Please browse the following reviews, published with the kind permission of the authors.

 

Joe Mattinson and Louise Winters, Lewes East Sussex – Nightingale experience at RSPB Pulborough Brooks Reserve, May 2016

Sophie-May met us in the car park of Pulborough Brooks RSPB Nature Reserve [http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/reserves/guide/p/pulboroughbrooks/] on a clear, still evening at the beginning of May, where we were met by a beautiful vista of sunlight across the whole reserve, down to the distant river.

Sophie-May is very knowledgeable about the Pulborough Brooks area, having worked there for some years, and gently explained to us some of the history of the site and of the flooding events that often occur in the wetter seasons. She led us down a path into the reserve where we walked slowly and quietly and were soon rewarded by our first birds of the evening, including a spotted flycatcher – and here, Sophie-May’s very keen eye and great knowledge of the birds, meant we were thrilled to see what would have otherwise been for us simply ‘small and brown’!

We spent a little time in one of the hides where waders, geese and ducks put on a good show, again reliably identified by Sophie-May. And who knew there were so many varieties of pheasant, or of the cannibalistic habits of the Orange Tip caterpillars?

We had been hoping to find Nightingales on our trip, and although we’d heard some distantly they had so far been elusive. Sophie-May knew where they were likely to be, and had gathered reports of the habits and locations of the birds on the reserve, a level of attention to detail that was surprising and very welcome.

Ultimately, having spotted a sedge warblers (a first for me) and whitethroats (also a first) we came to a quiet stretch nature trail from where we’d heard a nightingale from a distance.

We approached very carefully as we heard it singing further down the path and were rewarded after much careful stalking with a close view of a singing nightingale – this would have been absolutely impossible without Sophie-May’s guidance, and we were entranced by a wonder, unforgettable experience of watching a nightingale singing at close quarters.

As the evening drew in and we headed back to the car park, Sophie-May again surprised us with her knowledge of the Nightingale as we heard an off noise almost like a frog – apparently the Nightingales that have very recently arrived make this noise, before they find their singing voice. We would never have known this without her expert knowledge and keen ears!

A wonderful, memorable, informative and lovely evening with a wonderful and charming guide, whose knowledge was wonderful and invaluable.
I recommend Sophie-May’s walks to anybody who has an interest in wildlife, whether a novice or an expert. Thank you for a wonderful evening.