Follow the link below to watch a fabulous video clip of one of the Pulborough Brooks nightingales singing.
This clip was recorded this morning by Bill Brooks - thanks Bill!
Birdsong is certainly the highlight of a walk around the wetland trail at the moment.
You can hear nightingale as soon as you step outside the visitor centre and onto the trail, with one singing from the top of the zig zags, another one or two from Fattengates courtyard and several more along Adder Alley. The short scratchy tune of the common whitethroat and the rattle of the lesser whitethroat can also be heard with several of each scattered around the nature trail. The flutey descending song of the willow warbler is best heard at the bottom of the zig zags or from Nettley's picnic area, and the slightly crazed song of the sedge warbler along Adder Alley or from Nettley's hide. You can barely escape the song of chiffchaff and blackcap wherever you wander. Our first garden warbler of the year was reported today, found like so many of the other singers near to Fattengates courtyard.
We'll be introducing you to all of these fabulous birdies during our week-long nightingale festival. The nightingale will take centre stage for our evening concert on Saturday 26 April, but we'll be listening to the whole choir on our 'not quite dawn' chorus on Monday 05 May (Bank holiday Monday). Through out the week (Saturday 26 April - Monday 05 May) there will be staff and volunteers 'lurking' around the nightingale hotspots to help you identify nightingales and all of the other 'little brown jobs' with great voices!
Whilst you're admiring the nightingales, do take care not to trample on an adder - they are sharing the same spot along Adder Alley and you could be lucky enough to see them simultaneously! Listen also for the cuckoo - seen and heard today from West Mead hide.
On the pools themselves look for lapwing, redshank and greenshank. Sadly, no sign of the avocets today but they may yet re-appear. Flying over the reserve today we've seen several buzzard, a magnificent red kite and our first hobby of the year.
In search of a little peace and quiet over my lunch break I wandered down through the heath and into Black Wood. As always, there were feisty little wrens, reeling goldcrest and a nice selection of wildflowers and insects, including my first dragonfly of the year...a 4 spotted chaser freshly emerged and perched near Black Pond.
Bluebells are looking splendid as you head down the heathland zig zags.
My first dragonfly of the year.
If you've not ventured down there yet, this is Hail's view. Follow the heathland trail down through black wood and you can see across the southern end of the brooks.
One of my favourite flowers - wood sorrel - found along the edges of the path in Black Wood.
Following on from our first nightingale sighting on Thursday, more of these great songsters have arrived and are serenading visitors from the usual spots - fattengates courtyard and adder alley. Far from being the skulking fellows that they're renowned to be, we've been treated to some good views and I've had some lovely photos sent through. Thanks to Gareth Hughes and Mick Davis for these ones:
Whilst the nightingales do steal the limelight, you shouldn't ignore the other chirps, whistles, tweets and tunes. The chiffchaffs and blackcaps have been joined by willow warbler, common and lesser whitethroat and sedge warbler. We're still waiting for our first garden warbler and reed warbler so why not pop along and see if you can find our first for the year.
We'd assumed that the 4 avocets would just be passing through but they are still with us, have been engaged in 'amorous activities' and now appear to be scraping. It looks possible that we might have our first ever avocets attempting to breed on site. How exciting!
Various other migrants to look for when you visit - garganey, redstart, wheatear - have all been seen over the past few days.
Take a break from the birds to look for common liazrd, adder and a range of butterflies (brimstones, orange tips, peacocks, red admiral, small tortoiseshell and green veined white).
Out on the heathland, the bluebells, greater stitchwort and wood sorrel are looking splendid. I suggest you wander down towards black pond (have a scan for an early dragon or damsel fly) then explore black wood for the best of the flowers. From Hail's view you could spot displaying lapwing or redshank.
Don't forget about our upcoming nightingale festival. The 'evening concert' guided walks are on Saturday 26 April. The visitor centre will re-open at 6.30 pm with the cafe open for soup, sandwiches, tea and cakes and then guided walks will leave the centre at 7.30 pm and 8 pm. Whilst they are singing well during the day there really is something magical about hearing them at night.