With thanks to volunteer Graham for his report and photos.

After missing the previous two Sundays at Pulborough Brooks the reserve looked a lot drier than during my last Hides & Trails visit.

 A quick visit to Upperton’s Pond revealed that all three newt species were readily viewable, and I made a mental note to allow enough time to attempt a few photos on my return in the afternoon. As I left the pond area I met a couple of visitors who told me that they had enjoyed a good view of an adder from the gate at the top of the zigzag path. I stopped there and set up my scope, through which I could see that there were actually at least two adders in view. 

 A mixed song provided by Wrens, Dunnocks and Chiffchaffs accompanied me as I walked down the zigzag path, also soon to be joined by the song of the first of several Blackcaps I would encounter during the day. A group of three Greenfinches perched briefly halfway down the slope.

 At West Mead Hide a single Snipe was on the near bank. Two Lapwings appeared to be sitting on nests on islands. Nearby ducks included Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler, as well as at least one pair of lingering Tufted Ducks. Most of the nearby aerial action was provided by Black-headed Gulls, and some Redshanks could be seen at longer range. The hide was fairly busy with visitors, and I soon decided to move on around the trail.

I took the left hand path from West Mead to Redstart corner, from where I heard two brief bursts of song from a Cetti’s Warbler. As I had hoped, the Greater Stitchwort by the side of the path provided the opportunity for my first photos of the day, one flowerhead serving as an anchor point for the web of a small spider,

and another sheltering a crane fly.


I reached Redstart Corner just in time to see a White-tailed Eagle flying low above Winpenny Hide towards the North Brooks. Fortunately, a good number of visitors were nearby, and they also enjoyed this fairly close flypast. I briefly went into Winpenny Hide, where I was able to confirm that the occupiers all had a close view of the eagle, and the photographers amongst them showed me some excellent flight shots.

I continued on to Hanger View, where I was able to share scoped views of two Avocets and a selection of duck species with several visitors. A pair of Linnets appeared to be nest building in brambles not far from the viewpoint.

As visitor numbers dropped I moved on to the field viewpoint behind the hanger where a Brimstone and a Peacock Butterfly were patrolling. The Peacock settled occasionally.


I relocated to the Picnic Area, where at least two male Blackcaps were competing for territory.

A female Blackcap also showed up briefly,

and a Chiffchaff perched nicely in the open.

I spotted a hovering Dark-edged Bee-fly,

and a Speckled Wood butterfly, my first of the year, landed in a convenient position.

There were a few Orange-tip butterflies in the area, but none of them settled for a photo. A somewhat worn Brimstone was a bit more confiding .


As planned, I arrived back at Upperton’s Pond with a few minutes to spare to attempt some newt photos. It is quite tricky to get sharp pictures of newts through slightly murky water, and the only usable image I managed on this occasion was of a male Smooth Newt.

There is always next time!