Senior People and Wildlife Officer
I saw my first orange-tip today – so I can now officially announce that Spring 2017 has started! The blackthorn is in bloom, the bees, hoverflies and bee-flies are on the wing and the first blackcap is singing in the sallow.
It won’t be long until he’s joined by all the other returning summer migrant birds – we should have our reed warblers, nightingales and turtle doves back here at Woods Mill soon.
There’s plenty of opportunities to celebrate spring in our April events programme.
The first Wheatears are already passing through Sussex and we’ll be cheering them on their mammoth migration at our annual ‘Welcoming in the Wheatears’ event on the Lewes Downs on 6
Our ‘Beginners Guide to Raptors’ course on 7 April booked up fast so we added another – and that’s now fully booked too! Our courses are booking up quickly so look at our online programme and book to avoid disappointment!
Mike and Rosalie will be leading a short (2.5 mile) woodland walk near Warnham on 8 April which will give you the chance to enjoy the spring woodland flowers. Meanwhile down on the coast on the same day the Selsey group are holding a coffee morning.
Things will be heating up on the tern islands at Rye Harbour and on the 16th the ‘Walk with a Warden’ will help you spot the gulls, terns and waders jostling and squabbling as the nesting season gets underway.
Why should the kids have all the fun? On Thursday 20th we are running a special members-only event ‘Forest School For Adults’ so bring lunch (and a cup) and come and have fun in the woods.
Each month we run a ‘Woods Mill Wander’; a talk and a walk around our reserve for Sussex Wildlife Trust members. These walks are very popular – so popular that we are now running two a month. The first April Wander is fully booked so now there is a second April Wander on 21st. There should be plenty of spring wildlife to see and hear by then. Over at Rye on 22nd the walk at Camber Castle will visit the birdwatching hide overlooking Castle Water where there should be ducks, egrets, possibly a marsh harrier and hopefully the first cuckoo.
At the end of the month badger families are appearing from their setts. David Plummer runs a series of events each year which give you the chance to get close to these amazing animals. Most of the April dates are sold out but some spaces are still available (23rd, 24th, 26th) and other dates are available in May.
Reserve Manager Alice Parfitt will be leading a walk around our Marline Valley reserve near Hastings on 27th. Places are limited so booking is essential.
The month ends with a course on ‘The Ecology and Management of Woodlands’ which is fully booked! – so another reminder to book up your courses to avoid disappointment.