Sunday, 26 February 2012

paddyfield at Pagham and other cross border birding

Finally found the time to head East across the Hants border and connect with the paddyfield warbler (Acrocephalus agricola) which has been showing at Pagham Harbour for a couple of weeks. Arriving on site around 12:45 it did not take us long to track around the North harbour wall and join a small group of birders scanning the adjacent reedbed.

As we arrived the group became animated and we were lucky to connect with the warbler almost instantly as it skulked along the bottom of the reed edge. The bird was extremely mobile and fidgety, flitting in and out of the reedbed at almost ground height, but we were still able to make out it's salient features, the prominent supercillum which affected a slightly darker crown and eye-stripe into contrast. A sense of a paler throat.

Having followed the bird for a few minutes, I finally reached for the camera .. And failed (typically) to get off any shot of the bird, as it flitted through. When the warbler crossed the ditch into deeper reed, it was lost to sight almost immediately. Almost an hour then passed in which brief views were enjoyed of cetti's warbler (Cettia cetti) in full throat and a male reed bunting (Embiriza schoeniclus) provided distraction - before the paddyfield showed again along the ditch fence line albeit briefly - and then we left to walk back to the car via the coast line.

Stopping to scan Pagham Lagoon, we watched the diving ducks - pochard (Aythya Verona), goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and tufted duck (Aythya fuligula) - before noticing a Rh Smew (Margeluss albellus) diving alongside a raft of dabchick (Tachybaptus ruficolis). Being long overdue on my life list the Rh Smew provided a welcome addition to the afternoon's birding. Wigeon (Anas penelope) and pintail (Anas acuta) completed the waterfowl interest.

Two Lifers in one afternoon, just a shame that I had to leave Hampshire to get them.


  1. I used to love doing the wintering bird surveys at Pagham !

  2. It's a great site .. spent loads of time there as a novice birder .. we had our first spoonbill there, A' had her first bluethroat ! Should go back more often ..