West Sussex Summer Delights
A full day out in wonderful West Sussex with Mel and Adam who had kindly booked us for a customised day tour.
The day started nice and early in Arundel and the beautiful Swanbourne Lake. The morning rain had subsided leaving a good mixture of sunshine and cloud producing perfect lighting to observe the birds on offer here. We searched through the duck species on offer, unfortunately many were moulting so were not showing their best colours but we admired the Egyptian Goose, Mute Swan parents and their seven cygnets, Pochard, Gadwall , Mallards and Tufted Duck. One of the target species here was the Mandarin Duck, there was plenty of female's on view but the drakes were hiding away today, probably shy as not looking their best! A search on the nearby fields produced a single Cattle Egret in amongst the cows. After a good start to the day we headed to our next destination, Pagham Harbour.
The tide was out within the harbour from Church Norton which enabled us to scan through the birds present, the place was alive and the skies filled with the sound of terns. We were treated to excellent views of Sandwich, Common and Little Terns both in flight and on the deck, there were several young Sandwich Terns present too. Waders were observed including the delightful Oystercatcher. A Curlew entertained fighting with a crab which it was trying to eat, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks and a single Turnstone. It was nice to compare the summer plumages of the Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls along with the many juveniles. Several Little Egrets fished in the channels, a couple of Swallows moved overhead and both Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat sang from the churchyard behind.