You're unlikely to see much water down at West Mead hide at the moment, and as a result, you're unlikely to spot any waders or ducks.
This makes it the ideal time for us to undertake some habitat management work, so what you might spy from the hide over the next few days is a big yellow digger!
As part of the Heritage Lottery funded Arun and Rother Connections (ARC) project we are deepening and extending the pool in front of West Mead hide. As you will have seen this summer (and during previous dry summers) by August this pool is reduced to a small muddy puddle. The work we are doing should help us to retain water in the pool for longer, providing important wetland habitat for birds and other wildlife and also improving the views of wildlife for our visitors.
By digging out some areas and deepening the pool we will also have plenty of mud to use - we'll be using it to create some small islands in the pool to act as 'loafing' areas for the ducks and potential muddy edges to attract the wading birds. By extending the pool and adding a few more islands and areas for the birds to shelter we're also hoping that the pool will be less vulnerable to disturbance in the winter.
This is just a small part of the work that is being undertaken here at Pulborough Brooks and in the wider Arun and Rother area as part of the ARC project. In September, once the busy summer holidays are over, we will be starting work on resurfacing some of the pathways and creating a new trail that avoids the areas prone to flooding in wet winter. We'll be keeping you updated as the work progresses.
In the meantime, we're sorry for any disturbance but are sure that for some of our visitors at this time of year, the sight of a big yellow digger may cause just as much excitement as the sight of a bird!
Starting on Monday 18 August and continuing for a few days a section of the public bridleway and footpath running through our wooded heathland site will be closed.
Work is being undertaken to raise the level of the path in the area adjacent to 'black pond'. This should be good for both our wildlife and our visitors:
It will enable us to maintain higher water levels in the pond during dry summers which should help the dragonflies and damselflies.
By raising the path this should help to prevent flooding during periods of high rainfall.
Diversions will be in place whilst work is underway. Please help us by not entering taped off areas - thank you!
This is an emerald damselfly - one of the many wonderful species of dragonfly and damselfly that enjoy the pools on our newly restored heathland. Thanks to volunteer Russ for the fabulous photo.
A good day for migrant birds on the reserve.
Pick of the bunch are spotted flycatcher and redstart who have been making good use of the hedgerows and fence posts to perch on between sallies to catch any passing insects. It's important for them to fatten up before they continue on their southward journey.
The redstart is a rather shy bird and will often only allow you a brief rear-end view as it darts away. However, even the briefest of glimpses will betray its identity as you catch sight of the bright rusty red tail. This splash of red, found on both the male, female and juvenile gives this bird its name. It also accounts for some of the bird’s common names of ‘redtail’ and ‘firetail’.
This photograph of a male redstart was taken on the reserve a couple of years ago by Gareth Hughes. Why not see if you can take one this year - we'd love to see any photos that you take on the reserve.
Also putting in an appearance today are whinchat - one seen from Jupp's view and the other (conveniently) feeding in Upperton's field in view from the Visitor Centre window.
The North Brooks continues to be attractive to waders with ruff, black-tailed godwit, greenshank, green sandpiper, common sandpiper and snipe reported today.
Highlights from the world of insects include the fabulous bronze-winged brown hawker dragonfly, brown hairstreak butterflies (one female consented to descend from the treetops and pose for photographs) and a clouded yellow.