Weekend Field Trip, RSPB Pulborough Brooks, Saturday 10th February 2024

Early mist and light rain had cleared by the time our group of 22 arrived at the RSPB reserve at Pullborough Brooks and we enjoyed a mild day with sunny intervals and barely a breeze.

From the lookout point just behind the visitor centre, we could see that the water level down on the Brooks was particularly high, perhaps not surprising given the heavy rain of recent weeks. On what little land that wasn’t submerged were 2 White-Fronted Geese in company with Greylag Geese, Shelduck and Lapwing and out on the water were rafts of duck including Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal and Pintail in good numbers. As we prepared to make our way down to the Brooks, a Sparrowhawk went over our heads in typical flap, flap, glide flight.

Stopping at the feeders by the bell tent yurt, a female Bullfinch was a nice find along with the usual tits and finches. A stop further down in the area known as the Fattengates Courtyard again produced the usual tits and finches. Marsh Tit is often here but not on this occasion.

On our way to the West Mead Hide, a Marsh Harrier was found perched in a dead tree, 4 Meadow Pipits were in bushes close to the path and a Skylark in the adjacent meadow. From the hide we had closer views of the duck and geese seen from the viewpoint up at the visitor centre along with a single Snipe.

Moving on to the other hides we found nothing new in the way of wildfowl but added some gulls to our list, including Common Gull. The high water level left little land exposed and so it was not surprising that no waders were seen other than the aforementioned Lapwing and Snipe. Among the trees on the path we did find Goldcrest and Redwing and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was heard drumming and one was later seen on the feeders by the bell tent yurt on the return walk. In all, just over 50 species were seen by the group.

After a late lunch in the visitor centre cafe, some of us decided to stop off at Knepp on our way home and took in the spectacle of the reintroduced White Storks beginning to refurbish their nests and pair bonding with loud bill-clappering.

Doug Burr