The Central Panel - by the causeway

panel 2

Sizes given below are length first and then wingspan

House Sparrow 12.5-14cm /WS 22-25cm

SparrowMale has brown head with grey crown. Female much plainer.

Very social birds; noisy, squabbling groups in bushes by the footpath and gardens opposite. Although considered common they are included on this panel to note the large numbers present around the lagoon area whereas nationwide they are of conservation concern due to now being absent in many areas.

Photo: Paula Blake

Mute Swan 140-160cm /WS200-240cm

SwansCommon, widespread and year round UK resident. Other Swan species are seasonal and unlikely to be seen at Widewater. For several years Widewater has had its own successful resident breeding pair. Admittedly their success has been assisted by a local resident skilled at dealing with swans at a sanctuary. They are prone to attack by dogs allowed off the lead contrary to the PSPO applying within this local nature reserve. Photo: Jo Procter

Measures are taken to keep foxes away from their nest site. In late winter the adults will drive the juveniles away from the lagoon before breeding again.

Kestrel 31-37cm /WS 65-82cm

Kedtrel 1Kestrel 2Often present and perched on suitable bushes or typically hovering above prey. Male has chestnut back, grey head and tail; female has ginger-brown upper parts.

Photos: Paula Blake (L), Paul Loader (R)

Usually hunts for small mammals but could take small birds. A Sparrow Hawk or Peregrine may be seen passing.

Teal 34-38cm /WS 53-59cm

TealMale head is chestnut brown with a green panel and has a yellow triangular patch below its tail. Both sexes have a green stripe (speculum) on their wings. Present during the winter period on Widewater and nearby RSPB Adur Nature Reserve. Nests in secluded vegetation and moorland sites.

Photo: Paula Blake

Mallard 50-60cm /SW 81-95cm

MallardA few are often present. Note the blue speculum. Beware! There are about a dozen feral/hybrid ducks present of various colourations and sizes; some are similar in aspects of appearance to Mallards. The feral ducks usually flock together.

Photo: Paula Blake

Redshank 24-27cm /WS 47-53cm

RedshankOften one or more of this wader species may be present around the muddy lagoon edges and typically identified by the longish red legs and long bill. Numbers may be augmented on an exceptionally high tide from the nearby River Adur where 60/100 are present during the winter.

Photo: Dorian Mason

Greenshank 30-33cm /WS 55-62cm

GreenshankThe long greenish legs and the overall more white underparts give them a brighter appearance than the Redshank. Generally regarded as a passage migrant having nested in the far north, it is not unusual for one or two to over-winter between Widewater and the RSPB Adur Nature Reserve.

Photo: Martin Peacock

Brent Goose 55-62cm /WS 105-117cm

Brent GooseBreeds in the Artic tundra and winters where suitable vegetation is found near our coasts and estuaries. A flock passing overhead can be impressive in sight and sound. Occasionally one may graze around the edges of the lagoon but they do not stay.

Photo: Martin Peacock

Pied Wagtail 16.5-19cm /WS28cm

Pied WagtailLarger than a Sparrow and with a long bobbing tail. Commonly seen on the footpaths or shingle searching for insects.

Photo: Paula Blake

Wheatear 14-16.5 /WS27-28cm

WheatearWheatear 2The coast is a temporary staging post for Wheatears that are only seen on migration; incoming in Spring and outgoing in Autumn. The males have grey backs on arrival and brown on departure whereas the females are plainer without a bold eye stripe and are brown/buff. If seen at a distance look out for a flash of white rump in flight.

  Photo: Paul Loader (L), Dorian Mason (R)

They could be on the lagoon shingle but most are seen along the beach top and groynes or sea defences. Morning is the best time before they move on.

Stonechat 11.5-13cm /WS21-23cm

StonechatThe female is plainer with a brown head, paler to buff breast and small white collar. Usually spotted on top of a prominent but low lying viewpoint and emitting a sharp ‘chac, chac’ call.

Photo: Andrew Holter

Starling 19-22cm /WS35-40cm

StarlingCommon nationwide resident but of conservation concern due to decreasing numbers.

Renowned for spectacular murmurations of huge flocks.
At Widewater mini-murmurations can be equally entertaining.

Photo: Dotian Mason

Panel Photo Credits:

Panel 2

House Sparrow – Paula Blake
Mute Swan family – Jo Procter
Kestrel – Dorian Mason (dorianmason.com)
Teal – Paula Blake
Redshank – Dorian Mason
Greenshank – Martin Peacock
Brent Goose – Martin Peacock
Mallard – Paula Blake
Pied Wagtail – Paula Blake
Wheatear – Paul Loader
Stonechat – Andrew Holter
Starling – Dorian Mason

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