Trip reports

Pulborough Brooks RSPB 14th February 2016

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A stunning buzzard perching on a post met us as the coach entered the reserve car park. It swept across the front of Len's coach and was yet again another near miss!! The visitor centre opened as we embarked. Most of the group were entertained by the birds on the feeders at the front of the centre. Birds included coal tit, nuthatch, blue and great tit and greenfinch. With blue skies, light cloud and sunshine I scanned the flooded fields at the back of the centre to find a good variety of duck. Splendid male pintail were together with shoveler, wigeon , a few shelduck, teal, gadwall and tufted duck. A close mistle thrush on the ground showed off its large spots on its chest and eight or nine linnets in winter plumage perched on the ground feeding and eventually flew to the near fence. A skylark could be seen up high singing.
Walking past the hedgerows we stared the descent down the paths to the Brooks. A couple of song thrush could be heard singing and also the "yaffle" of a green woodpecker. A nuthatch calling was heard and eventually good views were had of it high in a tree. We passed Fattengate's Courtyard, where in spring excellent views of singing nightingales can be gained, on our way towards the path down to the hides and viewpoints. In the fields on the right I found one redwing perching deep inside a hedge. Through the scope its white eye stripe and smudge of red under its wing could be seen. However a few minutes later a large flock of 15+ were clearly seen on the ground and in flight. Their "sip sip" calls were also heard. A really good bird to see! The descent continued downwards with some of group adding a treecreeper and long tailed tits.
Jupp's View gave us more of the same duck species with large numbers of lapwing mixed in. From Netley's Hide a couple of black tailed godwits were seen. Gull species included common and lesser black backed gull. An early lunch was taken by all. A very distance short-eared owl flew around and also perched on a post twisting its head nearly full circle. A few people had a marsh harrier as well. Eventually three well hidden snipe were found amongst some brown wet reeds. The next stop was through the woodland to the Hanger View. More of the same was seen and because of the sharp wind we moved on quickly. Little Hanger hide was fairly quiet.
The walk along the Wetland Trail gave ample opportunities for the photographers of excellent close views of a very obliging goldcrest. It kept everyone happy for a good twenty five minutes always being very close. The Winpenny Hide was quiet as well. From here in a distant bare row of trees I managed to scope an immaculate male red chested bullfinch with a female, as always, nearby. Moving closer everyone had excellent views of two male bullfinches and a female. This could be classed as one of the birds of the day. Eventually we pulled ourselves away. West Mead Hide was also quiet. On the climb up the hill back to the centre we heard a greater spotted woodpecker. A few of us went up onto the Heathland but only managed more close views of a goldcrest. Very welcome refreshments were taken in the café.
Sixty three species were seen today. The atypical birds of the differing habitats were all seen today. For me and most people the large groups of active redwing, the short-eared owl in flight, the close goldcrest and the stunning bright red bullfinch were the highlights today. Pulborough delivered!

George Kalli