The Burgh 7 April 2024

This most scenic of the group walks was favoured with an attendance of sixteen, a surprising number in view of the strong winds arising from the coat tails of Storm Kathleen. A female Yellowhammer and a charm of Goldfinches in the car park were a good start. During the walk west along the South Downs Way Skylarks were much in evidence and remained so throughout the day; the wind kept them low to the ground and the close views of them were excellent. The conditions seemed to have caused many birds to shelter in the the copse at the first junction. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were in good voice while tits and Chaffinches were attending the feeder. A Firecrest was singing in an ivy-clad tree but could not be located but consolation came when a more cooperative Treecreeper came into view. During the descent to the valley some Linnets and more Yellowhammers appeared while raptors were represented by two Buzzards, three Red Kites and a Kestrel. A Slow Worm on the edge of the path was an unexpected treat. Large flocks of Stock Doves were seen both in the air and feeding in the fields. Two partridges were also seen that later proved to be Red-legged. At the first rest stop some mobbing crows and an alarmed Lapwing briefly pinpointed a ringtail Hen Harrier that all too soon concealed itself behind a hedgerow. At various points a total of seven Brown Hares were browsing in the meadows. The return to the car park was less productive until the final stage when a single Grey Partridge appeared in the open close to a field margin before flying off. Finally a Raven and a Swallow completed the avian count for the day bringing the total to 33.

The Burgh 24 September 2022

Despite a poor weather forecast of a chilly start, 40% chance of rain and frisky winds from the north, the group was soon taking off jackets and walking in near full sunshine for the rest of the day. The sunshine and warmth brought out a number of butterflies including wall, speckled wood, clouded yellow and large white. Near the dew pond there were several common darter dragonflies about.

Birds of prey included kestrels, peregrines (two jousting in the afternoon), buzzard (five wheeling in one thermal), a female marsh harrier quartering a field and putting up three grey partridges, numerous red kites, while a ring-tailed hen harrier gave brief views before drifting out of sight. Ravens were present, three seen and others heard kronking. Skylarks were singing and there were good numbers of swallows and house martins, often quite low.

Good views were had of yellowhammers, chaffinches and goldfinches with several flocks of linnet chattering overhead. A jay flew over and chiffchaffs were calling with at least one individual singing. The wooded areas revealed long tailed tits, wrens, robins, blackbirds, goldcrests, blue tits and great tits. A perched meadow pipit gave good scope views before it flew off and a green woodpecker was heard. As well as grey partridges there were red-legged partridges, outnumbered by pheasants.

Less flighty sightings included Arundel Castle, the expanding wind farms off Shoreham and the Butlins towers at Bognor. All this prompted the group leader to give a much-appreciated lesson on taking bearings at sea! A splendid walk produced 38 species identified.

The Burgh 30 September 2021

Six hardy members braved murky and blustery morning to walk along the South Downs to The Burgh and were fortunate to avoid precipitation from the dark clouds that loomed constantly. Immediately large numbers of pheasant were obvious no doubt much relieved about fewer shooting parties during lockdown. A sparrowhawk flew over while another numerous species was soon spotted, red kites elegantly gliding over the hillsides; at least sixteen were counted usually with a buzzard or two on hand. Then a raven or two cronked into view among the many carrion crows. At the summit several skylarks rose with a couple of meadow pipits below them. Small groups of linnets kept passing and two yellowhammers showed themselves briefly. Migrating swallow with a few house martins in their company kept passing over while a flock of well over a hundred goldfinches put in regular appearances. Down in the valley a marsh harrier was sighted patrolling the meadows and reappeared for further views later in the walk. Partridges though were the primary target but proved elusive in the generous, overgrown field margins. Eventually a group of red-legged partridges was identified crossing an opening in the vegetation. Grey partridges were easier to find but far more difficult to view. The sightings were all of plump, brown packages disappearing over the nearest hedgerow, a photographer’s nightmare! 22 species were identified the limited number compensated by the quality of some sightings and the sheer numbers of the rest.