|Pagham Harbour is a local nature reserve of the West Sussex County Council. It is one of a number of estuaries along the south coast, and is a migrant trap in the spring and, to a lesser degree, in the fall. We visited it on a wonderful sunshiny day - a far cry from our freezing visit to Rye Harbour. Although the entire harbour area is part of the reserve, we only visited the southern sections, but they were great ( for a map of the whole area with key spots highlighted; for a map of the Nature Trail on the north side of the harbour)!|
|Walking from the Visitor Centre toward the hide overlooking the Ferry Pool, we spotted our first Dunnock (Hedge Accentor) and he prettily posed in a low bush to let us have a good look. Although you can't tell from the picture, the Ferry Pool was alive with birds, that came into clear view through the scope. The usual suspects, Eurasian Coots, Moorhen, Mallards, Shelduck, Northern Lapwing and Redshank were all in evidence, but they were hiding a few treasures in their midst... we spotted and identified Green Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit. and saw several others a little further away of which we were unsure of the identification.||
Looking from the hide across to the Ferry Pool at Pagham Harbour
continued along the trail to the Harbour, we spotted several examples of
a life bird we had been looking for -- Eurasian Robins! We
spent quite a while watching them darting in and out of the bushes, and
cocking their heads on one side to see what we were doing. They seemed
like consummate birder watchers....
After reaching the beach, we had a great chat with a couple of English birders, who recognized the excitement that accompanies the first look at a new species. They were a bit put out to find out that our excitement was due to robins!
|The Harbour side of the reserve attracted a quite different set of birds than the Ferry Pool -- Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Dunlin and many other shorebirds, most of whom were too far away to identify, even through a high-powered scope. An old jetty at the eastern end of the estuary, just in front of the spit jutting out into the harbour, became a roost for gulls, terns and waders as the tide came in, and the birds were forced closer together. The trail down the spit itself is closed from April to July while the birds are nesting. Although we followed the trail around the south side of the harbour, we missed seeing the Little Egrets which were supposedly in residence, but enjoyed the walk and the viewing from the deserted hide.||
|Duncan quietly slipped around to the side
of the hide to make a surreptitious visit to Mother Nature and quickly
came back to get me to take a look at his discovery. A pair of fairly large
black and white birds (white head, black bodies) with squared off tails
(they definitely weren't magpies) were roosting next to a huge nest of
sticks, immediately next to the hide, partially screened by branches. After
observing them for about fifteen minutes, we finally got a decent look.
We thought they were a pair of Hooded Crows. But that seems highly unlikely
in this location at this time of year. I would have thought they were immature
magpies, but we KNOW magpies (10 or 12 per day in our back yard). So we
just added them to our "unknown birds" list.
The stamp conference was nearly over, and we were about to head north. I just had time for a last look at the Brighton Pavilion, home of many Regency Romance heroines fleeing the unwanted attentions of the Prince Regent. to have a look.