Wednesday 20th August 2014.
I kicked off the day with a puzzler. I found a Thorn species of moth, which looked a little odd and on further scrutiny, I think it looks good for a Large Thorn, which is quite rare in Hampshire. I shall leave it to the experts to judge for themselves, although one chap on Facebook reckons it could be an early Feathered Thorn, but I am not so sure. I have since found out that it is a Large Thorn, which is a ‘lifer’ for me.
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing.
28 moths of 15 species were present this morning including the Thorn species. A Cabbage Moth was notable as well as my second Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing of the year. Also in the garden today, was my first Willow Warbler of the Autumn passage within my garden. We normally get quite a few passing through about this time of year, so it was nice to see on at last.
White's Creek in Pagham Harbour.
I was working in Pagham Village, West Sussex, this morning and, of course, after my 11am appointment, I took a stroll along the North Wall by Pagham Harbour. The weather was glorious with high patchy cloud but lots of sunshine. The recent blustery wind had dropped, which made for pleasant birding here. I was hoping to find my first Whinchats of the year as a couple were noted here behind the Breech Pool yesterday and fortunately, I came up trumps.
Walking from the end of Church Lane to the harbour wall, there were a few Willow Warblers in the trees and bushes. A large number of Swallows were by the small barn at the end of the footpath, still feeding their young by the looks of it. A flock of Sand Martin flew by among the Swallows and headed westbound towards the Breech Pool. This morning was alive with these two species of Hirundine, as they passed by overhead in good numbers.
Hurricane or Spitfire flying overhead?
This female Sparrowhawk put the jitters up the local Hirundines.
It was low tide within the harbour and in Whites Creek, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing and Redshank were present. A lone Curlew fed on the mud and a flock of Ringed Plover with several Dunlin were seen a little later as I was making my way back to the car. An Emperor Dragonfly was on the hunt by the Sluice Gates. The Breech Pool held several Black-tailed Godwits, but something flushed the waders out in harbour and a large flock of ‘Blackwits’ landed on the pool as I was making my way back, with at least 60 birds present. Up to 15 Eurasian Teal were present and a Kingfisher was heard flying, but hidden by the reedbed.
Lesser Marsh Grasshopper.
I met up with Sussex birder, Dave Potter and his mate Simon by the Breech Pool and stopped for a chat. I spotted something interesting on a fencepost behind the Breech Pool and Dave confirmed it as a Whinchat; my first of the year. Unfortunately, it was very distant and I therefore couldn’t get a decent photo. Very pleased with that, they went off in search for any Yellow Wagtails among the cattle in the field north of the Breech Pool. Overhead, we were firstly entertained by a Spitfire / Hurricane doing loop the loops etc. and then a female Sparrowhawk grabbed our attention as she slowly soared overhead, upsetting all the Hirundines below. Another male bird was seen on the way back to the car, as he sped low over the reedbeds, to disappear into a small bush.
Black-tailed Godwit on the Breech Pool.
On the way back to the car, I found my first Clouded Yellow butterfly of the year. Unfortunately, it didn’t settle as it disappeared back towards the Breech Pool. I am pretty sure I found my first Lesser Marsh Grasshopper of the year also, although I am waiting to get that verified. Dave told me earlier that there was very little around Church Norton and the Ferry Pool today, although both areas can turn up anything at this time of year. An Osprey was in Chichester Harbour today, viewed from the seawall at Nutbourne.
A closer view of the 'Blackwits'.
Flying back into the harbour after a male Sparrowhawk flushed them.