RICHARD WILLIAMSON Country Walk...Church Norton

This is not so much a walk as another of my ‘viewing platforms’ from which you can experience the remarkable wild seabird spectacles we are so lucky to have in this county, especially in the autumn to spring when the birds have returned from their breeding grounds up north.

Distance 2.5 miles (4kms) parking at Church Norton SZ873976 almost a mile east of the Selsey road.

As you walk past the ancient fort down to the harbour, note the small woodland and bushes to right which often shelter some extreme rarities that have made landfall or are leaving Britain on migration, so do not be surprised if you encounter groups of twitchers with telescopes.

On reaching the shore turn right towards the sea and again note the various so-called seagulls which might be flying about. But please be aware that although these all appear to be the same, in fact 12 different species of gull have been seen here. See Nature Watch below for just two of them.

Also note that many of these species have up to four separate colour phases as they grow year by year, which makes about 48 ident conundrums. This could be the start for you of a lifetime hobby.

This is further complicated by the fact the adults change colours as they come into breeding plumage and again leave this in autumn, making a further 12 which equals 60 combinations.

Down to the shingle bank, turn left to walk along to the harbour mouth. Note the large plants of sea kale, a nationally-scarce species that has to be protected at all costs.

Many other shingle plants such as woody nightshade, sea beet and stonecrop.

The harbour is nationally important for three species of waterbird, namely brent goose, pintail duck and black-tailed godwit.

A total of 20,000 waterbirds live in this harbour September to March, the 53rd-largest collection in the UK. At high water many roost on this bank.

The commonest wader here is the dunlin with 1,000 at roost. There may also be 250 redshanks.

From this bank looking into the harbour, you may get close to brent geese feeding here in the winter. Also to be seen are wigeon, teal, mallard, pintail and shelducks which are black and white.

You could watch at least 20 different species of waterbird from this bank.

Now looking out to sea, you will see more of the ocean species which migrate east in spring, west in autumn. The bank is therefore a good platform to see terns, gulls, cormorants, sea ducks such as scoters and mergansers, also exciting birds such as skuas, gannets, shearwaters and divers.

So much to see on this coast; even the drive down in the old car is refreshing.