Monday, 15 April 2013


Last year I spent a lot of time standing in front of bushes listening to Nightingales singing but failed to see a single bird. This year I was determined to start looking at the beginning of the mating season when the birds were more likely to be displaying in the open and when the bushes would have less green growth.

Pulborough Brooks RSPB is one of the more reliable sites in Sussex for finding the Nightingale and I had a good idea where to look from last years failed attempts. I visited the site today but did not get there until about one o'clock and my initial walk around proved very disappointing with virtually no birds visible and very limited bird song. However, by three o'clock everything had changed and the hedges were alive with birds.

The ground was not doing so bad either with a number of snakes and slow worms visible. These two were within about three feet of each other. I think if I were the Slow Worm I might put a bit more distance between us before the adder woke up.

Male Adder

Slow Worm
Being a photographer I did wonder about doing a bit of gardening around the adder to tidy up the picture but I felt sure he was watching me from below that blade of grass.

The Nightingales were around and I heard a number of them singing, although I was told that they had been displaying more openly on the previous day. I missed a couple of good shots but was happy to leave with a few decent record shots. I am looking forward to returning over the next couple of weeks to improve on these.

The song is amazing. It's too unstructured to be my favourite but the volume and the range are truly impressive and the energy that the bird puts into it makes you wonder how it can stay singing for so long.

There were plenty of Blackcaps, Warblers, and Whitethroates around but I spent the rest of my time there trying to get a decent picture of a Redstart. I would have preferred the more colourful male but as this was my first sighting of the year I needed a record.

Female Redstart
I think a trip to Old Lodge Nature Reserve may be in order whilst the males are still showing well.

I could not resist finishing off with this Green Woodpecker, one of two seen foraging in the cow fields.

Green Woodpecker

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