Early in the week, I had to check the 12 ponies on the combined commons at Chailey. They were together with the 9 longhorn cattle, both groups in exactly the same spots, the ponies grazing, the cattle laying down chewing the cud, again exactly the same. Very dé-jà vu!
Wednesday, 1st. A cold, windy and at times, wet day with the wind from the north-west and unseasonably cool. There’s still a lot of truth in the old saying, ‘cast not a clout till May is out.’ I always maintain the weather is always very variable through much of this month of May.
As I was leaving the downland escarpment above Berwick, driving parallel along the base of a spur that runs out from the main escarpment, I noticed about 200m, away a buzzard making hard work of gaining height, into the strong wind. What really caught my eye, was what was hanging from its talons? I quickly reached for my binoculars and trained them on the bird; it had caught a middling-sized rabbit which was held by its back, the rabbit appearing to be looking down though in reality it was probably dead. Having gained a considerable height, it then let the wind carry it away to the south-east and out of site over the spur.
Thursday, 2nd. Whilst checking out a potential pony grazing site that the Trust had been approached about to the east of Woodingdean, I walked past a small, isolated group of elm trees high up on the wind-swept Downs just to the lee of the crest of the hill. I last walked past these in the early 1970’s with a party being led by my great friend, David Harvey of the then Nature Conservancy Council. I believe they might be of the Cornish clone of the smooth-leaved group? Anyway, they are currently free of the dreaded dutch elm disease.
Saturday, 4th. Whilst driving home, particularly in the Wilmington/Berwick area, I was amazed by the number of moths on the wing. They were probably very largely, all a small whitish specie. The last time i saw numbers like that was whilst driving one evening in the Brecon Beacons nearly 20 years ago.