Next week sees the start of our work close to Winpenny Hide. The big yellow digger (a prominent feature in both our blogs and our reserve management work at the moment) will start by scooping out some of the earth to create a new scrape/pool to the left hand side of the hide. As we progress into autumn and winter this will fill with water, and hopefully attract more waders and wildfowl to enable close-up views. Come springtime this will also provide valuable habitat for our breeding waders and again hopefully get everyone closer to some of our lovely wildlife.
The earth that we dig out will be put to good use creating a ramp leading up towards Winpenny hide. This is perhaps the lowest lying part of the nature trail and is rather prone to flooding so the raised path and ramp should enable access in all but the worst of floods. This ramp will connect up with a new section of trail, designed to allow a circular route during the winter floods. The new section of trail will lead through the central fields where we'll be doing some additional planting and developing as a wildflower hay meadow.
Whilst this work is underway we will need to temporarily re-route the nature trail. We will be testing this out for use with our trampers but if you do suffer from mobility problems then please get in touch.
All of this work is being undertaken as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Arun and Rother Connections (ARC) project, which has involved the RSPB alongside many other partners who are aiming to restore and reconnect habitat throughout the Arun and Rother Rivers catchment area.
In wildlife news one of the highlights has been yellow wagtails with small groups of them being found in amongst the grazing cattle.
Photo: David Andrews
Adder alley remains the hotspot for spotted flycatchers and the North Brooks best for waders including ruff, green sandpiper, greenshank, snipe and black-tailed godwit.
The fungi season has also started with black wood (on the wooded heathland trail) currently the most interesting spot. This area provides the damp conditions, variety of trees and quantity of dead wood that many species of fungi love. You will have to put up with a rather unpleasant smell though as witches' eggs erupt from the earth before splitting and fruiting as stinkhorn fungi.
A witches' egg - a strange jelly filled ball that turns into the revolting-smelling stinkhorn!
If you want to find out more about fungi then we're 3 guided walks coming up as part of our 'Festival of Fungi' - Tuesday 07, Friday 10 and Wednesday 15 October. If you would like to come along please contact the Visitor Centre and book your place.
September is bring a distinct damp chill to the air in the mornings, and despite the warmth of the sun in the middle of the day, it looks like the bird life at Pulborough and elsewhere is noticing the change.
With plenty of work needing to be done across the reserve, our team of wardens spend a lot of time out and about; the perfect opportunity for some lunch-break birding! I had a brief chat with one of the team this morning and he was pleased to say that he had been having regular sightings of at least two hobby most days and several sightings of marsh harrier over the last week, both at Pulborough Brooks, and down the road at Amberley Wild Brooks. Thousands of geese have arrived, and provide quite an impressive visual and audible spectacle when they take off and move around the wetlands. The species are mostly canada and greylag geese with one or two feral/hybrids mixed in. Winter duck numbers are slowly starting to build up, with flocks of teal and wigeon arriving, whilst in the meantime a few passage migrants are still procrastinating the nest leg of their journey. this includes green and common sandpipers.
Other sightings of note from this week include:
9/Sept: male lesser spotted woodpecker (Black Wood), black-tailed godwits (North Brooks), ruff (North Brooks)10/Sept: winchat (West Mead), raven (over the tearoom), sparrowhawk and red kite11/Sept: kestrel, green sandpiper (North Brooks & Hails View), spotted flycatcher, yellow wagtails (up to 10 regularly in fields, including alongside Adder Alley section of path)
On Monday 22 September the café will be closed so that the team can complete a stock take. The shop, toilets and nature trails will be open as usual from 9.30 am to 5 pm.
On Wednesday 24 September the shop will be shutting at 3 pm for their stock take. On this date the café, toilets and nature trails will be open as usual. (Café open 9.30 am - 4.30 pm)
We're sorry for any disappointment this may cause - and suggest you bring a flask of tea if you're coming to visit on the 22nd!