Wey South Path: Amberley to Pulborough

This was the third time I've walked this route the others being in January this year and May the last. However, to avoid the busy road in Pulborough this time finished by going around the back of the Stopham allotments to Park Mound and back to Pulborough train station. I parked up at Amberley station around 7AM and, after noting a single Lesser Whitethroat by the cricket pitch, made my away across Amberley Wildbrooks. By the kissing gate to the river I saw one of the mustelids species dart across the path and two more again a little further up. From where I saw it appeared fairly large so could have been mink.  On the brooks I stopped for a while to chat to a couple of birders from Ferring who were here in the hope of a Short-eared Owl. 3 Red Kites were circling above Rackham as we spoke and after I left a sinlge Whinchat was swaying about on the long grass with some Stonechats, the only Whinchat I saw this trip. There was a noticable increase in Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs compared with last week, with 13 of the former recorded (mostly identified on call) and uncountable numbers of the latter, the wet wood seeming to be a particularly good spot for Chiffchaffs. Reed Buntings were also quite conspicuous today, as were Robins. Quite surprisingly, not a single Spotted Flycatcher was seen and only 2 Whitethroats.

Whinchat, Amberley

Reed Bunting, Amberley

At Waltham Brooks I diverted slightly to look on the water and roosting amongst the ducks were 5 Snipe. Along the withy bed I managed to find a suitable gap in the trees where I could see across to Widney Brooks where there is now lovely mud srape which looks ideal for waders. Focusing through foliage I spotted a group of 20 Lapwing accompanied by a single Dunlin. Last year walking through here I saw 2 Avocets, so it is worth keeping an eye on this spot - it's just a shame viewing is so difficult from the footpath.

Snipe, Waltham Brooks

Widney Brooks

Dunlin, Widney Brooks

As I approached Pulborough via the water treatment works and things became more urban I struggled to add new species to the list. A group of Swallows were feeding over the treatment works and coming in very low along the road almost at my feet. I was quite tired by the time I reached Park Mound where a few Siskins were heard overhead and a probable Marsh Tit was in the firs. The highlight of this section of the walk, though, was a snake, which I so seldom see, that slithered off into the undergrowth. It was dark in colour and with dark patterning on its back so I think that makes it an adder, which would make sense in this habitat of sandy soil.

I was pleased to reach Pulborough station and sit down, and happy to chat to a lady hosting an event for the Sussex Community Rail Partnership about the great places we have to walk around here.

This trip brings my total species count for this route to 80 and follows counts of 48 in January (see here) and 57 in May last year. Now I've amended the route slighty I don't doubt that 100 is possible. I just wonder how many more trips that will take...

Small Copper

Speckled Wood


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