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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Wednesday 10th December 2008

An early finish at work gave me the chance to bike down to this very special area on the Ouse just north of Newhaven. In winter, the fields and reeds here on the floodplain attract all kinds of winter visitors. Today, amongst other things, I was hoping to spot a Hen Harrier or a Merlin, both of which had been seen here during the past week.
The fields were alive with birds today, with large flocks of starlings dancing around the sky, interspersed with lapwings, fieldfares and redwings. I had four sightings of kingfishers today, on one occasion a pair of them circled myself and two other birders twice, coming within 10 feet of us. There was a buzzard sitting on a telegraph pole, two peregrines perched on a pylon and a sneaky Sparrowhawk glided (That doesn't sound right, glid, glod, glode?) across the fields at knee height sending up hundreds of starlings. I also just missed the chance of seeing a mink, which was spotted by some other birdwatchers crossing the path behind me and slipping into a pond.
On my way back to the bike I spotted something in the distance sitting on a post. I made an effort to get closer but was cut off by water, although I was able to see that it was a female Merlin. She sat there for ages without flying and I was hoping she would do so before I got too cold (I still had to ride back home). In the end the cold won, but not a bad result for a short 2 hour visit.

The Downs above 'Kingston  near Lewes' seen from the Ouse at Rodmell

Lewes Castle to the north, seen from Rodmell

A distant picture of the female Merlin sitting on a post. I'm sorry, it was a long way away.