THE arrival of an incredibly rare wading bird, a little crake, has delighted staff and visitors at the Arundel Wetland Centre.
A WWT member first spotted the bird last Saturday, April 9. The sighting was then confirmed by other WWT staff and volunteers before Owen Mitchell, Community Liaison Officer at Pagham Harbour, posted the sighting on the Rare Bird Alert pager. News quickly spread through the birdwatching community, drawing in hundreds of keen birders in pursuit of a sighting.
An impatient vandal cut through the electric on the perimeter fence of the reserve to photograph the bird before staff had opened the centre to the public. Centre Manager, Olivia Iles, made the decision to stay open until 8pm and the centre reopened at 7am on Monday morning to accommodate birders eager to see the Crake.
“At this time of year we have many families and children visiting to enjoy our Downy Ducklings Days. We are trying to ensure that birders have good access to the area where the bird is showing whilst minimising any disruption to our Easter activities,” she said.
The last accepted record of a little crake sighting in the UK was in 2008 at Exminster Marshes, Devon. The most recent sighting in Sussex was in 1985 and this is a first for the Arundel Wetland Centre.
Paul Stevens, Grounds Manager, is absolutely thrilled as he and his team have been closely managing the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) to improve biodiversity.