RSPB Pagham Harbour; first Terns of the year. 12.04.22

I travelled to RSPB Pagham Harbour by train (Brighton to Chichester) and bus (51 from Chichester). I went to Pagham as


I went to Pagham to see if the Terns had retuned. They have. One of the highlights of summer is our tern colony on Tern Island. Take a seat at Church Norton and look out across the harbour to the flurry of activity over the island. The sound of chattering terns drifts across the languid waters mingled with the harsher squawks of the black-headed gulls, with which they share nesting rights on the island. Common, sandwich and little terns all nest on the island and it is a delight to watch these elegant seabirds fishing in the harbour, hovering briefly before diving into the water for small fish. Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve, West Sussex - The RSPB


Birds seen: Shovelers, Teal, Mallards, Avocets, Lapwings, Black-Tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Whimbrels, Little Egrets, Mediterranean Gulls, Black-Headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Great Black-Backed Gulls, Cormorants, Common Terns, Sandwich Terns, Linnets, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits, House Sparrows, Song Thrush, Blackbirds, Carrion Crows, Magpies, House Sparrows, Dunnocks


Around the visitors centre


Spotted Wood butterfly


Blue Tit


Ferry Pool


Cormorant (Shovelers at the back)


Shovelers


Avocets, Black-Tailed Godwits, Shelducks, Black-Headed Gulls.


Male Chaffinch in breeding plumage (in the bird feeder area behind the Ferry Pool Hide)


Ferry Channel


Great-Crested Grebe


Spotted Redshank


Elegant wader with a long fine bill and long reddish legs (dark on breeding adults). Striking breeding plumage dark overall. Nonbreeding plumage is paler and grayer than smaller and chunkier Common Redshank. In flight often appears dark overall with narrow white oval up middle of back. Breeds in arctic bogs and swamps; migrants occur in varied wetland habitats. Usually seen as singles or small groups, though will sometimes congregate in large flocks, especially on wintering grounds. Feeds mainly by wading in fairly deep water, probing and picking with its bill, at times swimming. Spotted Redshank - eBird


The path to Church Norton


Another Spotted Wood


Ferry Channel wit a Redshank


Redshank in the rife in the field to the south of the Ferry Channel


Whimbrel


Toward Tern Island at the south of the harbour


Harbour Mouth


A Little Egret flying over two Redshanks


Terns and Black-Headed Gulls by a groyne in the harbour


Black-Headed Gulls, and Mediterranean Gulls


Mediterranean Gull, close up of photo above


Sandwich Terns


Curlew


Sandwich Tern


Mediterranean Gull and Black-Headed Gulls


Shelducks


Sandwich Tern


The Sandwich tern is a very white tern, with a black cap on its head, a long black bill with a yellow tip and short black legs. In flight it shows grey wedges on its wings tips and it has a short forked tail. In the UK, many of the important colonies survive because they are on nature reserves. Sandwich Tern Bird Facts | Sterna Sandvicensis - The RSPB


Many of the important sandwich tern colonies in the UK survive because they are on nature reserves specifically looked after for their wildlife value. Sandwich tern | The Wildlife Trusts


Black-Headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gulls and Terns on Tern Island (fenced to prevent mammal predation of eggs)


The following has been adapted from original text by Norman Ratcliffe in Seabird Populations of Britain and Ireland (with permission from A&C Black, London).

Sandwich terns exhibit the most erratic population trends and distribution of any seabird breeding in the UK. The population fluctuates dramatically among years due to large variations in the proportion of mature birds attempting to breed and distribution varies owing to mass movements between colonies. The species is distributed widely but patchily around the coasts of the British Isles, broadly reflecting the availability of favoured nesting habitat: low-lying offshore islands, islets in bays or brackish lagoons, spits or remote mainland dunes. Despite frequent changes in the sites used, the broad distribution in the UK has changed little over the last 30 years. Sandwich terns are among the most gregarious of all seabirds, with the population confined to a small number of relatively large colonies in which birds nest at very high densities.


Tern populations in NW Europe were brought to the brink of extirpation at the end of the 19th century by egg collection for food and hunting of adults for the millinery trade, but recovered in response to protective legislation in the early 20th century. Sandwich terns in the UK increased from the 1920s to the mid 1980s, with protection from increasing recreational disturbance on beaches as well as from persecution probably facilitating this recovery. Annual counts of the main colonies demonstrated that there was a sustained increase between the first two national surveys, but that the population fluctuated erratically around this trend. Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) | JNCC - Adviser to Government on Nature Conservation


Oystercatchers and Black-Headed Gulls


Black-Tailed Godwits


Black-Headed Gulls, Sandwich Tern and a Curlew


Little Egret and Redshanks


Curlew


Sandwich Terns and Black-Headed Gulls


Robin


Goldfinch


Robin


Oystercatcher


Linnet on Pagham Spit (much of the spit is closed during the nesting period to prevent damage to nests)


Curlew, looking inland from Pagham Spit


Shelducks in the pool behind the beach


Little Egret and Redshank


Redshanks in front on the groyne in the Harbour


Tern Island


Walking back up the Ferry Channel


Teal


Oystercatcher


Whimbrel

The whimbrel is a large wading bird. It has longish legs and a long bill which curves near the tip. It is brownish above and whitish below. In flight, it shows a white 'V' shape up its back from its tail.


In the UK, this species only breeds in north Scotland. It is a passage migrant to other areas in spring and autumn on its way from and to its wintering areas in Africa. The Shetland and Orkney breeding population has been slowly increasing. Whimbrel Bird Facts | Numenius Phaeopus - The RSPB


Male Chaffinches in breeding plumage


Lapwing


Mallards


Black-Tailed Godwits in breeding plumage


Great Crested Grebe eating a Glass Eel


Shovelers in the Ferry Pool


Song Thrush in the Discovery Zone


Male Chaffinch


Long-Tailed Tit on visitor centre bird feeders


Dunnock



7 views