And so the cool, dry spring continues without much prospect of change until towards the end of May…
May 6th and during the evening there was a group of 7 swifts hawking for insects in the cold easterly wind, high over St.Leonards old town. Still numbers of turnstones along the beach. May 8th and as I sat down to my breakfast, 6 swallows flew across the street at window height in that purposeful, determined flight behaviour that characterises swallows on migration, heading north-westwards. I wished them well.
May 8th. There’s still a reasonable population of english elms in the vicinity of the station at Pevensey. Also nearby, are a number of trees (poplar?) with thriving plants of mistletoe high in their crowns; nice to see.
May 18th. In the following pic, scrub-bashing with a difference! These fellas are removing dense ivy from off the cliff face at Rock-A-nor at Hastings in order to attach steel mesh safety netting as can be seen above them. They’re working from off ropes using pneumatically powered equipment.
On the same day in the evening, saw this amazing ‘barley-twist’ cloud formation.
May 24th. There were 10 swifts over St.Leonards old town as I sat having breakfast. Went for a walk in Ham Street Woods National Nature Reserve in Kent, a lovely wood but unfortunately there appears to be not a lot of coppicing now going on – how this wood was traditionally managed. Saw this tree which many years ago had suffered severe trauma, survived and prospered!
Nearby the entrance to the woods stands a row of four Victorian(?) cottages. I thought they were very unusual in that the upper storey is clad all around the entire block with butt-jointed slates with strips fixed over the vertical joints.
On this jaunt I travelled by train and spotted just west of Winchelsea good and bad farming practice – the latter almost certainly contravening government/EU regulations by cultivating as close to a watercourse as physically possible. The adjacent water must be receiving a very unhealthy cocktail of fertilizer and chemicals First, good practice with 2 metre wide uncultivated headlands on a neighbouring farm and then the bad. Apologies that the second doesn’t make the point very obvious but the train was going quite fast! Stile and post are on nearside of watercourse.
In the evening, saw my first painted lady butterfly; it was in beautiful condition and probably had not long arrived from across the Channel. About 10 swifts screaming high overhead mid-evening. I’m not religious but full marks to the Pope for giving Trump some serious reading matter today!