Monday, 23 September 2013

Spotted Flycatchers

The weather this morning was warm and dry but completely overcast; there was so little light that we postponed the start of our day's birding for an hour or so. First stop was Cissbury Ring, primarily to capture the Ring Ouzel that had been reported as being in the "Yewsual" place, the large Yew tree on the western end of the ring.  Actually it would have been nice to have seen any bird at the ring, all we saw was a constant stream of hirundines heading west. The ascent had us hot and bothered so we were happy to wait around for the RO to show but sadly it wasn't present, so we made a somewhat easier descent.

Second stop was the North Wall at Pagham, Martin wanted to catch up with the Curlew Sandpipers, unfortunately, by the time we arrived, the state of the tide meant that the birds had relocated elsewhere in the harbour. Yet again we met Dave Shepherd who informed us that another Ruff was on Breech Pool, so we passed the time by photographing a more adult specimen than the one we had seen previously.

At the rear of the pool were several Common Snipe, two of which were in some sort of territorial dispute, both seen to be displaying their orange tail feathers in a fan. By now the weather was improving considerably, with some sunshine showing through, time for our third venue, Church Norton. 

Standing in the car park we could see several Spotted Flycatchers feeding above the moat, also we expected to see a Pied Flycatcher but it was not to be. A quick visit to the churchyard confirmed that most of the action was opposite the footpath down to the harbour. Positioning ourselves there we captured some cracking shots of the most obliging birds, I reckon that there were at least ten birds present, possibly more, all flying from a favoured perch to catch an insect and returning to devour the prey.

Several Chiffchaffs showed but of the rumoured Wood Warbler, nothing to be found.

Nice to meet Bagsy Baker again, he of Portland Bill fame, can't mistake him as he is the only birder to wear such a distinctive hat. 

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