Author Sue Curnock
Nature Tots Officer
We must be one of the luckiest bird watching groups to venture out into the countryside around Woods Mill nature reserve near Henfield.
Strolling by the bank of the mill stream sparkling in the spring sunshine, we heard a very excited ‘Oooh’ from Mike as he spotted a pair of Egyptian geese! Colourful and exotic, they looked good through the bins and absolutely amazing with the more powerful telescope Mike had been lugging manfully across stiles and muddy ditches for our benefit.
The morning light was perfect and showed the brightest buttercup feathers of a yellowhammer to best advantage (I think he knew he looked good, the way he was singing so lustily to attract the ladies). We saw – and heard – 40 species in all, my highlight was the skylarks singing to each other as they soared overhead in the bluest sky flecked with wispy white clouds; a quintessentially English and increasingly rare privilege. By the bank of the Adur we stole quietly around a thicket where a shy and retiring treecreeper had been heard, and were rewarded with a fleeting glimpse before it disappeared deeper into the branches.
On the way back, replenished by delicious home-made cake (the ‘snack bar’ has been raised again) we saw a kestrel being harassed by a yobbish and rather reckless crow, and a pair of buzzards,along with a sparrowhawk lazily riding the rising thermals. Another marvellous morning, I’m already looking forward to April.