Warnham 15 February 2024

Spring weather appearing suddenly after a dreary spell tempted sixteen members to this small but perfectly formed reserve near Horsham. There was immediately birdsong in the car park as Great and Blue Tits, Robins and Wrens celebrated the imminent change of season while atop a tall tree two Great Spotted Woodpeckers seemed to be preparing for the breeding season. From the modern hide the view across the millpond offered numerous Tufted Ducks, Mallards, Gadwall and in the distance three Pochards. On the water there were also Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Coots, Moorhens, a Great Crested Grebe, Cormorants and four Egyptian Geese making far more noise than their more numerous Canadian cousins. In the reedbeds four Reed Bunting were grazing while a Grey Wagtail perched in a nearby tree. The Bullfinch Hide was monopolised by Blue and Great Tits with a Dunnock and a Chaffinch barely getting a look in. The Woodpecker Hide initially seemed little different but things soon warmed up. A few Goldfinches came to the feeders and were joined by some Long-tailed Tits while two timorous Marsh Tits darted back and forth and a handsome cock Pheasant stalked beneath them. The walk along the boardwalk and into the woods was less productive but that seemed of little consequence as the warmth of the sun was felt. Additional sightings included Grey Herons, a Teal, a Nuthatch and a Jay. A Song Thrush on a log provided a photo opportunity. A Stock Dove and a Redwing were heard and a Toad was seen crawling across the path. Return visits to the hides were marked by a male Sparrowhawk flashing through and a single Siskin on a feeder. A pleasant morning produced a species list of 41.