At least 125 pintails on the north brooks this morning, with plenty teal, wigeon, shoveler and mallard. 1 pochard, 5 shelduck and 6 black-tailed godwits also present.
Yesterday, 6 highland cows were moved onto 'the triangle'. This is the most easterly section of the heath (and not surprisingly triangular in shape!) which was fenced earlier in the year to contain livestock. Getting cattle onto the whole of the heath, this being the final part, has been the culmination of several years work for many staff, volunteers and contractors (although this part was I think rather lost on the cows themselves). The cattle didn't hang about, getting stuck into the birch seedlings, bramble and course grasses right away. They will help maintain the condition of the heath for a wide variety of wildlife in the long term.
The brooks are busy with wildfowl (hundreds of wigeon) and waders, the first few black-tailed godwits of the winter have appeared and there has been a recent sighting of a great grey shrike just down the valley - we're hoping the bird turns up again either here at Pulborough Brooks or the Amberley wild brooks.
On Monday and Tuesday at Pulborough Brooks you may have seen a friendly bunch of field teachers, glowing in our unique red shirts, throwing ropes around. A strange activity, resulting in plenty of laughter but for a very serious reason - safety! Firstly, in the meadow we checked our technique and aim then we moved onto a more suitable pond to consider the use of our "life ropes" should anyone fall into the pond. Safety is the first consideration when we plan any field work with our visiting school groups. Our aim of the life rope training was to "train our aim of the life rope" and consider the use of the rope, both elements achieved with just a bit of fun on the way!
First frosts of the autumn over the last two nights has given the site a much more wintry feel. There are few redpolls to be found feeding the birches around the trail, a few siskins in the pines on the heath and small groups of fieldfares and redwings have been seen passing overhead. Yesterday morning, the female peregrine was sitting in her usual tree nr the hanger viewpoint and a raven drifted over the north brooks at about 08.00. There were plenty of the common wildfowl on the north brooks inc. at least 55 pintail. A flock of small birds along the bridleway was mostly long-tailed tits and blue tits but also contained at least 3 goldcrests, 1 treecreeper and 1 nuthatch.
A little stint, the tiniest of tiny passage waders, reported by a few visitors yesterday - it has been a complete blank for them here so far this autumn. The brooks are generally very busy with wildfowl, with hundreds of wigeon, teal, shoveler, pintail mallard, lapwing, greylag geese and canada geese across the site. A few redwings over the visitor centre first thing this morning, and there are still a handful of summer migrants about - a few swallows, 1 blackcap and 1 chiffchaff noted this morning.