On Wednesday I was determined to have a break from butterflies and to get back to birding. There are still a lot of the common birds, that for some reason, I have failed to see so far this year. A report on SOS by Bernie Forbes listed Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plovers, and Sand Martins amongst other things and these would all be year ticks for me. Armed with the big lens for a change I headed off to Pagham Harbour for a look. My first stop was the lay-by at the Ferry Pool. As I opened the car door I was greeted by a cloud of Gatekeeper Butterflies. Impressive given that I had only seen my first one of the year the day before. Then as I walked in on the footpath there was a Dragonfly sitting in the middle of the footpath. It was red and with it down on the ground I had great hopes of a Common Darter, but closer inspection revealed black legs so it was yet another Ruddy Darter.
The ferry pool was a little disappointing. All the birds were distant and whilst I could make out the summer plumage Spotted Redshank I could not see enough to identify the Common or Green Sandpipers or the Little Ringed Plovers. Church Norton and the North Wall were also very quiet. The only picture I took was of a juvenile Swallow waiting patiently, and in the time I was there unsuccessfully, for its parents to feed it. They seemed more intent on encouraging it to take to the air and find its own food. I think there were probably a couple of Sand Martins around but in flight it was difficult to separate them from the juvenile Swallows.
Next stop was Chichester Gravel Pits. Possibly a Tern, or a Sand Martin or perhaps a Hobby hawking over the lakes. No, just more butterflies and loads of Dragonflies and Damselflies.
|Azure in tandem prior to mating|
|Black-tailed Skimmers - in the rough and tumble of mating|
|Female oviposting probably an Emperor or a Common Green Darner|
Not exactly a successful days birding but enjoyable all the same. The only consolation is that the bird sightings pages suggest that no one else is seeing much in the way of avian life either.