Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Saturday 28th December 2013
Amberley - Burgh - Wepham Down - Amberley
The weather men said
the day would be a sunny one, a calm period between all of the destructive
storms we've been having of late, so we decided to avoid cabin fever by
postponing the gluttony and venturing out to see how Sussex had
The whole of the Arun valley is completely flooded, all the way from
Pulborough to Littlehampton and it looks incredible. We love to see it all
inundated, everyone is used to it getting deluged, it's supposed to happen, it's
a good thing! If your house gets flooded out then don't complain - just remind
yourself why you bought a house in a beautiful, quiet location, on a flood
plain. Riding through it on a train is a wonderful experience too as you feel
you're in a long speed boat in the
middle of a wide, snaking river. Several trains had recently been cancelled so I
suppose we were lucky to make it to Amberley at all.
Met Office were partially correct as we had a beautiful sunny start from
home, beaming sunshine at Amberley and all the way up Rackham Hill and across to
the Burgh. Things started to change then and a nimbostratus ceiling meant that
most of the afternoon was wet and gloomy. All indications that another cold
front was passing over, whipped up by the ghastly depression that's been hanging
about off the north east coast of the UK all Christmas.
We decided to have some tea & cake and watch the
hunters who were ostensibly shooting Grey Partridge and Pheasants but who were
mostly hanging about in the pouring rain doing nothing for ages. We kept a good
eye on the places being beaten, as sometimes owls are disturbed too. We didn't
spot any, although the beaters were not as noisy as on other hunts and any
roosting owls hiding from the rain may have just sat it out and ignored them.
In all fairness we thought
that we were having a much better and a far cheaper time and we hadn't had to
kill anything to do so! However, this great bird-watching area wouldn't
be as good as it is without all of the hard work done by the gamekeeper and his
team. Mind you, we would have seen far more birds today if the air hadn't been
chock-full of plumbium shot.
Birds seen and heard included; Buzzard, Red Kite (almost guaranteed nowadays),
Kestrel, a few cronks from a Raven, several charms of Goldfinch, the hoot of a
Tawny, a possible Ring Ousel, Dunnock, Robin and Chiffchaff. Our target species
was Short-eared Owl and we know that they're about but if they're sensible they
would've kept their heads down today anyway.
From the train
The view from the garden of the house we
will buy when our lotto numbers come up. If the people will sell. Which we
Amberley Castle has a moat once again.
Amberley Wildbrooks prefers to be flooded
anyway as it's home to some of our rarest species of marshland plants and
Before the irrigation ditches were dug and the brooks were drained people used
to canoe from Pulborough to Amberley, across the fields, to get to work.
I recently canoed from Arundel to Amberley and back and although it nearly
killed me it was an ambition come true.
Another favourite tea & cake spot of ours.
Back at Rackham Hill and the South Downs
Way at sundown.
Take the time to read
countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.