We arrived at Pulborough Brooks where we were greeted by Anna, who met us by the feeders and gave us a brief chat about the reserve and what we could expect to see.
We left the visitor centre just as it started to rain, heading for the Wetland trail. Fortunately, the shower soon passed as we made our way to Jupp’s view.
As we enjoyed our elevenses a fast-moving raptor approached and disappeared over our heads. Much discussion followed as to whether it was a peregrine or a sparrowhawk. Unfortunately, no-one managed to capture an image of the mystery bird and no definitive decision as to its identity was made. We did however see a “dodgy” goose among the greylags which became the reference point for locating other species including 3 black-tailed godwits.
Suitably refreshed, we resumed our walk passing through woodland, where jackdaw, rook and crow were flying overhead. Fortunately, the trees shielded us from the worst of the wind and we arrived at Little Hanger hide and settled down for lunch just as the heavens opened! The rain, although heavy, was again short-lived and here we again saw ducks, geese, and gulls. Pied wagtail, cormorant, mute swan and coot were added to our list. Venturing out we walked through more woodland and were greeted by a mixed flock of small birds which included long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, goldcrest, chaffinch and the highlight of the day for several of us – a nuthatch making heavy weather of eating an acorn. We walked on to the Winpenny hide where we had been reliably informed that ruff had been seen a short time before. As we settled down, a buzzard could be seen sitting on a post in the distance overlooking the water and then sure enough 4 ruff were spotted feeding avidly. There was also a possible sighting of a water rail, or was it a young moorhen – again a lack of photographic evidence left this undecided! A kestrel occupied a post en route to our final port of call, the West Mead hide. Here a single tufted duck swam with the teal and mallard.
Another master class by Malcolm regarding Galls ensued, before we returned to the visitor centre where a few of us decided to have a quick look at the woodland trail, where numerous types of fungi were seen and photographed.
Back at the feeders, coal tit, white doves and house sparrows swelled the total number of species seen to over 40 – not bad considering the wind and the rain! All in all not a bad day out!
Thanks to Steve for the report and Terry for the photographs. Special thanks, of course, to Hazel for organising the coach trip for us. The nuthatch was brilliant – watch Sue’s video.