Thursday, 19 December 2013

Spotshank and Red-breasted Merganser

I made a leisurely start to the day's birding, letting most of the early morning rush hour traffic subside before visiting the Nore Barn Stream, a minor watercourse just to the west of Emsworth. This is the home of a very obliging Spotted Redshank which will pose for the camera at really close ranges. You just need to get the conditions right, a rising tide and some nice mid-morning sunshine. Today was perfect. A word of warning this area is very heavily used by dog walkers, most are fine but there are some pretty inconsiderate ones to be found. So if you want to get up close and personal with a Spotshank - pay a visit.

Another resident of the stream
 Inevitably the bird was spooked  by a dog so I packed up and headed for Farlington Marshes for another go at the Bearded Tits. Having parked and started out on the path, in an anti-clockwise direction, I was immediately treated to views of another Kestrel enjoying a meal, this time a male was pulling apart some unfortunate prey.  Just a tad disappointing that the action was happening on the wrong side of one of Farlington's large ant hills. 

 The incoming tide had pushed birds in tight on the patch of mud just to the west of the wall. I managed to record Dunlin, Grey Plover, Knot, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits. Then, thanks to another birder, I was treated to the sight of Avocets wheeling around the top end of the harbour, trying to find a piece of exposed mud upon which to land.

 Unfortunately no Beardies today, nary a ping, but lots of other birds about to keep me occupied whilst waiting for the little devils to show. Pintails starting the mating game early, lots of BTGs and Redshanks plus a host of usual suspects. Finally I gave up, had an early lunch and made my way to the North Wall at Pagham. The Ruddy Shelducks were still out in the harbour, although very distant and no shots possible. Back of the pool a Buzzard was working up and down the fence line but none of the wildfowl paid it any notice. Water levels are still high and with no mud the waders had moved to the flooded fields.

I met Dave Shepherd on the wall who informed me that there were two Red-breasted Mergansers about. Lo and behold as we retreated from the cool wind that had sprung up there was the female feeding busily in the sluice and as she wasn't bothered by our presence, giving the opportunity for some close ups in the fading afternoon light.


Usual suspects
Sparking Pintails
Some material for Peter Potts

1 comment:

  1. Some more nice pics Dave. If Emsworth wasn't so far would be tempted by your Spotshank !