in fine fettle for the upcoming journey.

Africa - are you sure Dad??


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