An icy day for our World Wetlands Day celebrations, but sightings out on the brooks included white fronted geese, black-tailed godwit, dunlin and a nice range of dabbling ducks. In terms of 'the predators' we saw the juvenile peregrine, a lovely female kestrel and a sparrowhawk. The highlight for me was fabulous views of around 25 snipe, busily feeding in the rushy area in front of the view point between West Mead and Winpenny Hides. They were doing exactly what snipe do best - being superbly camouflaged - until you get your eye in and then suddenly you find them everywhere!
As well as the wetlands, it's well worth a look around the wooded areas of the reserve at the moment - goldcrests and firecrests continue to show in the conifers around fattengates courtyard. Whilst you're there, keep an eye out for mammals as well....
Phil Winter took this lovely photo of a weasel whilst staking out the firecrests!
And crossbills have been showing beautifully on the heathland trail. One of our volunteers, Russ, took some cracking photos of crossbills yesterday
And yes, 'my' water rail is still out and about regularl feasting on mealworms.
Now come along and see them all yourself!
To coincide with World Wetlands Day, and for the weekend that follows, we're inviting you to come on a ‘Date with Nature’ where staff and volunteers will be on hand to introduce you to some of the best winter wildlife.
I love this time of year; the wetlands are teeming with colourful teal, elegant pintail and minesweeping shoveler ducks. There are some great noises too – whistling wigeon, quacking mallards and honking geese! There’s even a chance that a peregrine falcon – the fastest creature in the world – may pay us a visit, causing chaos amongst the ducks and lapwings and creating quite a spectacle!
'Our' peregrine at Hange View - photographed by Gareth Hughes.
Just come along and see us between 10 am and 3 pm from Thursday 2 through to Sunday 5 February . On World Wetlands Day itself, entry to the nature trail will be free to all visitors.
‘World Wetlands Day’, held on 2 February each year, is an international celebration of this important habitat and you can enjoy one of the best sites right here on your doorstep.
It's only February and I've already dispensed with the need for the RSPB fleece whilst enjoying picnics!
What a beautiful day on Sunday, birds were singing, adders were basking, and I was hoping that my visitors were enjoying their guided walk/birdwatching course...
We always hope for a few 'star' birds to put in an appearance on our events, and sure enough a couple of lovely birds were very co-operative (and I didn't even need to bribe them with mealworms!).
A nice range of songsters entertained us on the heathland trail, but we were really hoping to find a crossbill or two, and, just before we were due to head back towards the centre, 3 of them flew into the conifers just above our heads - perfect! As a little reminder of these fantastic birds here is another of Russ' photos of a Pulborough crossbill.
We then headed down towards Fattengates courtyard keeping our fingers crossed that we would find goldcrests and firecrests - all very good for practising those new id skills we'd been talking about. A tiny bird hovered around the low conifer branches, briefly settled and turned towards us, and there was the eye stripe of the firecrest - a brilliant view of a great little bird. Although the firecrest is the rarer of the two, perhaps most exciting was a couple of rather feisty goldcrests who were involved in a bit of an altercation and confronted one another with their crests raised and flared out - such an incredible splash of colour, and something I've only been lucky enough to see a couple of times. It's a tough job sometimes!
And it looks as though we weren't the only ones out having fun and seeing some great wildlife - Richard Trueman sent in this photo of a weasel. Not sure I'd like to be a mouse or vole with this fellow around ...
The education programme at Pulborough Brooks has been graded "Outstanding" by the Learning Outside the Classroom Council's nationally recognised Quality Badge standard. We are very proud of our school visits at the reserve that are based upon the science and geography curriculum. All our field teachers are qualified teachers with huge amounts of expertise and enthusiasm. We have updated our prgrammes for 2012, and added a new "Plant explorer" day with hands on activities to enage children with the great outdoors. So if you are teaching budding botanists or young explorers do get in touch, or see our webpage, for more information about an excellent day's learning in our beautiful landscape.
A male lesser spotted woodpecker was drumming from a large oak on the heath (next to tumuli and sweet chestnut coppice) at 07.30 this morning. Water rail still showing in front of the visitor centre window.