Thursday, 30 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Treecreeper - I. Nicol
A bitterly cold day at Warnham today meant that the feeding station was the place to be for bird activity if you could stick it out in the biting cold notherly wind. Ian Nicol managed to get this lovely photo of a Treecreeper which is often a very hard species to photograph unless near the nest in the breeding season so well done Ian. Not much reported in the sightings diary today but a summary below:

Treecreeper 1, Long-tailed Tit 6, Mallard 36, Little Grebe 2, Black-headed Gull 28, Herring Gull 18, Tufted Duck 9, Sparrowhawk 1, Blue Tit 20+, Great Tit 15+, Mute Swan 2, Greylag Goose 160+, Grey Heron 1, Kingfisher 1, Grey Wagtail 1

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Sunset over Rookwood
Another clear, cold but beautiful day however a very cold north-easterly wind made it a little uncomfortable to be out in. This time of year gives wonderful light if there is a frost and today was no exception with an excellent sunrise and sunset.

Gatwick Greenspace Project were at the Reserve today helping us with the Willow Carr management and also fixing the second boardwalk at the north end of the Reserve. If you have walked on it over the past couple of weeks you might have noticed it bounced in certain areas and this was due to the legs rotting. Kev Lerwill and his group of twenty or so volunteers managed to jack the boardwalk up and then insert concrete posts to anchor the boardwalk to which has worked a treat. Thanks to Kev and all the volunteers for fixing this, its back to full working order now.

We then got called out to a Herring Gull which had got a plastic bag caught on its foot and had then filled with water and it wasn't able to take off due to the added weight of the bag. The rescue boat was launched and soon Jo, Andrew and I were off across the millpond. As is normally the case we get to within a few metres of the bird and miraculously the bird becomes free and flies off! And that is exactly what happened on this occasion. We decided to have a quick row over to the Swan Island to see if any Snipe were roosting on there and sure enough three flushed from the reedy edges of the island. A summery of sightings can be found below from today:

Common Snipe 3, Tufted Duck 8, Shoveler 2, Mallard 30+, Greylag Goose 160+, Mute Swan 2, Coot 2, Moorhen 4, Cormorant 4, Grey Heron 1, Little Egret 2, Kingfisher 1, Grey Wagtail 1, Pheasant 2, Goldfinch 10+, Chaffinch 4, Magpie 4, Carrion Crow 3, Jackdaw 20+, Robin 4, Blackbird 8, Redwing 3, Blue Tit 30+, Great Tit 10+, Coal Tit  4

Harlequin Ladybird 1

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve Event

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Warnham Local Nature Reserve - M. Symonds
A wonderful wintery day weather-wise on the Reserve today with hardly a breath of wind which made for some beautiful views over the millpond such as the view captured by Margaret Symonds from the Tern Hide.

Horsham Green Gym were busy in the Millpond Plantation thinning out the Birch regeneration and also clearing some Hazel stands to make way for a new fence line which we hope to install in the spring. It is very important we keep on top the Silver Birch which left unmanaged would take over the woodland. The aim of the thinning is to remove most of the stunted or small Birch to make way for the larger trees to continue to flourish but also to allow sunlight to reach the forest floor which essential for the species which need dappled light such as Bluebells and Primroses. Lots of the timber is left on site with a small percentage used for fire wood and crafts.
Birch Thinning - R. Allison
Not much by way of sightings reported today as we were all busy but of note the Cetti's Warbler was again seen from the Tern Hide it seems to favour the reedbed in front and often flies between that and the reedbed in front of the dam wall. Below is a summary of the rest of the species noted:

Grey Heron 1, Cormorant 3, Mallard 24, Shoveler 2, Coot 2, Moorhen 1, Black-headed Gull 100+, Wren 1, Pheasant 4, Blue Tit 10+, Great Tit 10+, Coal Tit 1, Nuthatch 1, Redwing 1, Pied Wagtail 1, Grey Wagtail 1, Greylag Goose 160+, Tufted Duck 6, Goldfinch 12, Chaffinch 10+, Cetti's Warbler 1

Grey Squirrel 4

Monday, 27 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Egyptian Geese - L. Lockyer
Liza Lockyer spent the morning on the Reserve and manged to photograph the pair of Egyptian Geese which have been a regular feature since last spring. Egyptian Geese are a native of sub-tropical Africa it was brought to Britain in the late 17th century as an ornamental bird for benefit of wealthy folks wildfowl collections.

