The only person living in Henfield on the walk this morning was me. Setting out today were Angela (Small Dole), Lucy (Hurstpierpoint), Rikki (Lancing) and Laura (Indiana) and our possible new dog hails from Birmingham!

The water levels have receded almost completely now – Angela remarked that someone has pulled the plug out – so we were able to walk through the fields which is always much more rewarding. Just as we came out from under the railway line we had both Blackcap and Garden Warbler singing, then along the “limbo” path we heard a Nuthatch and the first Whitethroat of the morning.

On the remaining pools were still plenty of Coots, but other wildfowl except a lone Teal and a pair of Shelduck seem to have departed, or were well hidden. We met someone looking for a Garganey that had been seen previously, but we didn’t find it either. To compensate we had good views through the scope of a Lesser Whitethroat, unusually on top of a bush, there were now 8 Little Egret nests in the heronry, together with 2 visible Grey Heron nests. Lucy noticed two Swallows over the brooks, and we heard a Bullfinch calling from the hedge by the Downslink. Greylag Geese were around the heronry, but couldn’t locate any White-fronted.

While walking along the river, the others all managed to find a Peregrine in flight, there was a Kestrel perched on a telegraph post, and the Cuckoo flew across and landed in a distant tree back towards the railway line. A Mute Swan wandered back into its nest on the overflow pit, which also had very little water today. A lovely collection of Linnets were showing on top of the bushes, and we had yet another view of a Lesser Whitethroat – at one point we could hear both a Whitethroat and Lesser White singing on opposite sides.

Predictably plenty of Chiffchaffs singing and several Blackcaps along the route. Only Laura and I had the time to do the path past Frogshole, admiring the old house at Harwoods, where we met the owner for a chat! There was still a bit of water about over towards Buckwish, which held more Coots, a couple of Little Egrets and herons.

Val Bentley, 18th April 2024