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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 5th February 2011
Thorney island
~ 8 miles

Fifty-five mile an hour gusts were predicted all along the south coast today, and to make sure that we got every last bit of them full in the face, we did a clockwise circumnavigation of Thorney island in Chichester Harbour. Sure enough, we were kicked about by the wind and drizzle the whole way round this picturesque bit of MOD land. We didn't care though, as we were surrounded by birds the entire time. Large flocks of: Brent Geese, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank and Oystercatchers shot past carried by the wind and Red-breasted Mergansers, Tufted Ducks and Shelduck all battled to keep paddling against the wind-blown tide.
Highlights of the day were without doubt the two Short-eared owls we saw. Although we were separated from them by quite a distance and a stretch of water, they kept their large eyes on us the entire time. However, the spectacular views of thousands upon thousands of geese, curlew and redshanks, all flocking together across a huge stormy sky are the memories that will prevail the longest.
Just when we started to feel a little bit intrepid being out on such a day, a whole 'shoal' of mad windsurfers came hurtling across the bay, through the rain, doing what seemed to be about 50 knots. And there we were thinking that our little relaxed ramble around the island was bracing!?

First stop, Southbourne Church.

Prinsted high street. One of the houses was dated 1473.

A wasp nest on one of the gorgeous houses in Prinsted.

The mud flats were just becoming covered by the tide when we arrived.

If boats are your thing, then anywhere in Chichester Harbour is the place to be.

Two Short-eared Owls roosting safely where no people or dogs can get at them.

As good a picture as we could get due to the distance and the terrible weather.

We took shelter for a while in West Thorney church.

How about these for tombstones? A skull and a coffin with a skeleton in it...

... and this one has the death head on it.

A footpath to nowhere! Except for windsurfers perhaps.

A Curlew - seemingly unconcerned by the weather.

Did we mention that it was windy?