The Egyptian Goose has struggled to establish itself in Britain for the past 300 years due to the cold winters we experience. Egyptian Geese breed very early in the season with young often being seen from January onward. This obviously means they are very open to the elements, and due to this they often succumb to poor weather.  Another factor which leads to poor success rate of rearing young is the fact they nest in tree holes. The cavity in the tree therefore needs to be quite large to fit the bird in and due to health and safety issues with tree safety cavities of this size, nest sites are often limited in availability!

The pair at Warnham today seemed to think that the weather was suitable and love was in the air and Liza was luckily on hand to photograph the incredible mating ritual of the Egyptian Geese. They will continue to mate for a while yet until the female will begin to lay eggs in the new year so fingers crossed we will have little goslings trundling round in January or February.

Egyptian Geese Mating - L. Lockyer

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Mill Meadow - P. Shergold
Another frosty start greeted the Reserve and once again made everything slightly more photogenic than usual. The cold snap also brought plenty of birds into the feeding station and it was no surprise when our first Brambling was seen with the ever growing Chaffinch flock. Ian Redman and Jim Glover managed to get some fantastic photos of the bird which is a male and they can be seen below.
Brambling - I. Redman
Brambling - J. Glover
Duck numbers continue to build as the water level rises and the temperatures drop and the two drake Shoveler seem to be a regular feature now and hopefully they will winter with the Mallard flock. We are still waiting for any Wigeon or Gadwall to join the group but fingers crossed as the winter progresses they will. Paul Shergold carried out a full bird count around the Reserve which can be found below as well as a photo of one of the drake Shoveler. Other visitors also added some species to the list so apologies if your name is not attributed to the list.

Brambling 1 (♂), Woodpigeon 60, Green Woodpecker 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Grey Heron 6, Cormorant 7, Robin 15, Little Grebe 5, Great Crested Grebe 1, Mallard 38, Kingfisher 3, Goldfinch 40+, Common Buzzard 5, Red Kite 1, Mandarin 2, Shoveler 2, Egyptian Goose 2, Black-headed Gull 60+, Herring Gull 40+, Water Rail 1, Grey Wagtail 1.

Red Fox 1, Roe Deer 4
Shoveler - P. Shergold

Owlbeech Woods

Eddie Bew visited the site and carried out a bird survey of the heathland which produced the following:

Magpie 3,  House Sparrow 2, Woodpigeon 20, Blue Tit 12, Robin 4, Carrion Crow 2, Nuthatch 2, Treecreeper 1, Blackbird 2, Great Tit 6, Coal Tit 1, Long-tailed Tit 8

Grey Squirrel 4, Roe Deer 4

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Frosty Leaves - P. Shergold

A frosty start to the day lent itself to some wonderful photography conditions later in the day and there were plenty of birds around the reserve. Paul Shergold, John Wilks & Neil Henry sent in bird counts from today, a summary of which are below: Woodpigeon 60, Green Woodpecker 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Grey Heron 6, Cormorant 7, Robin 15, Little Grebe 5, Great Crested Grebe 1, Mallard 38, Kingfisher 3, Goldfinch 40+, Common Buzzard 5, Red Kite 1, Mandarin 2, Shoveler 2, Egyptian Goose 2, Black-headed Gull 60+, Herring Gull 40+, 1 Water Rail, Coal Tit 3, Nuthatch 2, Jay 1, Little Egret 1

Red Fox 1, Roe Deer 4, Grey Squirrel 4

Chesworth Farm

Meadow Pipit - M. Ayling
Mike Ayling carried out a bird survey of the Farm today which produced the following list of species:
Blackbird 6, Bullfinch 2, Dunnock 2, Goldfinch 20, Great Tit 3, House Sparrow 2, Magpie 3, Nuthatch 1, Song Thrush 3, Woodpigeon 17, Blue Tit 4, Carrion Crow 3, Fieldfare 1, Great Spotted Woodpecker 2, Herring Gull 20, Jackdaw 4, Meadow Pipit 5, Robin 7, Stock Dove 1, Wren 1

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Sparrowhawk - L. Lockyer
Not much coverage of the Reserve today due to lots of meetings and the volunteer group working down at the Country Park but Liza Lockyer did manage to get this excellent photo of the male Sparrowhawk which is regularly seen hunting in front of the Woodpecker Hide. Unfortunately he hardly ever perches for long enough to get a photograph, so well done Liza for putting so many hours in to finally grab a snap!

