On the South Coast (of England)

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We had done our homework and we knew that Selsey Bill and Bracklesham Bay would allow us to watch gulls, terns and maybe some waders with the former site being more important during the migratory months.

CHURCH NORTON (Grid reference SZ 872 958 ) is located on the edge of Pagham Harbour and is an interesting location having mature trees and a tidal marsh with shingle banks. Singing overhead was a Song Thrush and on a tree opposite was a male Green Woodpecker. Looking over the marsh we could see Black tailed Godwit with Curlew showing well and calling. Oystercatchers were easily evident and nesting with Greenshank and Redshank feeding in the mud. We saw one Sandwich Tern with numerous Black headed Gulls and Herring Gulls doing their own noisy thing. Both Grey Heron and Little Egret were seen but with weather and time against us we felt that there was much more to see on a return visit.

We then visited The RSPB Reserve which is located on the Selsey/Chichester road and is sign posted. Persistent rain drove us into a hide which overlooked a lake which provided very good views of various waders, includingLapwing and a Little Gull. Leaving the hide we saw and photographed a Whitethroat. The above locations are important sites and we would recommend the latter two. The Wildfowl & Wetland Centre at Arundel is a must. There are many ducks and geese to observe but our aim was to see the Water Vole. We visited this site on both days and saw voles on each of them and more than once on each boat ride. We sat within feet of them while they chewed away. They are just great to see. Our other stars were Sedge Warblers and a Reed Warbler rattling away in the reeds outside reception. Peregine Falcons also obliged on both occasions and we watched a perched one drying himself out after rain. We just needed more time.