Pagham Harbour

The SWT Arun Valley group attended a Pagham Harbour walk this morning lead by RSPB's Rob Yarham. The Arun Valley was shroaded in fog, but thankfully it didn't reach as far as Pagham and it was a beautiful morning with glorious sunshine for the whole trip. Rob was a fantastic host with a real breath of natural history knowledge. Beginning at the discovery zone, Rob gave us a brief history of the reserve and we learnt about the unique saltmarsh and its importance for invertebrates. We heard about the importance of the site for breeding terns, and that this year was a record year for Little Tern. We also learnt that the site we were standing on was once a refuse tip.

We headed to the Ferry Pool hide from which we saw, on the Ferry Pool, Black-tailed Godwits, a Snipe, Wigeon and Shelduck. A Cetti's Warbler was giving bursts of song from the hedges in front of us. We then skirted the western edge of the harbour following the path to Church Norton where Curlews were in good number, and their fantastic call gave us a soundtrack for the entire walk. Accompanying them on the mudflats were Redshank, Grey Plover and Dunlin, which all dispersed as a Marsh Harrier quartered the saltmarsh. Overhead there was a good movement of passsrines with Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Siskins calling, and the odd Stonechat and Yellowhammer were perched up on the gorse. A mixed flock of hirundines (Swallows and Sand Martins mostly) went over us quite high. 

Arriving at Church Norton, as the tide was coming in, we had nice close views of the waders, with Turnstone and Greenshank added to the list of species seen. Out in the harbour a good few Great Crested Grebes were diving for food, and a flock of 10 Brent Geese flew in, perhaps newly arriving after a long journey from the Arctic tundra of Siberia. As the water started to flood the mudflats we headed back up to the Ferry Pool, where there were now many more Black-tailed Godwits and also an Avocet. 

I managed to record 32 bird species, but that didn't include a lot of the more common birds. Thank you everyone for attending a very enjoyable trip, and thanks again Rob for hosting us.



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