South Downs Bird Discovery Walk — Wetlands: at Waltham Brooks

It was a bright and slightly breezy morning in the Arun Valley, with plenty of birds to see!


We we walked through the entrance gate, we were serenaded by Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. A Wren posed beautifully as it sang in the lower branches of a tree by the path.

Chiffchaff

A Greenfinch obligingly perched at the top of a tree, allowing us to get lovely views through the telescope.


The sewage works might not be the most glamorous part of the site for birding, but it was well worth a look, with two Song Thrushes, several Blackbirds and House Sparrows, and a Pied Wagtail, making the most of the feeding opportunity. Meanwhile, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming away in the distance.


As we walked towards the railway crossing, a Red Kite drifted overhead and we got some glimpses of a flock of Goldfinches feeding in the bushes. We could hear Long-tailed Tits calling, and with some patience managed to see these charming little birds. While we were watching, a Kestrel flew by and broke into a hover.


A Whitethroat gave its scratchy song to the right, then a Lesser Whitethroat burst into its rattle to the left. These are similar birds in appearance, but there is no confusing these two songsters by voice.

Cetti's Warbler

Once on the marsh itself, we came across several Cetti's Warblers, mainly by ear but we were lucky enough to get some good binocular views of one. Sedge Warblers are far less introverted and kept flitting into the sky to perform their parachuting song-flights. Another pair of Long-tailed Tits gave far better views as they gathered food for their young, in a nest somewhere unseen.

Long-tailed Tit

Three Shovelers flew past us, followed by a singleton, and three Gadwall were feeding on the lake. A pretty male Stonechat was singing in a bush on the other side of the path and gave fantastic views through the scope, alongside a gorgeous male Linnet — but a male Reed Bunting only gave a fleeting glimpse.

Stonechat
Linnet

Just then, a Swallow split the sky overhead — relatively few have arrived so far this spring so this was a real treat!


The wind may have kept some of our target species out of sight and earshot but in two hours we managed 39 species!


  1. Shoveler

  2. Gadwall

  3. Mallard

  4. Pheasant

  5. Woodpigeon

  6. Collared Dove

  7. Moorhen

  8. Coot

  9. Red Kite

  10. Great Spotted Woodpecker

  11. Kestrel

  12. Magpie

  13. Jackdaw

  14. Rook

  15. Carrion Crow

  16. Blue Tit

  17. Great Tit

  18. Sedge Warbler

  19. Swallow

  20. Chiffchaff

  21. Cetti's Warbler

  22. Long-tailed Tit

  23. Blackcap

  24. Lesser Whitethroat

  25. Whitethroat

  26. Wren

  27. Starling

  28. Song Thrush

  29. Blackbird

  30. Robin

  31. Stonechat

  32. Dunnock

  33. House Sparrow

  34. Pied Wagtail

  35. Chaffinch

  36. Greenfinch

  37. Linnet

  38. Goldfinch

  39. Reed Bunting