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Wednesday 19th March 2008
Pulborough - Rackham - Amberley - Pulborough
13 miles

A gorgeous sunny days walking today but with the threat of stormy weather always present. Fortunately the rain held off and I only got hit by a few drops all day.
First stop was RSPB Pulborough Brooks where I got my first views of the year of the adders. I found four of them in total and they all seemed to be small females.
There were nine gliders flying back and forth along the downs between Cootham and Amberley as I climbed Rackham Hill. Some of them seemed to be seeing how low to the ground they could get as they flew over the downs. One must have only been 10 feet off the ground and looked really good against the newly ploughed fields and blue sky.
On reaching the top I set off for the Burgh where I hoped to see some mad march Hares boxing. I wasn't disappointed as they were at it as soon as I got there. Unfortunately, despite scanning everywhere for over an hour I was still unable to find any of the Short-Eared owls. I did see a sparrowhawk fly behind a small bush and flush out a thrush. It just managed to get away by flying in a straight line at top speed.
I managed to see 54 species of bird today, which included: 2 Sparrowhawks, lots of Buzzards and Kestrels, 2 Grey Partridge and 2 Barn Owls. I made a small film that shows some of the wildlife seen today.

This female has milky eyes which means that she is getting ready to shed her skin.

Common newt (Triturus vulgaris)

Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)

Grey heron