“As we progress into the autumnal months, the wildlife goes through a sea of change in one of our most bird-rich harbours in the county. Pagham Harbour, situated to the south of Chichester, is the wintering hub for thousands of wading birds and wildfowl, all of whom start to arrive at this time of year. Many Dunlin, Knot, Bar-tailed Godwits and Grey Plover join the many Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks which have spent the summer here.
Although they don’t breed in Sussex, Ospreys are regular migrants and often linger in the area before continuing south on their migration to west Africa. Search for these impressive birds of prey over bodies of water as they seek their main prey – fish.
During September and October, Brent Geese also start to arrive from their breeding grounds in Russia, and although they will be seen in smaller numbers compared to the wintering months, they are still equally impressive. As the autumn turns into winter, many thousands can be found across the expansive mudflats of Pagham or Chichester Harbour.
Passerines will also be migrating at this time of year, and the start of September already has seen the likes of Red-backed Shrike and Wryneck being found. However, commoner birds may include an assortment of warblers in the various trees and bushes, whilt Wheatears will be on the beaches and Whinchats will be amongst Stonechats along the hedgerows.
Nearby, Harbour and Grey Seals will be busy at this time of year as it’s the pupping season, and organised cruises around Chichester Harbour is the best way to view these magnificent animals going about their daily business. These cruises will also be the best way to view many waterbirds: Sandwich Terns, Cormorants and Red-breasted Mergansers are all likely during the autumn, and if you’re lucky, a Black Tern may also be present amongst the various gulls here.”
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Matt Eade, Nature Trek