Of interest you might have noted this bird has a ring on his right leg, it was in fact trapped and ringed at Warnham on the 8th March 2017. It is great to see that it is still on the Reserve and using its old winter haunts in which to hunt from. This bird also bred on site this year and raised three young successfully however all of the young have now been chased off by the resident pair. Below is a photo of when the bird was ringed.

Other birds noted around the Reserve today can be found below:

Cormorant 2, Pochard 1, Little Grebe 5, Great Black-backed Gull 1, Grey Heron 2, Herring Gull 100+, Tufted Duck 2, Mallard 27, Long-tailed Tit 5, Goldfinch 2, Coal Tit 1, Pheasant 4, Dunnock 1, Moorhen 2, Lesser Black-backed Gull 2 (Judith Alford & Neil Henry)

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

WeBS Online header logo
Please check this Core count species list
Site Name:Warnham Local Nature Reserve 

Date:Sun, 19 Nov, 2017Time:08:30 - 10:00 
Species countedCountCommentPoints to check
Black-headed Gull31  
Egyptian Goose2  
Grey Heron2  
Herring Gull132 
Little Grebe3  
Mute Swan2  
Tufted Duck4  
Total number of species: 14
Individuals: 223

Owlbeech Woods

Eddie Bew carried out his regular wildlife survey of the heath which produced the following:
House Sparrow 3, Magpie 5, Robin 10, Woodpigeon 20, Blue Tit 6, Carrion Crow 4, Goldcrest 4, Treecreeper 1, Great Tit 4, Jackdaw 3, Blackbird 7, Common Buzzard 1, Coal Tit 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Nuthatch 1, Long-tailed Tit 1

Roe Deer 2, Grey Squirrel 8

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Owlbeech Woods

Mike Ayling carried out his regular survey of the heathland at Owlbeech Woods which produced the following list of birds. It is very nice to see plenty of winter thrushes starting to appear:

Blackbird 4, Bullfinch 2, Chaffinch 2, Dunnock 2, Great Tit 2, Jackdaw 5, Kestrel 1, Nuthatch 2, Robin 2, Woodpigeon 48, Blue Tit 6, Carrion Crow 1, Coal Tit 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker 2, Herring Gull 1, Jay 1, Magpie 2, Redwing 15, Song Thrush 1, Wren 1

Chesworth Farm

Eddie Bew carried out his regular bird survey at the Farm which produced the following:
Robin 5, Goldfinch 7, Woodpigeon 30, Moorhen 4, Common Buzzard 2, Mallard 1, Blackbird 7, Song Thrush 1, Carrion Crow 6, Jay 2, Pheasant 1, Magpie 5, Jackdaw 6,  Green Woodpecker 1, Long-tailed Tit 2, Blue Tit 2, House Sparrow 2, Dunnock 1

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Grey Wagtail - T. Utting
The Reflection Pool has been a hive of activity over the past few days as one of the resident Grey Wagtails has taken a liking to hunting the various flies which are busy laying eggs on the moss around the edges of the pool. These are just a few of the stunning photos from Tony Utting and Bob Howell took today from the Woodpecker Hide today. Fingers crossed this little show off will continue to feed around the pool and allow everyone to see this colourful species at point blank range. It has been showing down to 4ft!
Grey Wagtail - T. Utting
Grey Wagtail - B. Howell

Elsewhere on the Reserve the Kingfishers were buzzing around all day and the adults appear to be pushing the youngsters off their territory now which is fascinating to watch. They usually start to push their offspring away at this time of year as fishing starts to become harder with the water temperatures starting to fall. Other highlights were a flock of 14 Mandarin which circled the lake a few times before dropping down on Chennells Brook. 

