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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 21st January 2006
Old Lodge

We went to the Old Lodge Nature Reserve in the Ashdown Forest, once again on the quest to find the elusive Great Grey Shrike. It was a beautiful sunny day and we really thought our luck was in. Unfortunately the mythical Shrike still managed to elude us and so we shall have to search for him again another day.
The day was not a total loss however. We got to watch a flock of about 10 Common Crossbills munching away on pine cones. This was a first for us and really made our day. Other sightings included Bullfinches, Coal Tits, Goldcrests and Siskins, a Green Woodpecker and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker plus about 20 fallow deer. 

The entrance to the Old Lodge Nature Reserve, which is managed with great skill by the Sussex Wildlife Trust . 

We soon came to this area where we found some other birders who had found the flock of crossbills. We all spent the next 45 minutes watching them feed on pine cones (the crossbills NOT the birders!).

Here's a picture of one of the crossbills taken by Dickie. Their beaks are perfectly adapted for dissecting pine cones.

I took this picture through a telescope so it is not perfect, but you can see the crossbill holding the pine cone in it's feet while it pulls the seeds out of it.

Ashdown Forest is also the home of Winnie the pooh and his friends. A walk around this part of the forest will take you to the Enchanted Place, Eeyores Gloomy Place, the Lonesome Pine and the Sand Pit where Roo played. The visitors centre nearby currently has an exhibition of the pictures of E.H. Shepard, illustrator of the books.