Sunday, 25 November 2012

A bird in the bush …

Pagham Harbour, 28 February 2012

The Paddyfield Warbler (Acrocephalus agricola) breeds in temperate central Asia. It is a migratory species, typically wintering in Pakistan east to Assam, in southern Nepal and India. It is a rare vagrant to Western Europe, although there are small breeding populations along the western shores of the Black Sea around the border between Bulgaria and Romania. There have been less than 100 records in the UK since 1925, when a male was recorded from Fair Isle, Shetland on the 26th September. The Pagham Harbour bird is the first known record for West Sussex.

Early this morning, joined by Colin Knight, I headed down to the North Wall at Pagham Harbour in West Sussex in the hope of connecting with the long staying bird that has been showing well over several weeks. We arrived at 9.30am. The weather was overcast with a cool westerly breeze blowing gently across the mudflats. As we walked along the sea wall from Church Lane, Water Rail and Cetti’s Warbler were heard calling. On reaching the second bend we met up with other birders, some of whom had seen the bird earlier. We waited and watched …

At around 11.45 I located our target as it perched, albeit briefly, on a tall Phragmites stem. For the next hour we watched as it occasionally flew up out of the reeds to catch an insect and drop back down and out of sight once more. It eventually showed quite well and at one point it even moved through the reeds no more than a few metres away, though it rarely stayed still and kept moving into cover.

For those who drool and get excited over such things, Canon 7Ds and 600mm lenses attached to Gitzo tripods was the ‘big gun’ weaponry of the day. Not wanting to show anyone up, I kept my Lumix discreetly out of sight …



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