Not the best weekend to choose for the Bird Bash!  Windy and rather chilly but the walks so far have been brilliant.

Mike kicked off the weekend on Friday evening with a walk round Woods Mill and along the millstream , recording 30 species with a couple of real highlights, the first being half-a-dozen Yellow Wagtails feeding amongst the cattle and gleaming yellow in the evening sun. Another was a Sparrowhawk flying low over the field and landing on a tree so we could get nice scope views. Stonechats always sit up nicely for you and we had the privilege of 4 of them showing themselves off to us. Meadow Pipits kept popping out of the long grass and a single Skylark flew over us as did a couple of linnets.

Nigel C and Paul both led  walks on Saturday morning.  Paul’s was along the Downslink and down river.  They got a several autumn migrants: a Chiffchaff was calling above , a Blackcap was filling up on elderberries and Swallows and House Martins flew overhead. Further up a pair of Goldcrests was a nice find.  A Stonechat was just down from Betley Bridge, but the wind made the going a bit tougher and the birds were now thinner on the ground but they were quickly warmed up  by the best bird of the day when a Hobby dashed over the river.

Nige followed his Area 2 walk, and the team clocked up 31 species which was pretty good especially when the only finches seen were Linnets and the Area 2 reliable Yellowhammers deserted us. Top marks   for getting Treecreeper which is often elusive and a scratchy growling Whitethroat near Furners Lane. Nige was able to sound particularly knowledgeable by pointing out the flap flap glide flight pattern of a very obliging Sparrowhawk! Most unusual Area 2 sighting was of three Grey Herons, all of them flying over at considerable height and speed.

Mike’s second walk on Saturday evening followed the same route. Much the same birds on the reserve but this time added Grey Wagtail as compensation for not seeing the Yellow Wagtails later on, plus a Pied Wagtail flew over to complete the wagtail set. And they added Reed Bunting. However, the best bird which was rather a surprise was a Snipe which suddenly shot up in the air and flew over their heads!

Report from Will’s walk on Sunday to come, and there is still the Area 9 walk on Tuesday.  Many thanks to all who have donated so far to The Haven, Henfield’s wonderful Community Centre