Redwing and Starling continue to move over the Reserve in flocks with over 100 Redwing seen this morning heading west as well as 50+ Starling. Lesser Redpoll are starting to find the feeders from the Woodpecker Hide albeit in ones and twos at the moment but hopefully the numbers will start to build. 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Owlbeech Woods

Mike Ayling carried a bird survey at Owlbeech Woods which produced the following: Blackbird 2, Carrion Crow 2, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Green Woodpecker 1, Jackdaw 7, Nuthatch 1, Robin 3, Woodpigeon 11, Blue Tit 7, Goldcrest 3, Great Tit 3, Herring Gull 1, Magpie 3, Redwing 5, Stock Dove 2, Wren 2 (Mike Ayling)

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Chennells Brook Castle

Mike Ayling carried out a bird survey of the Castle which produced the following list of birds: Blackbird 2, Carrion Crow 2, Goldfinch 4, Herring Gull 1, Redwing 6, Blue Tit 4, Dunnock 1, Great Tit 3, Jay 2, Robin 2

Friday, 10 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Mill Meadow - Warnham LNR
A stunning day on the Reserve with warm autumnal sunshine for most of the day and lovely blue skies. As a result most of the early bird activity was in the air with three Common Buzzard, one Sparrowhawk and a Red Kite being the cause of very jittery group of gulls on the millpond. Again there was no sign of either of the Mediterrean Gulls from earlier in the week amongst the 200+ mixed gull flock but Barry Clough did manage to find a huge Great Black-backed Gull lurking with intent and completely dwarfing its Herring Gull accomplices. Great Black-back's used to be a scarce species at Warnham but in recent winters have become much more frequent in appearance and there deep, gruff calls can often be heard booming above the Black-headed Gull cries.
Great Black-backed Gull - B. Clough
The Reflection Pool has now been in situe for approaching a year and most of the wildlife has become accustom to using it as a drinking and bathing resource throughout the seasons. This has resulted in more visitors managing to catch some quite stunning photographs which was the original aim of the pool in the first place. Hopefully as the numbers of birds using the feeding station in front of Woodpecker Hide start to build with the colder weather we still start to see even more wonderful photographs appearing. Barry once again was in the right place at the right time when he caught this Grey Squirrel coming down to the edge of the pool. 
Grey Squirrel at the Reflection Pool - B. Clough
Habitat management has really swung into action on the Reserve this week with the warden team getting stuck into the compartment of Willow Carr that is being coppiced this year. Some of the timber is used for crafts and making bird feeders but much of the twiggy brash is burnt. This week we have been lucky enough to have Guy lend us a helping hand. Guy was on work experience with us all week and has helped with many jobs such as livestock management, felling, coppicing, helping to run volunteer tasks as well as his favorite job of the week...leaf blowing! This is Guy below doing what he enjoyed most!
Leaf Blowing!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Chennells Brook Castle

Scrub Bashing at Chennells Brook Castle
Horsham Green Gym were out again today with 23 volunteers scrub bashing at Chennells Brook Castle on the north side of Horsham. The job today was to quell the Bramble growth which was beginning to cover the scheduled ancient monument. Armed with loppers and shears the gang managed to get through all of the target area as well as get the majority of the arisings burnt too.

Chennells Brook Castle is a motte and bailey which is a type of medieval fortification which was brought to Britain by Norman settlers. It is hard to make out on the ground the remains of the castle however the ditches around the motte and the bailey sections are immediately obvious when visiting the site. Sadly the wooden structure of the monument is buried underground and it is only the earth shape which gives any hint to the places rich history. Below is a very simple picture of the principle behind the motte and bailey style of castle. For more information about this particular ancient monument follow this link: Chennells Brook Castle, Horsham

If you would like to get involved or know more about the Horsham Green Gym group then click on this link The next task with this group is at Owlbeech Woods on Tues 14th November and we will be birch pulling on the heathland enclosures.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Woodcut Christmas Card Workshop with Helen Brown

