Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Out in the Cold

I thought that the little grey cells had come up with a masterplan, with below zero temperatures most freshwater would be frozen, resulting in wildfowl and waders galore being out in the open. Somwhat similar to Eyeworth Pond on Monday. Where to go? A posting on SOS about Pulborough Brooks having numerous Snipe showing along with a friendly Water Rail and a stonking male Bullfinch clinched it. So, just after 0900 we arrived at PB and set off for the West Mead hide. At the bottom of the Zig Zag we encountered several Bullfinches but none were willing to stick around and in Fattengates Courtyard I tried, unsuccessfully, to record a highly mobile Goldcrest. It was at this point that it dawned on us that, yet again, we had been misled by the BBC weather forecast. The promised sunshine was nowhere to be seen, in fact it was downright gloomy. Also, I have doubts that the little grey cells can be trusted - in an ornithological sense.

Onward to the hide, where the improvements to the scrape are paying dividends. Just in front  of the windows was a flock of mixed ducks, probably 400 strong. Shovelers, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal and Pintail were all present. Out in the grass to the left of the hide at least 10 Snipe that were slowly moving toward us.

Sadly after this it was all downhill until we returned to the top of the Zig Zag, Winpenny and Nettley's hides returning virtually nothing. Nice to meet Russ out and about on the reserve. On the path back to the VC I managed to record Greenfinch and finally a distant but cracking looking male Bullfinch.


 Cutting our losses we departed for WWT Arundel to see if we could find anything there. At least a chance for Martin to get the female Bullfinches that were close to the Sand Martin Hide. From the hide, close views of a Grey Wagtail kept us interested.

After several attempts to capture a Water Rail we slowly made our way back to the VC. Just before the main path the peace was shattered by much wailing - two Moorhens were disputing either territory, partners or both.

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