Our wardens did a diving and dabbling ducks survey at Arundel Wetland Centre on Monday morning. The number of males in each species gives us an idea of how many possible pairs could be breeding here this spring. The females are harder to spot as they could be hidden away, sitting on eggs.
We counted 28 male tufted ducks and 17 females. We spotted two male pochards, three females and two broods of ducklings, one of seven and a single duckling with its mum. There were seven male shelduck and two females, five male shovelers and four females and 12 gadwall with one female. The nice surprise in the survey was to find we had two pairs of teal still on the reserve which means they are probably breeding here.
My thrill of the week was a pair of linnets I spotted nest building along the long path by the corner of the reedbed. Centre Manager Dave Fairlamb was excited to see a lesser spotted woodpecker from the window in our office. That’s a tick off his list! The lesser spotted are the smallest and are rarer than the great spotted or green woodpeckers.
I heard a willow warbler singing in our Woodland Loop. These warblers usually move on through the reserve but this male was singing for territory so may be staying around. Other highlights this week included common sandpipers at the Sand Martin hide on Sunday and Monday. I discovered a bank vole under one of the reptile survey tins and also managed to get a good photo of the water vole that is living in the entrance boardwalk pond. Yellow flag iris are starting to flower this week in the reedbeds and ragged robin are flowering in the meadows. Ox-eye daisies are starting to bloom as well.
The second pair of oystercatchers have found a place to nest after the presence of so many black-headed gulls nesting on Arun Riverlife. Some newly laid gravel near the drainage pipe in our Tundra exhibit has made the perfect stony spot for their nest.
These notes also appear as Ground Manager Paul Stevens weekly Wildlife Sightings column in the Chichester Observer newspaper.