Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Couldn't wait so popped down to Pulborough Brooks yesterday afternoon. Sunshine, bird song and the bluebells are out...beautiful!
The first bird that greeted us when we stepped out of the visitor centre was a swallow (I did get a  fantastic shot of one of its wings *lol*) and lots of chirpy house sparrows.
I really couldn't wait to finally see my first whitethroat 2011 (they are my favourite migrant warblers after all!) and I didn't have to wait much longer.
So this pretty little guy is officially my first whitethroat of the year! :)
Common Whitethroat (male)

Many more whitethroats were singing cheerfully around the trail - and how I had missed their grumpy-sounding alarm call! Just love it! :)

I then heard a bird singing in a clump of bramble but couldn't identify it at first. It was a repetitive warbling sound, a bit like a football rattle and I remembered a fellow birder mentioning exactly this to me last year - could it be a lesser whitethroat?? Sure enough, I soon spotted the bird - and indeed it was a lesser - but it flew off before I could take a photo. I'd only ever seen one lesser whitethroat before so this was a lovely surprise!

We'd only been walking for about 5 minutes when I heard the first nightingale (well, my second of the year  - I can hear one singing every night now when I'm in bed!). We listened to it for a while and although we knew which bush it was hiding in, we couldn't spot it...but its song was magical!

 More signs of spring included a male bullfinch feeding a female, chaffinches mating right in front of us and whitethroats collecting nesting material. Here's a rubbish shot of one:

Whitethroat with nesting material

 Walking along 'adder alley', we heard our first cuckoo of the year. Yay!

When I heard the sound of a 'football rattle' again I knew what to look out for! And indeed, a beautiful male lesser whitethroat showed surprisingly well - unfortunately he was backlit so the shots I got are quite poor (but still better than the only shot I managed last year!). Here's one:

No sign of the grashopper warbler that was reported a few days ago but we saw a nightingale flying into cover, a striking male reed bunting, a willow warbler, singing dunnocks and several goldfinches:

A crow alerted us to a bird of prey flying above - it was a peregrine carrying what looked like duckling prey.

More whitethroats, nightingales and blackcaps were singing beautifully when we walked back to the car.

A lovely afternoon's birding in the sunshine!

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