Friday, 23 August 2013

Spotted Flycatcher

Friday saw me with the chance of my first full days birding for a few weeks. Where to go? Seaford Head looked promising and Beachy Head always seems to turn up the unexpected at this time of year, but in the end I chose Pagham Harbour. My reasoning - I was missing a few of the more obvious year ticks, they are regulars at Pagham and I knew where to look for them.

Top of my list was the Spotted Flycatcher, one of my favourite birds, but I also had hopes of Yellow Wagtails, and who knows, maybe a Pied Flycatcher or Wryneck. Dream on, I had a good day, but not that good. In fact the day was more about the birds that I missed rather than those that I saw.

A seven o'clock start at Church Norton found the place devoid of any signs of life except for a couple of other despondent birders. It was a nice morning but the wind was strong and seemed to get everywhere and the birds were not flying. The best I could manage were a few Redshanks enjoying the early morning sun.


As the morning wore on the birds became more active. I was being told about Redstarts, Tree Pipits, Spotted Flycatchers,  and even a possible Pied but still I had not seen anything. I did consider moving on to another site but in the end I decided to stake out a corner at the back of the graveyard and wait for a Spotted Flycatcher to turn up. It worked.

Spotted Flycatcher

The shots were a bit disappointing, but the light was low and the wind was causing a lot of movement, both to the tree and to the camera. With a 500mm lens attached the hood acts a bit like a sail. The second shot is taken at 1/40th of a second so it could have been a lot worse.

I never did catch up with the Redstart or the Tree Pipit and there were no confirmed sightings of the Pied Flycatcher which has now moved to the top of my most wanted list.

There were plenty of birds on the Ferry Pool but as usual they were all at the back so really out of range of my bins and camera. I then moved round to the North Wall where Yellow Wagtails can often be found amongst the cattle in the fields to the north of the wall. No Wagtails that I could see, although there were well over a hundred Curlew in the field that were being regularly flushed by the moving cattle.

The spotted Redshank was still on the Breach Pool along with Common Redshank and a number of Black-tailed Godwits.

Spotted Redshank

Other birds of interest where a Whitethroat fresh from a dip in the creek.


and this Juvenile that had me really struggling for an identification, but as always look for the obvious first and I think it's a Sparrow.

Overall I was happy with the day. However, I did miss a lot of birds and in the evening there was a report of dozens of Yellow Wagtails flitting around by the sluice gates where I had been standing only a couple of hours earlier.

No Yellow Wagtail pictures then, but I thought I would include a picture of a Clouded Yellow taken a few days ago on Ferring Rife.

Clouded Yellow

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