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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Thursday 30th March 2006
Pulborough Brooks

A windy, overcast morning at Pulborough Brooks was made very cheerful by the sound of numerous Chiffchaffs singing out their name. The chorus was added to by Song Thrushes, displaying Chaffinches, Dunnocks and Blackbirds.
This is the first time this year that I have seen chiffchaffs as they have only just arrived back. I thought I may have seen a willow warbler as well, the two birds are very similar but have very different songs.
A herd of Black fallow Deer that was about 70 strong were grazing below the top field. I think that sooner or later there will be a cull of these animals as the herd is increasing all the time. But not just yet.
The Brooks are covered in water now and the streams and ponds are almost full. A far cry from only a couple of months ago when it was totally dry.
Some time spent at the Hanger looking for the Hawfinch proved to be unsuccessful although I did spot a bullfinch and lots of Chaffinches chasing each other all over the place. This was the best place for close up views of the Chiffchaffs too.
Near Nettley's hide I did see a very macabre thing. A blue tit with its head poking into a nest box. On closer look inspection it was obvious that the bird was dead. It is very strange that it died in that position and did not fall off the perch.
Out on the brooks there was a single Little Grebe diving for food. They seem to spend most of their time underwater. There was also a single, lonely looking Pochard. 
The Grey Heron was in the same spot as he is always found, standing stock still waiting for food to come to him. He was surrounded by the usual inhabitants of the brooks; Lapwings, Teal, Canada geese, Greylag Geese, Shovelers, Moorhen, Coot, Pintail and Cormorants. 
I did manage to spot the Green Woodpecker that had been “yaffling” out of sight from the moment I got onto the reserve. I also found his cousin, the Great Spotted Woodpecker climbing up a tree. No sighting of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker though. There has been one recently seen on the feeders outside the visitors centre, but these are increasingly rare birds.
Other sightings included Goldfinches, a Jay a single squirrel and hundreds of rabbits. The highlight of the day though was without doubt the Chiffchaffs. I tried to get a picture but they were not sitting still for me. I did get a snap of a Dunnock though.

Here's the Dunnock picture. Dunnocks are very much like sparrows but have a beautiful song and they allow you to get close.

The little pond was full right up and water was running everywhere you looked. This may not be a good indication of the water levels in the reservoirs though.

A beautiful patch of lichens. The amount of species of lichen and moss you find on trees is a good indication of the air quality.

Here is the poor blue tit. I let people know it was there so that it can be removed.

The brooks are full of water, which makes them a great breeding area for multitudes of birds and animals. Predators are also in good numbers. Yesterday a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine, a Buzzard and a Red Kite were seen, although a Red Kite doesn't hunt live prey. They prefer to scavenge.