A hot and sunny bank holiday Monday, the hottest day of the year so far, saw Sue and I heading south from London to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks on the River Arun. This is one of the country’s premier places to hear the Nightingale. This small bird with its attractive rich song is becoming increasingly rare.
However, our first excitement was to happen before we got to the reserve when a Western Osprey flew across the road at speed, being pursued by Carrion Crows which wanted it out of their territory.
On arrival at the reserve, we made our way to the courtyard area, which is one of the best areas on the reserve and we were not disappointed as soon we were listening to a male belting out his song from an area of bushes. Some people, though not us, were fortunate enough to see him through the undergrowth but they usually remain well hidden from sight.
Moving on we arrived at a hide overlooking the river valley but it was fairly quiet with only a few waterbirds and waders plus some Highland cattle trying to keep cool.
Whilst walking along the track we came across a group of people watching the trackside bank, where a Weasel was hunting, totally ignoring the people watching it. It explored every hole in the bank it could find and eventually found a mouse nest. We saw the adult mouse explode from the hole and run away and then we continued to watch as the Weasel carried the young mice from the nest back to its own hole and presumably its own young.
Our final highlight of the day was to watch two young Tawny Owls roosting in a tree. They can’t fly yet so can only move by jumping and climbing but this has not, apparently, stopped them moving from tree to tree.
Then, with the heat beginning to tell, we headed back to the centre and a nice cold drink before making our way home with some great memories.
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Osprey [sp] (Pandion haliaetus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Nightingale [sp] (Luscinia megarhynchos)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)