A rare treat is on offer for nature-lovers visiting Pulborough Brooks.
For the RSPB Pulborough Brooks nature reserve is playing host to an unpredictable recluse.
The water rail, Rallus Aquaticus, is not usually known for public performances, but one has been a regular sight at the visitor centre in recent days.
“There is no need to sneak around trying to find this normally-elusive bird that skulks around in dense vegetation,” said Pulborough Brooks site warden Pete Hughes.
“Visitors have just been coming in to see the amazing bird right in front of the visitor centre window.
“Visitors have seen this bird creeping out of the vegetation, cautiously sticking out its long neck and using its long, curved bill to feed barely three metres from the window.
“When it’s spooked they get a view of a rounded rear as it nimbly dashes back in to the vegetation,” added Mr Hughes. “But it soon tip-toes back out for another performance.
“Most people will never have seen a water rail – they are only about the size of a blackbird, very shy and spend most of their time hidden away in dense swamps.
“Even seasoned birdwatchers usually only get brief glimpses of this bird.
“To see one so easily in front of the window here is brilliant, and we’re hoping it stays for the rest of the winter.”