Pulborough Brooks

First stop, early afternoon, was Hails View which continues to produce low species counts for me at the moment. However, the water levels are getting up and visibility over the south brooks is much improved now the grass is shorter. Notable were a single Barnacle Goose amongst what must have been close to a thousand Canada Geese, and a single Black-tailed Godwit. The Barnacle Goose is an interesting record; as per my edit on this post it's likely that this individual is from a so-called 'naturalised ' population in the UK. However, it's a fanciful thought that it could have found itself amongst a flock of Canada Geese en route back from its breeding grounds in the Artic. According to the WWT's waterbird monitoring website the Svalbard population leave their breeding grounds in early September and spend a period of time on Bear Island in Norway before moving on. 

Over on the main reserve I bumped into one of the volunteers, Phil, who didn't have much to report. The only thing of note I found was a Dunlin that I first spotted with a flock of Lapwing in flight, and that I later located again distantly on the ground. It was a challenging identification for me because on first glance the plumage seemed dark, almost as a Green Sandpiper. However, it was clearly too small to be a Green Sandpiper. Looking at the Collins guide I hesitantly concluded that it could only be a Dunlin, later confirmed by Matt. 

Lapwing flock with a single Dunlin




Update 01/10/2020: regarding the Barnacle Goose, I've just read on the BTO blog here that there is a third population of Barnacle Geese, from Russia, that can turn up in the southeast:

"There is a third population that breeds in the Russian Arctic and more recently on a few islands in the Baltic. The main wintering area for this population is found in the Low Countries but a small number have been found during the winter months in southeast England. It is difficult to assess the true number of birds from this population in wintering in southeast England as the waters are muddied by a large feral flock of Barnacle Geese that are resident here; this is estimated to be in excess of a thousand birds" 


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