Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pulborough Brooks RSPB.

With a reasonable weather forecast I drove southwards to Pulborough Brooks RSPB Reserve this morning. During the drive the clouds darkened and there was the hint of rain in the air but within an hour of my arrival the sun was peeking through and the temperature was very comfortable. My first stop was 'Fattengates' where I joined a few other birders hoping to catch sight of a Firecrest but only a handful of Goldcrests showed themselves as they flitted throughout the pines. I wasn't particularly upset as I had seen one on a 'Patchwalk' at Epsom Common just about a week ago. 
As I headed for West Mead hide a Robin provided a lovely serenade. Other sightings within the first 30 minutes included Kestrel, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Skylark, Fieldfare, Redwing, Wren, Green Woodpecker and Jay.
From the hide I added Canada Geese, Pintail, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Lapwing, Starling, Woodpigeon, and a distant soaring Common Buzzard. The hide was quite busy and I was soon joined by a young family with their son and daughter endeavoring to identify everything they could see. As usual  it wasn't long before I offered some help and it was great to witness the enthusiasm of the children as they ticked off each species on their handouts.
Outside the hide we enjoyed views of a male Chaffinch busily preening after having taken a recent bath plus a few Long-tailed Tits feeding high in the overhead branches. Further along the trail a couple of very smart looking Bullfinches where feeding in the hedgerow but regretfully didn't want to pose in the open for a photo. As usual the fields where occupied by reasonable numbers of corvids, including Magpie, Jackdaw and Carrion Crows.
 As I headed onwards towards the 'The Hanger' a male Blackbird kept close company with me for a while. 
This was the view from 'The Hanger' with everything a long way away so no close up photos but I was able to spot Little Egret, Grey Herons, Shelduck, Black-headed and Common Gulls, Pied Wagtail, Coot plus a number of Ruff amongst large flocks of Lapwing when they were disturbed  into the air by an overflying microlight. Just as I was thinking of moving on the star bird of the day appeared ........
A female Peregrine Falcon took up her usual perch overlooking the Brooks spying out her next likely prey. She has been a regular here for about five years but I think this is only the second time I have seen her on numerous visits. Her perch was a bit distant for my lens so I have cropped the original shot.
 Another Robin kept me company when I stopped for to devour my packed lunch. 
With the warmer temperatures it wasn't surprising to find this youngish Adder (Vipera berus) basking at the foot of the hedgerow. One passerby got quite agitated when another photographer explained what he was looking at. Despite us explaining that our only venomous viper species is not naturally aggressive unless provoked she moved on very quickly! Also on the wing today where a few Red Admirals, awakened from their winter hibernation.
Today's tally was 46 species and may have been more if I had bothered to carry the scope with me.   FAB.

19 comments:

  1. Lovely images Frank but the Adder steals the show for me.. wonderful to see.

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  2. HI Frank...Oh my you would not have had to explain anything to me about the snake I wouldn't have even stopped shiverrrr's..lol
    I love that the children where right into it the birding..we didn't have things like that when my children where young,we did the teaching!!
    I must say you had a great count for the day ..lovely looking area providing a good supply of food and nesting places!!
    Grace

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  3. i love the grey heron in your header! and always enjoy seeing your european robins. such sweet birds!

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  4. Wow, a very nice selection! You saw quite a variety.

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  5. Looks like a fine day out, Frank!

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  6. These robins are so appealing, and you got the song as well! I wouldn’t have fancied being so close to the adder either. Birding yesterday and trudging through long grasses I didn’t want to step near a snake thank-you. Give me more robin pictures anyday!

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  7. Good to see you making a post again.

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  8. Great post Frank!
    We have yet to see any snakes or butterflies here...still a little too brisk.

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  9. Good to see you back again Frank, and a great post too.
    Nice one with helping the kids with their ID's. Hopefully some future birders and conservationists of the future.
    Two stars there.....Peregrine and Adder. Top day.

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  10. Hi Frank

    Peregrin Falcon, what a thrill.
    I hope one day to experience that :)

    The young adder is also a treat. I saw one at Cliff marshes many years ago. My daughter nearly died on the spot (she is terrified of snakes) but I thought it was wonderful.

    I have so many birds in the garden at the moment. I am amazed at just how many. Perhaps last year was a good breeding season, and numbers have climbed. I did notice a difference in my RSPB list, although sadly no Greenfinches, they seem to have disappeared from this part of the world.

    Hope you and yours are keeping well ??

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  11. Sounds a good visit Frank and well done on the adder - not see one yet this year.

    BTW Pulborough is only a very few miles from where I'm now living... so if you would like to meet up next tie you're 'down my way' feel free to let me know....

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  12. It looks like you had a great day out Frank? And an impresive tally, made all the better by the 'star' Peregrine and the Adder. And Red Admirals too, Excellent...[;o)

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  13. Thanks Andrew. I have to admit it has been a year or two since I encountered one close enough to photograph ... gorgeous markings.

    Hi Grace. Yeah ... I had too close an encounter when I was very small which shook me up but as we only have one viper it's easy to ID and pay respect to it.

    Thanks Theresa. I have a few more Heron shots to post idc.

    Thanks Mona.

    Hi Wilma .. it sure was just that.

    Hi Carole. I'm listening to a Robin now outside the window as I type this response.

    Cheers Red.

    Hi Dave. Amazing what a little bit of warm sunshine will produce.

    Thanks Sarah.

    Cheers Keith. It's just great to see the youngsters eyes light up when they find they have seen something new.

    Hi Cheryl. We are all doing fine ... I'll post an update on Dad's progress very soon. Very few sightings of Greenfinch around us at the moment.

    Hi Trica. I'll certainly be in touch when I next head your way.

    Cheers Trevor. The Red Admirals have been on the wing for a few days on my local patch thanks to the warmer weather.

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  14. Hi Frank, lovely to 'see' you :-) I hope you and Anita are well and that your Father is still progressing well.

    It sounds like you had a lovely day with lots of interest and lovely photos as always. Well done on the Peregrine and the Adder. I was looking in some likely places yesterday in the hope of seeing an Adder but no luck, of course before I had the camera I used to see them ;-)

    I suspect those children will remember that nice gentlemen who was so knowledgable about birds for the rest of their lives, you may well have turned a passing interest into a lifelong passion, I do hope so.

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  15. You always find so many wonderful critters on your outings. :) Your robins are quite different from ours in the States.

    I like seeing snakes in my garden because they eat the slugs that eat my flowers. :)

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  16. Sounds like you spent a fabulous day birding. What a nice variety of birds your saw! A big smile formed on my face when reading about the enthusiastic young birders. Beautiful photographs, as always! I love the stunning pattern on the adder.

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  17. Hi Jan. All is well here and Dad is going from strength to strength. I trust the same applies to you.
    I have plenty of patience when youngsters show an interest in wildlife .. after all they will need to carry on the mantle we leave behind.

    Hi Lois. I don't think I have ever seen a snake in our current garden so failed to make your connection with them being a pest eater .. lol.

    Thanks Julie. The brief interuption from the young ones made the day even more rewarding.

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