Free Guided Walk with Nature Report

Sunday 24 April

Ashdown Forest

Leaders: Sue Carter & Steve Goodrich

One of our favourite and most scenic walks over the border in East Sussex. Ten keen participants met in the wildlife trust’s car park on a sunny but blustery morning.

None of us are spring chickens and some of the route is arduous to say the least, with steep sections and one where you have to negotiate planks across a stream, but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Chiffchaff by John Bridges (rspb-images.com)

We started off with chiffchaff and willow warblers singing as we left the car park. Then we entered an enclosed area where we had seen Dartford warblers before and within minutes Robin spotted a male in a gorse bush across Lodge Road and we were all able to see him.

We then climbed over a metal gate, as gracefully as we could, to access the start of the walk in reverse to our usual route. Two siskins were seen and we had only walked a short way before Steve saw a pair of crossbills posing beautifully in the top of a tree for us all to see.

In buoyant mood we then saw three linnets feeding on the ground, a chaffinch, pied wagtail and a flyby swallow. We added stonechats and a further three Dartford warblers in the pine copse. As we started the steep descent, we saw a sparrowhawk and a total of six buzzards overhead.

On the uphill section we saw a whitethroat in the gorse and had brief views of a female redstart. The tit family was represented by blue, great, coal and long-tailed varieties.

After lunch taken in the car park we set off for the shorter circuit and everyone was able to see a stunning male redstart perched on a dead tree trunk. Steve was also fortunate to see a single tree pipit which eluded the rest of us!

Birds heard but not seen were nuthatch, cuckoo, goldcrest and stock dove.

Thanks to all participants for a thoroughly enjoyable amble in Pooh Bear territory with a total species list of 31 birds.

Sue Carter