Saturday - Spent the weekend in sunny West Sussex primarily to attend the RSPB`s Farming Alliance jolly-up at Pulborough Brooks, a reserve I`ve not been to before and very smart it was too, complete with spectacular views across the Arun Valley from the visitors centre.
First up was a presentation by Michael Blencowe on Extinct Birdwatching, which was one of the funniest and thought provoking talks I`ve attended; if you get a chance to see it go, you will not be disappointed. Chris Corrigan then followed with details on the survey work and the problems facing farmland birds such as Turtle Dove and Grey Partridge. While he cited glimmers of hope overall it was a pretty depressing picture with the likelihood of the dove (still haven`t seen one this year yet) going the same way as the Passenger Pigeon if we`re not careful. Anyhow, following a terrific spread (I now know why birders talk about the café in glowing gastronomic terms!) we had a wander around the reserve listening to, and seeing, Nightingales among other bits and pieces. The scouts were out listening for Nightjars, on what was a perfectly still night, but none had arrived yet.
Thanks are in order to the RSPB staff and vols at Pulborough for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Sunday, Bracklesham Bay - Having crashed at our nipper`s place for the night this morning Barney and I wandered down to the recently acquired RSPB wetland reserve situated between Bracklesham and Selsey Bill. This large flood plain just behind the sea wall with meadows, ditches, reedbeds and meres is currently undergoing the heavy earth-moving treatment to improve it for birds. Skylarks, Linnets, Whitethroats and Mipits were much in evidence along with Shelducks, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Kestrel and Buzzard, plus 2 Med Gulls and 20 Sandwich Terns noted on the sea. In a year or two I reckon it will complement Pagham Harbour and start pulling in the birds.