Widewater Lagoon Bird Walk

Sunday 12th February 2017

You may remember that Sunday was a very dank and bone chillingly cold day but despite the conditions 20 people attended the very informative and fun Widewater Lagoon bird walk – facilitated by Tim Holter, a man of great knowledge about the fascinating world of birds. of those who attended some were WOW members, some members of Shoreham and District Ornithological Society (SDOS) and some who noted the event from WOW’s website.


Courtesy of Tim Holter:

‘In previous years we had been entertained by several Red-breasted Mergansers and Goosanders but these species have only made fleeting appearances this winter season and not today. 

First we sighted Little Grebes which, as usual, were spread the whole length of the lagoon. What do they eat was asked and answered later by a Grebe which took some time thrashing a small fish around before swallowing.

We also observed a Little Egret, two Redshank, several Teal, Pied Wagtail, Wood Pigeon, Starlings, Carrion Crows, a male and female Stonechat, feral ducks and pigeons. Due to a high water level no further mud feeding waders were present. There were a number of Black-headed Gulls loafing in the shallow water with Herring Gulls and a Great Black-backed Gull seen.

The group noted the presence of many red listed House Sparrows along the length of the lagoon and discussed the reason for their decline in many localities.

We were advised that from the Shoreham Beach, earlier this morning, a member had observed several Gannets diving off-shore. This prompted us to keep an eye to the sea and several of us found Gannets some way off-shore; a number of Great Crested Grebes and what I believe, in the mizzly light and with watery eyes, were a group of four Red-throated Divers.

Attention was drawn to Turnstones on the beach which transferred to the rock groynes giving good scope views and several cormorants passed over the sea.

The resident two adult Mute Swans were initially seen at the east end and Jo Procter pointed out how to male was larger than the female. The five 2016 juveniles had been at the west end but during the morning the adults approached them and took action intended to encourage them to depart from the lagoon as the new breeding season starts and the adults become territorial. We were most concerned when an adult stood on the back of one juvenile!  At the far west end were a group of unrelated swans. Some flew off, a quite impressive sight, but must have circled around to return to make a total of thirteen in the lagoon. Jo advises the additional swans, if they have not departed in search of their own territories, will also be driven away by the resident adults prior to Spring nesting. 


Thank you to everyone who attended, the atmosphere was one of community and sharing, it was great fun and I am sure we all enjoyed feeling warm, once home and thawed out.

A huge thank you to Tim Holter who generously gives his time and energy to ensure that we all are more informed about the beautiful and varied birds that visit this lovely nature reserve.
by Gill Purnell

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