Waltham Brooks

I arrived at Waltham Brooks first thing, but not before the fishermen, who were getting ready for a match. The river had subsided slightly, but there was still a lot of water held back on the reserve by the flood banks. I had to reroute and follow the river bank around with wet feet after the water on the path overtopped my wellies. Water Rails and Cetti's Warblers were audible for the duration of the trip and I noted five of each. A Chiffchaff was heard singing from the sallows, and I spotted a cream-capped Marsh Harrier hunting, but it was gone in a moment. A flock of c40 Redwings came over and headed towards the withy bed. I spotted a similar sized flock a little while later, but couldn't be sure it wasn't the same group. A single Siskin was heard overhead too. 2 Little Grebes were diving for food on the flood, and at the edge of the water I spotted two Snipe, but looking more closely discovered there were eleven hunkered down and another two were flushed a little further along. From the river bank, the north-west side of Amberley Wildbrooks is visible, and I could see large numbers of geese and a cloud of Black-headed Gulls. By the old canal I scanned the gorse for a repeat of last year's Dartford Warbler but was out of luck. The cattle were feeding on the canal path and were very nervous about me walking by, and I inadvertently and quite amusingly herded them off the path and over the old canal as I walked by. The water held circa 100 Mallard, 30 Gadwall, 40 Teal, ten each of Shoveler and Wigeon, and a Tufted Duck. The canal path down to the road was flooded, but I was relieved to be able to navigate it without overtopping my wellies again. I scanned Widney Brooks and noted a single Lapwing and a Buzzard before heading off. 

Snipe


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