Field Reports

Friday 10th May 2019    Amberley Wildbrooks

Leader John Kelsall
Eleven of us took part in a delightful, sunny walk in the wetlands near the River Arun in this Site of Special Scientific Interest.  A swift and raven were seen straightaway whilst we were still standing near the cars.  The morning continued in this same vein with meadow and creeping buttercups at our feet, eight Konik ponies grazing as we walked along the remaining part of the old Wey and Arun canal and numerous birds singing or flying overhead – linnets, greenfinch, whitethroat, dunnock, starling, reed, garden, sedge and Cetti’s warblers.
It was quiet and peaceful looking at two swans flying over the River Arun and shelduck, mallards, gadwall in the water.     The wetlands had big clumps of great reed mace, meadow foxtail grass was seen with a tiny bright green beetle on its flower, the willow trees were in flower and summer seemed to be just around the corner.
Part of the walk is in “Waltham Brooks” Nature Reserve run by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.  They ensure the grasslands, ditches, wetlands and scrub for grazing are kept in good order to preserve the wet habitat. Some of the flora seen was cutleaf geranium, crosswort, greater stitchwort and common water starwort.  We crossed over Greatham Bridge and walked along the other side of the River Arun.  A song thrush was singing, a rook and green woodpecker were heard.  Along the way various butterflies were seen dancing around us, an orange tip, small tortoise shell, red admiral, yellow brimstone, peacock and a delightful holly blue.
We crossed over two old narrow rickety wooden bridges and stopped midway on one in order to watch some tadpoles in the small pond.  There were tall rushes on either side of the path before we reached the open wetlands looking out over towards Amberley Castle.  A fallow deer was seen grazing but unfortunately no sign of a marsh harrier that day.
We retraced our steps back to Greatham Bridge seeing the grey wagtail again and then walking along the road we heard a cuckoo which we had hoped to hear at some point on the walk.  Altogether 40 species of bird were recorded, amongst them barn owl, wren, jackdaw and the icing on the cake was a nightingale at the very end of this lovely walk.
John Kelsall did us all proud.

Daphne Flach                                                                                      

Grey Wagtail = Greatham 10/5/2019
Grey Wagtail

Hawthorn - Greatham 10/5/2019
Spectacular Hawthorn



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