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Cormorants - Warnham LNR
 A miserable start to the day was brightened up by a number of nice birds seen around the Reserve. The Cormorant numbers are slowly starting to build with up to seven being seen regularly now, the single drake Pochard from yesterday managed to attract two more males and a female for company today and the three Shoveler were seen once again. Redwing numbers were still strong with 77 seen heading over west and plenty feeding on the Reserve particularly around the Sandpiper Scrape. Chaffinch and Goldfinch were the only other birds moving in any numbers with 23 and 19 noted respectively, again moving west.
Mediterranean Gull - Adult
There were good numbers of gulls around this morning with Black-headed and Herring Gull in the main but also two Common Gull which were the first of the autumn, a single Great Black-backed Gull and two Mediterranean Gull (1 Adult/1 1st Winter). Also of note was our first colour-ringed gull in a long while. The bird below was ringed by the North Thames Gull Group at either Rainham or Pitsea landfill sites. I will post the details of the birds history when I hear back from the group, if any visitors to the Reserve see any colour-ringed birds then please do send the details in or leave any details with the cafe.
Herring Gull - K5GT 
There was no sign of yesterdays Cetti's Warbler sadly but unsurprisingly but it may well still be on site as they are always difficult to see especially if they are not calling. A decent sized flock of Siskin were seen in the Larch plantation at the north end of the Reserve today by one of our volunteers. Hopefully they will find the feeders soon so visitors get to see these wonderful finches up close like in previous cold winters. Water Rail were squealing from the reedbed next to the fallen tree and up to three Kingfisher were buzzing around all day.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Warnham LNR
A heavy frost greeted us this morning which resulted in a very misty start which prevented us from doing much in the way of visible migration over head. On the millpond the usual suspects were in evidence with the addition of our first Pochard of the autumn or dare I say winter! At least three Kingfishers were buzzing around the lake and all of them seemed to be juveniles which is odd for this time of year.

The highlight of the day was a CETTI'S WARBLER which flew across from the dam wall to the Tern Hide Scrape and showed briefly before skulking off into the thicker reeds. This is our first record on the site since 2009 which is incredible considering the string of mild winters we have had of late. Coverage on the Reserve was fairly low today so there is little else to add.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

View form the Trelford Hide at Warnham LNR - P. Shergold
Paul Shergold carried out his weekly bird survey today and summary of the highlights are below: Shoveler 3, Grey Heron 9, Cormorant 4, Coot 7, Moorhen 4, Green Woodpecker 2,  Water Rail 2, Little Grebe 3, Tufted Duck 4, Lesser Redpoll 15, Siskin 6, Chaffinch 15, Coal Tit 6, Mandarin 2, Mallard 37, Starling 350+ in to roost.

Roe Deer 2

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Warnham Local Nature Reserve

Sunrise at Warnham LNR
A beautiful autumnal morning greeted us today with every cobweb on the meadow glistening with the last of the over night dew. The main event from dawn this morning was large movements of Woodpigeon heading in a north easterly direction. Today also saw good numbers of Stock Dove interspersed with the Woodpigeon movement. Nothing new to report on the Millpond itself other than a minimum of six Water Rail calling around the reedbeds this evening. The numbers of these reedbed skulkers should start to build from October onwards and if we have a particularly cold snap we could well end up with birds visiting the Woodpecker Hide feeding station to fill up on free seeds.
Water Rail - D. Verrall
Reedbed Management - A. Harwood
The warden team were out on the reedbed adjacent to Heron Hide doing the final bits of clearance and finish off the raking. The management of the reedbeds at the Reserve is done on a four year rotation which provides a mosaic of different ages which helps to increase the biodiversity on site. So this area of reedbed will now not be cut again until 2021. I have not had a chance to tally up the totals from on the Reserve thus far but will ensure they are available tomorrow. Many thanks David Verrall and Anne Harwood for there help with suppling the pictures and text for the blog

Chesworth Farm

Dusk on the Farm
A lovely late afternoon walk around the Farm to check the livestock found very little by way of birds moving around in the bushes but there was a very strong passage of Herring Gull moving in a southerly direction heading back towards the coast to roost. In Back Field several Greenfinch were noted coming in to roost along the northern hedgerow.

Whilst on the subject of hedges...a notice to all Farm users that from early tomorrow morning and Friday please be aware that we have contractors on site flailing some of the hedges. There will be two tractors working on the hedgerows so please keep dogs on a lead around the machinery. We hope to have all of the hedgerow management completed in two days.