Bird Watching

Group Coordinator: Christopher Evans. Meets on the first Thursday of each month.

{Use links on the right for local bird sightings/websites and the link to older walks}.

The group is led by Christopher Evans. We have a monthly walk in varying locations, details of which are posted on this page about a week beforehand.We are fortunate to live so close to both Chichester & Langstone harbours, which attract numerous winter migrants. In addition there are a number of excellent inland sites like RSPB Pulborough Brooks and Blashford Lakes, which are within easy reach of Havant. All told there are plenty of opportunities locally for successful and enjoyable bird watching.

NB. Should you wish to join the group, then please call me or email me, details below.

Contact: Christopher Evans - mobile: 07772 534479; to email me, click on the Blue Bird below the U3A logo.

May 2022 walk

On what turned into a sunny spring day after a slightly cloudy start, we walked from the Easton Lane car park to the Stilt Pool at Medmerry. Sightings in alphabetical order were: Avocets (circa 30 with some on nests), Blackbirds, Canada geese, Carrion crows, Coots, Cormorants, pair of Egypian geese + gosling, Great black-backed gull, Greenshank, Heron, Lapwings, Linnets, pair of Little grebes, Mallards, Moorhens, Oystercatcher, Meadow pipit, Ringed Plover, Shelducks, Skylark, Stonechats, Swallows, Swan, Tufted duck and Whitethroats.

April 2022 Walk

April’s walk was intended to be at Medmerry but on arrival, as it was such a windy day, we decided to switch to RSPB Pagham. On the Ferry Pool there were numerous Black-headed gulls and Shovelers plus a number of Black-tailed Godwit and just a few Teal. On the feeders opposite the hide we saw Chaffinches, Goldcrests, a Greenfinch and one or two Blue tits. In the Ferry channel, by the sluice there was a Spotted redshank, two Great crested Grebes, 3 Black-tailed Godwit and a small number of Teal. In the Long Pool there were half a dozen Tufted ducks, a Little grebe and a nesting swan. Towards the harbour end of the Ferry channel, there were a number of Common redshanks and a couple of Oystercatchers. On the feeders by the Visitor Centre there were Robins and House sparrows.

March 2022 walk

We met near Apuldram church on a spring like day to explore Fishbourne creek. Initially we headed north until just beyond the Lavant outfall where the sea wall had collapsed. Along that stretch we saw Coots, Mute swans, Great Crested Grebes, Wigeon, Black-tailed Godwits, Black-headed Gulls, a single Little Egret and further up the creek Cormorants and Shelduck. We then retraced our steps and headed south to Dell Quay, spotting Turnstones on a floating jetty en route. At Dell Quay I noticed three Red-breasted mergansers heading south, as were numerous Brent geese.

February 2022 walk

9 of us met by the Salt House, Pagham, then walked along the North Wall to Halsey's Farm, before returning via Honer Farm. It was 3 hours before high tide when we started with good numbers of Teal and Dunlin out on the mud along with a few Redshank. More Teal were seen in the Breech Pool along with a few Mallard. Approaching Halsey's Farm there were a few Blackbirds along withe Blue & Great Tits. Leaving Halsey's two of the group saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and then we all saw 3 Greenfinches. A significant number of Brent Geese rose into the sky from the fields near Marsh Farm and headed out into the harbour, as did small groups of Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit. In the distance near to Marsh Farm, we could just make out half a dozen Cattle Egrets. Shortly after there was a brief sighting of what was thought to be a female Marsh Harrier. Back on the North Wall it was nearly high tide and we could see significant numbers of Lapwing, which occasionally took to the air, whilst there were smaller numbers of Wigeon in the water.

January 2022 walk

4 hardy souls met at Farlington Marshes on a decidedly chilly morning. We notched up 33 in species in total despite only going part way round. The highlight was a single Barnacle Goose that was spotted amongst a flock of Canada Geese. We were struck also by the number of Pintails that there were out on the mud. Other sightings of note were a single Buzzard, a single Snipe, Stonechats, Lapwing and as we got back to the cars a hovering Kestrel.

December 2021 walk.

On a bright, sunny, though chilly morning we walked from St Mary’s church at Chidham down to Cobnor Point and back. At the Point, we stopped for an early lunch just as the tide was starting to turn and waders started to fly in. Species seen were: Brent Goose, Common Shelduck, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Common Pheasant, Common Wood Pigeon, Common Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Common Greenshank, Common Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Little Egret, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Grey Heron, Common Magpie, Blue Tit, Common Chiffchaff, Wren, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Common Chaffinch and Turnstone.

