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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 14th February 2015 - A valentine's day hike.
Bramber (Beeding) Windmill Hill Woods Mill River Adur Bramber.
10 miles.

If we cancelled every walk because the weather forecast was bad we would quite likely never leave the house. This morning for example we had heavy, black stratocumulus clouds all around and the threat of even more downpours to keep the Weald as it is right now, covered in thick sticky mud.
They used to say in the 17th Century that Sussex cattle and Sussex folk all had very long legs, from pulling their feet out of the heavy Wealden clay. Nothing much changes and our last few (unreported) excursions have no doubt added a few more millimetres to our shanks. Being close on a six footer already, Gill doesn't need any extra sock length but I could do with an extra inch or so, so off out we went again. 

My brief today was to find 'she who must be obeyed' a Barn Owl. Right now they are as rare as rocking horse pooh and besides, it looked like rain and owls don't like rain where and how on Earth was I going to produce a Barn Owl out of thin air? In the past year or so we've seen one. About 0.2 of a second's view, in the pitch dark. There were several places we could try but we've been to them all lately and not seen one, so I took a chance on where I know Short-eared Owls like to congregate, and that is, along the River Adur between Henfield and Bramber.

The bike was running beautifully and when we got to St Peter's at Beeding we didn't really want to stop and get off. By 10.15am though we were togged up and off on a 10 miler taking in Windmill Hill, South Tottington Sands and Woods Mill Nature Reserve with a plan to get to the river Adur late in the day.

The south bank of the river was thick mud with evidence of flooding having happened of late, so it was very hard, slow going which we powered with tea and banana Soreen. Finally Bramber church was back in view and with five minutes of our walk left, there, not 2 minutes from our start point, sitting on a fence post looking at us was a bloomin' Barn Owl. We watched enthralled as it bobbed around the field and hunted in the long grass and congratulated ourselves on being two very lucky people. After being completely decimated in the snowy winters of 2012 and 2013 this species is now making a come-back and last year's breeding season was a real success. Let's hope they become a more common sight again soon, 'cos we love 'em.


 


Twin skulls. They were very melodramatic in the 18th Century but stylish with it.


Tea etc and a time to reflect. "Bloomin' barn owl?... moon on a stick more like".


Golding Barn Raceway


If you don't yet appreciate clouds then you jolly well should.
Go to the Cloud Appreciation Society website immediately!


We are not alone!


We hit the Downs Link and find the Adur.
The bridge over reminds you (if you need reminding) that this footpath follows a disused railway.


Awful shot of the Barn owl but it was low light and our ever-faithful mega-zoom camera is on the fritz again.


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