Trip reports

A Walk on the wild side! Weekend trip to Arundel WWT

Great tit at birdtable
RSb Images

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Normally an RSPB visit to one of the WWT reserves, such as Barnes would concentrate on the wild side ignoring the collections of wild fowl from all over the world. However at Arundel this is impossible as many birds from Europe are included and it is not always easy to tell if these arrived of their own accord or were collected. This also enabled us to get close-up views of many species that would normally only be seen at some distance or fleetingly.

Examples included Bewicks swans, long-tailed duck, lesser white-fronted geese and common scoter. One well-travelled member of the group was pleased to see a Chiloe wigeon again having previously encountered the species in its home territory - an island off the coast of Chile.

One of the advantages of Arundel is that the cafe looks out over one of the major lakes on the site. Our group of seven therefore started with a cup of coffee looking out over a lake with several pochards, mainly male, mallard, a tufted duck, black-headed gulls and briefly one Mediterranean gull.

On the first three ponds such exotic species as buffleheads and black-necked swans mix with local ducks such as mallards, tufted ducks and goldeneye although a pair of Mandarin ducks were probably local.

Passing a busy bird feeder with bluetits, great tits chaffinches and green finches we set out on the board walk that meanders through the reed beds. Although apparently an ideal site to spot water voles these obstinately refused to break cover during our visit. A pair of great spotted woodpeckers flew overhead into the trees outside the reserve where a tree creeper and long tailed tit were also seen. As we made our way around the reserve a pair of peregrines were seen overhead and reed buntings seen perched high in the bushes. Cettis warblers were not only heard but also seen briefly.

Although the day was bright it was also cold with little warmth to be found in the well ventilated hides!

A hide overlooking the largest lake revealed large numbers of black-headed gulls with a few common gulls, lapwings, an oystercatcher, teal and shoveler. A group of six Mediterranean gulls were also seen and it was agreed that these seem to be appearing more frequently on the south coast.

We continued on our clockwise circuit of the reserve visiting three further hides but without adding to the day's list. Although nothing unexpected appeared we had a very pleasant and interesting morning.
Legh Langston

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