Walk around Burton Mill Pond April 2021 Team 1 - Leader Jim Bagley

On a lovely spring morning the requisite 5 members joined Jim Bagley for a morning walk around Burton Mill. This was the first walk after lockdown 3 so we were all looking forward to a nice sociable (distanced) event. There was no wind so decisions had to be made about how many layers of clothing were required but as the morning warmed up layers began to be removed.
Around the car park we had goldfinch, nuthatch and blackcap and on Burton Mill pond had coot, tufted duck, greylag geese and mallard (Jim saw some ducklings earlier).
Once in the woods we had great tit, jackdaw, lots of wren, blackcap and chiffchaff with pheasant and rook calling. Song thrush and blackbird were spotted and the dead tree had a buzzard before it took off to investigate the newly planted vineyard. We also picked up blue tit and the call of a stock dove.
Black Pond had a few mallards and a couple of canada geese, while in the trees were jay and woodpigeon.
We reached Chingford Pond which looked fairly deserted but we had mute swan, gadwall only before eagle-eyed Tony (through a scope) found little grebe and great crested grebe.
Back into the woods we had a rowing jay with a buzzard before coming out on to the heath wher we had yellowhammer. Also added were kestrel and chaffinch.
On the way round we encountered several orange-tip and brimstone butterflies. The woodland clearings have bluebells showing through and we also identified celandines, violets, primroses, cuckooflower, marsh marigold and stitchwort.Returning to Burton Mill pond we added moorhen and down the spillway were grey and pied wagtails.

A magical morning to get us back in the swing of thing and many thanks to Jim and the company.

John Kelsall


A waterfall in Sussex?


Tuesday 20th April -  Burton Mill Pond, ‘Team’ 2, Leader Rodney Wildman

What a joy to be meeting up again, and on such a beautiful morning!
From the car park, members could clearly identify the song of Robin, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Song Thrush. A view over Burton Mill Pond revealed Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Canada and Greylag Geese. Entering the Newpiece woods, we noted Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff and our Leader spotted two Roe Deer away to our right. The deer posed beautifully for their audience.
It was interesting to hear about the recent, very evident, ‘gardening’ throughout the Reserve which is helping to maintain a diverse range of habitats. We were shown the pollen sacs of a male yew and were intrigued to hear about the dispersal which occurs at such a specific time each year (February 25th was quoted). Other plants pushing up were Red Campion, Wood Sage, Greater Stitchwort, Ivy-leaved Speedwell as well as the joyful Bluebells and Celandine.
Passing through an elaborate Victorian gate, we saw a male Brimstone (the first of several) and then surprised a young rabbit as it popped up from a burrow next to the path. Whilst admiring the ancient avenue of Chestnut trees we added Dunnock, Great Tit and Buzzard to our list as well as Orange Tip and Small White butterflies. I think I’ve now distinguished between Jackdaw (with the ‘piercing eye’) and Crow (with ‘sleek legs’) with thanks to Maria, both spotted in the gnarled trees. Passing the boggy area, there was Cuckooflower (or Lady’s smock or several other possible common names!) Garlic Mustard and the tail end of a Common Lizard.
Approaching Chingford Pond, we were entertained by a pair of Grey Wagtail at the overflow and a shrill Wren to our left. On the pond were a female Grebe, Tufted Ducks, a Mute Swan, a pair of Gadwall, several Mallard as well as more Canada Geese. Heading back through the Alder Carr (a waterlogged alder wood I learnt) below the dam, we noted Marsh Marigolds, Wild Garlic and Wood Sorrel (which we were tempted into tasting) in addition to Primroses and Dogs Mercury. Two Jays flew away from us and Blackbird, Chaffinch and was that high pitched squeal a Rail?  We clambered over the spreading Badger set and were shown an English larch with last year’s and this year’s cones.
Towards the end of our list came three Mistle Thrush, Stock Dove and Alternate-leaved Saxifrage. There were three Exmoor ponies grazing on Welchers Common and a rustle through the dry leaves together with a slim, writhing tail could have been an Adder or was it a Slow worm? Walking in single file down the road to our cars, our last sightings were a feisty pair of male Brimstone in the bluebell wood, the chattering of a reed Warbler and two Dead-nettles, both White and Red.  What a mixture of spring wildlife we had seen.
Many thanks to Rodney Wildman (and Maria) for his leadership and pearls of wisdom and to my fellow Chi Nats members both for their friendly company and sharing of knowledge.

Gill Hance

Greater Stitchwort - Burton Mill April 2021
Greater Stitchwort

Cones of last year and this year - Burton Mill April 2021
Larch with last year's and this year's cones

April 2021 - Burton Mill Pond - Team 3 - Leader David Hart

On a morning of bright sunshine and blue skies, David welcomed Gabrielle Abbott (new member), Diana, Heather and Peter to Burton Mill Pond.   Straight away we recorded wren, robin and dunnock whilst we were still in the car park.   The pond yielded great crested grebe, tufted, mallard and gadwall duck, coot and greylag geese.   After some discussion it was agreed that the bird calling from the reed bed was in fact a reed warbler but not quite his full song yet.   Jackdaws were calling over head.    Soon after entering the woodland another lengthy discussion ensued - what was the bird calling from low dense cover?  Again it wasn't in full song yet but finally it gave the distinctive call of a nightingale, and as it flew away the tell-tale long rufus brown tail confirmed  our thoughts.
Orange tips, small and large white butterflies were busy darting around.   We wandered on past the newly planted vineyard towards the old chestnut trees.  Mistlethrush and song thrush were heard.   On Black pond Eqyption geese with two goslings, also Canada geese and delightful young coots.   Little else was seen until we arrived at Chingford pond where we added dab chicks (little grebe).   Moving on to the conifer woods, green-spotted woodpeckers were heard along with stockdove.   We all safely navigated the badger setts.   The only bird seen at the farm buildings was a pied wagtail.   We were disappointed to find the broad-walk at the bog was closed as we were hoping to see lizards.   Heading back towards the road, a very fast, low flying kestrel shot past us, a complete opposite was when a very lazy red kite circled us.   A buzzard was heard calling in the distance, goldfinch and long-tailed tit were feeding high in a birch tree.   As we walked down the road, nuthatch was heard calling but not seen.  Back at the pond, Diana was determined to find a heron (without luck) but whilst looking, a kingfisher flew past.  Finally the grey wagtails did not disappoint - the  male sat high on a telegraph pole watching us and waiting for us to leave.  He had insects in his beak so we were obviously close to the nest site.   We had a final total of 41 birds along with many plants that have already been reported on walks 1 and 2
David thanked those present for their company and good humour.  A thoroughly enjoyable morning
Heather Hart

Ancient Chesnt- Burton Mill April 2021
Typical Burton Mill ancient chestnut

Chichester, West Sussex

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