15th January 2012 - Pulborough Brooks and Arundel WWT

Outside of Norfolk, this has to be one of the best birding day trips I've been on, as you will shortly see!  We were looking to go somewhere a little different from our usual haunts but not *too* far away, so I did some research and settled on Pulborough Brooks.  They'd had a couple of interesting birds recently and it looked like a lovely reserve to visit.  On the walk the day before we'd mentioned our trip to someone local to the reserve and he pointed out that another place that we'd been meaning to visit, Arundel WWT, was only 15 minutes away, so we decided to try and get both into the trip.  Upon arriving at Pulborough, we smiled happily at the plethora of Blue Tits on the feeders outside and wandered into the visitor centre to get our wristbands.  Before we even managed to get to the desk, we got a lifer for both of us - an adorable Water Rail, wandering round about 2 metres away from the excellent viewing windows.  It took a long time to drag Stuart away, but a promise of a possible Firecrest eventually lured him.  An excitable short walk later, stopping at every single little noise in the hope of spotting the elusive tiny bird eventually led to a group of people staring up into tall conifers at a small bird flitting around.  A quick look through the binos confirmed a Goldcrest sighting, but two incoming birds caused a lot of excitement, which increased when Stuart confirmed Firecrests!  The low sun quickly ended our quest for more Firecrests, so we moved on down towards Jupp's view.  On the way, I spotted my second ever Treecreeper adorably scrambling up the tree.  Nothing much different was to be seen from Jupp's view or the Nettley's hide, mainly Lapwings and various ducks with a lovely Grey Heron standing proudly in the middle.  We then popped round to Hanger view and that all changed.  Flocks of Fieldfare (a lifer for both of us!) and Redwing were passing by in front of us and we got some wonderful views through the scope.  Two very helpful RSPB volunteers were also there to spot some great birds - a shy Snipe, hovering Kestrel overhead and - the best bit - a pair of Bullfinch!  Whilst the woman next to me was distinctly unimpressed as she gets them every day in her garden, I have been waiting ever since I started birding to see a Bullfinch and to see a male/female pair together with excellent lighting was amazing.  On our way back to the visitor centre we popped into the West Mead hide for what was to be a great stop off as we heard a woman at the end of the hide announce a Pink-footed Goose.  We also zoomed in on the Greylag Geese we had seen earlier and realised that the white patch round the beak meant, in fact, they were White-fronted Geese.  Pink-footed had only been seen in a flock in the distance in Norfolk, so it was great to see one on the ground not too far away and the White-fronted was a lifer for the both of us.

After being somewhat disappointed at the cream teas being advertised - double cream?! - we headed to Arundel WWT.  After having high hopes because of how excellent London WWT is, we were severely disappointed.  Apart from a near encounter with a Water Vole (one day, one day) and what seemed to be most of England's population of Pheasants, the viewing at Arundel was lacking.  It is a lovely site; I really enjoyed walking around it and indeed we made a friend, a lovely photographer from Kingston, so I will go back, possibly at a more opportune time for the birds.  We did get very close to another pair of Bullfinch on the way out though, so it was not all in vain.  I'd like to recommend the pub we went for dinner in too, The Red Lion Inn at Shoreham.  Lovely atmosphere, interesting selection of beers and great food - we recommend the Bannoffee Roulade!



Pulborough Brooks
Arundel WWT
1
Robin
Mute Swan
2
Song Thrush
Coot
3
Blue Tit
Moorhen
4
Chaffinch
Tufted Duck
5
Pied Wagtail
Mallard
6
Water Rail – NEW FOR LIFE LIST!
Shelduck
7
Blackbird
Snipe
8
Dunnock
Pheasant
9
House Sparrow
Teal
10
Goldcrest
Lapwing
11
Firecrest – NEW FOR LIFE LIST!
Black-headed Gull
12
Rook
Canada Goose
13
Carrion Crow
Wood Pigeon
14
Wigeon
Bullfinch
15
Great Tit
Robin
16
Treecreeper
Long-tailed Tit
17
Mallard
Blue Tit
18
Lapwing
Great Tit
19
Pintail
Dunnock
20
Shelduck
Jackdaw
21
Mute Swan

22
Grey Heron

23
Teal

24
Black-headed Gull

25
Shoveler

26
Wren

27
Moorhen

28
Canada Goose

29
Fieldfare – NEW FOR LIFE LIST!

30
Snipe

31
Cormorant

32
Bullfinch – NEW FOR LIFE LIST!

33
Kestrel

34
Green Woodpecker

35
Redwing

36
Starling

37
Long-tailed Tit

38
White-fronted Goose - NEW FOR LIFE LIST!

39
Magpie

40
Pink-footed Goose

41
Greylag Goose


My year list for 2012 comes to 71.

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