This time last month I was waking to sounds of birds announcing their nesting plans. Now I’m waking with my fingers tightly crossed for our summer visitors, the swallows, the swifts and especially the house martins who’ve graced our eaves with their presence for the last two years!  I haven’t even heard a chiff-chaff yet this year, so I’m feeling just a little pessimistic. The cold weather in March didn’t really help them I’m sure, some with difficult starts to their lengthy journeys.

But it’s quite hard to do any gardening with your fingers tightly crossed – so enough anxious thoughts! Has anyone heard the cuckoo yet? I’m always the last to hear one calling, but I don’t care as long as they arrive!   And what about the nightingales? They’re singing in the daytime now, so it’s well worth catching this treat. Pulborough Brooks, or the Wetlands on the way to Arundel, are both worth a try. In fact you could be lucky anywhere a bit off the beaten track. They nest quite low to the ground in fairly dense scrub, so you probably won’t see one, but what a joy to hear them..

Peregrines are busy over Bedham again, hooray – and our garden birds are all doing well. I’m especially cheered by news in the Big Bird Count that greenfinch numbers are looking up a bit at last. (As I was writing this earlier, there suddenly was a small group of them, first time back on their favourite feeder, so thank you, Ad Vincula!) Can’t wait for the first babies who allow me near them for the first day or two as they try to get the seeds. It’s a lovely moment, standing close and watching.

Now two bits of rather depressing news, sorry!  – from Bedham, of a deer that was found dead, very emaciated, with soft black plastic in its stomach, almost certainly off a silage bale.  And near the Greatham Rd down below the RSPB – clear signs of deer poaching – and they left behind quite a lot of body parts that obviously wouldn’t make them any money, the rotters!

Lastly – I had an amazing sighting last month (though my amazement only came a bit later). I spotted a very large dark bird, just as it flew out of sight, leaving me with a memory of an incredibly deep pair of wings, and wondering whatever it could be?

Several days later, a friend living up towards Malham told me she’d had a fantastic view of it, perching on a post quite near her house. She’d wanted a picture, but didn’t dare move to take one.

It was a white-tailed sea eagle!  In Wisborough Green! They are huge! And live mainly in Scotland. Apparently, they’re trying to establish them on the Isle of Wight. How lucky to have seen it. I hope a few other people saw it too – even just with an unaware glimpse like me!!


Sue J