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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 12th August 2006
Coldwaltham Brooks

We woke up to a horrible mornings weather. The sky was black, it was raining and it was thoroughly miserable. The thought of having to stay in all day really put us in a grumpy mood. In the end we thought we would just chance it and we rode off through the rain to Coldwaltham Brooks near Pulborough. As we left Crawley the weather started to improve and it got better the further we rode.
At Coldwaltham the clouds parted and the sun came out, which put us back into a much happier frame of mind. This was the first time for several weeks that we had been out in the country with our binoculars. It felt very good to be back.
We had come to the brooks to find a red backed shrike that had been staying in the area for nearly a week. Miraculously it only took us about 15 minutes to find it and I got a few photos through the telescope.
When we rode home, the rain started again just as we entered the border of Crawley. If we had decided to not brave the weather this morning, we wouldn't have realised that it was only raining on our home.

Part of Coldwaltham Brooks. Notice the lack of rain!

The lack of rain has made the area very dry though. We really need it to chuck it down for weeks!

Now, where's that shrike?

The male red backed shrike (Lanius collurio). I took a small bit of video, although the wind blew me and the bird about a bit. Take a look here. (3.9 mb)

Shrikes winter in tropical Africa and arrive back in Europe in May. They are a reasonably rare bird in England. We saw several in The Lot region of France last May. Shrikes are infamous for being small predators that are capable of killing small birds. They often impale their catch on the thorns of a bush as a 'larder'. This has given them the nickname of Butcher Bird.
However, we happen to think they are very sweet looking birds that wear a bandits mask.