to the Reports for 2005
trotting over the short mown golf course green at Brooklands (east Worthing)
the Great Spotted Cuckoo, Clamator
glandarius, seemed unaware of its
audience of birdwatchers. Under an overcast sky with a Strong
Breeze (Force 6)
blowing off the sea from the south-east, the cuckoo
could be seen clearly out in the open where it seemed to be pecking at
the ground (more like a Pied Wagtail than
a Starling) for
Spotted Cuckoo spends the winter in Africa
and flies north to southern Europe (including Turkey and Spain) to find
a bird's (usually a corvid's,
nest to lay a single clandestine egg for the surrogate parent bird to incubate
and feed. It is a rare vagrant to southern England with only 39 records
in Britain and Ireland up to the end of 1995. One of those was at Shoreham
Airport before in 1990.
was just one Pochard
amongst the usual Mallards
twenty or so Pochards
were tucking their beaks into their body. There were as many and probably
on the lake, plus the occasional Moorhen.
were two Dunnocks
amongst the reeds at the edge of the lake and Pochards
amongst the Coots and
Duck are seen on Brooklands Boating Lake
with twenty Pochards.
Ducks are carnivorous, feeding on insects
and small invertebrates, whereas Pochards
Brooklands Boating Lake there were half a dozen or so Pochards,
and at the southern end there was a congregation of about thirty Coots
and a dozen or so Moorhens.
It was here that I spotted a colourful yellow Grey
Wagtail on the sluice gates.
visited Brooklands Lagoon, Worthing this afternoon. I was busy watching
a winter passage Little Gull,
when five more tumbled out of the sky settled on the lake and started to
actively feed. They were all adults. Also Firecrest,
and Grey Wagtail.
few of the more interesting birds had been reported from Brooklands recently,
but I expect this from from the early risers, as in the mid-afternoon,
were just 30+ of the usual Coots
or a fully flooded lake and a few Moorhens.
first Emperor Dragonfly
of 2004 was spotted majestically flying up and the down the Teville Stream
that feeds into Brooklands Boating Lake over the reed-bordered stream open
to the public. It had a a very bright pale blue abdomen and looked fresh
in the sunshine.
boating lake was noted for the return of the commoner birds with about
and a handful of Moorhens
as well. At the southern end in a shallow area near the weir, small shoals
of Ten-spined Sticklebacks
and freshwater water beetles
including the Water Boatmen
were noted. A Common Darter Dragonfly
flew over the lake.
Boating Lake in flood but there was a paucity of birds, just a pair of
were seen in the main area of the lake.
the weir the main part of Brooklands boating lake looked slightly a milky
white colour. I did not see any of the usual Moorhens
and Coots and there were just a handful of
gulls on the surface of the water in the centre, which did not seem
to be discoloured.
chicks followed the white bread that was fed them accompanied by a Coot
and no sign of the parent Moorhens
although a Mallard
was also at the feeding station on the main part of the lake but just south
of the weir and bridge, by the miniature railway station.
are discouraged from feeding the water birds by notices.)
were relatively few birds on the lake, which was now back into full flood
after some maintenance work. Nine cute Mallard
chicks swam after their parents, the drake
and the hen Mallard.
Boating Lake has been drained again and
there is lots of mud exposed. The
freshwater stream that feeds the brackish water lake was pouring over the
weir in a continuous flow. In living memory the whole area was a marsh
with allotments called the Brooks.
It has been drained and landscaped to be enjoyed by the public, but it
may have been a bit too sanitised to appeal to some shyer species of birds.
Boating Lake was visited for the first time since the reports of it
being drained of water
for repairs. This has left patches of black smelly mud, but there is still
extensive shallow water where the large population of Coots,
and Black-headed Gulls can rest, with
at least one Mute Swan. Over
the grass there were a few Crows,
handful of Herring Gulls and
a visiting male Kestrel.
(Some of the Mute Swans
died and others were removed by WADARS
after the mysterious deaths earlier this year.)
around a rock with
mystery organism growing on it
dumped motorcycle covered
a strange worm
worm was noticed for the first time growing on the stems of reeds and on
solid objects in Brooklands Boating Lake.
has not been seen in Brooklands since the lake was created. It was first
spotted this summer from the seaward southern end and spread all over the
lake but not to the full freshwater reaches called the Teville Stream.
