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Lucky thirteenth for some!

18 February 2014 | Posted in Author , Birds , , Wildlife , Wildlife Events

Mike Russell

Head of Adult Learning

brent goose / Dave Kilbey brent goose / Dave Kilbey

A small but very intrepid band made it through the floods and general difficult conditions to get to Pagham Harbour last Thursday the 13th and for much of the day they were treated to glorious sunshine, wonderful birds and delicious cake (very much an obligatory part of the Safari days!). When it did rain, we were actually inside the small Visitor Centre enjoying the cake and coffee.

For most people, the sheer volume of birds were highlight of the day, with the light picking out the colours and seeing distant flocks of golden plover, dunlin and black-tailed godwits glistening magically in the sun. There were literally 1000s of lapwings, restlessly taking to the air as presumably the local peregrine falcon, which we didn't actually get to see, was enjoying harassing them and putting everything else to flight.

Also, there must have been at least 3000 brent goose, moving around the Harbour, their calls really creating a sense of wilderness in this built-up south eastern corner of the UK. Hundreds of curlew probed the soft ground with their long bills and even bigger numbers of wigeon grazed the grass on the Ferry Field. In the harbour itself, dozens of pintail displayed their exquisite plumage.

A real good find on the lagoon was a slavonian grebe, its marked black and white colouring making it relatively straightforward in distinguishing it from the numerous little grebes amongst which it had made itself comfortable. The beach side of the reserve is also a good place to look for mediterranean gulls, and sure enough, we were able to find a number in various stage of plumage.

A good day out made even more pleasurable by actually staying dry, an achievement in its own right this winter.

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