Bird Watching

Meets on the first Thursday of each month.

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. Earlier walks for the last twelve months or so are also listed, both on this page and on the "Other Walks" link, to give give potential members an idea of what we get up to.

Any queries, please call or email me - see below.

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

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

February 2020

This will be on Thursday, February 6th. Details will be published about a week before.

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.

December 2018 walk.

This was cancelled as a result of a low uptake and last minute cancellations. I intend to reschedule the proposed walk at RSPB Pulborough in February.

November 2018 walk.

This was at Titchfield Haven. Despite the downpours we encountered on our way there, 10 members of the group arrived to take part in an enjoyable walk. Highlight of the day was undoubtedly the Juvenile Marsh Harrier that was hunting along the length of the reserve for the majority of the time we were there (see photos). We were also fortunate to see a Water Rail, pointed out to us by a fellow birder. Other species included Kestrel, Buzzard, Brent Geese, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Lapwing, Snipe, Ringed Plover, Black Tailed Godwit, Redshank, Dunlin and Turnstone.

October 2018 Walk.

On an overcast, slightly damp day, half a dozen of us enjoyed a successful walk around Farlington Marshes. Species seen include Avocet, Black tailed Godwit, Buzzard, Curlew, Dunlin, Great Crested Grebe, Greenshank, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Lapwing,Little Egret, Long tailed Tit, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Shelduck, Stonechat, Teal and Wheatear. The highlight though, was not a bird but a Weasel, which appeared on the path ahead of us and stayed there long enough for us to get a good view of it.

September 2018 Walk.

On a glorious, early autumn day, we started the new season at Church Norton. The best sightings here, albeit brief in both instances, were of a Green Woodpecker and a great Spotted Woodpecker. The Spotted Flycatcher that we hoped to see was conspicuous by its absence. Other sightings included, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Curlew, Cormorants, Great Black -backed Gulls, Oystercatchers, three Great Crested Grebe and a distant flock of what may have been Linnets. The plan was, after coffee in the churchyard, to move on to RSPB Pagham. In practice, I was the only one that went. I started by walking out to the bench by the Ferry Channel to eat my lunch, whilst watching more Curlew, a small flock of Starlings, Redshank and 70 + Teal snoozing on the mud. Walking back to the Ferry Pool hide, I followed a female Pheasant and saw a number of dragonflies. Highlight at the Pool was a distant Little Stint (see Library photo), along with Lapwing, Shelduck, Black Tailed Godwit and more Teal.

July 2018 Walk. Three of us walked down Wade Lane to Langstone Mill pond, where there were a number of Little Egrets, a pair of Tufted ducks and the usual Mallards, pair of Mute Swans and Coots. Offshore there were Black Headed, Herring and Great Black Backed Gulls, as well as the odd Curlew and a Great Crested Grebe. From there we headed over the bridge to Hayling and down to the Oyster Beds, spotting Oystercatchers, Mediterranean Gulls and Shelduck on the way. At the Oyster Beds, there were yet more Black Headed Gulls along with a plentiful number of juveniles. The highlight though was undoubtedly the Common Terns. There have been 30 nests on the raft that the RSPB has provided for them and by now the majority of the chicks have fledged and made their way over to the bank behind the raft. Whilst we were there Wez Smith, the local RSPB ranger arrived and rowed over to the raft to attach a wooden pallet alongside, as a launching pad for the remaining fledglings. We returned by the same route and by the end had clocked up 31 species, finishing with a humble Robin.

June 2018 Walk. This was at Church Norton and RSPB Pagham. Following some late cancellations, group leader CE was the only walker, on a slightly overcast but dry day. In total, I saw 40 species. At Church Norton particular highlights were a single Little Tern, a Green Woodpecker flying across the churchyard and a Kestrel, along with more commonplace birds like Shelduck, Oystercatcher and Cormorant. At RSPB Pagham, there were Great Tit, Goldcrest and Chaffinch on or near the bird feeders. Visible from the Ferry Pool hide were 110 Black-tailed Godwit and 22 Avocet (numbers courtesy of Birding on the Selsey peninsula), Teal, Lapwing and a single Greenshank. Also there, apparently but not seen by me were 2 Little Ring Necked Plover, a Knot and 2 Dunlin. On or near the Long Pool and Ferry Channel were: Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler - see photo on right of page, Great Crested Grebe, a pair of Little Grebes with 3 chicks, Tufted Duck, Sky Lark and a Red Legged Partridge with a juvenile. I also heard a Cuckoo.

Back at the visitor centre, one of the volunteers told me that they have had 32 breeding pairs of Avocets over at Medmerry, with only six nests yet to hatch.

May 2018 Walk. On a lovely sunny day we had a most enjoyable walk at RSPB Pulborough Brooks. Early sightings included Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler. However, the undoubted highlight of the day, was a Tawny Owl and two owlets. They were difficult to spot and we walked past them initially but with slightly better directions, we found them second time around. Other sightings included Lapwing, Canada Geese, a pair of Egyptian Geese with goslings, Greylag Geese, Shoveler, Shelduck, Wigeon, a lone Hobby and Jays. We expected to see, or at least hear, Nightingales but as the walk neared the end, we despaired of doing so. However, we were finally rewarded by a clear view of one, singing in competition with a Blackbird. We also heard but didn't see a Cuckoo and a Green Woodpecker. A final non avian bonus was watching a pair of mating Adders - see photos on right.. We also thought we saw a Great Crested Newt in the the pond near the Visitor Centre but weren't 100% certain. Doug Yelland had definitely seen one at the start of the walk, confirmed by nearby RSPB staff.

