Saturday, 19 November 2016

Catching up at West Rise and Church Norton (19 & 16 November)

Saturday 19th. With light winds forecast for the morning I was keen to try and see Bearded Tit, one of my all time favourite birds. I was uncertain where to go to look - west to Pagham North Wall or east to West Rise Marsh - and eventually decided on the latter when I woke up to a hard frost.  My reasoning was that the North Wall was likely to involve standing around a lot (in the cold) whereas at West Rise I could actively look around the lake and adjacent marshes. It proved to be a good choice and i had an excellent morning seeing at least 7 Bearded Tits (at least 3 being males), one one occasion a male was ripping open a bullrush head for at least five minutes. Superb. The Slavonian Grebe and Long-tailed Duck were on the pool although the latter was diving so much it took me nearly 2 hours to notice it. A Water Rail was enticed out of the reeds while a walk around the marsh near the boardwalk and platform produced at least 6 water Pipits, three of which were seen briefly on the ground although only one in the scope and that too briefly to obtain any images. I also flushed a Jack Snipe when walking back across the marsh. Full size wellingtons were definitely essential and even then parts of the path were very slippery. Very nice to see JFC in the field for the first time since his excellent Unst trip. Rather a lot of Bearded Tit photos now follow:



















Friday 18th. Megan and I visited Sheffield Park. The leaves were superb from green and yellow to orange and red and still a lot on the trees. not many birds though, a handful of Redwings and two each of Nuthatch and Jay.

fungi at Sheffield Park






aren't trees wonderful
Wednesday 16th. Megan and I walked around Mill Hill seeing no migrants and just a Buzzard and 2 Sky Larks. I then went to Pagham Harbour stopping at Ivy Lake where Alan Kitson appeared having seen nothing so I didn't linger. A Green Sandpiper was on Sidlesham Ferry and I arrived Church Norton just before high tide at 12:00. The Black-necked Grebe was in the harbour, the tide rising around me feet as i watched it. I then wished I'd full sized Wellingtons on as I walked to the beach although I managed to keep dry feet. Offshore were 4 Slavonian Grebes and by the harbour entrance a Long-tailed Duck while a Black-throated Diver flew west and then presumably the same bird flew east. Walking back along the spit a presumed different Long-tailed Duck was seen in the harbour by Tern Island. I came home via Greatham Bridge spending the last hour of daylight watching from the Railway Bridge. The Great Grey Shrike was out on the brooks some distance away by the wooden bridge, two Marsh Harriers (one a male) were seen over Amberley Wildbrooks and just before dusk a Barn Owl was seen topping off a very enjoyable afternoon.
a very high tide at Church Norton - Wellingtons essential to keep dry feet

the entrance to Pagham Harbour with the tide on the turn
Sunday 13th. A Peregrine flew on to Southwick Power Station chimney at dusk, seen when returning from my dad's 92nd Birthday do.

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