Thanks to volunteer Phil for his report and photos 

On June 1st the car park and nature trails opened for the first time since March 20th and on June 2nd I was able to spend the whole day there, welcoming visitors back and seeing lots of wildlife. For anyone wishing to visit however please note that the Visitor Centre is still closed so there is no shop, café or toilets, although planning is taking place for how to open these safely.

The change since March when we still had the remnants of the winter floods was dramatic with much of the South Brooks completely dried out by the warm sunny weather. There was however no shortage of wildlife and of course in summer it is the insect life that comes into its own.

Meadow Brown butterflies were out in force and as the day wore on more and more large skippers started appearing. However, the damselflies were the stars of the show with hundreds out around the main trail.

Azure damselflies mating in tandem

Azure Damselflies mating wheel

Large Red Damselfly

Blue Tailed Damselfly Female – violacea form

Banded Demoiselle Male – immature

Beautiful Demoiselle Female - immature

There were also several dragonflies well scattered with a concentration around Redstart Corner Pond.

Broad Bodied Chaser Female underside

Broad Bodied Chaser Female upperside

Four Spotted Chaser

There were also 2 emperor dragonfly exuviae at the Visitor Centre Pond leaving me to marvel once again how the adults clamber out of their larval casings leaving them so intact.

Emperor Dragonfly Exuvia

Emperor Dragonfly Exuvia underside

Blackcaps, whitethroats, garden warblers, and chiffchaffs were all singing, as was a nightingale in Fattengates Courtyard – rather late in the season I thought. Here I also saw a nightingale appearing to forage for food for its young, its rufous back and tail catching the bright sunshine beautifully.

Finally, from the refurbished Hanger View (just completed before lockdown) I had a distant view of a pair of avocets on the North Brooks with 2 chicks. Anyone wishing to see the chicks will need to bring a scope. I will write more about what I believe to be a remarkable first for Pulborough Brooks later.

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