November 2021 walk

Our November walk was at Titchfield Haven. Our first sighting was the little group of Turnstones that are habitually in the haven itself. Crossing the road to look over the bridge in to the reserve, we could see 4 Little Grebes. Moving along to the small viewing platform, we saw a Great Black-backed Gull, Cormorants and Lapwings on the small island in front of us. Moving in to the reserve, our first stop at the Meon Hide proved to be the most successful of the day. Visible from the hide were Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall, Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwit, two more Great Black-backed Gulls and a rather shy Snipe. In the distance, there was a Buzzard perched on a fence. There was little to see from the West Hide but moving on to the Pumfrett hide we were delighted to see 5/6 Snipe quite close to the hide plus we had a better view of the Buzzard, particularly when seen through a telescope. The eastern side of the reserve was generally disappointing and unfortunately the Knights Bank Hide was closed due to recently fallen trees blocking the boardwalk. An interesting sighting as we left were 2 or 3 Brown rats scurrying around in the haven.

Please bring flask of coffee or similar and a packed lunch if required.

For any of you that aren’t familiar with the Titchfield Haven, here is a link to to the website: https://www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryparks/titchfield

There is a public car park alongside the Hill Head Sailing Club and further parking along the sea front beyond the reserve.

October 2021 walk

Our October walk was at RSPB Pagham. On our way to the hide we saw Chaffinches. On the Ferry Pool, there were Lapwing, Shovelers, Shelduck, Black-tailed Godwit and smaller numbers of Teal and Wigeon and we could hear but not see, a Cetti's Warbler. On the Ferry Channel near the sluice was a juvenile Great Crested Grebe with an adult not far away. Further on and looking towards the mouth of the channel we could see a pair of Avocet, whilst other sightings from the same spot had included Redshank and Grey Plover. En route we had heard a Water Rail and seen a Red-legged Partridge.

September 2021 walk

Our first walk of the new U3A year took place on Thursday,2nd September at RSPB Medmerry, starting from the Easton Lane car park. It was overcast but dry and reasonably warm despite the easterly wind and turned out to be probably the best walk that we've had at Medmerry. Whilst White's Creek and the bushes were relatively quiet, there were lots of birds on the Stilt Pool along with plenty of hirundines overhead, mostly Sand Martins. The highlight on the Pool were two female Ruffs, which were accompanied by a single Dunlin. Also seen were numerous Canada Geese, 3 or 4 Greylag Geese, a good number of Black-tailed Godwits & Teal, a small group of Wigeon, the odd Lapwing and Tufted Duck and a single Winchat. Later on two of us paid a brief visit to RSPB Pagham where there were two Curlew Sandpipers, about 50 Lapwing, more Teal and Black-tailed Godwit and 3 Cattle Egrets.

July 2021 walk

With some restrictions still in place at the likes of RSPB Pulborough & Titchfield Haven, we had a return visit to Church Norton and RSPB Pagham.The highlight at Church Norton was watching Little Terns fishing. Other species that we saw included Oystercatchers, Shelducks, Cormorants, Curlew, 2 Buzzards and the ubiquitous Black-headed Gulls. After coffee in the churchyard, only two of us continued on to RSPB Pagham. From the hide, we could see Avocet, Shelduck, Black-tailed Godwit and Lapwing out on the Ferry Pool and Chaffinches and Greenfinches on the feeders opposite the hide. Walking towards the harbour, we had a brief glimpse of a Cuckoo, could hear the occasional Reed Warbler and further along glimpsed a small number of Redshank flying along the Ferry channel. By now on my own, I stopped at the Ivy lake complex on my return journey where I was delighted to see a pair of Great Crested Grebes with two young (one nearing full size, the other still small and spending most of its time on its mother's back). Other sightings there included a pair of Egyptian Geese with 6 goslings, a pair of Greylag Geese with 3 young, a Swan family with 7 cygnets and another with 3, a brief sighting of a Green Woodpecker and a number of newly born Coot chicks.

3rd June 2021

Our June walk was a distinctly local one, starting at Langstone Mill Pond. In the trees at the rear of the pond were nesting Cattle & Little Egrets plus Grey Herons. A recent survey had estimated that there were 9 Cattle Egret nests, 20 plus Little Egret nests and 3 Heron nests. Also on the pond were a
Mallard with 8 ducklings, including one that was just gold in colour and at least one pair of Tufted Ducks.