This is the feeder stream from the north.
with information from Mrs Hawkins
from Brooklands 2003
small holes which look like the skeleton of a microscopic animal have an
external diameter of up to 1 mm and an internal diameter of up to 0.8 mm.
tube is from between about 10 mm to 25 mm in length.
the time of writing I have not identified the animal which could be a worm
or a bryozoan? The reasonable speculation was that it has been able to
become established this year because of increased salinity
in the low brackish water lagoon, because of the profound lack of rainfall
this year. There are sluice gates separating the lake from the sea, and
the juvenile stages may have arrived with a seawater intake.
worm tubes are omnipresent on all the hard substrates and reed stems in
brackish lake below the weir. In the freshwater reaches above the weir,
the worm tubes are present but only in small amounts. (Investigation of
November 2003). It does seem that the weir
only functions when the water level is reduced and for most of this summer
the lagoon water level is above the level of the weir.
mystery organisms are the empty tubes of the serpullid
Barnes in "The Brackish-water fauna of Northwestern
Europe" writes about this worm:
southern species often termed Mercierella, that extends northwards
to the southern North Sea. It will construct its c. 1 mm diameter,
up to 30 mm long tubes on most substrata, natural and artificial, including
the stems of Common Reed, Phragmites, and is particularly characteristic
of harbours, docks, artificial lagoons and power-station outfalls with
salinities of from 35 down to 10 ppt (and exceptionally, in fresh water);
it has also been recorded from several natural lagoons. The tubes, which
possess circular, shelf-life platforms near their mouths, are often aggregated
into large colonies."
Information Page on Ficopomatus enigmaticus
Dutch name translates into: "trumpet-calcareous-tube-worm" since the
often looks as a series of trumpets. This worm disappears after cold winters,
demonstrating its subtropical origin.
Egret visited the lake for the first time,
perhaps appreciating the lowered water levels.
also an authentic report of a pair of Canadian
Geese paying a brief visit to the muddy
Boating Lake (east Worthing on the Lancing border) has been partially
drained of water so that repairs to the wooden supports of the embankment
can be carried out.
seems to be over with hailstones, a chilly south-easterly breeze (Force
4) and a perpetually grey overcast sky with rain showers.
Boating Lake (east Worthing on the Lancing border), there were about 80
over a dozen Mallard,
two Mute Swans,
and one Moorhen.
On the beach sand a score or more of Black-backed
Gulls rested and there were at least three
feeding in the Widewater shallows at the eastern
end of the lagoon.
northerly breeze felt like winter for the first time since February, and
the temperature was only 8.5 ºC at 5:00 pm.
and around Brooklands Boating Lake (east Worthing on the Lancing border),
there were two Kingfishers, two Grey
Wagtails and four Goldcrest.
Boating Lake (see the entry below) could
not be hypertrophic (overnutrified, cf. eutrophic) because in the upper
stream reaches a shoal of about 30 Rudd
be seen in the clear slightly cloudy water, with broken bits of algae,
but no aquatic plants, although there was some marginal waterside vegetation.
These silvery fish were attractive with their bright red fins.
Teville Stream feeding Brooklands
were the usual plentiful 50+ Coots on
the main body of the lake, but I only spotted one Moorhen
in the upper reaches.
were over a hundred birds on Brooklands Boating Lake (see
the entry below) and the Coots,
and Black-headed Gulls
all appeared to be in fine fettle. A dozen Martins
were swooping around the island. These martins appeared very brown
and they were probably Sand Martins?
(They were too far away to be absolutely sure.)
Herald reports that Brooklands Boating Lake is again closed
because of the mysterious deaths of both resident and visiting birds including
cygnets, two Coots, nine ducks and one gull. The
cause is till unknown. A toxic blue-green algae and botulism have
been suspected as well as polluted silt in the lagoon. The smelly problem
occurs in late summer when the temperatures are at their warmest.
The water in Brooklands is mostly fresh stream-fed water, and is shallow
without any appreciable water plants.
Algae Toxicity in Waterfowl
algal toxins can be harmful to humans and pets, and can be transmitted
by pet dogs. Death in waterfowl can be rapid with the species of algae
that produce neurotoxins (including anatoxins). There are various different
blooms of algae, all of which are encouraged by eutrophic water conditions.
also be found to be the cause of fatal disease in ducks in British town
Sewage Pollution (Brooklands)
Pollution Scare (Brooklands)
a misty drizzly day the Ruddy Shelduck
sheltered in the lee of the island on Brookland's Boating Lake, with over
a couple of Moorhens
and a small flock of about a dozen Pochards
which could be seen reasonably close up (with 10 x 25 binoculars) with
their attractive maroon head (male only).
very few reports from Brooklands prior to year 2003 have not been included
on these pages yet.