Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Water Pipit

Having spent six hours on Tuesday, in the freezing cold, waiting for a Serin to appear and then having gone home without seeing it and without taking a single picture we decided to spend Wednesday  on some more reliable subjects.

First stop should have been Apuldram Church but I took the wrong turn so we made a revisit to the Cattle Egrets at Church Lane Warblington. There had been eight of them in the field with the cattle last week but this time there were no cattle and only the one Cattle Egret and that was too far away for a photograph.

Moving on we tried the Nore Stream. Plenty of dog walkers and the usual wildfowl but very little of interest. Which eventually led us back to our intended target, the Water Pipit at Apuldram. We had a quick look at the Yellowhammer flock in the horse paddock on the way but we were both keen to get to the river.

Dave spotted it as soon as we arrived. Fairly close and easy to see but very difficult to get a clear shot of it against a clean background.

Water Pipit

There were a couple of Rock Pipits in the area which was useful for comparison purposes. One of these seemed to want to occupy the same tuft of grass as the Water Pipit which resulted in frequent disputes and pursuits when the Water Pipit reappeared. This was some feisty bird and it was not sharing its territory with any rockies.

Rock Pipit

You occasionally get a heart stopping moment when something unusual pops up and you think you may have found a rarity. The bird below had me scrambling to get a record shot but my hopes were dashed when Dave pointed out that it was only a Wren. True but if it were a butterfly I would call it an aberration and would be searching the records to be able to put a name to it.

Wren with a crown stripe

Apuldram is the most reliable location in our patch for Yellowhammers. There are reports of the flock being thirty to forty strong although I usually only see around six. The manure heap seems to offer plenty of food for the foraging birds but photographing them against the yellow straw is always difficult. There are better opportunities when they perch up in the trees but to get close you often end up photographing into the sun.


We made a quick visit to the Bill but it all looked very quiet and with Church Norton and the North Wall failing to produce much recently we decided to head over too the wetland centre at Arundel. The Great White Egret if still present would be a patch first for me.

A good choice as it turned out. With most of the water frozen over there were some good picture opportunities. It was nice to get a couple of pictures of the GWE  where it did not look long necked and awkward.

Great White Egret

There were half a dozen snipe present but it was a choice between photographing them or following the GWE hoping that it would fall through the ice.

The Shelduck gave good picture opportunities from the hide and we saw our second Grey Wagtail of the day.


Grey Wagtail

Later we saw a couple of Water Rail. Icy conditions always seem to bring them out into the open.

Water Rail

A really enjoyable days birding spoilt only by a report that the Serin has been seen again at Tide Mills. It looks like another long day in the cold tomorrow.

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