RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Pagham Harbour

This is the winter version of an old summer walk of 6.4kms (3.8 miles) I described several years ago.

My point being that you will enjoy seeing wetland birds that will soon disappear back to the Kara Sea in Russia where arctic drilling is to be made. Make the most of them before they vanish.

The walk has WSCC car parking at the Sidlesham Pagham Harbour centre which is open seven days a week till 5pm. The centre gives details of harbour wildlife and history including an update on sightings.

You can also buy copies of past Sussex Bird Reports which are essential reading for Sussex people interested in their environment.

Now follow the coastal footpath around the southern harbour shore.

Your first stop is the bird hide overlooking the famous Ferry Pool. This freshwater pool gives brilliant close sightings of a wide range of water birds year round. Many rarities have been logged here.

At this moment you will see the four duck species: mallard, wigeon, teal and shelduck and have time to sort out their identifications.

Around the edges waders of a score of different species have been seen, many rare.

At the moment lapwings, redshanks, snipe are common. But exciting rarities such as curlew sandpiper, little stint, and spotted redshank often suddenly appear so be prepared.

Walk on crossing the siphon outlet then eastward towards the sea.

You should start to hear the bubbling whistle of curlew, and a hundred may be seen feeding to the left over the mudflats. They often roost in a flock there.

Low tide channels give perfect shelter facing the sun and pinpointing the oystercatchers, redshanks, and wigeon feeding there together with brent geese. All will remain till mid-March so now is your moment.

Now opposite Old Church with its enormous mainly ancient cemetery, is a favourite bird watching spot on the shingle ridge.

A hundred cormorants dry their wings there and several species of gulls.

Onwards to the sea, passing a favourite tidal pool to right over the seawall where all sorts of goodies such as spotted redshank might be seen. Stonechats like the gorse and brambles.

The vast shingle bank is a favourite sea watch for birders who see terns, skuas, sea ducks (scaup and scoters) divers, grebes and geese passing on their transworld migrations.

Also a nice place to drink your cup of tea and relax upon the oyster shells and pebble ridge before return to the woody Alvis standing in for the Morris which has migrated to a new life.