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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 18th May 2013
Herstmonceux Church - Boreham Street - Windmill Hill - Golden Cross - New Bridge -  Herstmonceux Church
9.5 miles.

Although we saw and heard well over 35 species of bird today (including Cuckoo) we think we could have done much better. A lot of the time we had our heads down looking for Grass Snakes, mammals and insects. No luck whatsoever for the first two (apart from a dead Shrew) but the latter are now really getting into the swing of things. Until a couple of days ago I was explaining the absence of Swifts to Gill by showing her the lack of their insect prey stuck to my motorcycle sunglasses. In early May I would normally be getting driven completely insane by the amount of 'face to insect' collisions but until yesterday that just wasn't happening. Today all that changed and motorcycling was all about getting your face covered in all manner of indescribable things and lots of bug juice. If you've ever wondered why bikers with open-face helmets always have a tight-lipped expression on their faces, well now you know. Some of those big bugs can actually force a weak grin apart with a high-speed impact between the lips, so you have to be ready. Riding along singing, smiling or talking will increase your protein intake but will not add much to the enjoyment of the ride. A bumblebee at 60mph can feel just like a punch (let alone higher speeds) and I dread to tell you the mess that a large flying beetle can make. A large dragonfly is just a complete horror story. Small flies just bounce off but going through swarms of tiny midges feels like being peppered with sand.
I know someone who got struck beak-first in the chest by a bird. He went to hospital and they needed a lot of persuasion to believe he hadn't been shot (it was in America, being shot is the first thing they think of).
So you can see, rolling around in a meadow getting covered in live spiders, beetles, bugs, flies etc is far more appealing to someone like me, who is more used to being part of a great insect graveyard.

Gill is far more intelligent than me and wears a visor!

Not too hilly, very green and full of wildlife.

One small problem though... can't see where you're going!

The bluebells are all still showing brilliantly. Get out there and enjoy them!

Lilac. Lovely!

Native American immigrants now live in East Sussex.

We found this ink stamp on a stile. It might have been one of the markers for the many runners that were out today on some sort of orienteering race.

This is the stamp it made.

This Southern Hawker dragonfly had a bent abdomen which was very evident when it flew.

A dog agility course. Just what every garden needs!


Dandelion. Common as muck I know but just look at it. Amazing!

A stile making use of a stump. Very novel.

Another gate fastener to Gill's collection.

What a superb name for a village.

Our finish point at Herstmonceux Church comes into view.

We saw ya!

A fantastic altocumulus show just after sunset was the backdrop to a great ride home
which in Ashdown Forest included a Woodcock overhead and a Little Owl perched in a roadside tree.

Oh yes, and lots of flies!


Take the time to read the countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.