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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man
Sunday 17th January 2010
The Burgh
3.5 miles

I'd made it all the way through the cold spell in great health, but now, as the snow was disappearing, I was starting to come down with a cold. We urgently needed fresh air and big views though, so we decided on a short stroll from North Stoke church around The Burgh and back. Wintering Short-eared Owls have been seen on this nature conservation area (dogs on leads please) lately and we couldn't resist the opportunity of the slight possibility of maybe having a short glimpse of them from a distance.
As well as the snow melt we've had quite a bit of rain and on the A29 the flood waters at Pulborough bridge were nearly up to the road, with the North and South brooks completely flooded out. We wondered if the road would be blocked on our way home.
The Burgh area has lost most of its snow now with just small 'glaciers' running down the length of the footpaths. The place was alive with birds though, flocks of Herring Gulls, Starlings, Skylarks, Reed Buntings, Chaffinches and Redwings were all around.
Among the six or so Buzzards up there was a distinctly pale one, possibly an offspring of the very pale one we’ve seen near there in the past. A Merlin was having a bad day as it was first flushed from its perch in some scrub by a Magpie before immediately being sent packing by a Kestrel. Other sightings today included lots of midges, a Peacock Butterfly and a daisy in full flower.
Eventually my cold, with it's accompanying and increasingly high temperature, forced us to leave for home while the sun was still high in the bright blue sky.
The road at Pulborough was flooded on the way back, but we cut a huge bow wave as we ploughed through it with our feet in the air to keep our socks dry.

There's only room for about one bike to park in the lane at North Stoke.

Up the glacier to The Burgh

Arundel Castle in the distance, further down the River Arun.

The superbly-positioned Downs Farm seen from The Burgh.

My slightly blurry video of the Merlin and kestrel was taken from quite a distance, so apologies for the quality.

A male Reed Bunting in his winter plumage, all puffed up to keep warm...

... and here's the female

Some of the flooding on the flood plain around North Stoke.

The only owl we spotted all day, in North Stoke church. Can you see it?