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This panel commemorates the lives of Stanley Rowlatt Allen MBE and his wife Peggy.

Extracted from a Shoreham District Ornithological Society publication article written when Stanley was 85:

‘…. joining SDOS has led me from raw amateurism to a fanaticism about birds, insatiable even at my age.’

His enthusiasm and zest for supporting ecological and other causes continued to the end in his late 90s.

Supported by Peggy, Stanley became treasurer in 1981, then Chairman and ultimately President. He was a diligent champion of the conservation of important local bird habitats and served on West Sussex County Council’s Widewater Local Nature Reserve committee.

Stanley first knew Widewater as a child in the 1920s. With Peggy this affinity continued through fond memories of family visits to their beach hut. In his later years Stanley would be driven to Widewater by family and was reluctant to leave until he had seen a Kingfisher.

The Allen Memorial Panel - sited by the information kiosk

Panel 1

Sizes given below are length first then wingspan

Black-headed Gulls 35-39cm/ WS 86-99cm

BH GullsUsually the most numerous gulls at Widewater.Mature at two years old, the adults have their black head only during the breeding season.
They nest on the ground. As Widewater and local beaches do not provide a safe ground nesting environment these gulls are absent for the breeding season in Spring to early Summer when non-breeding birds start to return.

Photo: Janet Derricott

17-19.5cm / WS 25cm

KingfisherKingfisher 2Often two are present but, being small, are not easy to spot. Watch out for their rapid flight low over the water. They often dive on their prey from water’s edge perches along the gardens or landing stages of the houses.

Photos: Martin Peacock (L), Dorian Mason (R)

Little Egret 55-65cm / WS 88-106cm

Little EgretAn almost certain sighting year round moving between the lagoon, the nearby RSPB Adur Nature Reserve and River Adur valley and nesting in trees in the Coombes area. Feathers are what make birds unique in the animal world and the pure white plumes of the Egret were in great demand by the millinery trade.
Consequently this species was becoming endangered by the 19th century and led to the establishment of the RSPB. Global warming has led to this continental bird extending its range to the UK and is a now a common sight since first appearing in the 1970's.  
Photo: Paula Blake

Watch out for other white Egrets! Its larger relative the Great Egret has now reached our shores and has been fleetingly reported at Widewater. Its smaller continental relative, the Cattle Egret has more recently been seen briefly. Another possible white ‘heron like’ bird is Spoonbill and occasionally a Grey Heron may visit.

Red-breasted Merganser 52-58cm /WS 76-82cm

MerganserOne of two UK ‘Sawbill’ species. They are usually encountered off-shore during the winter but up to half a dozen are often seen within the lagoon from mid-winter to March. Enjoy observing their courting displays when they chase each other across the water.

Photo: Martin Peacock

Goosander 58-68cm /WS78-94cm

GoosanderGoosander FAnother UK ‘Sawbill’ species. Mostly seen on freshwater lakes, slow moving rivers and sometimes sheltered estuaries. Less likely to visit than Mergansers, one or two may visit in January and February. The female Mergansers and Goosanders are very similar. Photos: Dorian Mason

The rufous head colour of the Merganser merges into the breast whereas there is a sharp contrast between rufous head and white breast on the Goosander. Often persecuted in its breeding areas by fish farm owners.

Sandwich Tern 37-43cm /WS 85-97cm

Sandwich TernSummer visitor from March to October. Resembling a small gull, they have a black cap in summer with a ragged crest and a black and white cap in winter. Note the black bill with yellow tip. In bad weather they may roost on posts within the lagoon. Otherwise they may be seen diving from height off-shore where Common and possibly Little Tern may be passing.

Photo: Paul Loader

Cormorant 77-94cm / WS 121-149cm


CormorantApart from a white and yellow face the adults are blackish. Juveniles have variable pale underparts. Regularly present in the lagoon roosting and preening on posts or islands or diving for fish and eels.

Photos: Ron Bewley (L), Dorian Mason (R)

Little Grebe 23-29cm /WS 40-45cm

Little GrebeThe smallest Grebe often known as ‘Dabchicks’ due to their ‘powder puff’ appearance. Dives frequently to feed on very small fish and other aquatic creatures. Often lurk under overhanging landings and bushes opposite. They start to appear at Widewater from late September with about thirty present before they leave in Spring to nest in secluded wetland sites.

Photo: Martin Peacock

Great Black-backed Gull 61-74cm /WS144-166cm

GBB GullMature at four/five years old. The biggest and most predatory gull which, combined with other disturbances in this public location, contributes to the lack of nesting wetland birds apart from swans. Note the large size and pinkish grey legs which distinguish it from the Lesser Black-backed Gull with yellow legs and is slightly smaller than a Herring Gull. The LBBG is seen locally but not usually at Widewater.

Photo: Andrew Hilton

Herring Gull 54-69cm /123-148cm

Herring GullMature at four/five years old. Ubiquitous scavenger seen following fishing boats, tractors in ploughed fields, on rubbish tips and taking anything edible including snatching seaside holiday makers’ snacks!

Photo: Martin Peacock

Panel Photo Credits:

Panel 1

Black-headed Gulls – Janet Derricott, Martin Peacock (inset)
Kingfisher – Martin Peacock ( martinsbirdingblog.blogspot.co.uk)
Little Egret – Paula Blake
Red-breasted Merganser – Martin Peacock
Goosander – Dorian Mason (dorianmason.com)
Sandwich Tern – Paul Loader
Cormorant  - Ron Bewley, Dorian Mason (inset)
Little Grebe – Martin Peacock
Great Black-backed Gull – Andrew Hilton
Herring Gull – Paula Blake

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