Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Red-necked Phalarope

Phew What a Scorcher!  The hottest September birding day for 105 years and we were out in it. Actually, out on the north wall at Pagham it was a beautiful morning. Oddly, the wind was from the east and it was pleasant to be out. However no one had told the birds - just the usual suspects to be found - Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshank, Snipe, a couple of Dunlins and a raft of Redshanks inhabited the exposed mud. A Ruff flew in and after a swift bath, hid amongst the godwits. So we waited for something to turn up and boredom soon set in so we departed. On the way out we met several birders and we ended up heading for Thorney Island and the Red-necked Phalarope. This bird has been present for over a week and we have eschewed a visit because usually it is at a distance, affording little opportunity for a photograph.

Anyway, as we approached the Little Deep, Martin spotted it almost immediately, happily feeding away at a fair distance. Luckily, several times during our stay the bird ventured closer to our position and we were able to get some decent record shots.

As we left I mused aloud that it was great to have a lifer but that it was a shame that it wasn't a Sussex tick too. Now my Geography isn't bad and I do have some qualifications and experience in navigation but it did come as a bit of a shock that I could be so wrong - of course Thorney Island is in Sussex - Doh! Ticks all round then. Not only that, whilst updating my records I noticed another milestone - this is my 300th bird species to be photographed - where the definition of a photograph is that it is a recognisable bird - not just a clump of pixels.

The previous day we had ventured to Titchfield Haven in search of the Semipalmated Sandpiper, unfortunately a dip, a not unlikely event as I don't seem to have much luck at this venue. Anyway I considered five hours in one of the hides to be sufficient effort and we left without a sniff of the bird. Of course other birds were present and I whiled some of the time away capturing an obliging Ruff and a confiding Snipe.

Finally some shots recorded on days when I didn't have enough to blog. First an inquisitive Buzzard that gave us the once over on Honer Farm.

 Followed by two birds that have almost given me the slip this year - Wryneck and Curlew Sandpiper - maybe next year.

And finally the yellowest Yellow Wagtail of the year

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