April 2018 Walk. On one of the few decent days so far this year, we had an excellent walk at RSPB Medmerry. Birds seen included Buzzard, Skylark, Chiffchaff, Linnet, Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipit, Avocet (60+), Little Ringed Plover (2), Teal, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Shoveler, Shelduck, Black Headed, Mediterranean and Herings Gulls, Mute Swans, Canada Geese and a lone Little Egret. A non birding highlight was a group of 5 Roe Deer that we saw both on our outward walk and our return. On the second occasion they were closer and Doug Yelland managed to a good photo of them before they bounded away.

March 2018 walk, Thursday 1st. This was cancelled because of the forecast for snow.

February 2018 walk. This was a relatively short walk from Nutbourne towards Prinsted along the sea wall and then back inland via fields and orchards. A relatively low total of 16 species were seen including, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Brent Geese, Oystercatchers, Robin, Blue & Great Tits. Our best sighting was a flock of just under 40 Curlew. They were just inshore on pasture land from where they took flight, wheeled around for a while before landing back in the same spot.

January 2018 walk. This was intended to be at RSPB Pulborough Brooks but in the event with no takers, I was the only one that went. As on our previous visits, I joined one of their weekly Wildlife Walks, which was most enjoyable. We had an early sightings of a Kestrel, initially mistaken for a Little Owl. followed by a couple of Jays. The highlights of the walk were sightings of both Peregrine and Marsh Harrier, in each case there was one distant view and another much closer, particularly the Marsh Harrier. There were plenty of wildfowl about, Wigeon, Shelduck, Teal, etc, as well as several species of waders including Black Tailed Godwit and Lapwing. What we didn't see, which I was expecting from previous experience, were either Redwing or Fieldfare.

December 2017 walk. This was at Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, when the weather finally turned against us. Nonetheless, Doug and I had a successful walk and were particularly delighted with out first sighting the Barred Warbler (see photo). Other species were: Blackbird, Dunnock, Oyster Catcher, Redshank, Turnstone, Mallard,Little Egret,Grey Heron, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow,Teal, Wood Pigeon, Lapwing, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Shellduck, Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Shoveller, Gadwall, Avocet, Cormorant, Starling, Carrion Crow, Black-headed gull, Coot, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Great Black-backed Gull, Robin, Long-tailed tit, Goldfinch, Kingfisher, Magpie, Wren, Jay, Canada Goose, Curlew, Sparrowhawk, Wigeon, Marsh Harrier, Herring Gull, Mute Swan, Buzzard and Kestrel. (46 in total).

November 2017 walk. For the third month in a row we were blessed with a lovely sunny day for our walk, which this month was at Farlington Marshes. We saw a total of 37 species, including: Brent & Canada Geese, a single Buzzard, Kestrels or maybe the same one several times, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveller, Shelduck, Avocets, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Black Tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Curlew, Great Crested Grebe, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Great Black Backed Gull & Herring Gull. One of our group had a very brief glimpse of a Bearded Tit but the rest of us weren't so lucky, nor did we see any Short Eared Owls, which have already been sighted at Farlington this autumn.

October 2017 walk: Heading to Chidham, a sudden downpour made us wonder if we were in for a damp walk. Fortunately, the rain was short-lived and it was soon sunny if a tad chilly with a northerly breeze. The main sightings on our walk to and from Cobnor Point were: half a dozen Swallows, a heard but not seen Green Woodpecker, a brief glimpse of a Sparrowhawk, regular sightings of probably the same Kestrel, Meadow Pipits, a pair of Reed Buntings, a lone Whinchat, about a dozen Redshank, a small number of individual Little Egrets, a couple of Lapwing, two Grey Herons, a pair of Mute Swans and a small number of Brent Geese in the main part of the harbour. Down by the point and out of the wind it was quite glorious and a good site for our coffee/lunch stop. What remained of the sand spit off the point (it was high tide by then) was densely packed with Oystercatchers, Curlew and Grey Plovers, whilst a lone Sandwich Tern perched on a nearby post. Approaching the point, two or three of us had a brief sighting of a Harbour Seal, whilst throughout the walk we saw a number of Red Admiral butterflies, at least one Peacock butterfly and a single Clouded Yellow.

September 2017 walk: We started the new season at Church Norton, where we enjoyed some early sunshine, before moving on to RSPB Pagham. The two highlights of the walk were both at CN, where we saw a couple of Spotted Flycatchers in the field behind the hide and watched Swallows feeding their young inside the hide. Other sightings at CN included Cormorants, several Curlew, four Redshank, Oystercatchers, three/four Great Crested Grebe, two distant Buzzards, Ring Necked Plovers and an odd Turnstone. By the feeders at Pagham, there was a single Chiffchaff, a Greenfinch and a Goldfinch plus Blue and Great Tits and Chaffinches. On the Ferry Pool, there was a single Avocet, four or five Black Tailed Godwit and several Lapwing. We stopped for lunch at the far end of the Long Pool, were we saw small flocks of Grey Plover, Dunlin and Teal. All in all, a good outing.

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

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More Group Pages
Advanced French Conversation Bird Watching
British History Canasta
Creative Writing Current Affairs
Cycling for softies Day Trips
Family History Film Studies
Gardens Geology and Landscape
German Italian intermediate
Line Dancing Literature
Local History Mah Jong
Music Appreciation Philosophy
Photography Play Reading Group
Poetry (writing) Scrabble
Singing Sociable Singles
Spanish Advanced Spring Time
Theatre/Opera/Ballet Use Your Bus Pass
Wales and the Welsh Walking
Wine Appreciation