Thursday, 24 October 2013

Glossy Ibis

Standing on the North Wall at Pagham you get accustomed to the Cormorants flying over, so I thought nothing of it as another dark coloured bird flew over my head. It was only when it started to circle that I realised the shape was all wrong, the wings were too long, then the bill came into view. No doubt now, it was a Glossy Ibis. It's no longer a rare bird in Sussex but it was a bit of excitement in a birding day that up to that point was looking a bit bland.

Glossy Ibis - brown rather than black

Probably a juvenile but still showing some greenish gloss.

When you see it in the air by itself it looks like a large bird, it's only when you see it on the ground that you realise how small it is. Especially alongside the cormorant that I had originally mistaken it for. In my defence I can only quote Collins - "distant head on silhouette like a Pygmy Cormorant"

A small bird for a wingspan of anything up to a metre in length

After about 15 minutes it flew off high and distant.  However, based on observation of previous birds, Dave predicted that it would return and sure enough it came back to exactly the same spot about an hour later. This time it only stayed a couple of minutes before flying off again. Some hope then, that it will set up in residence for a while.

Up to that point there had been little of interest. The tide was out and the birds with it. The  Godwits were finding the water level in the Breech Pool too high for feeding and there was a single Ruff that was too far away for a picture. The highlights to that point had been a Heron sitting out on the fence when we walked in and the resident feral White Geese that were making a rare trip out on the water.

Grey Heron

Resident Feral White Geese as much a part of the Breech Pool area as any wild bird.

We then decided to skip Church Norton (Two Ringtail Hen Harriers) the Arundel WWT (Spotted Crake) and Hayling Island (Semipalmated Plover refound) and headed up to the Burgh to see some raptors. Perhaps not our best ever decision making but at least we did get to see some close flybys from the Red Kites there.

A good days birding, even if we did miss a few opportunities.

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