Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Selsey Bill February 9th 2010

February 9th 2010 Selsey Bill - indeed at last a library that at least gives me a viewing point so that I can keep an eye on Sid 'the bike'. Thanks to Chris and Karen - the librarians!

Lots has happened since the last blog and I am now up to 130 birds on the year list, having just had 2 med' gulls, 2 sandwich terns and a black redstart at Selsey.

So it was last updated after going to Worthing so let's think what's happened since then?

A puncture a mile or so before the Youth hostel at Arundel. Woken by a tawny next day, cycled down to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust centre at Arundel and spent the day there. Was shown around by the fabulous Monica [sincere best wishes to her, her husband Paul and their little girl.] who's enthusiasm and knowledge added to the visit. Around the reserve with kingfisher and water rail as highlights. A donated fleece {THANKS!!!!} provided warmth and actually this was the first day of the year that a fleece was al that one needed to stay warm. A boat ride to see water voles, saw 2 thanks to Monica and another couple whose names are in another notebook I don't have with me - sorry. A twany called at around midday and 3 more kingfishers were seen from the comfy chairs in the large reception area. I was allowed in the see the developing Peter Scott hide. This is gong to be fabulous if the sand martins use the nesting tubes that the hides being built for. there will be a screened area where people may see into the tubes to watch the young being fed. Here's hoping the returning sand martins appreciate the efforts of the lads building it all. Tottenham and Chelsea fans they may be but deep down they're decent lads.

Went into Arundel Cathedral for a quiet moment later on as darkness fell.

Next day cycled up onto the Downs and got lost. Well the bridleway I'd seen on the OS map suddenly bacame a maze of them and I ended up walking alongside fields, pushing the bike through chalky mud in order to go in the direction I thought Amberley was. Saw 19 grey partridge and a good number of RL partridge up here, as well as 9 Bewick swans on the way down, feeding in the Arun Valley.

Found Amberley Wildbrooks RSPB reserve and had another long push of the bike along a very chalky muddy path and then through a marshy wetland area. A group of very dark deer turned out to be bred fallow deer.

To Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve and what a lovely welcome! Soon off to search the woodland for crossbills and found 9 of them in a fenced off area near to the small road from the north of Amberley. A couple of Jays kept disturbing them but after a few minutes they would return to the same trees.

Met Claire Evans from Lewes, a lovely lady who has her own business and had emailed me before I arrived. Talked and walked with her and I need to say thanks for the internet help she's given. Thanks Claire.

Cycled to Horsham to stay with my cousin, Honor and her husband Ian. Ian's a Brighton fan with a fabulous collection of football memorabilia and Honor had got a lot of very old photos etc showing our grandfather in WWI and other older relatives. This all ensured, after a fabulous meal with 'excellent' carrots, that we didn't get to sleep until 12.30am! Fabulous evening. Wonderful couple. Ian and Honor had recently been on BBC TV for the South East when Villa [hurrah] played Brighton [shame]. Honor's a Villa fan and this made for an interesting news item. As you will all know the result was the best one Villla 3 Brighton 2. Villa go through to the next round, Brighton weren't shown up.

Next day, late because of more chat, cycled to and eventually found Barfold Copse; a small woodland reserve tucked down in a valley. Very few birds but it brought back memories of my childhood when we used to explore a similar area with rhododendrons and bamboo. Up the hill to the Devil's Punchbowl Hotel and rest.

Next day I thought the OPTICRON binoculars had been stolen and reported this to the police. Cycled to Farnham RSPB reserve and found the location of where the battle scene that opens the film Gladiator had been filmed. [Bourne Woods] Strength and Honour! If you go the the RSPB reserve by the Rural Centre then follow the central path north and it goes over a hill and down the other side there it is, exactly as it is in the film. One almost expects the fireballs to be flying and the Zulu chanting Celts/Gauls/Germanics to appear from the trees. Indeed some of the trees still had some damage to them from the film. Couldn't find any woodlarks here on the reserve itself; huge areas of tree clearance with the intention of recreating heathland.

Cut it short, cycled to Chichester.

Rigth, time to go. Will detail the Chichester school visits and the Brackelsham Bay visit in the next blog.

Now please sponsor me for . . .




All the very best to everyone and especially to The Marshalls who I met at the 'Gladiator' site, Mrs Anniss and Tim Watson, both of Selsey; all of whom gave donations to me personally. This money will be given to the warden of the next reserve I visit to be passed onto the RSPB. Thanks.


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