Yesterday was Andy’s day off, so we took a trip to Pagham Harbour. The weather was a little wild – the wind very high. We stopped at one place and walked a little way, then decided to go a little further down the harbour as the tide was out and this was not the best place to see birds in that instance. So we headed back to the car, where we were hit with a short sharp squall of rain. It took half a minute, with the wind blowing it straight towards us, and the front of my jeans were drenched from top to bottom, utterly soaked. The back was completely dry, which was a somewhat surreal sensation. It was as if the rain had said ‘aha! Look what I can do in a mere 30 seconds!’
Well, whoop-de-doo for you mate. Trudged soggily back to the car.
Drove down to another vantage point. Got out of the car where the wind hit my soggy legs. Ugh. Trooped down a short path to the water side, where there was lots to see. Kept saying things like ‘why isn’t there a hide here? It’s such a good vantage point!’ Were standing there sometime gazing at the water and the birds on the mud flats when I glanced round and coughed sheepishly and pointed. There was a hide, hidden back in the bushes. ‘They’re probably watching us.’ I said.So we got into the hide out of the rain and Andy went back to fetch his spotterscope – it would have been no good without shelter since we were afraid the rain would blow the tripod over.
Really good place for sightings. We saw: turnstones, curlews, little egrets, a common sandpiper, little ringed plovers (hilarious – running around getting all bolshy with the other birds despite their diminutive size), redshanks, oystercatchers, cormorants (& juveniles), a Great Crested Grebe further out in the water, a wheatear(pointed out by a fellow birdwatcher, although too far to identify with mere binoculars), swallows, house martins, grey heron sweeping in majestically, terns, black headed gulls, lesser black backed gulls, herring gulls. It was great watching them all so intent on finding food in the sand and mud. The little egrets were having some trouble in the wind with their long legs and kept stumbling about in the wind – on young one nearly toppled over completely. Another was practically blown along the shore, side stepping hurriedly as if to say ‘I intend to do this, really.’ I drank earl grey from my flask and felt content. My legs were drying out.
We were just packing up when a flock of redshanks took off. ‘Lovely,’ I said, gazing at them. ‘Look to the sky!’ Said Andy quickly, and I saw what he meant. All the smaller birds had taken off.‘There! Flying low and fast!’ he said, just as one of the others said ‘there’s a bird of prey.’Fastened my binoculars on it and we all identified it simultaneously. ‘Peregrine..’So we watched the peregrine falcon zipping over the sands before walking back to the car.There was a little chapel next to the car park so we decided to take a peek. Quite a small, simple building but with amazing stained glass windows.
There were the more traditional sort, then one depicting nurses of World War II, and then one gorgeous one displaying the wildlife of the area (this was the most recent).
and closer up…
On way home we were listening to Classic FM and the weather came on. ‘Sunny spells with heavy showers,’ they reported. ‘Gales on the South Coast’.
‘No kidding,’ I commented, just as Andy said ‘Really?!‘
Today: 4-5/10, medium high