Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Micklepage and Pulborough

Time Out for the A Rocha national team is when we meet together for business and then have a day of reflection and learning what God has to say to us. This year we met in West Sussex at Micklepage. Norman and I had travelled down with David Hughes, our colleague from Eco-Congregation so he could meet with the rest of the management team. Norman and I were there to meet the entire team at dinner ( or tea for Norman and I). We had arrived at 12.30pm so we decided to go to Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve to see what was around. There had been reports of a Pallid Harrier nearby, but since it was reported to be a juvenile female, and we were uncertain of the exact location, we decided that Pulborough would do more for our physical and spiritual well-being.
It was stock taking day in all RSPB centres so we needed to leave by half past three, which suited us. At the first pool we noted a very busy dragonfly patrolling over much of the surface.
Norman had let me borrow his newer camera for me to try out so above is my first attempt. Just on the far side of the pool were several greenfinches cooling off due to the unseasonal heat. We continued round the reserve in  clockwise direction until we came to the first hide. Although there was a little water the only birds around were corvids. We pressed on to the next hide. Speckled Wood and Red Admiral butterflies tempted me to try my photographic skills, but they did not rest at all. We did however pass a hedgrow that was bursting with willow warblers. Somewhat elusive but they did pose for a short time
The next hide was a little better but we saw only two waders. There was an obliging snipe that thought it was hiding behind a clump of grass and a very elusive green sandpiper. This encouraged us to continue and further round we had several birds in view. Redshanks, lapwings, ruff, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, shovelers, teal and wigeon all present and easy to observe. Another birdwatcher in the hide said I could borrow her telescope. I did and was able to spot a little stint. A great finale to two hours, but we needed to leave and returned to Micklepage.
We did have a task to perform before tea. Norman and I did some weed clearing from the pond at Micklepage. We did have a lot of help from Cat, an A Rocha intern who is working in Sussex. The bonus to this was the sight of common darters both singly and ovipositing in tandem. 
 It was a great start to two days of meeting with colleagues and all of us meeting together with our Creator.
Before we started the business part of our day on Thursday we met in the "Chapel" which used to be a barn. If Jesus was prepared to be born in a stable, why should we not meet him in a barn?

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