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Pagham Harbour – November 8th 1998

Today it was raining heavily when my birding friend David Ireland and me met at the information centre carpark. When the rained eased off we headed for the Ferry Pond. Here we saw 42 Common Teal, one Common Redshank, one Common Shelduck and 9 Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Waders included 13 Northern Lapwings, one Common Redshank, one Eurasian Curlew and one Black-tailed Godwit. Two Common Gulls and a few Black-headed Gulls were at the back of the pool, with Carrion Crows and Common Moorhens at the pool edges. Also here was a mystery wader which the information board, if it referred to this bird, said was a Purple Sandpiper. Neither David or me agreed with this identification but were stumped as to what the bird actually was. We both took notes and carried on.

Up at Church Norton we scanned the harbour from the small peninsular near the path to the carpark. Here we had Bar-tailed Godwit, Northern Curlew, Eurasian Curlew, Grey Plover, Common Redshank, Dunlin, and again the mystery wader. This time we saw it fly and it clearly had a greyish barred rump with no white areas either side of the tail. The whole impression ws of a medium-grey bird with darker wings.

Further scanning of the harbour added two Little Egrets, one Spotted Redshank, a Great Crested Grebe and a female Long-tailed Duck. Further round the harbour edge we found four Little Grebes, two female Red-breasted Mergansers and four European Wigeons. The islands held the usual Great Black-backed Gulls and Great Cormorants.

Next stop was Pagham Lagoon and the north side of the harbour. The lagoon held six Little Grebes and a female European Goldeneye. A flock of 80+ European Greenfinches fed on the shingle banks and three female Red-breasted Mergansers could be seen in the harbour. Further searching yielded one Grey Plover, one Little Egret, three Northern Pintail, a pair of Northern Shoveler and a pair of Gadwall. Feeding on the shoreline were Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Ringed Plover, Eurasian Skylark and Pied Wagtail.

After a decent lunch in a nearby pub we again checked the Ferry Pond. It was pretty much the same as earlier with the addition of a Common Kestrel and a Common Reed-Bunting.

From the path at the edge of the harbour, leading towards Church Norton, we saw a female Common Stonechat, eight Common Snipe, numerous Eurasian Skylarks, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Common Redshank, Eurasian Curlew, Common Teal, Mallard, Winter Wren, European Robin and 12 Pied Avocets.

Finally, back at the Ferry Pond, we added European Goldfinch.

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