4 Bewick's swans, all adults, on the north brooks today - possibly the earliest ever Sussex arrivals (late November to early December is more normal). What do they know we don't?! They apparently arrived about 10.30-11am and promptly went to sleep, as you would if you've just flown in from Arctic Russia. Also a few fieldfares over the reserve during mid-morning, a definite sign of autumn. Yesterday, at least 35 pintail were on the north brooks whenthere were only 6 or 7 the day before suggesting something of an overnight influx. Goldcrests have been noticeably more common in hedgerows and woodland over the last week, 2 ravens were present on the heath on saturday, at least 2 peregrines have been regularly hunting the north brooks (1 ad female and 1 juv/brown female) and stonechats have been seen from west mead and nettley's hides.Wildfowl count at the begginning of the week produced ca. 430 teal, 530 wigeon, 115 mallard, 40 shoveler, 280 lapwing, 30 snipe, 200 greylag geese and 800 canada geese. Also in the last few days, 2 dunlin, 1 ruff, 1 golden plover and 2 green sandpipers have been seen on various parts of the brooks.
Another sure sign that it's that time of year again - fallow deer bucks have started roaring (or is it croaking?) and gathering up groups of females. A particularly fine male can often be seen strutting his stuff from the visitor centre window.