I have some good news to share! Many regular readers may be aware that I have been volunteering and studying conservation for a few years and have spent the last two years since leaving college looking for full time work. I am pleased to announce that this week, I started work in a new job! I am working with the RSPB as Visitor Services Trainee based at Pulborough Brooks, a reserve in West Sussex! If any of you are at the reserve any time over the next 18 months, do say Hello!
Yesterday I joined a guided walk, the weekly "Wildlife Walk-about" lead by very able volunteers John and Mike. Despite the freezing temperatures and biting wind, we still managed an enjoyable and successful birdwatch. A flock of Linnetswas very mobile in the field beyond the Visitor Centre. From West Mead hide we enjoyed good views of Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Shelduck and Lapwing. Slightly more unusual species were Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin and a pair of Peregrine Falcons. At Winpenny Hide we were treated to very close views of Snipe, feeding in the grass and waters edge close to the hide. The rest of the trail yielded the unmissable Robin, Wren and selection oftits along with a beautiful male Bullfinch, and a Green Woodpecker, a selection of corvids, Starling, Fieldfare and Redwing. Greenfinch and Goldfinch were heard singing. Later in the afternoon, the area outside the Visitor Centre window was alive with birds, hungry for the handfuls of seed and mealworms we had scattered on the grass. House Sparrow, Dunnock, Rook, Mallard, Jackdaw, Moorhen, Song Thrush, Blue Tit, Robinand Blackbird all put in an appearance. Common birds, but a joy to watch so close and appreciate their often overlooked qualities. The resident Water Rail popped in and out several times, and at one occasion, late in the day I also saw it fly across the length of the pond. Perhaps practising to head off to summer breeding grounds? A Sparrowhawk shot through at high speed, hugging the face of the building wall, and a Kestrel was also seen over the field. On a non-bird subject, other sightings of interest included a rather cute Bank Vole feeding in the edge of the brambles outside the window, a Fox that ran swiftly across the field to the delight of one young visitor, and amazingly, in broad daylight at 8.50am, a Badger was seen by some of my colleagues, who unlike myself, happened to be looking in the right direction!
Today, the Wardens move the herd of Highland Cattle that are used on the reserve for grazing the flood meadows and heathland in summer, into a field infront to the visitor centre, providing great views for visitors when the cattle came to drink from the edge of the pond. I couldn't resist a few photos, they looked so stunning, peering between their sweeping horns, with the wind blowing their long coats.