Trip reports

Swanbourne Lake and Burpham

Saturday, 14 December 2013

On Saturday 14th December 2013 seven hardy souls gathered outside Fairfield Halls and, after a fly past by a Peregrine, headed off to Arundel. There we met up with another three members and set off to walk round Swanbourne Lake. Having avoided the massed ranks of Muscovy Ducks (which later formed a barricade across the road slowing the departure of a couple of cars!) we scanned the lake where there were flocks of Black-headed and Common Gulls, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks and a few Pochard and Wigeon as well Little Grebes and Coots among others. One member managed to catch sight of a Grey Wagtail flying over the water, but it could not be relocated. A commotion in a nearby tree announced the presence of a couple of Mistle Thrushes with a Nuthatch nearby. Having already had one Sparrowhawk as we left the cars another flew around at the opposite end of the lake. As we started our return leg the trees held some good birds including a Firecrest, Marsh Tits, Treecreeper and a couple of Chiffchaffs. Further on Bullfinch was added to the day's list followed quickly by a Red Kite and Buzzard (the first of many of both species we were to see during the day). A pair of Mute Swans near the entrance included one wearing bling; the ring number was noted and has been submitted to the BTO to see if its origin can be ascertained. Having completed our circuit of the lake we walked by the river behind the WWT where there was our only Fieldfare of the day and two Herons. On the way back to the cars one member slipped in the mud and narrowly avoided taking an early bath, managing to hang onto the ivy clad banks by his fingertips.
We drove on to Burpham for lunch then walked round scanning the fields. A herd of swans near the railway line included 2 adult and 3 young Bewick's Swans. A flock of Linnets took flight from a roadside hedge and about 20 Skylarks graced the fields, with a Corn Bunting and a Reed Bunting sharing a perch on an overhead wire. With many feeders for game birds in the fields it was only a matter of time before we found a covey of Red-legged Partridges (and not a pear tree in sight), but it took longer to find our target bird. On the way back to the cars, a final scan of the field where we had seen the Red-leggeds we located ten Grey Partridges and a little further on found another eight or so. By the time we got back to the car park we had seen at least another six Red Kites and a similar number of Buzzards. Unfortunately we could not refind the Buzzard with a white tail and black terminal band that one of our number had seen after going back to the car to pick up his binoculars. A good candidate for a Rough-legged Buzzard, it was a pity we couldn't confirm it as a finale to the day. Even so we had seen around 58 species (excluding the Muscovies).