Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Saturday 6th August 2011
Amberley - North Stoke- South Stoke - Burpham - Wepham - Wepham Wood - Rackham
Hill - Amberley.
11.5 miles of complete gorgeousness!
Right from the off this
walk had more wildlife than our meanderings of late. A pair of Peregrines
screaming at the top of their voices on the cliffs at Amberley started things
off and two minutes later we met the Barnham eel man checking his traps along
the Arun. He already had a few good specimens but he spoke of getting over 3
tonnes of them throughout the season (which runs from 'last frost to first
frost' or 'When the willow comes into bud, the
eels come out of the
mud') with no sign of the decline seen
in other parts of the country.
At peaceful South Stoke church there was: a nest of extremely busy bees in the porch roof, a sparrow's
nest in a hole in the nave's flint wall, a fruiting walnut tree growing in
a neighbouring garden and walnut cake and tea for us.
Onwards, through idyllic Burpham and Wepham and we were transported back in
time, out the other side and into Wepham Wood and we were just transcended. A
Brown Hare saw us to the wood's entrance and above soared Buzzard and Kite. The
light through the canopy of the coppiced wood was a mystical turn to an already
magical walk and although we didn't spy any elves we did glimpse a chestnut
brown Roe Deer scampering off into the distance.
Our walk was timed so that we would be out well after dark, and that was when
the fairy folk really did arrive: the little green beacons of
Glow Worms in the lush hedgerows showed up easily and we marvelled at these
seemingly impossible little creatures. The female beetles (not worms) glow to
attract the males and after mating they lay their eggs, put out their light and die. The young larvae
emit a pulsating green light from two small dots on the end of their abdomen
whereas the adult females have wide, constantly-glowing bands across their whole
abdomen. The glowing must be infectious too because Gill's face lit up with
excitement at the very sight of them.
First thing Sunday
morning we reported our sightings to the
Glow worms survey, and please do the same if you see them too.
Sussex eels, straight from the Sargasso to the Arun!
South Stoke churchyard.
Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum), a real stunner for the garden and a
wild, British flower!
Wepham Wood straight ahead. A great spot to take a few minutes and watch. We
were repaid with Hare, Buzzard and Red Kite.
The Ordnance Survey Triangulation Station
(trig point) on Barpham Hill.
The fairy folk arrive at Rackham.
Take the time to read
countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.