From there, we walked across the bridge on to Hayling and made our way to the oyster beds. At this time of year there are numerous Black-headed Gulls nesting on the central banks of the southern most section along with a smaller number of Common Terns, mostly on the rafts installed by the RSPB. We noticed a small number of gull chicks but it was too early to see Tern chicks. Other sightings include a Kestrel, Linnets, Oystercatchers and a Greenfinch. We also heard the distinctive call of a Cetti's Warbler.

6th May 2021

Our second walk of the year was at RSPB Medmerry from the Easton Lane car park to the Stilt Pool and back. Whilst still at the car park, we saw a Common Whitethroat and could hear a Cuckoo calling strongly. Once we got closer to the line of Poplar trees, we were able to pinpoint the Cuckoo's location and view it through a telescope. Continuing our our walk, we saw a Yellowhammer, a pair of Foxes, a Green Woodpecker, more Whitethroats, as well as Linnets and Skylarks. On the Pool itself, there were circa 2 dozen Avocets. (Post walk report; 18th May, Avocet chicks have been sighted and photos posted on the Selsey Birders blog).

1st April 2021.

A quiet restart after the latest lockdown with just me and two others meeting at Church Norton. The Selsey Bird blog estimates that there are about 100 Sandwich Terns out on Tern Island, along with numerous Black-headed Gulls. Without a telescope, however, it’s difficult to get a meaningful view. Also a fair way out in the harbour were a significant number of Shelduck, whilst closer to hand, we could see Curlew, Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwit & Redshank. Overhead there was a hovering male Kestrel and a single Swallow and in the Severals we saw a pair of Red-legged Partridges. Entering the churchyard, there was a male Chaffinch sitting on the wall eating some seeds that had been left there.

After a coffee break, the other two headed home and I went on to RSPB Pagham, where the Visitor Centre is now open but not the hide. On the Ferry Pool there were a pair of Avocets, along with good numbers of Shelduck and Shovellers, while opposite the hide a male Blackcap was singing away. On the Ferry channel there was a Spotted Redshank, as well as Common Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits. I could hear Little Grebes on the Long Pool and Sedge Warblers have been seen there, though not by me. Sitting on the bench at the eastern end of the pool a couple of Swallows flew over, then walking back, I saw a single Lapwing and could hear a Chiffchaff as I walked through the Discovery area.

I had intended to stop at Ivy Lake on my return journey but the Free School was still open and during term time parking spots there have become difficult to find.

All being well, our next walk will be on May 6th.

November 4th 2020.

Whilst we had resumed our monthly walks in September, our proposed walk for November has had to be cancelled following the introduction of the 4 week lockdown from November 5th..

November 2020 walk


October 2020 walk

Our walk was at Farlington Marshes on a rare dry and sunny day. The undoubted highlight was the Grey Phalarope (see photo) that was to be seen on The Deeps. A comparative rarity, it was attracting quite a few birders to the marshes. Another potential highlight was a distant Osprey but in reality, even through a telescope, it was hard to make out. Other sightings included Black-tailed Godwit (See photo), Lapwing, Meadow Pipit, Wheatear, Kestrel and the first sighting this autumn for most of us of, Brent Geese. Whilst eating my lunch near the Reed Bed, I heard but as usual didn't see, a Cetti's Warbler.

September 2020 walk

We resumed activities post lockdown with a walk at RSPB Medmerry, starting at the Easton Lane car park and walking to the Stilt Pool and back. Outbound we saw a Green Woodpecker perched across the track from the poplars and further on a couple of Meadow Pipits and about half a dozen Swallows. Arriving at the Pool, the 3 Spoonbills reported in recent days were still present but shortly after we arrived one flew off eastwards. In addition to a Swan family, Cormorants and Mallards, there were a number of Starlings and one each of Lapwing, Little Egret and Grey Heron.

On our return leg with the tide coming in, there were 3 Greenshanks, 2 Common Sandpipers and a Wheatear on the mud near the poplars. As we started to walk away from the poplars, 2 Spoonbills appeared, heading south/southwest. They looked to be going to land in one of the new reservoirs, until about half a dozen Canada Geese flew up and spooked them and we couldn’t clearly see where they headed after that.

Update May 22nd 2020

You may be interested to know that the Tern raft at the Hayling Oysterbeds has finally been put in situ. It’s normally positioned towards the end of April but has been delayed this year because of the lockdown and the number of people required. Wez Smith the local RSPB warden estimates that there are already 34 Terns on it. I had a quick look this morning and have added a couple of photos to the album "Virtual Birdwatching". Yesterday evening, I had a walk at Medmerry where I was lucky enough to see a Barn Owl. Other sightings included Swallows, Yellowhammers, a single Whitethroat, 3 or 4 Roe deer and a Brown Hare. Earlier in the week, I had a productive walk around Farlington Marshes. Starting last week, I have been adding to a Google Photo album titled Virtual Birdwatching for those members that can't get out and about. I have added a link to it, which can be found on the right hand side of this page.

