Sunday, 11 November 2012

Widewater and Shoreham beach

After long weeks of doing nothing very exciting, this weekend I've been birding twice! Including once in the pouring rain! On Saturday I went to see Mike and Kathy in Brighton, and in the morning Mike and I went for a walk alongside Widewater Lagoon in Shoreham. The path goes between the shingle beach and the lagoon. Because of the weather it was pretty quiet, people-wise, but there were a few nice birds to see, and after a while it did stop raining.

The lagoon is long, narrowish with a bit of mud around its shores. It is (Mike assures me) magnetically attractive to interesting birdlife when there's been some heavy weather at sea, and when it's a bit later into the winter. Right now, it harboured Mallards, Black-headed Gulls, Little Egrets, several Little Grebes and a few Redshanks.  This one looks like it's in breeding plumage, which is weird.

The slope down to the lagoon on the sea side has some scrub on it, which was full of House Sparrows. Also a few Greenfinches here.

There are regularly spaced groynes on the beach, made of huge grey boulders. Around one such groyne flitted a few Meadow Pipits, an incongruous Robin, and this lovely Wheatear who should be heading south by now, I'd have thought.

Among the parties of Meadow Pipits, there was at least one Rock Pipit.

I should mention that I had failed to readjust all necessary camera settings after an evening of fireworks photography last week, and didn't discover this until we'd nearly finished our walk. Consequently, many of today's pics were horribly blurry because of too slow a shutter speed. It's more luck than judgement that any of them came out OK.

A large flock of Brent Geese approached, and had the decency to fly directly overhead. Here are a few of them.

We walked down to the beach after that, and found several Sanderlings and Turnstones there, plus a lone Oystercatcher.

I could have spent all day photographing this lot. Good job I didn't, as I wouldn't have noticed I had the camera set up all wrong. On a sunny day it would have been great (or maybe it wouldn't, as the beach may have been full of dogs and dog-walkers).

We turned around after that and headed back along the path, chasing a trio of Pied Wagtails on the way.

No sign of the Wheatear on the way back, but the beach-dwelling Robin was showing nicely. Here it is in its (un)natural habitat.

On the way back I got a photographic first, though didn't realise it at the time - a Black-headed Gull producing a pellet.

A volley of excited whistles drew our attention to a far-off Kingfisher flying in a wide arc over the lagoon.

Back at the car park, the closest Little Egret of the day was having a wade in the lagoon.

We decided there was time for a quick look at the beach at Shoreham Fort, and drove the short distance there. It had started to rain again. We'd hoped to find Purple Sandpipers on the stone 'arm' that guards the mouth of the River Adur, but the sea was crashing over the ledge where they'd have been sitting so that was a bit of a non-starter.

Down on the fence that stops people falling into the estuary, a large flock of Greenfinches were perched. Only these three were posing nicely enough to make it into this post.

At the shore a large flock of gulls, Herring and Great Black-backed, were resting, with a few more going by over the sea. For me, photographing gulls never gets old.


Warren Baker said...

I bet you were relieved to be out and about again Marianne :-)

Loadsa nice photo's today - the Kingfisher stands out for me :-)

Enjoy the winter !

Early Worm said...


Was this at Adur Estuary? I know that is in Shorham as I have been there a few times, but never saw any Pipits or Sanderlings, which are both birds I enjoy watching.

Marianne said...

Thanks Warren :)

Early Worm, we were on the other side of the Adur estuary from Shoreham station, walking towards Lancing. Map here:,+Adur+District&hl=en&sll=50.829957,-0.294228&sspn=0.033124,0.073042&oq=widewater&hnear=Widewater&t=m&z=15 (we parked by Widewater lagoon and walked west). I do think on a less miserable day (esp. a Saturday) there'd have been more people and therefore fewer birds!