Thursday, March 26, 2009

RSPB Birdwatch Results

It's official- there's a new bird on the block and it's the long-tailed tit. The results of the RSPB Garden Birdwatch are out and for the first time this little lollipop of white, pink and black has appeared in the top ten.

If they're appearing in my garden then, given the scarcity of species that I see, they must be becoming more widespread. They don't visit my garden very often, I've spotted them a few times this winter and will keep an eye out over the summer - especially when young fledge.

Over half a million people took part this year - sadly my results of zero this year didn't help much.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Early Summer Arrivals

A lovely Spring day and over to Pulborough to see what's left of the winter visitors and who's arrived for the Summer. The meadows were pretty flooded but not as flooded as they had been a few weeks earlier. Apparently the Adur flooded it's banks and the whole area was under water.

Started at the West Mead hide. Several lapwings displaying and a good, although distant view of the two Ruff that have been around for a few days. Starting to change into their summer plumage and close to a couple of dunlin and three or four redshanks, making it easier to compare sizes and markings. There was an even better view of them from the Winpenny hide, which is usually pretty quiet with very little around but with the water levels higher, there were plenty of birds feeding and even a snipe close to the hide, which someone else had spotted just as I was about to move on, so of course I had to stay. It was sitting in a clump of grass and difficult to see even with the scope right on it, until it moved slightly or turned it's head.

The adders are emerging from their winter sleep and as the sun came out they were warming themselves along the path between Winpenny and Little Hanger. Three spotted in total with two particularly large, fat, black adders. These are the females which emerge before the males and look more brown and black but with the distinctive diamond pattern down their backs.

Over on the North Brooks there was a male wheatear in the distance. A summer visitor who had only just arrived and fueling up after his long journey from Africa. A couple of chiff-chaffs were also around - heard more often than spotted.

Plenty of wigeon and teal around, along with shelduck, shoveler and a few pintail. I even spotted a lone gadwall, which was being elusive but finally confirmed when it came out into the open. There was another snipe also being elusive and only spotted briefly and a little-ringed plover feeding on the edge of the water.

Back along the hedgerow between Winpenny and Westmead and a lovely stonechat in the late evening sun and bullfinches on the zig-zags on the way back to the centre.