  • The Peregrines at York and Salisbury can also be found online.

March 2020 walk

This should have been at Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve but was cancelled due to a forecast of heavy rain all day, which proved to be the case. Ironically the next day was bright and sunny so I headed over there and had an enjoyable visit, with sightings including Marsh Harriers and both Goldcrests and Firecrests.

February 2020

8 of the group enjoyed a visit to HIWWT's Blashford Lakes reserve on a bright if chilly winter's day. The first two of the group to arrive spotted Nuthatch and Treecreeper from the car park. A Nuthatch was also present on the Woodland Hide bird feeder along with Blue, Black & Coal Tits, Chaffinches, Dunnocks and a Siskin. On Ivy Lake, there were numerous Wigeon and Coots, along with a few Pintail, Cormorants, a pair of Mute Swans and just before we left the hide, a brief view of a Kingfisher. On Ibsley Water we saw a male Goldeneye, a female Longtailed Duck and five Great Crested Grebes whilst at the Lapwing Hide. Moving on to the aptly named Goosander Hide, we saw a group of about 8/9 of that species, along with a male Pochard. We finished up at the Tern Hide where we didn't see anything new but were interested to note that recent sightings had included 540 Pintail and 20,000 Starlings.

January 2020

No walk given that due date was January 2nd.

December 2019 walk

This was at Farlington Marshes on a chilly but brighter than expected morning, when we saw a total of 34 species. The stand out species was undoubtedly the Bearded Tits, though the views were limited, with the birds proving difficult to locate as they darted about through the reeds. Other significant sightings were Avocet, Curlew, Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Lapwing, Stonechat, a distant Buzzard, a Wren, a Song Thrush and a Kestrel.

November 2019 walk

Ten of us met by St Mary's Church, Chidham on a bright but chilly morning to walk down to Cobnor Point and back. Species seen included a small flock of Skylarks, an 18 strong group of Curlews, 3 female Reed Buntings, a lone Dunlin, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, plenty of Brent Geese including a family of two adults and two juveniles, a flock of Teal wheeling about, Song Thrushes, a Buzzard and a Kestrel. At the end of the walk some of us saw two Roe deer, tricky to spot on a ploughed field.

October 2019 walk

We met at Church Norton on a distinctly chilly morning, which did warm up a bit as the day progressed. After a short but interesting chat with a fisherman, who had been catching Sea Bass in the harbour mouth at low tide, we walked down to the edge of the harbour. The highlight of our visit was watching an Osprey catch a fish, fly off with it to a post on the southern edge of the harbour, then, when mobbed by crows, see it move a bit nearer to us and sit on the metalwork of the old harbour mouth. Through a telescope we had good views of it eating its prey and it was still there when we retuned to the churchyard for coffee an hour or so later. Another good sighting was a pair of Bar Tailed Godwits, as well as Ringed Plovers, a single Turnstone, a couple of Grey Plovers, a pair of great Crested Grebes and a number of Common Redshanks, Curlew, Cormorants, Little Egrets and Swallows. After our coffee stop, where we met Andrew House, one of the editors of the Birding the Selsey Peninsula website, we moved on to RSPB Pagham. After an initial stop at the hide where there was little to see apart from a few Black Tailed Godwit, we walked out to our favourite bench alongside the ferry channel to eat our lunch. The water level was still low but the tide started to come in more noticeably whilst we sat there, with Teal and Wigeon visible in the distance and we also had a lone Whimbrel fly past up the channel towards the Ferry Pool. We also had distant, intermittent sightings of what may have been a second Osprey or the original one further in to the harbour. Walking back we had a brief glimpse of a Goldcrest/Firecrest but too deeply hidden in a bush to be certain which it was. Finally, Doug Yelland noticed a Spotted Redshank alongside a Common Redshank giving us an opportunity to compare the two and notice the differences. All told a good day with a total of 42 species logged, including about 30 or so Lapwing that had arrived on the Ferry Pool by the time we returned.

September 2019 walk

Unfortunately, I was away and no one signed up for the proposed walk at Farlington marshes.

July 2019 Walk

Thursday, July 4th. This started at Church Norton and then moved on to RSPB Pagham, where we saw a reasonable number of species including a late brood of Shel - ducklings on the ferry Channel.

