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Saturday 13th September 2008
Thorney Island (clockwise)
8 miles

The chance of seeing an Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and a Wryneck (Jynx torquilla), combined with a beautiful walk by the sea, lured us back to Thorney Island. Today was also the first time the sun had shone for over a week, so we wanted to make the most of it. Gill also wanted to have afternoon tea in the cloisters of Chichester Cathedral, which closes its doors at 5pm.
The tide was just starting to retreat when we got to Thorney at 11am and by the time we left at 5pm it was completely out, revealing all of the mudflats and sand bars.
Wherever we turned there were birds, and our list quickly grew: Redstart, Sandwich Tern, Kingfisher, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Little Grebe, Wheatear, Lapwing, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Swallow, House martin........
The circular footpath around the island was inhabited by butterflies and bees, floored with fungi, and lined with ripe berries of all kinds. We picked a sandwich box full of sloes that we are going to make into sloe gin for Christmas.
At Longmere Point, the southernmost point of the island, we stopped to watch a female Red-backed Shrike (
Lanius collurio) that had been pointed out to us. She was perched in a bush and was swooping down to grab small prey items and taking them back to the perch for eating. This was the first female we had seen and she hasn't got such distinctive markings as the male.
Suddenly I noticed something very large at sea flying in from the east. Gill spotted it too and together we gazed open-mouthed while the Osprey  dived into the sea with talons outstretched. Its first attack was unsuccessful, but the second a moment later produced a fish which it took to a large rock on the shoreline. We watched as it spread its huge wings and took off again, flying away to the north hotly pursued by two gulls. No pictures of course, as we were far too busy being amazed.
The only downers on the whole day were: we didn't spot a wryneck - Gill didn't have time to have tea with the bishop - Gill stepped in dog poo.

Who cares, we saw an osprey - WOO HOO!

You have been warned!


St Nicholas' at West Thorney

Gill messing about with the camera. It proves the sun was out though!

Elderberries mmmmmm!


Mud flats. Keep off!

Our previous trip to Thorney Island

Sunday 14th September 2008
Arlington reservoir - 1530

We went out in the afternoon just for a bike ride and planned on stopping at the reservoir on our way to Litlington tea rooms and then going on to Shooters Bottom to see if we could find a wryneck.
At the reservoir we parked the bike, walked to the waterside, and there above us was an osprey. Gill scrambled in her bag for her binoculars but I already had mine on. I got a great view of the underneath and face of the bird before it started to fly away across the water. On reaching the far side it turned and came back giving us both a good view. It then flew off in a south-westerly direction. What a weekend!

When I reported yesterdays red-backed shrike to the SOS website, I was asked to make a full report to the county recorder.