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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 11th September 2010
Beachy Head & Seven Sisters

If you hadn't already guessed it: it's autumn! This undeniable fact hit us like a damp leaf in the face as we woke to particularly heavy drizzle and a very strong breeze. We'd already decided to go all the way to Eastbourne and stroll along the cliffs looking for Wrynecks and Redstarts and we were far too stubborn (stupid) to start changing our hastily drawn-up plans.
On climbing the first hill we realised we could either get wet from sweating in waterproofs (it was still very warm) or get wet from the rain directly. We chose the latter and just got on with it. We searched around the gorse-packed bowl that is Whitbread Hollow (an area also used for bird ringing) in vain but met two people who had seen an Ortolan Bunting up at Beachy Head. This titbit of information gave us something new to search for and the news must have got around quickly by text as we soon came upon other Sussex birders out looking for it too. The weather certainly seemed to be keeping most of the birds hunkered down out of the rain and wind. There were Peregrines of course, patrolling the cliffs and being mobbed by the gulls and crows, as well as Stonechats, who are always your escorts across the Sisters, but we missed out on the Ortolan, and the Wrynecks and the Redstarts. But none of that really mattered... honest. Really it didn't. It was good just to be amongst breathtaking scenery and have some 'different' walking weather for a change.
The tide was high and huge waves were crashing against the base of the cliffs with real ferocity: each impact scouring away just a little more of the chalk, turning the sea into milk, which in turn mirrored the colour of the sky. With berries, seeds, nuts, fruit and fungi strewn all about; with the wind in our hair and gentle rain in our faces, we came to the conclusion that autumn's arrival in Sussex is something to truly celebrate. Make mine a Harvey's!

Robin's Pincushion