It was already hot and sunny when Yasmin, Ray and I reached Pulborough Brooks RSPB shortly in early September. A Sparrowhawk was making the most of the developing thermals, circling behind the visitor centre. Once we had checked in, we spotted a White Stork in the distance on the South Brooks, but it flew off quite quickly.
Following the trail, we heard Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Greenfinch, then caught sight of the first Buzzard of the day circling, after three Cormorants flew north.
The Fattengates area delivered good views of Long-tailed Tits and a Goldcrest, while a Blackcap called in the undergrowth and a Jay flew by. By the pond at the crosspaths we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker, then another calling Treecreeper. After waiting a few minutes, the latter revealed itself as it worked from tree to tree, spiralling up each trunk and working along the outer branches before moving on.
The North Brooks was busy with birds. Taking a seat with the best view, we started scanning the pools, where there were good numbers of Lapwing and Teal. Two Snipe were feeding out in the open by some loafing Shoveler and a small group of Green Sandpipers were feeding at the right-hand end, near a prowling Grey Heron. Among a scattering of Black-tailed Godwits were two Ruff. Something seemed to spook the Green Sandpipers, and at this moment the 'chiff-iff' call of a Wood Sandpiper could be heard among their more ringing whistles. Two Wigeon added to our set of ducks.
The Winpenny and Westmead Hides were worth visiting and offered welcome relief from the sun. A Hobby actively hunting dragonflies and two quartering Marsh Harriers added clear highlights to the day, while a Kestrel seemed to be hunting frogs and we watched a Greenshank alongside two closer Green Sandpipers and a Little Egret on the main pool.
The walk back to the visitor centre finished the tour off nicely with a circling pair of Red Kites, followed up by a pair of Ravens rising on the same column of air, performing their joyous barrel-rolls every few seconds. They weren't the last birds of the trip though — a young Wren had managed to find its way into the visitor centre as we exited the reserve!