Our shop manager Trevor has some very special offers for you at the moment - but there's not much time left...
If you're looking for some new binoculars, you've got two days left to get 10% off RSPB binoculars if you buy them here at Pulborough Brooks. If you would like to take advantage of the offer, but can't get here until the weekend, give us a ring today or tomorrow and we'll reserve them for you at the special price.
As one door shuts, another one opens...
From 22 May (this Wednesday) until 04 June if you buy 2 sacks of birdfood (the big 12.75 kg sacks) you get £10 off. If you buy 3 sacks, you'll get £15 off and so on. You can mix and match the different seeds, but the offer doesn't apply to the peanuts. And don't worry we'll help you out to the car with your shopping!
It is always nice when you can spend at least some of your day at work doing what you love best, even better when it means you can leave the computer and the office behind and head out into glorious sunshine and count butterflies!
Yesterday I did just that. We are doing a butterfly transect on the reserve this summer; a type of survey which runs along a set route and involves recording species and number of butterflies seen along designated sections of the route, at regular intervals such as once a week. Records on the survey yesterday included brimstone and peacock, green veined white and a good number of small white, along with additional sightings of orange tip, many more small whites and a speckled wood, all of which were unfortunately off the transect route!
All the tree species are well into leaf now, the oak being the slowest to burst its buds. Below them, flowers are blossoming; carpets of hazy bluebells, splashes of bright pink campion and constellations of white starry stitchwort.
I was serenaded all around the trails by bird song; blackbirds flute-like notes, song thrush repetitive phrases, blackcaps warble and whitethroat scratchy song. The nightingales were the loudest however, the best two spots for these that I encountered were the entrance to Fattengates Courtyard and along the Pig Run by Little Hanger Hide. (Just ask at the visitor centre if you are unsure where these places are on the reserve). It was a nightingale infact that lead me to my favourite species of the day – a Hobby. This small falcon is a migratory bird of prey and usually arrives here in Southern England in spring, after the swallows, martins and swifts have arrives. These agile expert aerial hunters often add the nimble swift to their menu, but will also catch smaller prey such as dragonflies. This individual was perched in the top of a dead tree at Jupps Viewpoint, near to Nettleys Hide, causing a nearby nightingale and other small birds to shout their high-pitched alarm calls, which attracted our attention.
If you visit the reserve this summer, don’t forget to look up to the sky. You might be lucky enough to spot a Hobby, performing its aerobatics high up against the clouds on sharply angled wings, over the wetland or the heathland.
If birds of prey aren’t your thing and the smaller beauties of life catch your eye, look out for the shimmering dragonflies and damselflies that are emerging from our ponds to zoom over the water, or the dainty butterflies that flutter along the flowers and hedgerows.
Cloudless skies, warm sunshine, blackthorn in sensational full whiteout mode, butterflies on the wing, bluebells just blueing-up and the first damselfly of the year...it must be April. Except it is early May. Last year, the blackthorn reached the same stage of flowering exactly a month earlier.
Several hobbies and buzzards overhead at varous points today, greenshank at west mead, lots of song from garden warblers, nightingales, whitethroats, lesser whitethoats, blackcaps, nightingales et al.
Speckled wood, brimstone, orange tip, peacock, red admiral, small white and small tortoiseshell all seen on the reserve today.
Saw my first hobby of the year yesterday, high over the heath. There have been up to 4 seen over the south brooks in the last week, but hopefully the main passage of these brilliant to watch falcons is still to come in the first 10 days of may.
Around the trail, nightingales still singing like mad, and now lesser whitethroats and garden warblers are part of the singing throng, after a bit of a slow start to the spring. Less seasonal is a pair of siskins visiting the feeders in the courtyard - the striking black and yellow-green male can be heard adding his continuous chattering-then-stop-and-buzz song to the hubbub and appears remarkably untroubled by passers-by. The photo below was taken at a range of about 2m!
I'm pleased to report that our nightingales are still performing beautifully and delighting visitors from several hot spots around the nature trail - can't wait for this weekend's festival. Over the past 10 days our choir has really grown in voices and volume with blackcaps, willow warblers, chiffchaff, whitethroat and sedge warbler all regulars. The lesser whitethroat has occasionally put in an appearance and this morning a grasshopper warbler was reported reeling behind adder alley. All rather splendid really.
Out on the heathland trail, and especially in black wood, the wildflowers are slowly responding to the warmer weather - a few bluebells are starting to flower, bright sunshine-yellow celandines are adding a welcome splash of colour and there is a stunning display of pretty wood sorrel ( a beautiful delicate white flower with purple veins). A super male blackcap serenaded me from a perch just above the new viewpoint over the South Brooks and my first green tiger beetle of the year scuttled along the pathway.
Whilst nightingales will sing during the daylight hours, there is something magical about being here as dusk approaches when this special songster takes centre stage. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 6.30 pm through til 9.30 pm the team here will be on hand to celebrate at our annual nightingale festival. Come along and join us.