By Michael Blencowe
Senior Learning and Engagement Officer
Spring is finally here. After a ‘false start’ during the February heatwave we’re back on track. The blackthorn is blooming and the blackcaps are starting to sing. As always when I write these event previews I notice a lot of bookable events are already fully booked but there are still plenty of opportunities to join a guided walk or education course and learn more about Sussex and its wildlife this spring.
On 2 April we start the month with an early morning guided walk around Woods Mill looking and listening for the first of the returning summer migrants. Lean how to identify them with James Duncan. Also at Woods Mill on 5 April and 12 April we have our popular Woods Mill Wander walks for members. Join us for an illustrated talk, refreshments and a guided walk around the reserve.
There is a two day course on 6 & 13 April at Seven Sisters Country Park which gives you the skills in Woodland and Willow Basket making. Learn the techniques, source your materials and make your own basket.
Unfortunately our Fieldcraft & Animal Tracking Course on 7 April has sold out but another date has been added on 3 November. There are still four places left on the Small Mammals course on 7 April though. Learn about these animals and how to undertake basic surveys.
Over at Rye Harbour on 7 April we’ll make binoculars, telescopes and a Guide in a Hide available in the Gooders Hide where you can learn more about the birds of the reserve.
Spring is a special time as our heathlands come to life. On 9 April we will be leading a special circular walk around our Graffham Common nature reserve near Petworth – a lovely route through some beautiful countryside. The following day (10 April) we will be leading another circular heathland walk this time on the Ashdown Forest. Will we hear the first cuckoos of the year?
There are still a few places left on David Plummer’s popular photography course over the weekend of 13 & 14 April. For those who need a break from technology we’re offering a special Digital Detox on 13 April. So step away from your computer and try your hand at fire lighting, wood working, camp fire cooking and other natural crafts.
On Saturday 13 April we also have two opportunities (morning / afternoon) for a guided walk at Woods Mill in West Sussex while on 14 April you can enjoy a Walk with a Warden at Rye Harbour looking for nesting gulls, terns and waders.
With our summer migrant birds now pouring in along the south coast we have events at Shooters Bottom (Beachy Head) on 16 April and a walk at Seaford Head (17 April) where we’ll Welcome in the Wheatears from Africa.
In Eastbourne on 18 April there is a rollicking tale of discovery, shipwrecks, sea monsters and Extinct Birds for our regional groups evening illustrated presentation.
As the flowers bloom in our woodlands learn all about the Ecology and Management of Woodlands with Petra Billings at Woods Mill; a fascinating insight into the history and wildlife of our English Woods.
Also a Woods Mill the Moth Trap is starting to get busy. There is an event on 26 April where you can join us to see who is lurking inside.
From the end of April David Plummer runs a number of events which allow you to visit a specially built badger viewing platform and watch badgers emerge at dusk. A magical experience. There are just a few places left so make sure you don’t miss out!