Rook Who’s Talking

I’m not sure if it’s cheating, but I went to an RSPB reserve in search of more birds to add to my 2014 list.  The larger reserves are excellent for spotting a wide variety of wildlife as they usually have a number of different habitats.  I guess it’s essentially like a zoo without cages and all the animals and birds are there because they want to be.

On reflection, it’s absolutely nothing like a zoo…

Pulborough Brooks in West Sussex was the reserve in question.

I signed up to do a ‘Wildlife Walkabout’ – a ramble led by knowledgeable bird experts – to acquire myself a whole host of extra pairs of eyes and binoculars.  My thinking behind this was that this would essentially help me look in multiple directions at once, thus maximizing my chances of seeing as many birds as possible.  Sometimes I’m a bit of a genius!

My bird spotting team - Blissfully unaware I was using them for their eyes

My bird spotting team – Blissfully unaware I was using them for their eyes…
And taking covert photographs of them!

Sightings came in thick and fast… Rook, Wren, Jay, Dunnock, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Fieldfare, Redwing, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Bullfinch, Long-Tailed Tit, Linnet and Great Spotted Woodpecker, amongst others.





Long-Tailed Tit

Long-Tailed Tit

There was then a good run of bird of prey sightings – a Kestrel hovering over an unfortunate potential mousey snack, a Common Buzzard soaring above a distant church and, something I’ve never had a good view of before, a Peregrine Falcon in a nearby tree.

Peregrine Falcon - Travelling 242 miles per hour slower than its potential top-speed

Peregrine Falcon – Travelling 242 miles per hour slower than its potential top-speed

Goldcrest - Not playing the game!

Goldcrest – Not playing the game!

I love nature, I really do, but today I’ll admit I cursed at a Goldcrest…  Not proper swearing, as I called it a “little b*****d” (TWICE) in a northern accent.  It doesn’t count if it’s in a northern accent, does it?  It was up in a tree just in front of me and I was trying (and failing) to take a picture of it so you all could see it too.  The problem is that Goldcrests are notoriously fidgety birds, who never really settle anywhere for long.  If you couple this with the fact that I have a fidgety camera shutter finger that frequently presses the button at inopportune moments, you get a lot of photographs of a whole lot of tree and a distinct absence of Britain’s smallest bird.  You also get me uncharacteristically sweary.

So far, my limited bird identification skills have enabled me to positively recognise all the birds I’ve encountered (which has surprised me) – with the exception of one…  Who knows what this is?

Willow Or Marsh Tit

Willow Or Marsh Tit?

There are a number of birds I just can’t get the hang of identifying.  I am pretty clueless at telling one seagull from another (they all look the same!) and I certainly can’t ID the difference between a Marsh Tit and a Willow Tit – the bird in the photo montage is either one or the other, that I know, but they are almost identical.  Apparently, their songs are distinctly different, but (i) I have no idea what either sounds like and (ii) the bird in question remained silent throughout my gawking at it.

A bit of research has suggested that Willow Tits have not been seen at Pulborough for a number of years, so it is almost certain to have been a Marsh Tit – which has been seen.  In spite of this Poirot-like deduction, I cannot add it to my list.

A quick look at the bird feeder added a Coal Tit to the list and another Marsh/Willow Tit made an appearance as if to taunt my bird identification inadequacies…


The total for the excursion was an exciting thirty-one.  Just a couple of days in and I’ve already got just over fifty different bird species on my 2014 list.  At this rate, I’m on track for in excess of nine-thousand birds…  Excellent.


Don’t forget you can see what I’ve seen and where I’ve first seen it by clicking on the ‘Bird Board’ tab at the top of the page.  If you fancy staying up-to-date with my dubious adventures, you can follow the blog by clicking the ‘follow’ button or enter your email address.

And if you can help me identify the mystery Tit, that would be amazing… Thanks!


About mixaeljones

Hello! I try to undertake a yearly challenge and write about it in a semi-witty manner. I often use twenty words when three will do. I am also a big fan of terrible puns and taking unintentionally blurry photographs of wildlife. In 2013 I tried to eat a food I hadn't eaten before each week (I got to 28!), in 2014 I attempted to seek out as many species of bird as I could in the year (I got to 201!) and in 2015 I delved head first into the world of butterflies and tried to see as many different types as possible (44!)... I've also done some belly dancing, been Father Christmas and nearly played tennis against Bjorn Borg. If any of this seems like it might be of interest, feel free to check out my blogs... Comments encouraged! Have a nice day :)
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One Response to Rook Who’s Talking

  1. Pingback: Warbler of the Worlds | Fifty-Two Weeks of Things With Beaks

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