Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Ruddy Shelducks

Skip to the end if you are only here for the Ruddy Shelducks - but you will miss some good pictures.

There being no confirmed sightings of the Worthing Pacific Diver we thought we would head over to Farlington Marsh for another go at the Bearded Tits. With the sun in the wrong direction for taking pictures of the Beardies we decided to do a circuit of the marsh first. Good as we picked up a lot of birds on the way round, not so good as when we got to the Beardies spot they had moved back into the more distant reedbeds and we could not get a picture. Another target missed perhaps but actually we had a great time and came away with some good pictures.

Best bird of the day must be this female Stonechat that seemed to have no fear and was not going to vacate a good feeding area just because we had turned up.

Female Stonechat - not going to be intimidated

Busy feeding and using a lot of perches

I'm not sure what she has caught here.It looks like a caterpillar but what is the shiny bit in the middle?

Stonechat and caterpillar - I think

 A male Stonechat turned up although he seemed to be doing more looking than feeding. Unfortunately I cannot read any of the information on his leg ring.

Ringed Male Stonechat

There was also a Meadow Pipit feeding in the same area

Meadow Pipit

There was clearly a lot of food in the area but the local Robin did not look happy about sharing it. The Meadow Pipit and Male Stonechat were soon chased off but the female was still holding her ground when I left.


The marsh and mudflats to the south of the sea wall were covered in geese. Brents being the most common. As always we scanned them all looking for a White-fronted or a Pink-footed but no luck as usual. It would be a lot easier if they would stay in one place but they were forever taking off and relocating.

Brent Goose - just the one!

They can turn the sky black when they take off on mass and the noise they make calling to each other as they fly is amazing. It is difficult to capture the effect in a picture.

Just a small fraction of the whole flock

Further round the marsh we found some more of the usual suspects.



And, although we could not see the Beardies there were Reed Buntings feeding in the reedbeds.

Reed Bunting - well camouflaged in this setting

To finish off the day we headed over to the North Wall at Pagham Harbour. The water in the Breech Pool looked high  again so there were very few waders about. Fortunately we met up with Dave Shepherd who put us on to a couple of Ruddy Shelduck out in the harbour.

I always take a lot of convincing on these distant finds and like to get a decent picture. However, looking through the telescope and with both the Daves already convinced I was happy that I was looking at the real thing.The pictures below are not good but they serve as a record as to what was seen.

View across the harbour from the North Wall - 700mm lens

Two Ruddy Shelduck and one Shelduck

Colours and lighter head more visible in this shot

We waited around for a Ring Tail or an Owl to appear but with the sun setting it was time to head home.

Time to go home

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