Sunday, 12 February 2012

Shoreham area and points west (11-12 February 2012)

Saturday 11 February.  A morning at Shoreham Fort, Widewater and the Adur before doing a few chores in town, I then tried Burton Mill Pond for Bitterns but despite staying to 17.45 none were seen.  A red-head Smew, Kingfisher and 7 Mandarins were at Burton with over 150 auks off Shoreham Harbour of which the nearer half were Razorbills.  A Knot was seen on Widewater and then the Adur.  A quick look for the Snow Buntings proved unsuccessful.  The only colour ring noted, despite a number of gulls on the Adur, was what was almost certainly Black-headed Gull R3 at Widewater, unfortunately in water just deep enough to cover half of its ring.

Knot on the ice at Widewater
Gulls on the Adur at low tide
Sunday 12 February.  John King and I had a day in West Sussex.  We stated at Pagham Lagoon where the red-head Smew was on one of the few patches of open water, sharing it with at least 28 Little Grebes, while a Water Rail crept along the edge of the reeds behind.  We moved on to the North Wall where a Bittern had been glimpsed earlier and I heard then saw in flight a Bearded Tit.  We then walked north to North Homer Farm where we were unable to pick the Black Brant out of a flock of about 1650 Brent Geese although not all the flock was viewable.  We eventually tracked down the Whooper Swans a bit further north and also saw a superb male and rather drabber female Marsh Harrier and flushed a Jack Snipe.  We timed out return to the North Wall to coincide with the Paddyfield Warbler's first appearance for over 24 hours although it was very distant and rather brief and we were very glad to have seen it previously.  We headed into Hampshire calling in at Warblington to look for the Cattle Egret but couldn't even find the cows!  Next stop Hayling Oyster Beds where the Shore Lark was still performing and 9 distant Black-necked Grebes were scoped out in Langstone Harbour.  Back to Thorney via Warblington again (some cows were found this time but no Cattle Egret).  We'd hardly arrived at Thorney when the Great White Egret flew overhead high and off towards Prinsted.  Two Avocets were scoped on the Great Deep and we registered a third dip on the Cattle Egret before heading home after a very enjoyable day out.

Whooper Swans north of North Homer Farm, Pagham

Shore Lark at Hayling Oyster Beds

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