June 2019 Walk

Our June walk was at Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve, Romsey, which was a new destination for the group. Situated alongside the River Test, at this time of year, it has a profusion of yellow Irises. We weren't overly successful with our bird watching, hearing rather than seeing, Cetti's Warblers, Chiff Chaff and a distant Cuckoo, along with possible sightings of Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat. Actual sightings were more common species such as Grey Heron,Carrion Crow, Robin, Goldfinch, House Martins and a single Cormorant. Nonetheless it was an enjoyable walk on a mostly sunny morning

May 2019 walk

This was at RSPB Pulborough Brooks when 8 of us attended. The morning started of bright and sunny and although it subsequently clouded over and got chillier, the threatened rain didn't materialise. The two iconic seasonal birds the Cuckoo and Nightingale weren't seen but were heard, the Cuckoo more so. Raptors seen were a pale Buzzard, a Kestrel and briefly, a Red Kite. A Hobby was reported by others on the site but not seen by us. Other seasonal sightings were Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Whitethroat and Martins. On and around the water there were Lapwing plus the odd chick, Little Egrets, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Black tailed Godwit, Canada Geese and Egyptian Geese. We were also entertained by a pair of Great Tits busily flying to and from a nest box feeding their young, whilst on my way back to the visitor centre I had a good view of a Song Thrush with a beak full of grubs. An interesting non bird sighting was a neatly coiled, young, male Adder right by the path.

April 2019 walk

This was at RSPB Medmerry. Six of us started out on a wet and unseasonably chilly morning, having seen a Buzzard at close quarters over the Earnley car park. Three of the group quickly decided to head back, whilst the remaining three battled on. En route to the Stilt Pool the only identifiable birds we saw were a Skylark and a couple of Coots. At the Stilt Pool the rain made viewing through binoculars tricky but we did manage to identify Avocets, Cormorant, Dunlin, Tufted Duck and Shelduck. When the rain eased Doug Yelland took a few photos which subsequently revealed that there were both Ringed Plover and Little Ringed Plover present, as well as a lone Sandwich Tern. On the return leg, a Greenfinch and a few Starlings were spotted by the holiday village

March 2019 Walk

This started at North Wall, Pagham on a blustery though reasonably sunny day. Offshore there were Wigeon, Teal, Curlew and a lone Oystercatcher. On the Breech Pool there were Coot and a small number of Tufted Duck, whilst in the middle distance were two Mute Swans. Crossing the very wet field towards Honer Farm, we disturbed a flock of Brent Geese that flew off. Continuing north up Honer Lane we admired the Primroses and Celandine in the roadside ditch. On Honer Reservoir were a pair of Wigeon, which promptly flew off, a pair of Tufted Duck, a pair of Gadwall and a single Little Grebe. Whilst drinking our coffee, a pair of Shelduck flew in and almost immediately flew off again. To avoid the flooded field we took a mostly urban route back to our starting point, which had little of interest to report.

February 2019 walk

This was at RSPB Pulborough Brooks on a breezy but generally sunny day.The highlight was undoubtedly the Kingfisher that sat on a post in front of one of the hides for several minutes and was still there when we moved off. Raptors came in the form of brief sightings of a Kestrel and a Marsh Harrier as well as distant views of two Buzzards perched in a tree. Regrettably we didn't see the Peregrine and Red Kite that were seen by other visitors. Other species included Lapwing, Black Tailed Godwit, Shoveler, Teal, Shelduck, Great Black Backed Gulls, Cormorants and a couple of Sanderling. Smaller birds included Robins, Great & Blue Tits and a brief glimpse of a Goldcrest. All in all a good visit to this always rewarding reserve.

January 2019 walk.

This took place at RSPB Medmerry on a cold but dry morning with, thankfully, little wind. The number species seen was low (early twenties) and included Rooks, Starlings, Linnets (probable), Sparrows, a single Yellowhammer, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Lapwing, Shoveler, Juvenile Cormorants, Shelduck, Little Egret and Grey Heron.

Click on a picture below to see it full-size with more details.

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More Group Pages
Advanced French Conversation Adventures in Literature
Bird Watching Bridge
British History Canasta
Creative Writing Critics
Current Affairs Cycling for Fun
Day Trips Environment & Technology
Family History Film Studies
Gardens Geology and Landscape
German Internet & Computer Help
Italian Intermediate Learning by Art
Line Dancing Local History
Mah Jong Music Appreciation
Philosophy Photography
Play Reading Group Poetry (writing)
Scrabble Singing
Sociable Singles Spanish Intermediate/Advanced
Theatre/Opera/Ballet Use Your Bus Pass
Wales and the Welsh Walking
Wine Appreciation