By Michael Blencowe
Senior Learning and Engagement Officer
I’m sat in my office writing this when I really should be outside. It’s the warmest February day ever recorded. Elsewhere in England the temperature has topped 20 degrees, the first time that has ever happened in winter. From my office window I can see Brimstone butterflies freshly emerged from their hibernation and I can hear the excited giggling calls of the Little Grebes which have returned to the Woods Mill lake. If you’d like to get out and experience the Spring wildlife across Sussex we have a number of special events lined up for you in March.
On 1 March our popular monthly Woods Mill Wander is already fully booked so we’ve added a second walk on 8 March. There is another opportunity to explore Woods Mill in the afternoon on 1 March though when James leads a ‘Start of Spring’ walk (2:30-4:30).
Over in East Sussex on 3 March there is the opportunity to join a walk with a warden at our Rye Harbour nature reserve. At this time of year things start ‘hotting up’ at Rye as birds start nesting.
One group of animals that really don’t get enough attention are the earthworms. Charles Darwin loved them and said “Nobody and nothing can be compared with earthworms in their positive influence on the whole living nature’. They are vital to life on our planet – but how much do you know about them. We are running a special free event on 13 March which will help you ‘Learn to Love Earthworms’.
On Saturday 16 March you can join a guided walk around Woods Mill in the afternoon and in the evening Rye Harbour warden Chris Bentley is giving an illustrated talk on spiders in Winchelsea in his mysteriously named ‘Oodles of Attercops’ presentation.
There’s another ‘Signs of Spring’ walk at Woods Mill on 19 March and in the evening on 21 March the Eastbourne Sussex Wildlife Trust local group are organising a talk on the wildlife of Vercors in France.
We’ll be opening a moth trap to survey spring moths at a Woods Mill event on 22 March and the Chichester Sussex Wildlife Trust local group are presenting a talk by Clare Blencowe on 26 March. Come along to learn all about biodiversity recording and how to make your wildlife surveys count.
For the past year we have been running our Woods Mill 50 project celebrating 50 years since our Woods Mill reserve opened to the public. The project has been funded by Scottish Power Foundation and ends at the end of the month. To celebrate we’ll be hosting a number of events and recording wildlife in a Woods Mill Bioblitz. We’ll be looking for birds, voles, snakes, bats, butterflies – in fact anything that flies, wriggles or hops past. There are a number of special events planned suitable for everyone. Please look at the website for a full list of what’s happening on 29 & 30 March. There may even be a bit of cake too! See you there.