Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pulborough sightings

Today I was volunteering at Pulborough Brooks. Despite the weather being one of the driest and clearest days we've had in some time, it was pretty quiet with very few visitors on the reserve. I really don't mind it when it's that quiet though as I spend lots of time, in between putting out stock, peering through our scopes and binoculars trying to spot the birds.
The herd of black fallow deer often seen on the reserve.

The reserve is currently flooded (no surprises there!) so a lot of the regular wading birds have moved on, but the lapwings are still about and today a large group of them were huddled on a tiny strip of grass not yet covered by the flood waters. They are wonderful to watch and instantly recognisable with the long flick of plumage on their heads. Most of them today were sitting with everything tucked in, trying to shelter from the wind although there were a couple running back and forth chasing off anything that got too close. 

There are plenty of wildfowl occupying the waters at the moment as well. Today I watched large groups of wigeon bobbing on the choppy waters like tug boats and I managed to focus on a male and female pintail; I'm sure there were more of them but I didn't spot them. It's the first time I've seen pintail and even through the scope,  there's certainly no mistaking that long tail (much like the lapwing's head!) 

The visitor centre has a large, floor-to-ceiling window which gives a fantastic view of the reserve when you first enter and I honestly never get tired of looking out of it. Just the other side of the glass are two thick hedges which are always full of various small birds, mostly sparrows, robins and blackbirds. There were four dunnocks flying to and fro today, easily identified by the grey of their underbelly. 

I also spotted rooks and jackdaws, two moorhens and three male chaffinches, so overall not a bad day for birdwatching!

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