Sunday, 11 January 2009

Pagham and Chi Pits

Our decision to go west was not a good one with news reaching me of a drake King Eider at Pett just as we arrived at Pagham. BJY did however report that it had drifted out to sea and been lost to view. From the car park we walked out to the hide on Pagham Spit from where we could see 6 Goldeneye (including an adult male), Pintail and about 40 Med Gulls in the harbour. There were at least another 40 Med Gulls at the entrance to the harbour and probably 100 or more in the whole area. Also 7 Tufted Duck on Little Lagoon and 2 Little Grebes in the harbour mouth. We then headed north past Slipe Field to the North Wall seeing 3 Pochard in the harbour, a Green Woodpecker, 4 Stonechats and a flock of 200 - 300 Linnets on the way. At the North Wall the fields were packed with Wigeon and a very large flock of Brent Geese that repeatedly commuted to and from the harbour. At one stage the Brent Geese landed on the water close to the North Wall allowing me to pick out a Black Brant that showed well before the flock took off again. Also 2 Common Buzzards and a Rock Pipit but surprisingly only one Black-tailed Godwit. The walk back to the car produced a tightly packed flock of Knot in the harbour and a Merlin hotly pursuing its prey, probably a small wader.

At Chichester Gravel Pits the 2 Whooper Swans were fast asleep on the ice at Runcton Lake and steadfastly refused to wake up the whole time that we were there. Fortunately the 3 Tundra Bean Geese on Ivy Lake were more obliging showing well on the ice near the island. Also a female Ruddy Duck, Gadwall, Shoveler and a big mob of gulls (mainly Black-backs) though I couldn't find anything interesting with them. A phone call from Paul Marten confirmed that the King Eider had been relocated and was showing well though with only 2 hours of daylight left we would have struggled to get there in time. Hopefully it will still be there in the morning...

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