Friday, 30 January 2015


Today I visited a venue where normally Martin has to drag me, WWT at Arundel. Two reasons for staying local, a rather dodgy weather forecast and a chance of a Firecrest photograph. I started at Swanbourne Lake, very little to report here, just the obliging Tufties. I checked out the Yew trees on the other side of the lake as we have found Firecrests here before - nothing. Nor could I find a Grey Wagtail in the run off for the old mill. By now a chilly north west breeze was coming down the lake and I thought that a hide might be a better place to be.

Just before I reached the Sand Martin hide I flushed two Bullfinches from the nearby buddleia bushes, I made a mental note to return later. From the hide I had some great views of the Shelducks that had been in to roost overnight. The morning sun was not optimal but at least some of the birds were where I could get some decently lit photographs. Not only do the Shelducks take advantage of the shelter of the reserve, several wild Pochards have decided to integrate with the inmates and are virtually tame.


On leaving the hide I remembered the Bullfinches and sure enough two obliging females had returned to their seed cracking activities. The morning light was just right and the birds really didn't care how close I approached. I guess if they are in this environment then they must get used to people passing by.


Finally I left the reserve via the reedbed boardwalk, still searching for a possible Firecrest. In the car park I had lunch and was scanning the area for a male Bullfinch when two small white "flags" caught my eye. The bird was in the churned up mud at the far end of the car park, where much scrub has been removed and obviously plenty of disturbed food has become available. In addition to the Water Rail there were several Robins, Song Thrushes and Blackbirds foraging in the mud.

A circular trip around Burpham and the Burgh was pretty fruitless, as was the search for the recently reported Little Owl opposite Arundel railway station. By now dark grey clouds were gathering on the northern horizon so I headed for home.

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