Monday. Well, it was Bank Holiday and the weather gods took full advantage of this fact!
Tuesday. And spring returned with a gorgeous day. As I drove back over Ashdown Forest mid-morning, a solitary swallow flew high over the road with that characteristic care-free flight action that is so pleasing. My heart went up to this small, solitary traveller from South Africa.
We moved the ponies at Berwick on to fresh grazing taking in the old, grassed-over chalk pits on the side of the downland escarpment. This area used to be good for orchids but is currently grossly neglected with bramble and thorn bushes gaining a footfold. Late afternoon and I watched a whitethroat in a thorn bush at close quarters, singing its heart out to its mate in a nearby young wayfaring tree.
Wednesday. Did my ‘annual’ walk for 90 (yes, 90!) ten year olds from a Hailsham school at the Seven Sisters Country Park. the weather was kind for the third year running and they were a great bunch of kids shepherded by nice teachers and helpers.
Sadly, there was a absence of chalk grassland flowers and of the early butterflies one would have expected, if one were taking this walk years ago. The slope where the early spider orchids ought to be in flower has been tightly grazed until recently and on a cursory inspection, there were no flower spikes. Perceived wisdom is that grazing should cease before the end of winter for this specie. A pioneer patch of the invasive tor grass is being full rein to spread. So sad. There appears to be few concessions to encourage the flora and fauna on this important area nowadays…
Spotted during the early afternoon, two swifts wheeling about, high above Crowborough. Reports of others seen elsewhere today for first time.