Signup to receive emails

Get the latest WWT news delivered direct to your inbox...

28 Sep 2017

Beaucoup birds of prey & swimming snakes

A kestrel hovers high above the reedbed after spotting prey on Sun 24 Sept.

Birds of prey are showing well across the reserve at Arundel Wetland Centre now. On Sunday we had two red kites, five buzzards and two hobbies sighted. I watched three ravens putting on an aerial display over the hanger on Sunday. Staff and visitors have also spotted a kestrel, a peregrine and a sparrowhawk. The raptor I am most excited about the return of the marsh harriers! On Sunday I saw a female marsh harrier flying high above the reserve and I spotted a male leaving the reedbed on Monday morning. Could this pair be roosting in our reedbed? We thought we had a pair roosting last winter – they may have returned.

There is a good range of duck species including gadwall and teal plus six wigeon and a pintail on Monday morning. We are still seeing snipe at lapwing hide. The male marsh harrier sent many snipe into the air when he left the reedbed in the morning.

Kingfishers are showing all over, especially at the Ramsar hide. We are seeing at least three because sometimes we see all three at once. Grass snakes have been spotted in the water, swimming the channels of Wetlands Discovery area. I found a freshly shedded  snake skin near one of the snake survey tins last week. I also saw a couple of toadlets as I walked through the Arun Riverlife meadow, these were twice the size of the tiny toadlets that emerged en masse from the front pond last July.

My survey of the dormouse nest boxes on Monday revealed one dormouse nest in one, but no one at home! In other boxes I did disturb some pygmy shrews and a bank vole with half grown youngsters. Our September water vole survey is this coming week, what will this reveal?

Grass snake swimming beside the boat in channels of Wetlands Discovery on Sept 27. Photo by Holly Andrews