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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Nature walks throughout the year
Green Man

Saturday 2nd February 2008
Amberley - The Burgh - North Stoke - Amberley
7.8  miles

Gill was suitably unimpressed with me going to see the
Great Grey Shrike without her the other day, and seeing as today was her birthday I had no choice but to take her to Amberley to retrace my steps. It was a beautiful, clear, winters day but a bit chillier than of late, and when we got to the Sportsman pub there was no sign of the bird. There were however Black-tailed godwits and a possible female Marsh Harrier (we didn't see it too clearly) and Great-Spotted woodpeckers. We hung around for an hour or so and were just packing up to leave when I spotted the shrike in a small tree by the edge of the brooks. We both just had time to look at it through another birders scope (he had just gone to get a sandwich) before it dropped out of sight again. Mission accomplished, plus my brownie points were back in credit . Phew!
We set off up the steep climb to Rackham Hill and beyond to the Burgh where there were lots of people out bird watching, but very few dogs! Usually its the other way round. Lots of Buzzards and Kestrels up there, as well as Skylarks, Yellowhammers, Bramblings, Red-Legged Partridge and Corn Buntings. Once again we tried to see the Short-eared Owls, but typically they were only seen an hour after we left.
We walked back via the marshes to North Stoke seeing a Marsh Tit on the way.
On arriving back at Amberley at 4:30 we found that the Bridge Inn wasn't serving food until 6:00, so we walked along the river for a while and watched a Barn Owl hunting. While we were watching it, out of nowhere a Sparrowhawk attacked it, sending feathers flying. Very exciting! We saw the owl a bit later trying to race a car into Amberley and I managed to film it. Then it was back to the pub for a delicious, birthday dinner for two. Finally, we lugged our stuffed bellies back onto the train, where we fought to stay awake as we definitely didn't want to end a beautiful day by waking up in London Victoria!

A kestrel posing for the camera

Nibbled daffodil

The very pale Buzzard that lives in "raptor gorge"

Through to North Stoke via the marsh

An evening stroll before dinner

The Barn Owl film (with music by Hawkwind)