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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

RSPB Pagham Harbour & Medmerry Reserves 09.06.21: 11 Black-Tailed Godwits and Mediterranean Gulls

This was an organised RSPB Brighton and Hove group trip to Pagham Harbour. It was really enjoyable. After the organised visit was over, I walked along to footpath, starting opposite the Pagham Harbour visitors centre, to RSPB Medmerry and walked down to the Breach viewing point (east Medmerry). I travelled to Pagham Harbour by train (to Chichester from Brighton) and then bus from Chichester to outside the PSPB Pagham Harbour Victors' Centre (bus 51). I returned to Chichester by bus from Selsey.

All of the photographs are presented in chronological order

RSPB Pagham Harbour

Ferry Pool

In the Ferry Pool there were eleven Black-Tailed Godwits, the most I had seen in one time, Avocets, Shelducks, and a Lapwing.

Black-Tailed Godwit

Black-Tailed Godwits and a Lapwing

Black-Tailed Godwits

Black-Tailed Godwits and a Lapwing

Black-Tailed Godwits, Shelducks and Avocets

Black-Tailed Godwits

The RSPB estimates that there are 50-60 pairs in the UK breeding: 50 pairs of the limosa 'Eurasian' subspecies, and 7-9 pairs of the islandica subspecies; 44,000 birds overwinter in the UK from the Icelandic population and there are 12,400 passage migrants Black Tailed Godwit Facts | Limosa Limosa - The RSPB These birds, if they are passage migrants would typically be in their breeding location by now. It is possible they are non-breeding younger birds straying the UK rather than going north to breed, and are awaiting to be joined by conspecifics in winter

Waling along the path to Church Norton/the harbour mouth

A Coot with only three chicks - typically Coots have 10+ chicks; so the others may have been predated.

A Little Grebe (Dabchick) in its beautiful summer plumage.

A Male Tufted Duck

An out-of-focus Reed Bunting

Shelducks flying above the harbour.

A Reed Warbler - in the reeds, on the banks of the southernmost creek of Pagham Harbour - on the way to Church Norton

A Sedge Warbler

A Grey Heron near Church Norton - up, up, up and away!

Tern Island in the mouth of the Harbour, with a mixed flock of Common Terns, Sandwich Terns, and Black-headed Gulls nesting

Mediterranean Gulls (all white except black head) and Black-headed Gulls in the sky.

A Greenfinch on the path to Church Norton

St Wilfred's

St Wilfrid's stands in a tranquil corner of a large churchyard, down a little lane beside Pagham Harbour. At first sight it appears to be a simple cemetery chapel. In fact it is the thirteenth-century chancel of a large Norman church. The main part of the church was removed in 1864 and rebuilt in the centre of Selsey to serve the growing population of this seaside resort.

Inside there are a number of things worth seeing, including: a magnificent monument to John and Agas Lewis, dating from 1537; vivid carving depicting the gruesome martyrdom of St Agatha; a modern stained glass window which features a beautiful depiction of a local nature reserve, designed by M C Farrar-Bell in 1982, and includes moles, stoats, foxes, a woodpecker, avocet and shelduck; another modern stained glass window by Carl Edwards, made in 1969, which is dedicated to the contribution made by women to lessen suffering throughout the world (it includes a picture of Cairo Cathedral, which has now been demolished).

An intriguing combination of ancient and modern makes a visit to this church popular among the walkers and birdwatchers who enjoy the many footpaths and the wildlife around this delightful site. St Wilfrid's Church, Church Norton, West Sussex | The Churches Conservation Trust (

St Wilfrid's Chapel, Church Norton cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Ian Capper -

Chaffinch in St Wilfrid's churchyard.

Return journey to the RSPB Visitors Centre

A butterfly on the path back, near St Wilfrid's

A Male Stonechat on a bramble

A female Linnet.

A Little Egret

A Mediterranean Gull

RSPB Medmerry

The path to Medmerry

A raptor flying over a hedge; possibly a Marsh Harrier?

A male Linnet

A female Linnet

From the Medmerry seawall

Herring Gulls

A male Stonechat

A male Tufted Duck

An adult and juvenile Coot

Skylarks; there were many nesting Skylarks to be seen, flying off to get forage and returning to their nests

A Carrion Crow

Meadow Pipits; there were many Meadow Pipits all the way along the south east section of the Medmerry seawall

A country Fox! And a Magpie

Meadow Pipits

Juvenile Starlings

Great Black-backed Gulls

Little Egrets; there were many at the Breach

Possibly a Whitethroat

A Kestrel hunting over Selsey Beach possibly looking for Tern or Black-headed Gull Chicks which nest of Medmerry Beach

Black-headed Gulls above Selsey Beach

The Chicken Hole in the derelict Crazy Gold at West Sands Holiday Park



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