Thank you to volunteer John for his report:
This lovely sunny day brought out the birds and the birders at Pulborough. Ted and I met so many people there it was like the old pre-covid days.
Our first survey of the newly ploughed field and the brooks revealed little except a lone mistle thrush on the top of the big oak which was briefly joined by a redwing. Into West Mead hide and the water levels have gone down in the last couple of weeks, but the excellent work done over the summer meant that there were several new pools, islands and banks. Large numbers of lapwing have moved in for the winter and with them was a wader which caused some discussion amongst the people in the hide…
On the basis that common things appear more commonly we started with dunlin but we ran through other options. A sandpiper? No, it didn't bob. A curlew sandpiper? No, no white on the face. We had to conclude, rather reluctantly, that it was a dunlin seen quite close and in good light. Checking in my Collins later I'm now sure that we were right. I also see that Gary Trew noted a dunlin there yesterday. More evidence.
That was all good fun but more was happening out on the brooks. A few stonechat popped up.
Stonechat by Trevor Wilson
A sparrowhawk made an abortive sortie as did a kestrel. Enter stage left a peregrine which obligingly landed in the open where it was ignored by all the other birds. Two pairs of Egyptian geese landed nearby but merely glanced at the predator before starting a noisy argument. Within a few minutes a red kite appeared in the company of a cream-headed marsh harrier. The harrier did a few fancy turns and was joined by an adult with more cream on its head and neck. This bird also obliged by landing in plain sight. There was the inevitable buzzard on a post so we mustered six different raptors from the hide. Very satisfying.
On to the busy Hanger. Many duck, including pintail and shoveler, were lined up along the banks with lapwing in large numbers and the inevitable greylag and Canada geese. A careful scope search eventually found two ruff and 14 black-tailed godwits but the best was further round to the east. We were advised to check the willow bush in line with the straw bales. There perched low down were a bright patch of blue and another of orange. Side by side, one facing each way, were two kingfishers. With the sun on them you could see them with the naked eye just glowing brightly. What a delight! They stayed long enough for lots of visitors to enjoy their beauty. Do check the bush on your next visit, you may be lucky.
Kingfisher by Graham Osborne
You will also, of course, check the willow tree to the west as the peregrine was there before flying out to sit on the ground where one lapwing gave a desultory fly-by, checked that it was no threat and didn't bother to tell his mates.
So, blues and twos today - blue sky and kingfishers with two's of harrier, peregrine, kingfisher and even stock dove, wood pigeon, robin and blackbird.
Do get there if you can before the weather changes and enjoy our wonderful reserve.
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