West Wittering - 0800hrs - warm, dry and sunny, sw 2 - Our tour of West Sussex continues and what a cracking day it was too, particularly this morning. We walked along the foreshore from East Wittering where the half mile long tamerisk hedgerow held half a dozen Chiffchaffs, plus a number of Robins, Blackbirds, tits and Goldfinches. On the beach 50 odd Sanderling and Dunlin.
The plan was to arrive at West Wittering at high tide whilst the Brents were on the grass fields adjacent to the harbour. Now, Brent Geese, of which there were around 2,000, are undeniably superb birds and whilst we see them at Dunge they tend to be flying past the point on passage so it was great to spend a couple of hours just soaking `em up, on the deck; before some idiot in a micro-light flew over and purposely flushed `em. Was also good to see a number of juvenile birds in the throng. Amongst the geese were small numbers of Pied Wagtails, Lapwings and Curlews plus loads of corvids, Starlings and Woodies.
Whilst admiring the geese a decent viz mig was underway (well, decent by this autumns low standard) with a steady flow of Skylarks, Mipits, Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, 5 Siskins and 4 Redpolls overhead. We then moved on to check the marsh near East Head which attracted up to 100 each of Wigeon, Teal, plus a few Gadwall, Mallard and a single Pintail, Blackwits, Redshanks and Curlews. However, the scrub was full of passerines, mostly Robins and Blackbirds and a few grey, Continental type Song Thrushes, Reed Buntings, Long-tailed Tits, Cetti`s Warbler (singing) and best of all 2 Ring Ouzels. A Sparrowhawk whipped through and a Common Buzzard sat atop a shed enjoying the sunshine while 3 late Swallows hawked insects over the marsh. On the harbour side many of the geese had now moved onto the muddy creeks alongside the usual shorebirds and Little Egrets.
On the walk past the WW Sailing Club a patch of scrub held a Yellow-browed Warbler, initially located on call and briefly seen in thick cover.
Pagham Harbour - From the hide we checked out the flood where only a few Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Curlew were on show plus a Sparrowhawk over, Green Woodpecker and 100 Goldfinches. Things improved no end at Church Norton where at low tide a feast of waders on the mudflats comprised ten common species, including 50 odd Grey Plovers, 20 Ringed Plovers and a stunning pale/leaucistic type Curlew. Also, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Shelducks, Little Egrets and Grey Heron, while there was no sign of this mornings grey Shrike.