What to look for in summer…

The highlight of summer at Pagham Harbour is our tern colony. Taking a leisurely stroll, starting from our Visitor Centre, pass through the Discovery Zone. The pond is full of life with backswimmers and boatman sculling below the surface and newts coming up for a gulp of air. Dragonflies patrol the airways above with a clash of wings and dainty damselflies land lightly on the vegetation, basking in the sun. Bees, butterflies, hoverflies and beetles revel in the floral displays of teasel, thistle, knapweed and more.

Stopping off at Ferry Hide black tailed godwits, avocet, shelduck, lapwing and redshank are regular feeders in Ferry Pool which also turns up early migrant waders, while the feeding station behind draws in a variety of garden bird species from gold, green and chaffinches, to sparrows and tits.

Following the path down the ‘West Side’ of our reserve the habitats change with reedbeds, open fields, and hedges before the harbour and its mudflats open out in front of you.

Nearing Church Norton the clamour of breeding seabirds is heard well before Tern Island comes into view. Little, sandwich and common tern all vie for space with black-headed and Mediterranean gulls and the air is full of parents coming and going as they try to keep up with the demands of hungry youngsters.

Elsewhere, there are still plenty of warblers around despite the breeding season winding down. Whitethroats continue to sing from the bushes and scrub, chiffchaff and blackcaps from the trees and reed and cetti’s warblers from the reedbeds. Grey herons and little egrets are seen across both reserves and cattle egrets may turn up anywhere there is livestock feeding, while  corn bunting, linnet, skylark, and yellowhammer can also be found over on Medmerry.