Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Curse of Pagham Harbour

Saturday 10th November 2012.
Another early morning team meeting with Paul, Brendan and Ephraim. On the ballot paper was Penduline Tit at Grove Ferry or Hooded Merganser at Pagham Harbour. The Hooded Merganser won, so off we went to Pagham Harbour. We arrived before 08:00 and joined a fair few other birders hoping to connect with the relatively long staying female Hooded Merganser. We searched for approaching 3 hours but no luck. I visited this site three times back in March this year and all three times I failed to connect with Paddyfield Warbler and of course this bird was seen the following day on all three occasions. So it was no surprise when Brendan phoned this morning to say the Merganser had been reported. I checked Birdguides and saw the following message; "11/11 07:56  WEST SUSSEX : Hooded Merganser, Pagham Harbour LNR  [NR]
1st-winter female in channel near the sluice off North Wall again this morning".
By way of consolation we did connect with a Black Brant. Also noted here were; Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Shelduck, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Snipe, Curlew, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Reed Bunting, Rock Pipit, Cetti's Warbler, Water Rail (squealing).
As we had spent so long at this site our options as to where to go next where slightly limited. We decided to head for Thursley Common which was pretty much on our route home. A Great-grey Shrike regularly overwinters here. News of a Penduline Tit at Marston Vale Country Park had us changing course and heading for Bedfordshire. We made our way towards the "main hide" but as luck would have it we walked straight past it. About 100 yards past the hide two other birders alerted us to two Waxwings perched in a hawthorn. Unfortunately for us they flew off before we could get a good view. We were given directions to the "main hide" but were told that viewing was almost impossible as there were so many people in the hide. We did manage to find an area of reedbed to scan but no joy and as time was running out we headed for home. So no target bird again but consolation in the form of 2 Waxwing.

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