Popular children’s presenter, Naomi Wilkinson, will be visiting RSPB Pulborough Brooks on Sunday 2 October, to help local children get even closer to nature.
One lucky RSPB member will be treated to a personalised tour of the reserve with Naomi, presenter of CBBC’s Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature. Charlotte, aged 7, entered the Wild Walk with Wilkinson competition in the charity’s Bird Life magazine and won the opportunity to meet Naomi, who is one of her wildlife heroes, at her local RSPB reserve, Pulborough Brooks.
Naomi and RSPB staff will be helping Charlotte to become a wildlife detective. Together they will try to track down some of the creatures that live on the site, such as mice, moths and reptiles.
In the afternoon Charlotte will discover the endangered wintering birds which feed on the reserves’ floodplain and attract visitors from across the country to this Special Protection Area (SPA).
At 3.00pm, Naomi will also be helping with a family pond dipping session outside the reserve’s visitor centre and cafe. This session will be open to the public.
If you would like to find out more about this, or any of the other family events running at the at the reserve this autumn, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/pulboroughbrooks<http://www.rspb.org.uk/pulboroughbrooks
Photos: Angle shades moth (Anna Allum), Bank Vole (Pete Hughes), Wigeon (Anne Harwood), Pond dipping (Anna Allum)
Thank you to volunteer Phil for his report and photos!
Recent Sightings Friday 16th September – The Resident Peregrine
Another autumnal Friday after overnight storms, saw a Northerly wind providing a chill factor particularly to the North Brooks, in complete contrast to the heatwave of earlier in the week.
Nevertheless the Hanger provided excellent views of the resident peregrine which on this occasion chose to perch on a very open dead branch of its usual willow tree pointing directly at the viewpoint.
I hadn’t seen much of this bird for a while and I had wondered whether it had moved away to find food with scarcity of wildfowl here over the summer.
My colleague John and I tried our hands at digiscoping but the strong wind was not helpful. However the attached close up photos (John’s one is the front view), give some idea of the bird which spent much of its time preening in various contortionist positions at one point seeming as if it t was trying to pluck out its own feathers.
We noted that there was a ring on the right leg. It was impossible to read this but it did confirm that it was most likely the resident bird that we know has been ringed as a chick at the nest in an old quarry near Amberley Station just a few miles away. We also noted that, the streaks on the breast were now in a horizontal pattern, whereas a few months ago they had been in the vertical pattern characteristic of juvenile peregrines.
Elsewhere on the reserve there appeared to be a complete lack of waders (maybe out of sight behind the long rushes), but John thought he caught a glimpse of a snipe taking off. While undertaking a ditch survey on Monday I’d flushed 4 snipe near Winpenny so there are definitely some on the reserve now.
Teal, mallard and now increasing numbers of wigeon, were all present on the North Brooks but a garganey reported by one of our regular and experienced visitors earlier in the day proved elusive.
No yellow wagtails could be found around the cattle. Perhaps they had decided to move south driven by the strong northerly wind. However the wind didn’t seem to bother the goldfinches which have been charming us for a few weeks now and were on good form once again. Lively flocks could be seen all over the reserve feeding on seed heads, particularly ragwort and thistle, and at Winpenny coming in for a drink and a wash in the pool.
A female redstart was duly to be seen on a fence from Redstart Corner. However my attempt to digiscope this bird was aborted when a volunteer colleague Mark pointed out a lesser whitethroat and a pair of blackcaps.
With the weather becoming increasingly sunny I took a stroll down to Hail’s View in the late afternoon. I noted that the fenced area next to Black Pond created to allow for closer viewing of dragonflies and damselflies is now open to visitors so I went in to see if anything was visible, finding a female emerald damselfly
In Black Wood by the path both sexes of common darters were to be found, the red male and more cryptically coloured female seeming to like a particular old tree stump, now bathed in sunshine.
Once again a rather unpromising day had provided a lot of interest.
Thanks to Gary and Andy for leading our event on Tuesday and for their report.
What a nice group of people joined the Birding for Beginners morning at Pulborough Brooks today. Luckily the first birds to show themselves were a huge twittering mass of perhaps 200 goldfinches at the bottom of the zigzag, but as the focus for the day was migrants, a spotted flycatcher behind West Mead was an appropriate find.
Spotted flycatcher by David Andrews
In the hide, stonechats, buzzards and a marsh harrier were added to the list. At Redstart Corner two redstarts gave reasonable views but chiffchaffs and blackcaps were more elusive being heard only. On the way we found a small toad and several clouded yellow butterflies.
Clouded yellow butterfly on fleabane by Terry Hollands
From the Hanger a rather bored buzzard just sat and watched the marsh harrier put on a good show and three whinchats could be made out in the ditch line below. Apart from lapwing there did not appear to be any other waders present and the usual ducks and geese were pointed out. A rather hot group then made its way back to the Centre stopping briefly to watch the hornets.
In the afternoon a water rail, 1 green sandpiper, 5 whinchats and a distant group of perhaps 50 yellow wagtails were all seen from Nettleys.
Two further waders were very briefly seen but not positively identified. Thanks to everybody who contributed to the day. Gary and Andy.
Our next 'Birding for Beginners' event is scheduled for Friday 18 November.