Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Snow Buntings

Tuesday was overcast and threatening rain. Picture opportunities would be limited so we decided to visit a few local sites and add a few ticks to our year list.

First stop was Pagham North Wall. We live in hope, but this was as disappointing as we have seen it. Two Coots, a couple of Mallards and a Shelduck on the breech pool. This used to be one of the premier birding locations in Sussex but not any more. There were lots of birds out in the harbour but nothing really unusual. Dave did eventually find a small group of Bar-tailed Godwits, a good year tick, but they were a long way off.

Next stop was East Head. There had been a Snow Bunting here since the end of last year but now a second bird was being reported. Strange how they always appear here. It's probably the seeds from the Horned Poppies that grow on the head that attract them but I like to think that they mistake the near white sand for snow.

Whatever, the snow idea worked for me. It was a dull day so over exposing to get a picture you end up with a scene something approaching snow. Perhaps it makes the birds feel at home

Snow Bunting on artificial snow!

and searching the strand line for food

There were a good number of Skylarks on the head with a number of them seeming to be pairing up and involved in territorial disputes. You just wish there were some way of telling them that they are wasting their time. This is dog walkers central and as the weather warms up the place will be overrun with our four legged friends.


Next stop was Selsey Bill. We were hoping for a brief sea watch and sight of a few of the vast numbers of birds that have been passing the bill over the past few days. We were a little disappointed. Not only were there no birds but there were no sea watchers either. A most unusual occurrence.

We also drew a blank at the Coastguard Station. The target was a Black Redstart that had been in residence for a good few days. It had been seen that morning but had gone by the time we got there and has not been seen since. We did however get to see a Grey Seal that had hauled itself out onto the beach and seemed to be enjoying a siesta.

Grey Seal

Church Norton gave us sight of the over wintering Whimbrel that had eluded us on the past couple of visits. The sky was really turning grey by now so the picture quality is not very good. However you can at least see the crown stripe.


Heading for home, we called in at the Burgh. Scanning from the triangle we had hoped for a Grey Partridge or perhaps a Corn Bunting. No luck with those although we did have three or four Red Kites flying close and a rather large Raven on the manure heap. I fired off a few dozen frames in the hope of getting a half decent record shot but the light had gone and the pictures all ended up being deleted.

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