TJ and Shane visit Pulborough Brooks in Sussex.

Hi all.

I had planned a visit to Pulborough Brooks for Wednesday and mentioned it to TJ in an email as he had expressed an interest in re-visiting there in the hope of seeing Nightingales, it was a little to early in the year but the chance of seeing Adders was enough for him to drive down and join me. The bright sunny day they had forecast was not going to arrive though courtesy of the Sahara Desert, pollution from the European mainland and our own pollution making it a grey day:-(

I arrived at 09.30 and as TJ said he would be a bit later I set off into the reserve there was plenty to hear and see even if the light was lousy there was the sound of Blackcaps singing from everywhere unforunately I could not get a decent pic due to the bad light.

 As I got down to where the path spilts so you can go clockwise or anti-clockwise there are some ponds so I had a good look around there I found a female Blackbird collecting nest material and she had no interest in me and then a very obliging Chiffchaff who landed right above me.

I then caught something else fly in nearby and it turned out to be a female Bullfinch but again I could not get any decent photo's curse the bad light, here is the best I could get and has now been deleted.

It was around this time TJ phoned to say he had arrived and he was on the way down to meet me, we met up and exchanged greetings and set off clockwise around the reserve.

We soon came across a Dunnock singing away almost asking for its photo to be taken so who were we to not take the chance?

As we came to the first hide (West Mead Hide) we settled in to see what was around unfortunately there was not a lot other than some Greylag Geese, a pair of courting Lapwings, some Mallard, Canada Geese and some distant deer which promptly disappeared as I tried to pont them out to TJ.

We decided to move on to the next hide to see what was around there before we headed up "Adder Alley" the next hide is called "Winpenny Hide" and looks over the same area as the last hide but from a different direction so as expected there was not a lot to see which I have to say is very unusual.

There was still no chance of the sun breaking through the grey dismal sky so hopes of finding Adders was not looking good but we gave it a shot but alas all that was in the undergrowth was a variety of bees and flies as well as this Peacock Butterfly.

We then moved on to Little Hanger Hide to see what was around there this overlooks a wide expanse of the reserve and is home to a wide range of waterfowl plus anything else passing by, this area was seriously flooded at the start of the year as can be seen in this blog (look for the 18th of January).

http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/placestovisit/pulboroughbrooks/b/pulboroughbrooks-blog/archive/2014/01/18/where-is-this-all-headed.aspx

Here is the same view as the photo in the blog (taken from Hanger View) and as you can see the water has gone back to its normal level and at the same time you can see the level of "smog".

There is a large Willow to the left of this view point which is a favourite perching point for one of the Peregrines to hunt from and eat at but no joy today.

We did however have a pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers fly into the top a a tree near us heres to best I could get not brilliant I know but "hey ho".

Also seen from the view point was a pair of Jackdaws one of whom seemed very interested in this hole in the Willow the Peregrine uses, where they thinking of nesting there considering the Peregrine threat I cannot answer that as they were chased off by a crow?

We then moved on to Jupps View which also looks across the same area and then on to Nettleys hide which again looks over the same area and according to a sign had been underwater for nearly a month due to the floods. The reserve staff had obviously been working hard and had got it back to a clean usable state so we settled down here for a while but not after having seen this Song Thrush just before getting to the hide.

When in the hide we saw Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Shelduck, Swans, Geese mainly Canada, Little Egrets, Moorhen, Coot a pair of Jays and some Deer, at the time I thought they were Roe but having checked an old report on this reserve I done I think they could be Fallow as Aiki had previously helped ID them for me.

Poor photo of the deer in the distance and the murk.

Another shot this time with the one of the Jays in view.

Pair of Shelduck on the water in front of the hide.

We spent a fair time in this hide but then decided to head back around the reserve the way we had come just in case some Adders had decided to brave the gloom but this was not to happen. On the way to "Adder Alley" we went pst where the Deer had been seen from the hide so i told TJ we might get a better view if we quietly moved through the trees and sure enough we did.

 

Aware that TJ had a long journey back we headed back to the visitors centre but the highlight of the day was still to come and for me the trip was woth it just for this little beauty a male Bullfinch happily eating the Blossom, this is the closest I had been to a bullfinch since my teens and before you ask, yes I can remember back that far. 

Can anyone ID this plant we saw, I took this with my phone as its macro ability seems to work better than my camera lol thanks in advance?

Heres a couple of Adder pics from a previous visit to Pulborough just for TJ to make up for not seeing any this time.

Thats my lot folks,and thanks for the great company TJ and if I'm free when you next visit Pulborough to see the Nightingales it would be a pleasure to join you?

 

Regards Shane

 

My Photos in Flickr.

  • The identification of your flower photograph is Cuckoo Flower (latin: Cardamine pratensis), also known as Ladies-Smock or Milkmaids. It's a very pretty spring flower that blooms about now, a lover of places such as ditch edges and damp hedgerows, and importantly,  a favourite food-plant for the Orange Tip butterfly's caterpillar.
    Pleased to hear you enjoyed your visit!
    Sophie-May, Visitor Services trainee at Pulborough Brooks

  • In reply to Sophie May Lewis:

    Thank you very much Sophie for the ID on the flower, and I look forward to my next visit to Pulborough either later this month or in May.

    Regards Shane

     

    My Photos in Flickr.

  • In reply to Birdie Wild:

    Brilliantly illustrated report as ever Shane! A superb variety of wildlife was seen even if you missed out on the adders this time! Always a good excuse to return (not that you need one!) ;-)

    "All weeds are flowers, once you get to know them" (Eeyore)

    My photos on Flickr

  • In reply to bob's_retired_now:

    Really interesting report & great photos, it sounds like it was a good day despite the lack of Adders & overcast sky.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Interesting read Shane. We visited last year, and we too were unlucky with the Adders, a dull day was not to their liking.

    If TJ sees this, Blashford Lakes has a few Adders. We are hoping to visit on a decent day soon, so will post some pics if we see them.

    Take care all, Stich.

    My gallery Here  Flickr Here    

  • In reply to Birdie Wild:

    Thanks Birdie Wild, it was a little disappointing not seeing the Adders but as I said the Bullfinch was a real bonus, I got close to a Nightingale last year in fact it was the closest I had ever been to one and I had to confirm its ID on here lol.

    Regards Shane

     

    My Photos in Flickr.

  • In reply to Rockwolf:

    Rockwolf said:

    Brilliantly illustrated report as ever Shane! A superb variety of wildlife was seen even if you missed out on the adders this time! Always a good excuse to return (not that you need one!) ;-)

    Thanks Rockwolf, I know TJ is looking at returning a bit later on and hopefully I can get there at the same time but if not I will pick a nice sunny day to catch the Adders enjoying the sun.

    Regards Shane

     

    My Photos in Flickr.

  • In reply to bob's_retired_now:

    Cheers Bob, I would have loved to have seen a Barn Owl I have only ever seen one in the wild and that was a fair distance away, it was nicer weather this morning but is looking like rain now so hopefully it will clear the air.

    Regards Shane

     

    My Photos in Flickr.

  • In reply to Noisette:

    Thank you very much Noisette, did you get effected by the sand from the Sahara in your part of France?

    Regards Shane

     

    My Photos in Flickr.

  • In reply to Stich:

    Thanks Stich, thats the luck of the draw when it comes to Adder spotting but life would be dull if we always found what we were aiming to find, good luck at Blashford and hopefully you will get some great photos.

    Regards Shane

     

    My Photos in Flickr.