25 February 2019

Keep Calm and Carry On Birding


On a lucky day weatherwise, 15 birders descended upon RSPB Pulborough Brooks to enjoy a walk around this beautiful reserve in mild temperatures and calm conditions, that was until we mingled with lesser spotted school children enjoying the half term break. Generally speaking (and they were doing a lot of that!) they were pretty well behaved and should ensure the future of our precious wildlife. So we musn't be grumpy about the fact that it was difficult at times to hear and see any woodland birds who seemed to be keeping well out of their way.  

The first hide we visited (West Mead) was rather unproductive aside from a male reed bunting (thank you Diana) darting in and out of brambles and gorging on insects above the water and a pair of shelduck getting to know one another. Long-distance views of geese did not help us identify the three white fronted geese allegedly loitering in the area - these would have been a 'first' for the group had we been lucky enough to see them. Further along our route we had great views of the scrapes where huge flocks of picture-book lapwing tossed and turned in the skies above-  at once black, then brilliant white.

I'm so Bored!
Stephanie spotted a rather bored-looking buzzard perched on a post who must have realised we would appreciate a good long look at him. We saw gadwall, mallard, black tailed godwit, shoveler, teal, whistling wigeon and elegant pintail in this area plus a fantastic close up view of a cyclamen pink male bullfinch being courted by two females with barely a hint of pink tint. Long-tailed tit flitted past as we spent time gazing out over the water.

In a break from tradition, we suggested birders worked in pairs and made their own identification lists on this occasion with minimal input from Rog and I. The hope is that this will have confirmed how many different species each person can now recognise.

So here is the list that Rog and I made- a respectable 49 species in total.perhaps you will have a note of other birds that we missed.

Male Reed Bunting
mute swan, greylag goose, Canada goose, pheasant, great crested grebe, cormorant, heron, little egret, buzzard, kestrel, moorhen, coot, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, stonechat, blackbird, wood pigeon, great tit, blue tit, long tailed tit, pochard, goldfinch, wigeon, teal, pintail, gadwall, mallard, lapwing, black tailed godwit, black headed gull, bullfinch, crow, chaffinch, collared dove, tree creeper, herring gull, sparrow, jackdaw, jay, linnet, magpie, reed bunting, robin, shelduck, starling, tufted duck. Audible- nuthatch, green woodpecker.

MARCH 27th
Please note the change of date. Not March 26th as previously published (as this clashes with our monthly U3A meeting). We will be heading north for a change - this time to South Norwood Country Park in Beckenham, followed by a walk around Kelsey Park to see the heronry. We should meet at the Holwood Farm Shop, New Road Hill, Downe at 9.30 for coffee and then head down to Beckenham. For those that fancy a meal after the morning activities - there is a handy Toby Carvery in Eden Park. I am taking bookings now.

APRIL 16th
All day RSPB Dungeness. I am also taking bookings for this event.

Happy Birding.   Briar