Sunday 30 September 2012

Nut Jobber

The nut-jobber, is an  Old English name for the Nuthatch, job relating to an old verb meaning to prod or stab.  To most birders this bird is an easy tick but south of the Downs and on the coastal plain it isn't so frequently seen. As I stated recently we have been at our Goring-by-Sea residence for twenty four years before our first record - now we have a resident, well he visits most days and is earnestly working his way through the black sunflower seeds. This is much to the chagrin of the Coal Tits who, on our patch,  are the number one consumers of these delicacies. It would be nice if he/she stayed for the winter as it certainly brightens up the feeding station.

Nut Jobber

Eurasian Nuthatch, Sitta europaea


Saturday 29 September 2012

Woods Mill

During my random surfing on the web I had by chance come across the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust and discovered that they were having an open day at the Sussex Wildlife Trust's Woods Mill. Furthermore that Dr. Richard Osmond would be attending with his Hi Tech Wild Trek trailer. Richard and I were near neighbours some 33 years ago and I thought it about time we renewed our acquaintance, especially as he had got me "into" moths back then.

It was a day for taking the macro lens and I set out on a walk to the other end of the reserve, hoping for a few late butterflies and some early morning dragonflies.  The place was more or less deserted but who should I meet on the way back to the car park - none other than Richard, with buckets and dipping net, catching the specimens for the day. When we exchanged greetings he was totally unfazed as if it was just yesterday that we had been talking to each other.

More about OARTS can be found here.

Richard and his trailer

Brilliant to be up close and personal with water life.

Out on the reserve there are still lots of 'bugs' to be found

Dock Bug, Coreus marginatus??
Seed Weevil - Apion frumentarium

Small Copper, Lycaena phlaeas

Common Darter, Sympetrum striolatum

Comma, Polygonia c-album - a tad worn round the edges

Not many birds to be seen but Chiffchaffs were numerous around the lake.

Friday 28 September 2012


Yesterday was another slow day, I started at Farlington in the pouring rain just as the tide was well on the make. There was a whole host of waders at the waters edge and I expected them to be slowly pushed into the corner by the car park. Wrong! they didn't pause much before going to roost at the lagoon, even the obliging Greenshanks beat a hasty retreat.  Work was being carried out on the sea wall, with mechanical diggers and vans in attendance, so I left early, battling against the early morning commuter traffic.

I called in to Ivy Lake at Chichester GPs in the hope of a vagrant tern or something more exotic, unfortunately just an ever increasing Coot population. On to the North Wall at Pagham, Breech Pool water levels looked more like normal after the recent heavy rains.
Just the usual suspects present, BTGs,Snipe, 3 Dunlin, a Kingfisher passing through and plenty of Teal. Fly overs included Buzzard, Yellow Wagtail, Swallow, House Martins and a few tardy Sand Martins.  The rains have started to create pools in the field beyond the stile and several Curlew had already taken the opportunity to investigate.

On the wall  a confiding Wheatear, just posing and almost saying "photograph me" so I duly obliged, how could I say no.

No Peregines visible - even 5 miles away

Do the noble Burghers of Chichester pay more community charges? It seems the place is in permanent sunshine.

Monday 24 September 2012

Ferring, Groyne No.4

No apologies for revisiting my local patch. After a miserable start to the day with torrential rain and westerly gales a break in the weather gave early afternoon sunshine but the high winds remained, a perfect time for a walk. At Ferring the shingle is high, the longshore drift has deposited several extra feet of beach and the sand just below the shingle line seems much more extensive. Perhaps the winter storms will take much of it away, probably to Brighton and beyond. I guess most of this has been eroded from Selsey, Pagham and Climping, probably half of Trevor's garden!

Shingle and groynes as far as the eye can see

Groyne No.4 - Perfect shorebird habitat

On the beach there were few birds, just  Turnstones, Sanderlings, Ringed Plovers and Dunlin. With the incoming tide being pushed rapidly up the beach by the wind the Ringed Plovers left early and were settled down in a sparsely populated gull roost, hunkered down in the freshly ploughed stubble.

These beach birds are hardy souls and don't give up what remains of the beach readily. This makes them approachable, just find the highest point on the sand, and as the tide rises they will come to you - so pressing is the need to maximise feeding time. Only when the sand is finally covered do they take to the shingle roost. The patttern is always the same - Turnstones roost in the seaweed remains higher up the beach and the Sanderlings take the lowest shingle.

Following the previous posting about the beach I was asked to keep an eye out for ringed birds, alas nothing this time, but it is much more difficult than colour ringed Godwits. Birds offshore were few, just a couple of Cormorants battling west against the wind and two optimistic Sandwich Terns looking for snacks among the numerous windsurfers.

 Red-backed or Black-bellied Sandpiper

Turnstones still looking 'scruffy'

Flying into the gull roost

Saturday 22 September 2012

Curlew Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover at Breech Pool

Not surprisingly my blog today is almost a replica of the Pagham Birder's Blog, of course as we spent an hour or so together at Breech Pool we managed to photograph the same birds at the same time. I went in search of the Little Stint but a no show meant that I had to concentrate on the Little Ringed Plovers. As I was happily snapping away another bird landed on the mud, my first impressions were Curlew Sandpiper! and as there was another birder present I asked for his opinion - 95% sure a CS and later he made it 100%. All was well until Trevor arrived who, quite correctly,  challenged the ID
- Larger than a Dunlin - yes.
- Longer finer tipped and more evenly decurved bill - probably
- More elegant outline - not really
- White rump, obvious in flight - not seen - it landed facing me and had not flown since.

Having had a "mini" Dunlin earlier in the week what was wrong with a "maxi" Dunlin? The arrival of Andrew House finalised the discussion with a succinct - Adult Curlew Sandpiper. However processing the photos at home there are distinct traces of "peach"  on the upper breast.

I know the vagaries of light, especially on birds adjacent to water, can change colours and that the camera can accentuate colours but in this case the bird looked much paler - anyway a selection of shots provided below so you can form your own view.

A tad peachy

Different light - no peach

Definite white rump - look!



Nice to see Ian too, hope he has managed to find the blog.

So in the end we had 9 Dunlin, 1 Curlew Sandpiper and 3 Little Ringed Plovers, large supporting cast including a single Shoveler and several Snipe. Teal numbers are rising fast but BTGs and Lapwings seem to have thinned out somewhat since last week.


The early morning low angled sunlight provided a pleasing warm glow to the images, much sought after by some creative photographers. It can be reduced with Photoshop but I left it in, just as they were captured.

Who am I - with a little red eye??