February, 2012

Pulborough Brooks

Pulborough Brooks
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Pulborough Brooks

  • Water rail vs weasel

    A busy half term meant that I didn't escape from the confines of the building last week, so had to content myself with things that could be seen from the visitor centre window.  Not so bad, when our star bird - the water rail - parades around within 2 metres of the window!  And it's not just the water rail who has been enjoying the mealworms; we've seen a lovely collection of house sparrows, dunnocks, song thrush, mallard and moorhen, and some mammals - a very cute little bank vole, a sleek glossy-coated weasel have been enjoying the tasty snacks too!  Am hoping that the water rail and the weasel don't get into a fight.

    Good job that the RSPB dried mealworms are on special offer at the moment, we're getting through them at quite a rate... 

    Who do you get feeding on mealworms in your gardens?  Can anyone rival 'my' water rail?

    A little further afield, using the telescope that's set up in the centre, I've seen plenty of lapwings, a few curlew and black-tailed godwits, white-fronted geese and all the lovely dabbling ducks.  And every morning I arrive to hear great-spotted woodpeckers drumming in the old oaks.

    If I had been able to get out and about around the trail I could have been enjoying the firecrests at Fattengates, beautiful pink, plump bullfinches in the hedgerows and superbly camouflaged snipe at Winpenny hide.  Out on the heathland the crossbills have been almost reliable, and last week we had a singing woodlark and a drumming lesser-spotted woodpecker too.

    Many of our birds are feeling that spring is on the way and bird song is certainly on the increase.  Our house sparrows are busy collecting nesting material already, so if you've got nest boxes to put up in your garden then you'd better get them up now!

    And finally, just thought I'd share a couple of lovely photos taken by one of our visitors at the weekend...

    Thanks to Roger Garland for these great pictures of Nuthatch and Treecreeper. 

     If anyone else takes any photos here, please share them with us.  You can e-mail them in or post them onto the gallery...

  • Sneaky snipe, crests and crossbills

    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!

  • Calling all teachers! new programmes for 2012

    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.