After sunshine yesterday that saw some lovely images from the garden, this morning iot was grey and overcast with drizzle in the air. Wwe decided to cross the border into West Sussex with a trip to Pulborough, one of the reasons being there was several good hides to keep out of the weather should it turn bad.
As we leftthe visitor centre and walked down towards the West Mead hide the wind was blowing and the drizzle remained. Unfortunately due to the direction of the wind the hide did not provide much shelter from the freshening wind, and it was quite cold sitting looking out over the pond in front of the hide. The duck were using the islands as shelter too from the wind, a pair of Pintail were tucked up and sleeping.
A Shoveler too used the shelter of the island from the wind.
Out on the water there were large groups of Wigeon, Shoveler, and Shelduck. As usual at the back and furthest away were the Pintail, you could see their tails sticking out of the water as they upended.
Then one male came from the far side to join the pair in the lee of the island.
But rather than tuck in and take the chance for a nap it decided to preen.
Showing off that lovely chocolate brown head and white stripe.
It was turning out to be a Pintail day with four males and a female flying past the hide.
Circling round the islands and then past us once again and down on to the water.
The Wigeon would alternate between the water and the field, grazing amongst the Lapwing. In addition there were several Starling about feeding in small groups. The hide was quite full and noisy, but very soon every one moved on, would they miss something?
Every so often the Lapwing would go up, but the others would just ignore them, then all of a sudden they all wind up in a blind panic. I scanned to see why, then heard a familiar call, a Peregrine, and it was homing in on an isolated Teal.
It missed the Teal, and we watched the duck head off over the hide. The Peregrine thoug came around to the right of the hide, and swooped low under the overhanging branches of the tree, and the flew close past us low over the field and then out over the water. Unfortunately this was far too fast for the camera and I only managed some very poor blurred images. As it headed away from us gaining height I was able to catch it from behind.
It gained height as we watched it, and at one stage I thought it would come back, but it kept on going, disappearing away in the direction of the visitor centre.
All the duck settled down, the wigeon heading closer towards us.
They make a nice pattern, it could be a jigsaw puzzle or maybe wall paper.
The Pintail was still preening, maybe stopping briefly when the Peregrine passed over.
We then decided to leave the hide, and stepping outside it suddenly felt considerably warmer, the wind coming in through the windows of the hide had made it very cold.
A brief stop in the Winpenny and Little Hanger hides revealed very little, so we headed on to Netley's. Coming down the zig zag path there was a little bit of activity in the oak trees. A Nuthatch.
And then a Treecreeper, foraging on a fallen oak bough covered in moss.
We spent sometime in the hide, out on the west brooks, were more Wigeon, Teal and Pintail, a few Cormorants and in front of the hide a pair of Moorhen. As I watched the Moorhen in the ditch a Cetti's Warbler appeared in the reeds and skulked through close to the water.
Very little seemed to be happening, very much the way at this time of year, the winter still holding on, and everything very much on hold until spring arrives in about two to three weeks time. So it was back out to the path, where the Treecreeper was still about showing well in another Oak tree.
They move like a little mouse up the bough of the tree, never coming down the tree like the Nuthatch, but flying down and starting all over again.
And that was about it. We walked back to the Visitor Centre as the drizzle started to return, along the path Robins waited to see if anything was disturbed, they also chose to sing in sub song rather than full voice, the wind and wet conditions probably having an influence.
On the way back to Hampshire the rain rolled in, and it seemed as if we had the best part of the day. Roll on Spring