Friday, 26 August 2016

Yellow Wagtails

With the autumn migration getting under way, I managed to add a few year ticks this week but pictures opportunities have been limited. Pagham Harbour, in particular, has provided some good birding but the key target, Curlew Sandpiper, has proved to be a bit elusive.

The best photographic opportunity came this afternoon when we found a flock of 200 plus Yellow Wagtails.

They were feeding in amongst cattle in the fields just to the west of the Breech Pool. Initially the flock was only around thirty birds and we could not get close to them. However, by standing in the middle of the herd we managed to get some good close up views.

We then had other flocks coming in and joining the cattle. It was impossible to do an accurate count but we estimated at least 200 birds.

The only problem was that the cows were curios and soon came closer to investigate. I don't mind being licked by them or having them attempt to eat my shirt but licking the camera and blocking the view of the wagtails was a different matter. We eventually had to make a strategic withdrawal with the cattle in pursuit and still managing to block our view.

Still, we had some good picture opportunities with the Wagtails seeming happy to come closer as the cows had accepted us as part of the herd.

Back on the Breech Pool there was a small flock of five Little Stints. I had only ever seen them in ones and twos before.

Two of the Little Stint

Sowing the prominent white lines on their back

The white markings on their back are very distinctive but earlier I had been left somewhat confused by a Dunlin showing similar markings. Fortunately, when you see the Little Stint along side the Dunlin the size difference ensures that there can be no confusion.

Other sightings included Wheatear, Whinchat, Kingfisher and earlier in the week Yellow-legged Gulls and Lesser Whitethroat.


There were also a good number of Clouded Yellow Butterflies at both Pagham Harbour and Medmerry

Clouded Yellows usually mark the end of the butterfly season but there is always the chance of a rare migrant turning up. Last year we had Long-tailed Blues. Perhaps this year it will be a Camberwell Beauty - dream on!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Martin, Great shots of the Yellow Wags.....but I don't like cows.....don't trust them! Nice to meet on the wall again. Trevor