Visit to Abbots Wood and Warren Hill
By David Beer
Eastbourne Local Members Group
Thursday 18th May
Our May evening meeting was very well supported and Christine George gave an excellent talk on Gardening throughout the Year for Birds. There was plenty of advice on what to plant in your garden to attract a good range of birds. Species of plants that produce berries are the favourites for many birds and Ivy came across as the most useful plant. It provides cover for nest building or avoiding predators and of course their abundant winter berries are a vital source of nutrients at a time when food sources are thin on the ground.
Monday 22nd May
A session on tree identification in Abbot’s Wood was led by Chris Brewer ably supported by David Burton. We all had copies of the ‘Tree Name Trail’ a beautifully illustrated dichotomous key to the major tree species that you are likely to find on a woodland walk. We soon became experts on the differences between Sessile and Pedunculate Oak and used the key to identify Hornbeam, Elm, Lime and Hazel. The conifers were a little trickier but after a couple of hours we were all using the keys confidently. However we will need a follow up session in the winter when deciduous species have lost their leaves!
Tuesday 23rd May
Warren Hill on a sunny spring morning is a fine place for walk. Eighteen members of the group assembled in the car park and we set off hoping to see significant numbers of birds and butterflies. We were not disappointed. A stunning Green Hairstreak was a good start and this was quickly followed by Small Coppers, Dingy Skippers, Common Blues and Wall Browns. A large number of Speckled Yellow moths were active and towards the end of our walk there was a single Cinnabar Moth. We were treated to some wonderful birdsong with Blackcaps and Garden Warblers in fine voice. The highlight for many was a Sparrowhawk that flew straight in front of us carrying prey in its talons.