I went to Arundel on the weekend. Arundel WWT is only a 50 minute drive. I was delighted as soon as I got there because there were loads of nuthatches hopping about on each tree. As I settled myself down in the visitor centre while my parents paid the entrance fee I saw a large flock of Black Headed gulls in their handsome summer plumage on a pebbly Island in the middle of the reservoir. There were also numerous moorhens sprinting around on the edge of the lake pointlessly and Mallards paddling calmly, somehow oblivious to the dramatic scene that were the moorhens.
As we set off the first thing we came across was the duck feeding area. There you can feed international species of duck but other native species join them like Mallards, Black headed gulls, Common gulls and feral pigeon. To add to the visitors feeding them, the park wardens also feed them bucket loads of seed, some of which are completely unaware how incredibly fat they would get if they permanently lived there! (joke!)
The first hide we got to was the wood hide. The wood hide overlooks some feeders and a small stream (big enough for a swan to paddle through) in a very dense wood. Nothing very exciting but we saw Mallards and coots swim up (or down) the stream and chaffinches, blue tits and sparrows ( the sparrows were very quick so I didn’t have a chance to identify them properly).
I then went on a boat trip through a very reedy river they called a ‘meadow’. On the way flocks of Canada geese continuously crossed the path in front of us, I called it: The March Of the Geese! When we reached the entrance to the boat safari, the trip wouldn’t start yet so we sat down on a bench just outside the entrance. Only then did I realise that all the Canada geese that crossed the path in front of us had formed a giant flock and had been following us expectantly thinking we had some food for them! Soon they let us in and the trip started. Everyone was looking desperately along the side of the river absolutely desperate to see a water vole. But unfortunately we were out of luck on that occasion. We did see Mallards and Tufted duck though.
As soon as I got off I ran to what I loved to do: pond dipping. When we arrived, there were already a large group of kids there but that didn’t put me off. When I had finished I took them to a magnifying glass and looked at them really closely. I found lesser water boatmen, Whirligig beetles, Daphnia (water fleas), pond skaters and……..WATER VOLE POO!! Unfortunately we did not catch an actual water vole but we soon saw the next best thing: As I walked out I took the time to look at a female pheasant and her very cute chick only meters away and have another look in the wood hide when the lady that owned the pond dipping called me back in. Then I saw something moving in the reeds and saw the creature the other people on the boat were so desperate to see: A WATER VOLE!!
Nothing much interesting happened during the rest of the day but these were the highlights:
- Peregrine Falcon ( too far away to get a good picture)
- Sedge warbler (on the boat trip)
- Buzzard (soaring Above)
- Treecreeper (Treecreeping!)
I strongly recommend Arundel WWT it is a lovely reserve and hopefully you will be even more luck than me: purple sandpiper, Bittern, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Woodcock, Hobby, Mandarin, Common Sandpiper, Green sandpiper, Greenshank, Redshank, Oystercatcher and many other beautiful birds you could see that I didn’t!