Monday, 31 August 2015

Red-Backed Shrike at Climping

Bola Akinola was good enough to tweet out the presence of a Red-Backed Shrike in the horse paddocks at Climping on Sunday and on Bank Holiday Monday I managed to get down there for a look. I bumped into John Dodd and after a while we found the bird...for about 30 seconds before the heavens opened and it went to ground. Drenched, I nipped back home for a change of clothes and to do a bit of work until the weather improved which it did early afternoon. Back on site I then met Jake Everitt who had the bird in view, handy! It sat out on the hedge by the rusty paddock gate for a good while occasionally catching beetles & dragonflies.

Red-Backed Shrike:

Also present in the field at the rear, twenty plus Ringed Plovers & two Dunlin.

Green Sandpiper

We went en masse as a family to Arundel WWT over the weekend and I was particularly struck by the almost complete lack of wild birds; apart from a few Little Egrets and a Green Sandpiper and of course some Gulls & Tits the place was more or less lifeless. Odd. My son enjoyed the pond dipping though!

Green Sandpiper:

Father & Son:

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Red Backed Shrike & Wryneck

A look around Church Norton on Friday was rewarded with at last some decent views of the elusive Wryneck; rather than stay buried in the brambles it popped out for a bit of sun and a preen, very nice indeed. Also around the beach were four Common Redstarts including a nice young male, a couple of Chiffchaffs I couldn't make into anything rarer, six Wheatears and a Whinchat. Behind the hide, a single Pied Flycatcher sat out for a couple of minutes and there were also at least three Spotted Flycatchers, and two more Redstarts. It was nice to see a few friendly faces too. Later that day news came that CM had found a juvenile Red-Backed Shrike whilst watching the Wryneck so I scooted down there and managed to get a few distant shots in quite bad light. Thanks to CN who was also there and who let me look through his scope.




A windswept Wryneck video here: Wryneck

Red-Backed Shrike:

Video of the Red-Backed Shrike here: Red-Backed Shrike

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Ibiza on Sea!

Ok then it was really Selsey Bill but there were Balearic Shearwaters! I saw seven but there were 31 past in total. Thanks to all for the shout and getting me on then when I arrived. Might be able to post a few pics later if I can video grab it.

Balearic Shearwater, exit stage left (good album BTW!):

Sunday, 23 August 2015


A speculative mooch around North Wall & the East Side of Pagham Harbour was very pleasant after the rain today, just the right temperature and wind strength to be comfortable. In White's Creek, a Common Sandpiper & in the Breach Pool, six Spotted Redshanks and plenty of Black-Tailed Godwits with a few Reed Warblers in the bushes and the odd Sedge Warbler heard but not seen. Four Whinchats on the back fence, their usual spot. In the harbour, some lovely Grey Plover all suited & booted in their Summer finery, at least six Yellow-Legged Gulls and six eclipse Wigeon. Highlight here though were four Spoonbills that flew round the harbour for a bit before landing in the central channel. I walked round to the Spit hide later and they could be still be seen happily feeding away.

Common Sandpiper:


Spotted Redshank:

Grey Plover:

Spoonbills, two of four:

Yellow-Legged Gull:

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Brown Hairstreaks & Holly Blues and a Wryneck too

After dipping the Zitting Cisticola at Climping (well not managing to find it the next day if that's dipping) and also missing the Church Norton Wryneck a couple of times, I resolved to give the Wryneck one last go on Friday morning with limited success. The bird showed close and quite well...for about one minute before making itself scarce although it did apparently show better later on. A showy Wryneck is surely overdue! Also at CN, at least three Holly Blues on the path to the hide.

Wryneck, note how it is perfectly framed to avoid the head, tail & front of the bird. ffs.:

Holly Blue (female):

Peacock on the shingle:

Brown Hairstreaks:

Pectoral Sandpiper at Pagham

On the 18th of August there was a Pectoral Sandpiper on the Breach Pool at Pagham North Wall. A welcome occurrence as it saves the annual journey to Pulborough RSPB to stare at a dot in the distance from the Hanger.

I took a video of the bird which was used by Birdguides & RBA in their weekly round ups which is always nice:

Pectoral Sandpiper

Monday, 17 August 2015

Spotted Flycatchers at Oving & Church Norton

It was childcare for me all Saturday but some diversion was provided by two Spotted Flycatchers in the garden in Oving. I was called "jammy" for this...better not mention the two Pied Flycatchers, RBS, Hoopoe etc.then...;-)

A shout from HR on Facebook and a zoom down to Climping on Saturday night got me Long-Eared Owl in flight and Short-Eared Owl and a rather baffled youth in a Saxo wondering what all the people were doing in the area. The deal's off  pal!!

At Church Norton for the Wryneck on Sunday but dipped it, never mind, at least it wasn't a Black Stork! Some recompense with at last a decent Sedge Warbler picture (I know they're easy but not to me! Just need a Lesser Whitethroat pic now!!) and a couple of Whinchats, Spotted Flycatcher in the Churchyard and a Greenshank in the harbour. Also present, Small Copper, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Gatekeeper & Meadow Brown.

Spotted Flycatcher:

Spotted Flycatcher:

Sedge Warbler:

Sedge Warbler:


Small Copper:

Friday, 14 August 2015

Wood Sandpiper & a few Migrants

A text from AH on Tuesday morning informing me of a Wood Sandpiper on the breach pool at Pagham North Wall was a welcome distraction from man flu! Bumped into C & ME on arrival and we soon found the bird at the back of the channel in the middle of the pool. Also present, two Green Sandpipers, c. 70 Black-Tailed Godwits, a Little Ringed Plover, a Ruff, two Snipe, a Little Egret, a few Dunlin and Lapwing and at least three Spotted Redshanks. Plenty of Sedge and Reed Warblers too, some Teal about the pool and the Kingfisher was by the sluice.

On Friday I had what's become a rare trip to Church Norton; nice to be there and birding again after concentrating on butterflies over the past few months. There were a Pied Flycatcher, a Redstart, two Spotted Flycatchers and a Sparrowhawk behind the hide, two Wheatears  and a few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs about the area and nice to see Common, Little & Sandwich Terns in the harbour. At Northcommon Farm, three Lesser Whitethroats seen with more croaking in the hedges and half a dozen Chiffchaffs before the rain came.

Wood Sandpiper:

Wood Sandpiper & Spotted Redshanks:

Wood Sandpiper:

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Wall Browns

A trip to Steyning for Brown Hairstreaks was more successful for other butterfliers than Hairstreaks with precisely zero on show; I'm grateful I had one at Pulborough the previous week. I parked in Mill Lane by the bowls club and followed the signed footpath to Steyning Downland Scheme (this is the area known as the "Rifle Range"). The best area for the Hairstreak is the hedge of Blackthorn with overhanging Ash trees to the right as you go through the "Butterfly Land" gate; look for the stile with the blue plastic wire guard. Grid reference is TQ 16884 11262.

There were on show on the Steyning downland itself,  however, plenty of Common Blues, Brimstones, Whites, a Clouded Yellow and good number of Wall Brown. A quick look at Pulborough RSPB produced no Brown Hairstreaks but there were plenty of Small Skippers and Painted Ladies whilst at home in Oving we had a Holly Blue on the compost heap:

Wall Brown:

Small Skipper:

Painted Lady:

Holly Blue: