MONDAY 6 JANUARY
Although very windy today, surprisingly it didn't rain and with temperatures at 11 degrees C, it was rather quite pleasant. After hearing of escapades in Hove yesterday afternoon, I decided to head down to SUSSEX today and take part in the action.
I arrived at HOVE LAGOON at around 1100 hours and spent the next couple of hours photographing at very close range, the storm-displaced GREY PHALAROPE as it fed and preened on the tiny children's paddling pool to the east of the main lagoon. It was an unbelievable scene, with members of the public watching in disbelief as 30 or so birders crouched and lay flat on their bellies photographing and videoing the lost waif. I took over 900 images of the bird, the vast majority being of good quality. It was an unforgettable experience - and in great company too.
A first-winter Pied Wagtail joined the Grey Phalarope for a short while and across the main road, a flock of 8 House Sparrows was noted.
At WIDEWATER LAGOON, SHOREHAM-BY-SEA, these 6 Red-breasted Mergansers were showing well, whilst nearby at SHOREHAM FORT, a flock of 7 PURPLE SANDPIPERS and 12 Turnstone was roosting on the breakwater 80 yards south of the Coastguards Hut. A Rock Pipit was in the vicinity too but no sign of the Black Redstart. The sea swell was amazing with 9 foot waves crashing into the harbour walls.
Purple Sandpipers and Turnstones roosting on the breakwater
Crashing waves in the harbour
At PAGHAM HARBOUR, I had never seen so much water - the tide was crashing over the shingle and the entire harbour was flooded (see pic below). Little room for waders but the three islands held 118 Oystercatcher, 760 Lapwing, 17 Common Redshank, 815 Red Knot, 24 Turnstone, an impressive 404 Grey Plover, 45 Bar-tailed Godwit and 70 Black-tailed Godwit, along with 76 Great Black-backed Gulls and a few Eurasian Curlew and 4 Common Shelduck, whilst offshore both MEDITERRANEAN GULL and Kittiwake were present; 8 Red-breasted Mergansers too.
Pagham Harbour in flood
Adult Mediterranean Gull
Kittiwake in rough seas
At SIDLESHAM FERRY POOL nearby, both RUDDY SHELDUCK were present with 58 Common Shelducks as well as 440 Wigeon, 130 Teal and 64 Shoveler.
The Burpham area was totally underwater and therefore failed to yield any Bewick's Swans whilst Ivy Lake at dusk was devoid of any Whooper Swans.